Friday, February 22, 2013

Thor: God of Thunder #5

(w) Jason Aaron     (a) Esad Ribic

Thor's history is thick with Norse mythology, Asgardian legends, and a whole lot of general complexity that comes with tales about gods. Unless you're inclined to that type of storytelling and ready to do some backpedaling to understand what's happening, it can be frustratingly difficult to pick apart the obscurities that hold Thor's narrative world together. And each time Thor dies, only to get a new ongoing series, it complicates things even further.

I was skeptical of Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic's Thor: God of Thunder back when it was originally announced. I was not a fan of Aaron's run on The Incredible Hulk, and I was lukewarm, at best, to Wolverine and The X-Men (I've since come around on this front). Similarly, I never in the past was particularly fond of Thor, nor did I seek out his comics. Imagine my surprise when I was completely and totally addicted to Thor: GoT after reading the first issue. This months Thor: God of Thunder #5 wraps up "The God Butcher", Aaron and Ribic's seminal opening salvo that introduces readers to Gorr the God Butcher, the most deadly and vicious foe Thor has ever faced.

Aaron's structure for "The God Butcher" has focused on Thor in three different points in his life, each of which feature a run-in with Gorr and his unfeeling Black Berserkers. The best part about this arc has been how little it relies on previous mythology to propel the story. As I mentioned before, nearly all of Thor's adventures in the past have focused on his ties to Asgard and everything that comes with being part of the royal family. Here, Aaron begins building his own set of rules by which to play, and the result is one of the most engaging and introspective tales about the God of Thunder in quite some time that's also completely new reader-friendly.

Gorr's quest to rid the universe of gods reaches it's next phase this month as the God Butcher secures the final elements necessary to design something capable of enabling him to "explore new horizons of deicide." This isn't the end of the story -- rather, it's more like the end of the first act. Gorr has left a murderous trail of blood across the stars and even that's not enough for him, a being whose singular desire is to see "a godless age". Only total elimination will suffice.

Thor: God of Thunder #5 is an excellent conclusion to a great opening chapter for a character lost in his own world for far too long. Jason Aaron is bringing a storytelling style and creative direction that gives new life to Thor, making him a more relatable character while simultaneously taking him beyond anything he's encountered before. There are a lot of good series that resulted from the 'Marvel NOW!' creative team switch-ups. Jason Aaron and Thor is turning out to be one of the best.


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