Thor #5

"Thor" #5 opens in Hlidskjalf with Odin scrying into the Omni-Runes, searching for the identity of the all-new Thor as writer Jason Aaron and artist Jorge Molina tinker with the mystery of her identity. The issue bounces between Asgardia and Earth with a pitstop on the moon, but the identity of the woman hefting the hammer is not revealed in the twenty pages of this issue.

Instead, Aaron gives readers a fight between Thor and her predecessor's foes, exhibiting her ability to hold her own in combat while also scratching the itch of the readership to see some old foes returned to these pages. The battle is set in the midst of Times Square, with Thor attempting to stop Absorbing Man and Titania from making away with stolen money. It's a grand throwback scene filled with playful banter and outrageous fisticuffs. Aaron uses the scene to great advantage, helping to introduce the new Thor without laborious recaps or flashbacks, and even tucks in a chuckle or three.

Beyond the battle in Manhattan, Aaron builds up the mystery surrounding Thor's identity with Odin launching an exhaustive search and the Odinson starting his own quest. Odin's methods raise some eyebrows and contribute to the "Holy crap!" moment on the final page, but Odinson's path is every bit as entertaining, though less intense. Odinson uses a list that readers themselves will certainly reference throughout the course of this adventure or, at the very least, use as a guide in crafting their own list of possible identities for Thor.

Jorge Molina's art is not a total departure from the attitude and style that Russell Dauterman brings to this series, but it is just different enough to be remarkable, especially as Molina handles his own coloring and makes more room for Joe Sabino's letters. The letterer adds in effects that are usually drawn into Dauterman's work, giving the pages of "Thor" #5 a sleek, polished appearance that is enhanced by Molina's colors. Molina uses cinematic lighting throughout the book, frequently pouring the atmosphere over the drawing and threatening to drown out his own artwork but stopping short of that. Molina delivers enough promise in this comic to make a real strong case to be the regular fill-in for Dauterman, and I wouldn't mind seeing the artist take on an arc of Aaron's tale.

"Thor" #5 is simply another grand adventure for the all-new Thor. Jason Aaron and Jorge Molina give readers plenty of action, bits of intrigue and fine character moments, despite never truly revealing Thor's identity. Aaron eliminates all concerns that may have been lingering after this volume's first arc and teases out more action, mystery and excitement to come while continuing to offer new readers a warm hall in which to come and hoist some mead while he regales them with a tale of Mjolnir.

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