If someone were to come to Earth, having never been blessed with the ability to read comics, but asked “Who is Thor?” you would be pretty well served to hand them a copy of “Thor: God of Thunder” #12, written by Jason Aaron with art by Nic Klein. There’s not a lot of mythological happenings or any of Thor’s Asgardian supporting cast in this comic book, but there is a lot of Thor.
Jason Aaron brings all three Thors — past, present and future — into this issue in direct continuation of the “God Butcher” storyline. Without knowing a thing about the butcher, Gorr, readers can pick up this issue and learn a bit about Thor in the time of Vikings, Thor of present day and Thor ascendant to the throne of All-Father. Aaron focuses on the here and now (this is, after all, a Marvel NOW! book) and elucidates on what the god of thunder does when he returns to Midgard after a long trip. Thor visits death row, stops in to chat with the Mother Superior and Dalai Lama, hoists a mug with wounded warriors, answers a YouTube date request, and even checks in with Jane Foster. Seamlessly, the writer manages to even subtlety tie this in with the Thor movies, especially as the close of this issue tips towards the foe to come.
Nic Klein’s artwork is heavy with the weight of the world. Characters don’t float in his panels; they are impacted by gravity and lit by light that creates bright spots and casts shadows. Klein’s style uses the shadows for dynamic effect, but Klein additionally focuses on deeper, rougher levels of detail, drawing out crevices and cracks, wrinkles and fur. Jane Foster’s health battle shows on her face. The death row inmate’s realization of his fate and Thor’s genuine concern breaks into tears. Even Roz Solomon’s surprise at Thor’s appearance in Antarctica would carry meaning without words. Klein’s color work is more wash-based than regular artist and this issue’s cover art Esad Ribic’s, but neither is wrong in how they depict Thor. As a matter of fact, both are perfectly matched to the adventures of Thor Odinson.
“Thor: God of Thunder” #12 has minimal action from Mjolnir, but it makes up for the lack of action with the promise of excitement and an incredible range of emotion. The scene of Thor and Jane Foster runs the full gamut. In five pages. Thor realizes some problems can’t be hit with a hammer or struck by lightning and in that same realization, the Thunder God experiences humanity and shares it with one of his oldest mortal friends. Some creators are well matched to the characters they work. Others are flat-out perfect. Jason Aaron is the best writer Thor could have right now and Thor is the best character for Aaron’s range. Collectively, “Thor: God of Thunder” is vying for the top spot in my Marvel reads, with its primary competition being “Daredevil.” Hmmmm. Do you suppose Mark Waid and Jason Aaron read these reviews and might put one and one together?