Writer Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman drop the hammer on the all-new Thor in “Thor” #1. A new logo, a new identity and a new number one issue give the legend of Asgard’s mighty pantheon a new start under the line-wide brand of “Avengers Now!”
Dauterman’s art is more inline with “classic” comic book art than the painted work of previous series’ artist Esad Ribic. In a sense, this gives “Thor” #1 a retro-chic feel, working in line with the threats Aaron has lined up for Thor and Asgard. Roxxon continues to be the ultimate parody of comic book villainy, taking it one full leap farther as they unleash attack sharks from their underwater base at the bottom of the Norwegian Sea. Aaron continues to pile absurdity on top of those notions, though, as he brings in frost giants (JÃ¶tunn) before the credits page as well. That accumulation of over-the-top ideas delivered in a five-page sequence gives “Thor” #1 a cinematic feel, as Aaron shifts scenes in this comic book away from the Norwegian Sea, to the moon when the population of Asgardia puzzles over Thor’s inability to heft Mjolnir, and back again before closing the issue with a dynamic debut.
Having illustrated a handful of comic books for Marvel prior to this, Dauterman is thrown into the frigid, deep end of the Norwegian Sea and responds nicely, drawing everything Aaron scripts for him and much more, like angler fish, gnarly JÃ¶tunn toenails and battle-borne imperfections upon the surface of Mjolnir. The artist employs classic black panel borders, occasionally shifting those to white, as befits the story and draws the page as a complete piece with panels overlaying the setting or environment. Occasionally, Dauterman drops out the background, allowing white space to carry the chaotic nature of the story as the shapes of the panels themselves shift from standard-issue rectangles to parallelograms charged with incongruent, chaotic energy.
No stranger to the adventures of Thor, Matthew Wilson joins the team as colorist for this issue, bringing his bold, vibrant palette. The two-page spread of JÃ¶tunn marching towards the base is completely the work of Dauterman and Wilson, and it describes all of the chaos, frigidity and trouble about to be unleashed. Wilson’s handling of the Asgardians flips to the opposite end of the spectrum, as the throngs are clothed in radiant hues, accented with brilliant reds, royal purples and gleaming gold. Odin is returned in regal form, and Sif and the Warriors Three are smartly portrayed in the readiness to battle.
With Odin returned from his self-imposed exile, Hugin and Munin — Odin’s ravens — have returned as well. Aaron plays this pair up for comedic effect as they bring message of the JÃ¶tunns’ presence on Earth. The ravens aren’t the only comedic aspect of “Thor” #1, which for all intents and purposes is a dark, grave book filled with violent acts met by brave people. Aaron also supplies the readers with ample fill of the bickering of Odin and Freyja as each questions the other’s intent. The warning comes as Thor is unable to heft Mjolnir and Thor’s foes line up to attack, including a surprise foe that adds even more chaos and darkness to the events of this story.
The all-new Thor does not appear until the final page of “Thor” #1, but in the twenty-one pages prior to that, Aaron provides more than enough story for readers to sink into. There is a lot to like here, from Dauterman’s more animated characters to Joe Sabino’s fresh lettering choices in captions and effects, to Aaron’s choice to drive Thor’s quest to do right in this adventure through mystery. Aaron gives readers some clues about the identity of the new Thor, as well as some misdirection and suspicion for Thor’s sudden lack of worthiness. Aaron makes a point to address the inscription on Mjolnir, but to this point in the story, as Aaron has shown in his chronicles of Asgards’ denizens since “Thor: God of Thunder” #1, gender is not going to drive the story. Doing what is right, just and heroic will, as Thor Odinson is still very much involved in this issue despite not wielding Mjolnir. Where Aaron takes all of this from here is something I am very much looking forward to, especially as the forces of evil seem ready to declare themselves triumphant.