Recently, I’ve had a bad habit of buying #1s of all of the series I’m interested in, and then either letting the single issues stack up or buying the trade when that drops. In Binge-Reading, I’ll catch up on everything I’ve been missing since falling off the monthly train. Last time, I caught up on G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona’s landmark series Ms. Marvel . That series introduced a new and captivating lead character, Kamala Khan, to the familiar mantle left behind when Carol Danvers became Captain Marvel. Kamala’s story is told with wit, humor, and a sense of honor that makes me believe in both the characters and creative team. I’m so on onboard.
Writer Jason Aaron had been enjoying a critically acclaimed run on Thor: God of Thunder before he made international news with plans to relaunch the title as simply Thor, with a woman taking the place, powers, and even the hammer of the mighty thunder god. The most interesting aspect of this announcement at the time, besides Aaron’s intriguing choice to keep the identity of this new Thor a mystery, was that unlike Captain America, Ms. Marvel, and Iron Man – all codenames that have been used by various heroes besides the ones they are most known for – “Thor” is the guy’s name. How could this happen to Odinson, and who is mighty enough to fill in for the fallen god?
This time on Binge-Reading, we’re covering the first volume of this relaunched title… Thor: The Goddess of Thunder.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE WORTHY
First up, I was SO HAPPY to find out that I could jump on without being totally up to date on Thor: God of Thunder. I enjoy that series but, because I suck at keeping up and have a dangerously tall to-read pile, I haven’t finished it yet. I cut ahead to this one, and beyond making perfect sense to a ‘new reader,’ it’s also just a stellar comic. The Thor we all know and love is still part of the series, and ends up taking on the name Odinson once accepting that Mjolnir is no longer his to wield. His family and friends on Asgardia, his villains back on Midgard and the other realms… all still there.
Added into the mix, however, is the character everybody is talking about. The identity of this Thor is a mystery, even at the end of this volume – though, I’m willing to bet that everyone pretty much knows who it is now, as the reveal also made big news, and for good reason – but although we don’t know who she is, her journey to embrace the hammer and the power that it brings is incredible. Inventively told by having Thor speak using the Asgardian font balloons but with her thought balloons in the standard mortal font, Aaron illustrates a Thor that has no idea why she has been chosen, doesn’t know what it means to be either a superhero, an Avenger, a god, or, specifically, Thor. She quickly finds out, though, and doesn’t hesitate to throw herself into a dangerous situation while she’s still in the middle of figuring things out. As she fights her way out, she finds herself not only becoming worthy of the title, but in fact surpassing the way that even Odinson himself used Mjolnir.
A MIGHTY TEAM
The God of Thunder run has a very epic and painterly style, which I think worked perfectly for what that book was. With this new run, Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson take over as the main team, with Jorge Molina illustrating a more standalone story at the end. I don’t want to get into hyperbole here, but this was some of the best art I’ve seen in a mainstream superhero comic. Dauterman’s pencils are intricate and action-packed, with characters that emote, perfectly constructed panels that break the norm of what an action scene should look like, colors that make both our world and Asgardia in turn beautiful and terrifying… and, okay, I will get into hyperbole a bit here. I haven’t seen Dauterman’s stuff before this, but he instantly became one of my favorite artists with this arc… but let’s be real here, Matt Wilson is the best colorist working in the industry. He’s currently on an array of titles, including Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s The Wicked + The Divine, and his work is flat out some of the best I’ve ever seen.
Jorge Molina’s chapter evokes a different feel than the main arc, darker and moodier with a more indie feel. This style works for me just as well as Dauterman’s, making this book visually stunning in two completely different ways. I never thought I’d see someone equal the way I felt about Olivier Coipel on Thor. To me, Coipel just felt like he was born to draw the character, the world… but after just one volume, this art team is right up there.
Due to the various events that lead to new #1s, this title has again relaunched after two volumes (the second one titled Who Holds the Hammer?) as The Mighty Thor, which continues to this day. Now that I’ve caught up on the first volume, I can’t wait to find out what happens next in this masterfully told, beautifully illustrated tale. Also, as Odinson prepares to launch into his own spin-off, The Unworthy Thor, Jason Aaron’s epic, time and space spanning Asgardian saga has no end in sight. I hope we get years and years of stories with these characters, because if there is one thing evident from this volume, it’s that this creative team is worthy to tell the tale of Thor.
PAT SHAND writes comics (Destiny NY, Hellchild, Van Helsing), novels (Iron Man, Avengers, Charmed), and pop culture journalism (Blastoff Comics, Sad Girls Guide). He may be the only one who believes that the Thor movies are Marvel Studios’ best, but his love for the Asgardian Avenger knows no bounds.