I started a folder at Dice Head earlier this week. It’s the first time I’ve ever done that, which is embarrassing for two reasons. The first is because of my age. I’m 26, a grown man, and I’ve started a comics folder at a comics shop. The second is that I’m 26. I’m a self respecting nerd and I’ve just now opened a folder at a comics shop. You can see my dilemma, there’s some duality here.
I’ll be honest, I was unsure of what ongoing titles to add. I knew I wanted Saga (but who doesnt?), and I also knew I’d be interested to follow some of Marvel’s “NOW!” titles. The titles I’m most interested in, Savage Wolverine and Uncanny X-Force wont be out until early next year. So, I followed those that seemed the most logical to me were All New X-Men and Thor, God of Thunder. Of course, I was wildly unimpressed with the X-Men book, though I should have seen that coming after putting up with Avengers V. X-Men all summer. However, a delightful surprise, if I’m honest, was the Thor title I had added purely on the recommendation of the well trusted Comic Book Resources.
And it’s actually a great title. The art is beautiful, of course, as you’d expect from any Marvel flagship title. It’s subtle, earthy, and layered. I love it. Esad Ribic does a great job matching the tone of the story, which is best described as ominous.It’s interesting to read mainstream titles that have bad art, or at least an art that does not match their level of funding.But Ribic seems to be an exception to that rule, because he draws like someone who actually cares about their characters outside of a paycheck. Maybe that’s the case, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it were .
What’s more, I’d argue, is that it would see that Jason Aaron’s writing is equally as passionate. The story opens on a pre-American Earth, with Thor wilding an axe in place of his famous hammer. The story the jumps to a modern-era Thor, hammer in hand, answering the prayer of some girl on some planet deep in the cosmos. Then, fatefully, the story ends with an old Thor, several millennia from now, alone in Valhalla.
The pacing is what’s most impressive in Thor, God of Thunder. A lot of time is covered, a lot happens, but at the same time it never feels like too much. In fact, Aaron does what few mainstream writers seem to do. He sets up a long form story in an opening issue while keeping that issue engaging and relevant. It sets up the foreseeable future of the series, in which Thor’s existence is defined by encounters with “The God Butcher.”
Brutal, right? A serial killer who kills gods and is, somehow, ageless. I’ve found that a major fault in most comics is that, in their first issue, they attempt to do too much. Even worse, many comics maintain that fault from issue to issue. The average serialization is made up of only 22 pages, and that’s really not much. While it’s tempting to allow more events to occur in so few pages, especially considering that most comics are published bi-weekly at most, I believe it’s much better for the story to allow the plot to progress naturally and not be rushed.
Aaron does that, artfully. If you’re looking for proof, look no further than my review of issue #2. This is a title I’ll keep in my folder, where All New X-Men will likely be taken out in place of something more exciting. You see, there’s a subtlety to writing that should be observed in all fiction. It’s non intuitive as a writer, I’ll admit, but it’s important. It’s a craft, something you have to learn, which is likely why it’s equal parts rare and entertaining. Thor , God of Thunder is an accomplished title. I did not expect to like it, but I actually think I might love it.