Though “Thor” #1 was a fine preview, “Thor” #2 is clearly the main event. Now untethered from her predecessor’s story, the Goddess of Thunder is off on a classic Asgardian adventure. With giant-slaying, flights to the moon and showdowns with evil corporation Roxxon, this issue is a whole lot of tremendous, thunderous fun. Jason Aaron’s nonstop script and Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson’s rousing, creative action scenes show that the new Thor is just as entertaining as the old.
Dauterman draws his heroine with ferocious momentum, always either smashing and whirling or gearing up to. Careening through space, crashing into ice or calling down the lightning, she hits all the classic Thor poses. It’s clear that Dauterman enjoys the visual language of the Thor canon, and the poses feel organic and exuberant. He and Wilson also have fun with the physics and physicality of Mjolnir, and everything from the page layouts to the coloring shows a thoughtful, playful portrayal of that very unique fighting style. This isn’t as roaringly epic as Aaron’s previous “Thor” run, but the team produces magical, muscular fight scenes.
The team’s creative integration of onomatopoeia is particularly inspired. When Thor tears through a gang of Frost Giants using Mjolnir, her looping course is mapped out with stretched, spiky words — “krunch,” “kraaak” and “kkrroom” — instead of simple lines. When she lands in the frozen Pacific, the cracks in the ice spell out “thooom.” Not only does this lettering-as-landscape effect emphasize the physicality and force of Thor, but it makes clever use of the medium. Since everything in comics is written out, sound effects are technically concrete objects just like the rest of the panel – so why not make that explicit?
From the fire in the sky to the Frost Giants, Wilson uses a super-cool palette of cyan, turquoise and peacock blue that feels immediately Asgardian. Sticking to that one corner of the color wheel could have felt monotonous, but he breaks it up with pops of color and surprising panels. For instance, when Thor calls down the lightning and thunder, the stark whiteness of the page is such a contrast to the rest of the comic that it makes the moment all the more powerful.
Jason Aaron’s script is speedy and to-the-point, like its heroine. He handles the many plot elements neatly, and while he doesn’t take much time for emotional or thematic beats, the action is so efficient and enjoyable that I didn’t mind. This is an issue about the new Goddess of Thunder exercising and understanding her powers, and that’s development enough at this stage.
Providing another hint to the Goddess of Thunder’s identity, Aaron gives her a rather Midgardian internal monologue. Aloud, she says “How art thou supposed to steer?” but she thinks, “You throw it as hard as you can.” Generally, this stream of thoughts is an amiable, excited companion to her dialogue, but sometimes it only serves to downplay her power. When she cries, “I am the Goddess of Thunder!” and it’s followed by the self-doubting “I am? Holy crap”, that thought bubble only serves to deflate the moment. It’s neither humorous nor relatable, and I couldn’t figure out why it was there — especially in a book like this. When writing the female version of a male character, a project that’s inevitably dogged by accusations of imitation, it’s best not to give the character herself “imposter syndrome.” If she is the Thor of the Marvel Universe, let her be. (If there’s one thing Thor is, it’s confident.)
I loved Jason Aaron’s run on “Thor: God of Thunder,” so I’m just beaming that “Thor” looks like another lively take on this corner of the Marvel Universe. Bring on the next issue!