Branded a “God-Sized Final Issue!”, Jason Aaron’s “Thor: God of Thunder” #25 hammers home thirty pages of story, split into two chapters with a framing sequence that hails from the future of King Thor as his granddaughters, the Girls of Thunder, rifle through the great library of Asgard. In what should become a regularly scheduled feature Atli, Frigg and Ellisiv share a pair of stories and are about to indulge in a book titled “Unworthy” when the issue ends and King Thor chases them from the library.
As for the tales they did get through, each is illustrated by a different artist and Jason Aaron adds to the legend of Thor by telling tales of Malekith’s rise to power and young Thor’s battles on Midgard (or, as it is more popularly known, Earth). All of the scenes in the library throughout “Thor: God of Thunder” #25 are wonderfully illustrated by regular series artist Esad Ribic, who continues to deliver gorgeous work for the adventures of Thor. Ive Svorcina brings the standard-issue, real-world color palette, giving the framing sequence a familiar, comfortable feel.
The first book the sisters open is “Tales of Dark Elves.” As expected, this story takes the sisters and the readers to Svartalfheim with haunting images drawn by R. M. Guera and colored by Giulia Brusco. A dark, pain-filled realm locked in an endless war with the trolls is the setting for the origins of Malekith. Brusco tints this tale with ghastly greens and sickly blues, making the realm of the Dark Elves truly seem cold and creepy. Aaron unleashes the wretched worst the elves have to offer in this tale, giving Malekith more than enough motivation to slip into the pit of evil he is so mired in. Guera and Brusco make this story horrific and chilling, and Malekith all the more depraved.
Seeking something more upbeat, the Girls of Thunder crack open “The Many Adventures of Young Thor.” As the title would suggest, the Thor roaming these pages is more youthful and vibrant, and loves nothing better than a good fight. Simon Bisley handles the visuals for this chapter and cloaks the Ice Giants in the hides of mammoths while the skulls of the Giants’ foes adorn their attire. Thor in this chapter is the Thor of Frazetta’s imagination, but with Bisley’s gritty zest and bold colors to enliven a cold, somber battle. Bright and lively on the surface, but dark and grim in the soul, “The Many Adventures of Young Thor” is like a Golden Books version of Grimm’s original fairy tales starring Thor Odinson. Seeding stories to come with adventures in the past, Aaron even formulates a warning of winter past and winter to come, both for Thor and for readers.
Aaron’s choice to include the Thors across the ages continues his celebration of all things Norse and Mjolnir-y, as he has done since the first page of this series. “Thor: God of Thunder” #25 is not a slender or quick read. Rather, it is substantial and engrossing, filled with brutal confrontations, dark events and the shaping of a legend. The final book Thor’s granddaughters peruse is titled “Unworthy,” and offers a glimpse of things to come while teasing that which is history to King Thor and his descendants. In that chapter, Ribic gives readers panels filled with slick storytelling and incomparable detail, such as the subtle differences, yet obvious similarities, between King Thor’s hand and current Thor’s hands as the current version struggles to reclaim Mjolnir.
“Thor: God of Thunder” #25 is, quite simply, a damn good read. The series has contained some of the best, most enjoyable and imaginative Thor stories and this issue is no exception. As he has done the whole way through, Aaron provides yet another innovation and offers readers a grand format for special issues such as this. Perhaps, as Aaron has done with Young Thor, Thor and King Thor, this will serve as a template for celebratory issues yet to come and provide a portal to realms yet to be investigated.