|Thor: God of Thunder #1-3 all have connecting covers!|
Moving into the second chapter of "The God Butcher", Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic have toned down the grandeur of the first issue of Thor: God of Thunder in order to better convey a young Thor amongst his Viking subjects. Similarly, while the first issue explored all three eras of Thor's life, Thor: God of Thunder #2 focuses on the Asgardian Avenger years before he was able to lift the hammer, Mjolnir. Spreading out a story to the lengths that Aaron has is a daunting task and one that requires great precision and detail. If Aaron, for even one aspect of the story, slips up and contradicts himself, the entire epic would become a little less...well...epic!
This issue pits Thor against the titular God Butcher for the first time. During a raid into the Slavic northern lands -- a place that will come to be called Russia -- Thor encounters more dead gods when the defending Slavic tribesmen call upon their own deities for aid, only to be answered by a riderless horse and a decapitated god. These are haunting images, first of a bloodied winged horse without a rider, then the headless corpse of a god upon his own Pegasus. This is when the God Butcher attacks Thor, and these two forces of nature begin their apparently life-long struggle against one another.
Jason Aaron is deconstructing the concept of a pantheon of gods. A big part of that is the fact that gods can die in the Marvel universe, though this has been true for quite some time. The other major element of Aaron's tale is the diversity of gods across the cosmos and how they're all seen equally by each other and, most importantly, the God Butcher. Maybe it's social commentary on the relative nature of religious symbolism and how none is better or worse than the others. Perhaps it's a ploy to make gods more of a central idea in the Marvel universe. Or maybe it's just plain cool to see gods being assassinated like mere mortals. Whatever the reason, Aaron's somber take on the role of gods in the lives of mortal beings is phenomenal.