It's been years since I read a "Thor" comic. Reading Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman's "Thor" #3 (and to be fair, "Thor" #1-2 immediately beforehand), though, makes me eager to pick up Aaron's "Thor: God of Thunder" series. Because while my fellow reviewers had been telling me for the past two years what a great comic it was, apparently seeing is believing. And now, I definitely see this to be true.
A lot of the attention on "Thor" right now is because of the new Thor, a mystery woman who successfully picked up Mjolnir and gained the godly powers that accompany it. This isn't the first time that's happened, of course, with Walter Simonson's "The Ballad of Beta Ray Bill" storyline being an all-time classic. So with that in mind, what do we really have here? It's a classic "new superhero learning the ropes" story.
The new Thor is a fun character to read about; she spends most of the issue separated from the hammer that's gives her the abilities of Thor, and has to use bravado and wits along with her slowly fading powers. What's nice is that this is a character who talks herself up internally, even as she puts on a brave face for the frost giants to appear. Thor's convincing herself that she has the strength to stop the frost giants makes her almost instantly charming and likable, and it's nice to see a character succeed through sheer force of will as much as any other single ability.
At the same time, the mythic elements of "Thor" #3 grab one's attention too. The invasion of our world by the forces of frost giants is an attention-grabbing concept, and every time we get another glimpse of the rest of the Norse pantheon and worldsphere, it makes me want to dwell on them even more. This is as much about those legendary concepts as it is being a superhero, and Aaron juggles them effortlessly.
Dauterman is a fairly new creator for me, but I'll be keeping an eye on him in the future, now. His pencils are smooth and slick, a beautiful combination of creators like Ivan Reis and Alan Davis. His mythic creatures are powerful looking and just a tiny bit unreal -- I love the frozen crown of hair on the giant who eats Thor -- and when it comes to sheer power it's hard to beat the look of Dauterman's Minotaur, or of course Thor. I also like Dauterman's page layouts; the way the panels jump at large impacts, or buckle during a moment of great strength sells the emotion and action that Dauterman's trying to convey.
With a final page cliffhanger that fans have been waiting for, "Thor" #3 delivers the goods. This isn't just a great "Thor" comic, it's a great superhero adventure. I'm officially hooked. I suspect if you pick up "Thor" #3, you will be, too.