“Thor God of Thunder” #4 from Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic is another magnificent piece in the entire puzzle, continuing both the hunt for and the onslaught of the God Butcher, depending on the time frame shown. The three eras of Thor are weaving together effectively to paint one large narrative over eons. This is the epic style of Thor readers haven’t seen properly since Matt Fraction’s one-shots years ago. This is a god at war on the scale of the heavens.
Jason Aaron drops a lot of exposition in this issue. He fills pages with information and well-told backstory, getting away with the massive amount of text. To break the textual density, Aaron introduces Shadrak, a god left alive by the God Butcher. It seems the sole purpose of Shadrak is comic relief. His asides are short, and never headlining, but it does feel off for any levity to creep onto these pages. It works a few times, and falls flat in others, but in a way that it’s easy to ignore. Shadrak isn’t intrusive, but he also doesn’t add a lot.
In another major change, Aaron ups his game in the build to the conclusion. It would be easy for readers to become somewhat complacent if the title spun its wheels in the same manner. Even the best books become slightly ignored when the next shiny thing comes along. To combat attrition, Aaron sets up a fantastical concept at the end of the issue. He throws another grand idea into the works to make this tale angle into new territory — but the real level up comes in the final twist. The last page is a major moment that drops with weight. Everything is tying together in ways readers won’t see coming. It’s going to be superbly engaging.
Esad Ribic continues to slaughter the pages in this book. He manages to world build, design characters and deliver thoughtful facial responses — three major elements Ribic delivers with style. The close ups on Thor’s face show a god dealing with issues he never thought available on his pay grade. The way Ribic draws the God Butcher and his manner of torture is classical and inventive. The epic scope of space and worlds is readily realised. This book looks amazing, is structurally beautiful and technically sublime.
“Thor God of Thunder” #4 is a fantastic penultimate issue for a story. It gives the last dose of information in anticipation of the conclusion and drops a major twist into the narrative. The final moments pique the interest for what is now sure to be a major league finale. It’s a mighty issue enjoyable on its own that leaves readers with the best feeling a monthly comic could deliver: anticipation.