There are times in your comic reading life when nothing but cape comics will do. When the stresses of the real world make you crave tales that bear no resemblance your day-to-day, it’s a relief to find you don’t have to stoop to reading bad comics. Marvel are my publisher for superhero books at the moment, DC have almost completely dropped the ball and while Image has amazing titles not many of them would be considered ‘superheroes’.
This is a different book from the last Thor comic I wrote about. Jason Aaron has described his take on the character as ‘metal’ and Thor has the hair to live up to it. I’ll leave the storytelling to the creative team but the hook for this comic is that it features Thor from three different times in his life. The young, brash Godling who has yet to earn the right to wield the mystic hammer Mjolnir. Current day Avenger and seasoned superhero Thor and from the far-future, grizzled King Thor: last of the Asgardians.
I can no longer imagine anyone other than Esad Ribic doing artistic justice to Thor,I’d enjoyed his art before (on X-Force) but this is just a perfect match. To start with he makes our hero look like a god, he’s huge, he’s ripped and he wields a massive hammer. Each Thor looks distinct, young Thor especially has a haughty arrogance to his face that perfectly fits the character. But it’s not just Thor, the weapons look heavy and hurtful, the supporting characters bring real emotion to the page and the different locations are astounding. Look out for Omnipotence City and the Halls of All-Knowing.
My favourite image from this book is of Thor alone in space, investigating the deaths of unknown space gods, No Avengers or Warriors Three to back him up. It really struck home that he is a god and can travel the universe fearlessly.
I love how the art goes about creating a sense of dread, the subtitle of ‘the God Butcher’ gives a hint as to what Thor faces. Aaron and Ribic build brilliantly to show a real threat to Thor and his fellow Gods. The lead up to the first encounter with the God Butcher is paced wonderfully, going from a dead Native American God to a blood spattered Winged Horse and clouds dripping with Godblood. The cohesion between the art and writing make this comic great.
It’s an impressive feat of storytelling as Aaron advances the plot across three timelines and Ribic keeps three different version of the Thunder God looking alike yet different. The varied stages of Thor are shown so well. From when he is young and carousing amongst the Vikings, to crossing the Universe to bring rain to a dry planet today and then bitter but still mighty in his dotage. The stakes are high, with the future seeming to consist of mainly dead gods and an empty Asgard.
I cannot overstate how much I enjoyed this book, Aaron and Ribic combine so well to tell this story. I used to feel like enjoying a Thor comic was a guilty pleasure, now it’s something to be proud of and recommend to anyone who will listen.
Should I buy it? If you have ever enjoyed a Thor comic or liked his movie appearances, this is better. This is the God of Thunder roaming the galaxy trying to defeat a horror that is beyond him.
Next time: Even though I just want to read more Thor comics I will soldier on in the interest of diversity and read something else. I will be keeping it Marvel however with the astoundingly well reviewed Young Avengers by one of my favourite comic book teams, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie.