The Best Thor Comics for New Readers

Thor God Butcher

As one of the co-founding members of the Avengers and fan-favorite character within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor is one of Marvel's most iconic superheroes in any medium. The Asgardian Avenger will receive a new ongoing comic book series from Donny Cates and Nic Klein this January providing the Norse God of Thunder a fresh start in the Marvel Universe.

But before that incoming creative team's relaunch, here are all the best new reader-friendly comic stories to star Thor across his prolific history.

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The God Butcher

Writer Jason Aaron's universally acclaimed run on Thor began in 2013 with artist Esad Ribic, as the Norse hero took on a villain that opposed the very notion of deities existing in the Marvel Universe. "The God Butcher" introduced three different versions of the Odinson: as a brash, young man still unworthy of wielding Mjolnir during the Viking Age, the present Thor and a far-future Thor that sat alone as the King of Asgard.

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As Aaron and Ribic introduced their three distinctly different incarnations of the God of Thunder, the trio was reunited across time and space by their respective encounters with Gorr, the self-proclaimed God Butcher who sought to track down and kill every god in the Marvel Universe, with the Thors squarely in his sights in a story that blended the Norse inspirations and sci-fi possibilities of the character.

The Surtur Saga

Thor Surtur Saga Walt Simonson

One of the most acclaimed comic book creators to ever work on Thor was Walt Simonson, who had a particularly prolific run with the character as both writer and artist throughout the '80s. One of the most celebrated stories across Simonson's entire run was "The Surtur Saga," which began in 1984's Thor #340.

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Throughout much of Simonson's run, the fiery villain Surtur had quietly been growing in power while the Asgardians were focused dealing with other threats across the realms. When Surtur finally staged his bid to destroy Thor and his fellow gods in an explosive confrontation, it led to a memorable team-up between Odin and his sons as they faced off against Surtur for the fate of the Marvel Universe, with one of the three Asgardian gods paying the ultimate price.

The Ballad of Beta Ray Bill

Beta Ray Bill Walt Simonson

Simonson's run on Thor and build-up to The Surtur Saga began with the introduction the fan-favorite character Beta Ray Bill in 1983's Thor #337. The horse-looking extraterrestrial character shocked the God of Thunder and readers alike when he not only bested the Asgardian Avenger but quickly proved himself worthy to wield Mjolnir

While initially introduced as an opponent of Thor, overpowering him in combat and nearly killing him, Beta Ray Bill was quickly transformed into a much more sympathetic, tragic character when Simonson revealed that he was the last of his race and had attacked the Odinson believing him responsible for the loss of his people. Following this, Odin would bestow Bill his own hammer Stormbreaker, with the character later becoming a recurring character across Simonson's run and developing his own fervent fanbase.

The Arrival of Mangog

As the co-creators of Thor, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby set the foundation for the character and his ability to mix the genres of sci-fi and high fantasy with bombastic superhero action. One of the major highlights of the original creative team's landmark run was the introduction of the unstoppable villain the Mangog, beginning in 1968's Thor #154.

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As the product of the combined hatred of "a billion billion beings," Mangog was the sole remnant of some aliens who were thwarted by Odin in their attempted invasion of Asgard. Freed by the villainous troll Ulik, Mangog sought to obtain the Odinsword to destroy the universe, which lead to an epic confrontation with Thor for the fate of all of reality in an one of Marvel's first multi-issue story arcs.

Goddess of Thunder

One of the boldest moves across Aaron's entire run on Thor was making the Odinson unworthy of Mjolnir and replacing him with a new female superhero that took up the mythical hammer and mantle of Thor in his place. The mystery behind the identity of the new Asgardian Avenger would inform Aaron and Russell Dauterman's relaunch of the title with 2014's "Goddess of Thunder."

While the Odinson attempted to regain his worth following the events of the crossover storyline Original Sin, the new female Thor stepped up in his absence as villains surfaced to take advantage of Asgard's longtime champion leaving the spotlight. In doing so, the new hero not only proved her worth, but step out to redefine what it meant to wield the thunderous hammer against evil in a story that could give readers a taste of what might be coming up in  Thor: Love & Thunder.

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