By: Matthew Rapier
Thor has always been a character of interest to me without knowing much at all about his various incarnations over the years. He has a quality that can bring epic action and light humor when the situation calls for it. The appeal is almost a Superman like quality with the flowing red cape and regalness of personality, but also diving a bit into Norse mythology as well.
The biggest exposure to this corner of the Marvel Universe came to me with the recent big screen adaptation starring Chris Harmsworth. I’m very aware that many changes are often made when translating things into a feature film so I tried picking up some books that were in the current continuity at the time. Matt Fraction was handling the writing duties and no matter how much I really tried to buy into the stories, I just couldn’t find a place of interest for the book to keep up with it regularly.
Marvel NOW! was the perfect jumping on point for myself and many other readers who were either new to comics or just wanted to start giving Marvel another chance on the weekly pull list. I was skeptical at first because of my previous attempts at enjoying the character ending up in disappointment. After finishing up the first story arc now, I honestly can’t see how anyone wouldn’t love everything about this book.
Jason Aaron wastes no time in setting up the events with Thor and friends discovering the severed head of a unamed God. An interesting spin is that this arc takes place between three different time periods as we see young Thor, veteran Thor, and Thor nearing the end of his age. Thor sets off to find the absent God of Indigarr and finds several of them slaughtered what may have been hundreds of years ago. Thor first encounters the God butcher named Gorr and thinks he can take the threat with ease, is shown that this will be no battle that he is accustomed to. At the end of days for Asgard he sits on the throne all by himself as the last surviving member of the city. Two different era’s of himself meet and the younger version confuses the older one as his own father Odin. They work together to retreat Gorr’s “guard dog” shadows as he promises that the day is close for the end of Thor.
What a way to open up your first arc. Jason Aaron makes this immensely epic and heart pounding throughout all five issues. You never know if Thor will be able to survive Gorr’s eventual attack and it’s great to always be guessing the next events. Each age of Thor is written differently and helps progress the story, showing just how long this battle has been going on. Aaron seems to bring us to the end of the saga while leaving it wide open for whatever he’s planned going forward in this book.
The art by Esad Ribic is stunning, gorgeous, epic, and any other word that comes to mind when describing something more impressive than words can truly say. The first issue is so strong that you immediately think there is no way he can keep this up over all five parts, but he does it and never takes a break with the detail he began with.
I can’t think of many other books out right now that I would rank higher than Thor. It is quite easily in my top 5 at the moment which is rightfully earned. If you haven’t been reading this one then you are missing out on something special and memorable for years to come. Go out and buy these issues!
Overall Grade: 10/10