THOR #1 by Jason Aaron, Mike Del Mundo, and Christian Ward
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
THOR #1 sees the brilliant return of the God of Thunder. While Thor himself suffers from a lack of characterization, the guest characters shine incredibly bright while the plot constantly manages to excite.
91 %
A Bright Start
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Thor Odinson has faced many trials during his time as Midgard’s mightiest hero. However, none has broken him more than the loss of his hammer. Mjolnir encapsulated Thor’s very being. It proved that he stood worthy amidst the other heroes. The loss of his weapon sent him on a dark road. Meanwhile, a bright light in the form of Jane Foster picked up the hammer in his place. However, after a gruesome battle with the Mangog, Jane Foster was forced to give up her title of Goddess of Thunder. The world will always need a Thor, though. Even with Mjolnir destroyed, the Odinson has reclaimed his title. And in THOR #1, he has his work cut out for him.

Hypnotic YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE Disturbs

With Asgardia destroyed, its weapons have fallen to Earth. Among them are some of the most powerful magical items in the universe. Thor must gather these items before they fall into the wrong hands. The problem? The wrong hands have already found them, including Juggernaut and the Cult of Cytorrak. Meanwhile, in the far distant future, All-Father Thor and his granddaughters face an impossible foe. With the death of Earth’s first new humans in centuries, Thor witnesses the passing of an age. However, their deaths only signal the true horrors to come. The universe is dying, and the force behind that death will test the Gods of Thunder like never before.

A Rebirth, Not a Reboot

THOR #1
THOR #1, Page 1. Image courtesy of Marvel Comics

Let me assuage any fears you may have about THOR #1. No, this is not a reboot of the THOR mythos. Jane Foster still wielded the hammer, and her impact is felt on almost every page. In fact, she makes a key appearance as Thor’s seeming mentor in this issue. Writer Jason Aaron is simply latching on to threads started in her story. The War of the Realms takes center stage, and much of Thor’s inner conflict stems from this crisis in a brilliant manner. Asgard is gone, and he cannot simply teleport across the universe to save the day. The tension is high from the very beginning of this story, as we see dozens of magical creatures forced into exile. This is not Jason Aaron’s best THOR story thus far. However, it does carry that pristine sheen that can only come from his narrative style.

One of the high points of this book is its world building. The action never falls apart throughout the book. The opening sequence especially showcases the power and might of the God of Thunder in a powerful way. However, the beauty of THOR #1 comes from the attention to detail. Aaron sends Thor on a journey through all of the places affected by Asgardia’s fall. This means that we get to see the immediate impact of Jane’s battle. Thor is no longer just the God of Thunder. He is the protector of dozens of displaced magical creatures. More than that, his entire family structure has fallen apart. The war parties of Asgard, the once tightly bound heroes, can no longer stand the sight of each other. That type of tense storytelling drives this narrative forward in a really powerful way.

THOR: GOD OF THUNDER: When Gods Walk Among Us

Don’t Forget Thor

THOR #1
THOR #1, Page 2. Image courtesy of Marvel Comics

I think my only true complaint about THOR #1 comes from the characterization of the lead. The guest characters in this issue simply drip personality. Their presence brightens up every page. Even Juggernaut, whose sole motivation is world domination, feels fairly well-rounded. He makes sense in the context of this book, and his ego trip fits the character. I especially loved Thor’s blacksmith, Screwbeard, as well as Odin and Freyja. They have some of the best dialogue moments in the entire story, and Freyja’s anger at her husband always feels justified.

With all that said, though, Thor feels a little underutilized. Yes, his motivations are clear. Yes, we understand where he stands on most issues. However, I never felt like I truly got a taste of his personality. The opening section alone delves into the depths of Thor’s head. Otherwise, we see him from the outside, where he seems gruff and grumpy most of the time. His dialogue and his moments alongside other characters feel rather satisfying. However, he just doesn’t quite fit in this group of huge personalities. He almost feels like he’s in the wrong book. This is a fun, over-the-top adventure narrative, while Thor feels more like a warrior from a far more serious superhero tale.

Depicting a World Gone Mad

THOR #1
THOR #1, Page 3. Image courtesy of Marvel Comics

Mike Del Mundo handles the art for the main story in THOR #1. To be honest, I had to get used to his style. It is so expressive and heavily saturated. He puts so much sensory information on the page that I sometimes got a bit overwhelmed. However, looking past this, I absolutely fell in love with his art style. It feels so expressionistic and surreal at the same time. This is possible because of the hues delivered by Marco D’alfonso, who assisted with coloring duty for Mundo’s section.

The character anatomy also looks incredibly dynamic, but it is based in realistic anatomy. Meanwhile, this world is full of color that steps out of the real and into the fantastic. THOR #1 looks like a world of pure make-believe, and that really helps to set the tone for the first story.

Marvel Introduces This Year’s Young Guns

On the other end, Christian Ward’s work on the second story, set in the future, feels more noir and serious. His painterly style is chock full of detail, giving way to characters that could leap off the page. The most striking element of Ward’s work comes in the contrast. It looks so different than Del Mundo’s style. The atmosphere immediately changes to fit Ward’s style. It becomes moodier, more somber. It should, after all. The story chronicles a funeral. As Del Mundo’s style captured Aaron’s lighter tone in the first half, Ward manages to change it completely with the flip of a coin. That is a sign of a fantastic artist.

THOR #1: Final Thoughts

THOR #1 is an admirable new addition to the THOR mythos. It isn’t a perfect story. Our hero doesn’t quite get the characterization he deserves, upstaged by his co-stars. However, that barely detracts from an overall satisfying experience. This is an action-packed issue, as well as an example of brilliant world-building. Just as importantly, Mike Del Mundo and Christian Ward create a visual environment that is a pleasure to keep returning to. I cannot wait to see where this story goes next, especially when Thor and Loki are finally back together.

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