Thanks to the iron-clad monopoly on and the silly solicitations policies of the modern comics industry, we’ve all known about the new Thor for months. But how does her first adventure play out? Your Major Spoilers review of Thor #1 awaits!
Previously in Thor: The God of Thunder was in rough shape after the events of the ‘Original Sin’ crossover, as the death of The Watcher brought many a secret to light, including one that makes him unworthy to wield Mjolnir, the hammer that empowers him as Thor. Whatever this means for Thor himself, it must be said: The universe abhors a vacuum.
NO CUTESY NICKNAMES
The comics-reading public is already in the offing to see whose cute nickname will stick to the new Thor longest, but as a matter of policy, please be aware I won’t be using any such in this issue (for more than one reason, which I’ll get to in a minute.) Our story picks up some weeks after the events of the big crossover schmageggi, and Thor is right where we left him at the end of issue #25: On the moon, desperately trying to raise his uru hammer once more. It has, however, been several weeks, so the God of Thunder is a haggard shell, reduced to whispering quiet pleas for Mjolnir to rise. It’s an oddly touching sequence, and a little bit awkward to look at, something that you have to give our creative team props for. Thor’s darkest moment is interrupted by the appearance of both his parents, with the recently resurrected Odin accusing Freyja of “coddling” their 5000-year-old boy. By far the most interesting part of #1 for me comes in the interplay between All-Father and All-Mother, with Odin returning to his old (read: headstrong and gruff) ways, while Freyja tries to argue a more interactive approach. When the news comes that the Frost Giants are loose on Earth, their conflict comes to a head, with Odin thundering that it’s time that Freyja remembers “her place,” leading her to remark that perhaps it is.
IT GETS BRUTAL
Back on Midgard, there’s evil afoot, thanks to Malekith and the Frost Giants, and Russell Dauterman gives us a really entertaining chunk of battle (imagine giant blue men versus cyborg sharks in the shadow of Sealab), as well as a Malekith who is truly frightening. I’ve remarked before that many artists have trouble with the complex Walt-Simonson-designed black and white armor that Malekith is known for, but Dauterman does a great job with it. In fact, that only visual complaint that I have about the issue is some ambiguity surrounding the end of the Thor/Malekith battle and the possible maiming of our hero by the villain, with Thor’s own axe. I suspect that the complex staging is to keep the violence under control, but it ends up making for a confusing sequence that doesn’t read clearly. Of course, I forgive Dauterman for that as we get to the final pages, as someone returns to the site of Mjolnir’s beaching on the moon, and raises the hammer herself, transforming into Thor! I really like the brief appearance of the modified Thor costume, and the final page shot is a perfect example of how to end your first issue…
THE BOTTOM LINE: AN AUSPICIOUS BEGINNING
When companies create stunts like a new costume or a new hero in an existing costume, it’s to get new eyes on a book, to entice new readers to pick up the adventures of an old favorite. But to dismiss this issue because of that stunting is, in my eyes, a mistake. After all, many a beloved character or story has come out of such a gimmick: Beta Ray Bill, War Machine, Tim Drake, the W/KRP Legion reboot of 2005, even Batman And The Outsiders launched out of blatant sales ploys. There is at least an attempt to keep the identity of the new Thor a mystery, and I’m interested enough to come back next time and see how this new phase shapes up. Thor #1 is a pretty good issue overall, with a slightly shocking moment for original Thor and an interesting backdrop of political intrigue in Asgardia, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.