by Etienne Paul, CMRO Contributing Writer
Thor: God of Thunder
Written by Jason Aaron, Art by Esad Ribic
Published: August 2013
How many times do you pick up a comic because the cover looks fantastic and flick through the book disappointed because the internal art doesn’t even come close? (Try picking up a copy of Dynamite’s Dejah Thoris for one of the worst offenders, but only if you are over 18!). Well, this is the opposite; I don’t care for the cover art at all, but the art inside the comic is simply beautiful. This comic blurs the line between traditional ‘comic art’ with hard dark lines and cell shading, towards a much more ‘fine art’ style with blended colours and softer lines. It took some getting used to in the first issue, but I’m struggling to look at other comics without comparing them to this style now.
The comic centres around the ongoing struggle between the Butcher God, Gorr, and Thor, and Thor, and Thor (from now on referred to as Viking Thor, Avengers Thor and King Thor). Avengers Thor remembers fighting Gorr in the past, but neither he nor King Thor remember fighting Gorr in the future, which is the present for this comic, which they would do if they were actually later incarnations of the Viking Thor and they would know if they won or not, which they would have to have done because otherwise, they wouldn’t exist. Anyone else confused yet? Clearly these three Thors from different time periods are not remotely bothered about time paradoxes. It’s little wonder I hate time travel stories because I spend more time tying myself into hypothetical knots than enjoying the plot.
So, having forcefully removed the time travel element from my reading of the story (for my own sanity), and treating each of the three Thors as their own character, it becomes much more enjoyable; all the more so because the ‘God Butcher’ is actually becoming an identifiable character. In the first few issues he is just a rampaging sick monster, more akin to Hannibal Lecter than a living creature. He seemed to suffer from the same failings that created the ‘Evil Brotherhood of Mutants’; the fact that no one actually thinks of themselves as evil.
So, how do you make a creature that has spent millennia killing and dissecting gods even remotely understandable? Starting in issue 6, and continuing in this issue, we get the back story of Gorr, with the death(?) of his god worshiping wife, his child starving to death(?) and his being cast out by his tribe for besmirching the gods. Most people would simply lay down and die, but most don’t gain possession of a god killing weapon of pure darkness. I admit, it’s a stretch to empathise with the character, but giving the villain this much back story and thought gives the comic so much more depth than simply watching three hammer toting Norsemen beating up on a Twi’lek. And I’ve been thinking about that time paradox again, Gorr must win because if Gorr doesn’t win he can’t possibly have been there at the fall of Asgard in order to keep tormenting King Thor. But that only works if ‘Many Millennia’ is longer than ‘the Far Future’….. This is not a comic to pick up in the middle of the series!
Ignoring the time travel aspect which is a personal bugbear of mine, the comic does have a few flaws, but none of which detract from the fact that this is a fantastic series so far. Like with many ‘God’ characters there is a clear lack of continuity of abilities with all three Thors and Gorr displaying wildly varying quantities of power depending on what is required to progress the story. While the art is beautiful, I really wish that black meant black, especially in a comic where the bad guy is sheathed in shadow most of the time. I realise it’s a style choice, but against the crisply detailed figures the ‘scratchy’ effect looks like the colourist’s black pen was running out of ink.
Even if the rest of the comic wasn’t as good as it is, and the art wasn’t as beautiful as it is, and even with the temporal issues and the fact that no matter who wins, it can’t happen because of a time paradox, the last page would have me picking up this comic next month on its own.