Written by – Jason Aaron
Drawn by – Esad Ribic
Marvel’s ‘Thor’ is a character that has had many ongoing and mini-series over the years with varying degrees of hit and misses. The latest comes as part of the Marvel Now! initiative. While initially dismissive of the line wide relaunch as a quick reaction to DC comics new 52 reboot I have since changed my mind due to the quality of the books Marvel have already put out under this new umbrella. Thor: God of thunder #1 is another in that line of fantastic reads. Writer Jason Aaron and artist Esad Ribic have crafted a tense, epic feeling first issue, of which will hopefully be a long successful run for the team.
First off, the reason I tried this book was because of Jason Aaron being attached as writer. Ever since reading ‘The Other Side’ and ‘Scalped’ which he wrote for DC’s Vertigo imprint (the latter of which has become one of my favorite all-time comics), I’ve picked up anything that he has written. Here, he focuses on Thor in three different eras of his life. A young brash Viking Thor, present day Thor as we know him, and an older one-armed version of Thor who sits as a lone protector on the throne of Asgard. In each of these different times we get to see Thor initially become aware of, his investigation, and finally, his seemingly last stand as King of Asgard against an unseen antagonist who appears to murder only Gods of different cultures throughout time and space. Aaron does a magnificent job of creating a tense menacing threat in the God butcher by showing the level of violence, self-gratification and ease at which it can murder these high-powered beings. He builds the villain in our minds as a credible threat and you really get the feeling that this is something terrifying and foreboding that Thor with all his power and might, may not be able to stand up to.
Accompanying Aaron on the issue was Croatian artist Esad Ribic. Prior to this issue, the only exposure I had to Ribic’s art was when I was given the Loki hardcover years ago as a gift from a friend. It would appear that he likes to play around with these types of characters. His painterly style suits the book well with many scenes in the book making me stop to catch a breath, absorb in the art and really appreciate it. I had heard many fans criticizing his style and that it made figures appear stiff and lifeless in scenes, but this was not an issue for me. Everything from facial expressions, the fluidity of Thor’s cape and subtle character nuances were all conveyed perfectly, and colorist Dean White accented the art with a beautiful muted palette that made the book really come to life.
The creative team steered clear of using any of Thor’s usual supporting cast that was such a heavy presence in the Thor book prior to this relaunch and I think it was a really wise decision. It will help the book regain its focus on the title character and allow the team to build the book the way they want from the ground up and make it accessible to readers old and new. I have never really followed the character in a solo series but I really enjoyed this debut and I’m going to continue to pick it up. Future issues from this team will hopefully retain this quality and we will get a defining run that the character and fans deserve.
5 out of 5 nerds