THOR #1 / Writer: Jason Aaron / Artist: Mike Del Mondo (God Of Thunder Reborn) and Christian Ward (The Grace of Thor)/ Letterer : VC’s Joe Sabino / Publisher: Marvel Comics / June 13th 2018
First off, I need to get this out of my system before I continue, you might want to skip a few lines. Ahem.
SHUT UP ODINSON! YOU’RE NOT MY THOR.
Phew. That’s better.
Okay, maybe he is, strictly speaking, the original Thor, but he’s not my Thor. I’m not the only one who was wondering whether it was worth continuing this run without a Thor with such humanity and poignant joy- which this series doesn’t have in quite the same way. Not in this first issue anyway; but, it is early days yet to be fair.
What it does have is probably the most balls-out heavy metal awesomeness you may find in a mainstream superhero comic currently hitting the shelves (DC Metal notwithstanding). If you’ve already seen the covers for the next few issues ahead of this one, you may be forgiven for thinking they’re examples of prog-metal album art. This is appropriate, for sure. It certainly made me interested enough to give this a try, even after losing Jane!Thor. I’m ultimately glad that I did, because this is so much fun– or at least the first half, titled ‘God of Thunder Reborn’, is fun–the second half is… hoo boy. We’ll get to that.
To start with, it’s good to see Aaron team up with Mike Del Mundo again. Del Mundo’s work on Weirdworld made him an ideal candidate for Thor and he’s well suited for some of Aaron’s more Robert E. Howard type tendancies. His art reminds me a bit of Simon Bisley’s work on Sláine. In contrast to Dauterman’s more liquid and art nouveau style of flowing lines, Del Mundo is more gelatinous.
Does that makes sense? Everything is chaotic and colourful and vibrant in the best way. Some might find this a little hard on the eye, but, again- it makes so much sense for a Thor run. If Dauterman is more classic fantasy, more Lord of the Rings or Never Ending Story, then Del Mundo is Heavy Metal or The Dream Quest cycle by Lovecraft. The fantasy is tempered with more gristle (you’ll see what I mean) and more (and I say this with love) meatheaded metal-ness. If I were going to allude to a gender binary here- there’s a shift from the feminine to the decidedly masculine.
Seriously, and I mean all this as a compliment, because Lorde knows I love me some butch-camp-air-brushed-style fantasy (the sort of thing you might see painted on the side of someone’s van in, like, 1987). I am naturally sad that the previous chapter has ended, but–all joking aside–it had to end sometime.
I know this is a natural progression and I’ve been following both Thor and interviews with Jason Aaron long enough to know that this isn’t, strictly speaking, a reaction, it’s a next step. We’re not erasing or forgetting Jane’s time as Thor, as is apparent in the story, and no one is apologizing or pretending it didn’t happen, which is good.
Though, to be fair, you’d be forgiven for wondering if this was done to get the dudes still stewing over Jane!Thor back on board. Again, I know this isn’t the case, but it probably doesn’t hurt anyone if a few blokes do feel happy enough to put their head above the fox hole now. Will they like this? Will they respond positively? [probably not – Dexter]
Don’t know. Don’t care. Nothing makes them happy. Moving on.
The next story in this issue is ‘The Grace of Thor‘, another flash forward to the very end of the universe with All-Father Thor, his grand-daughters and New Midgard, with art by Christian Ward. This tale is more sobering. If ‘God Of Thunder Reborn‘ was a Flaming Sambuca, this one’s a long draft of the blackest coffee from the darkest barista. It is tense; full of existential dread, sadness and a kind of resignation that Thor seems very prone to under Aaron. Again, not a bad thing, but boy howdy is this one tough.
Whilst the art work has a free flowing, epic chaos to it, it’s nowhere near as unashamedly brash as Del Mundo’s work. Again–not a bad thing. It looks beautiful and works for this story–but I don’t want to spoil too much more about this story, however there is a twist ending which… well, it’s kind of cool, but I felt a little like rolling my eyes, but only because I am pretty tired of this guy. You might not be. I’ll leave it up to you to decide.
So, it’s a great start to the final (NOOOOOOO) chapter of Aaron’s absolute corker of a run- and the series itself is already showing a lot of promise.
Did it really have to be £4/$6 though? That’s a bit of an ask, but… I’ll let it slide. Just this once.
Verdict: 4/5 tired hammer men
I’m a thirty something British nerd-mum and wannabe author, fueled by tea, poor decision making and a need to be distracted. Cursed to watch favourite characters die and ships sink.