Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Thor #1 Review (Jason Aaron, Russell Dautermann)

Here it is, the headline grabbing comic announced a few months ago, besides the black Captain America and the Superior Iron Man (is that where Otto went?): female Thor! Well, kind of - Thor is still Thor but there’s now a mysterious woman who can lift the hammer that he no longer can. And you know what? It’s really good! And thank the gods they didn’t go with “Thoretta” or “Thorina” for a name - female Thor is still Thor. 

So what’s the roast beef - how come Thor is no longer Thor? Well, towards the end of the last Marvel event, Original Sin, Thor was one of many heroes battling Nick Fury. Fury whispered something in Thor’s ear (he’d learned a lot of secrets from the Watcher before he died) and, just like that, Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer, dropped like a stone. Thor was unable to lift it again - he was judged no longer worthy. Unfortunately with Thor #1 we’re still not sure exactly what Fury said to Thor - the Watcher may have lost his secrets but Jason Aaron sure has his share of them! 

That’s not the only change in the series. During Odin’s self-imposed exile, his wife, Freyja, has stepped up as ruler of Asgardia (formerly Asgard). But now that he’s back, she’s not willing to give up power, so the two share an uneasy truce. In the same way that Thor - redefined here as a title rather than a name - is now female, the All-Mother has stepped up to be the All-Father’s equal. Civil rights has finally reached Asgardia! 

Besides Thor being depressed that he can no longer lift Mjolnir, this issue sees Malekith the Dark Elf lead an army of Frost Giants to once more try their hand at toppling Midgard (Earth) with Thor proving his worth as a true hero by stepping up to fight them, hammerless and without the lightning. If you read Aaron’s earlier Thor series you’ll know the future version of him has only one arm - in this issue Aaron reveals how Thor lost that arm! 

But the main thing everyone picking this up is going to want to know is: WHO is female Thor?! And that’s where Aaron razzes us by not telling us. In one panel he makes you think, oh, Freyja maybe lifts the hammer? That’s cool. But then we see the final page when female Thor steps up and lifts Mjolnir and it looks like someone totally different - someone much younger. Not that not finding that out should be any kind of reason to not pick up this issue of course. 

Russell Dautermann’s art is really pretty. It’s very different from Esad Ribic’s style from Aaron’s earlier Thor books - the lines are much clearer, it’s a slightly more cartoony look but still very dynamic and appealing. Also, Matthew Wilson’s colours give the comic a very bright look - even at the bottom of the sea when everything should be pitch black, there are vivid blues and greens. The whole issue has attractive, strong colours - red, blue, white, yellow. Very little darkness, and I like that. It suits this kind of bombastic storytelling to a tee. 

Thor #1 is a brilliant comic and an enormously promising new direction to take the series and the character. Up til now, Thor has been defined by his hammer and his powers - without them, he has the chance to really develop as a character which is a fresh and exciting opportunity. And with Jason Aaron, Russell Dautermann and Matthew Wilson joining him, you know Thor - both male and female - have a more than worthy creative team to guide them. Thor #1 lives up to the thunderous attention that preceded it - check it out!

Thor #1

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