I’m going to give a little experiment a try (for as long as I can). I’m going to try to review a new comic every day this month and then perhaps continue to review some of the comics on a continuing basis (therefore I’ll be mostly spotlighting new series or ongoing series with new directions, as if I am to continue with a review I’d prefer not to pick books already significantly in progress).
I begin with this week’s release of Thor #1 by Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson, debuting the all-new female Thor.
One of the absolute joys I get in reading so many comic book titles is when I get to see a comic book creator develop. I recall seeing Russell Dauterman’s work on Grace Randolph’s Supurbia and finding it to be strong work. However, as time has gone by his work has gotten better and better. By the time he began drawing Cyclops for Marvel, it seemed clear to me that this was a guy who was destined for a bigger spotlight and now, with the release of the brand-new Thor, he has gotten that spotlight and Jason Aaron seems content to spend much of the first issue of the title showing off the impressive work that Dauterman can do working with colorist Matthew Wilson.
There is an almost Chris Burnham-esque approach to the characters and design work in this issue, with Dauterman succeeding as well in the grand page designs (like an army of Frost Giants attacking an underwater research base) as he does with the small personal reactions of the various workers of the station as well as Thor and his friends and family, who are all naturally worried that Thor is apparently no longer “worthy” of wielding his famed hammer, Mjolnir, after the events of Original Sin (no one is more worried than Thor himself, of course).
For a storyline that is very steeped in continuity, I think Aaron does a fine job of keeping the continuity aspects of the story as unobtrusive as he possibly can (with the exception of the Original Sin reference – there’s really no way of getting around directly referencing Original Sin, as it is the basis for the main twist in this series – in fact, I would have preferred that the comic go even a little further and include an editor’s note specifically saying “See Original Sin #7” as the presence of that issue is so important to this one).
Aaron’s last volume of Thor included as two of its main villains the Dark Elf Malekith as well as the more “normal” villains, the ROXXON corporation. Both are present in this first issue. A key element of the story, though, is based on ideas that go back to Matt Fraction’s run on Thor where Fraction “killed off” Odin and had Odin’s wife, Freyja, become the All-Mother and have Asgard as a whole be renamed Asgardia. Those turn of events are referenced in this issue well, with the exposition passing by seamlessly.
So many Thor stories are driven by Odin essentially being a dick and his attitude is the driving force of the big twist in this issue, as well, where Odin’s dismissiveness of his wife leads to her making a slight alteration in the enchantment that surrounds Mjolnir…
That’s a really nice touch.
I would have preferred to have seen more of the new Thor in the issue itself, but I think in the long run the character is probably better off steeping it in Thor’s story as much as it can, as one of the key selling points of this series is that it is not the case of the new Thor REPLACING the old Thor, in which case you just shrug and say, “Oh, sure, that can’t last too long,” but rather that the new Thor is ADDING to the story of the old Thor, with them both having a key role in the series as it moves forward – her as a new hero in the Marvel Universe and he dealing with the idea of what it means to be “unworthy” of wielding Mjolnir (I have seen Aaron use the term “Odinson” to refer to the old Thor, so I guess I should probably do that, too. It’s a clever name).
This first issue is an enjoyable debut with excellent artwork by Dauterman and Wilson and a compelling premise by Aaron. I’d recommend picking it up.
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