THOR #2 by Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo
Stepping lithely into his comfort zone, Jason Aaron provides a fun and entertaining Thor story in THOR #2 that is unlike any of his previous endeavors. This isn't the serious or moody Thor that we have grown used to in comics. Nonetheless, his personality leads to a high tension story with huge entertainment value.
93 %
Ridiculously Fun
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War has come to the Ten Realms in a big way. The dark elf Malekith has gathered his forces, and through deceit and murder, he has set the realms against each other. With Asgardia gone and the Rainbow Bridge destroyed, all hope seems lost. That is until the universe’s least likely alliance rekindles in THOR #2. Loki has returned to his adoptive brother with promises of reform. True, we have seen this all before, but maybe this time he has truly changed. Jason Aaron picks up the pen once again to redefine THOR lore. As the Odinsons travel into the depths of Helheim, though, they find more than a simple battle of swords and sorcery awaiting them.

Sindr has arrived in Helheim, and under her suggestion, the chieftains of the realm threaten mutiny. With her goblin army as well as the mighty murderers of Hel behind her, she marches on King Balder’s forces. Not all is lost, however. Thor and Loki Odinson arrive just in time to aid their late brother in his battle. And something big rumbles through Helheim, a weapon that threatens to destroy both sides. Can the brothers Odinson reclaim this weapon before Sindr’s army succeeds?

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The Frozen Plains

THOR #2 is a fantastic comic, which should come as no surprise to fans of Jason Aaron. This man has singlehandedly redefined the God of Thunder, bringing him into the modern world. However, I find myself surprised that I enjoyed this story so much. Aaron’s past forays into THOR have been serious, bloody battles. From Gorr the God Butcher to Jane Foster’s battle with Mangog, his world has carried with it a sharp edge. Not so in this new series. Even in the icy depths of Hel, there is a brilliant sense of wonder and ridiculousness that I did not expect. However, it works from the very first page. Aaron leans into this ridiculousness at every turn, making his mark on the character in a new, different, and altogether exciting way.

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

This is not a typical Jason Aaron story, but for that reason, THOR #2 works. He seems to recognize how unique this tale is, and he goes to extreme lengths to build his new world. This gives way to a Helheim where not only the dead find its shores, but also their vehicles and forgotten things. Balder riding up to Thor on a Mad Max style war truck just wouldn’t work in another story. It almost doesn’t here, if not for Aaron’s dedication to delving into that strangeness.

This is an entirely self-referential book, constantly poking fun at its weirdest aspects. When Thor asks his goat Toothgnasher to take the wheel of their flying boat, I found myself laughing out loud. Not because the image itself was all that funny. I laughed because it didn’t seem that strange to me. Aaron lulled me perfectly into the dream of his world, where goats are perfectly capable of piloting boats.

The Brothers Odinson

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

As should be obvious from this discussion on plot, characterization doesn’t take the forefront in this issue. However, Aaron still manages to pay it its due. The brightest highlight stems from the interactions between the Odinson brothers. Their reunion feels entirely believable and honest. Aaron does a really good job sharing emotions between these entirely too-manly men. It feels believable from the very first moment, and I especially enjoyed the constant bashing of Loki. The way they battle and plan together feels entirely natural as well, resulting in a comic that feels somewhat nostalgic.

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Even with the brothers stealing the show, the villains do a really fantastic job making their voices heard. Sindr is a surprisingly threatening and manipulative villain. For a character with very little outside marketing in the MCU films, her character really did draw a lot of attention. The way she attempts to draw the Hel chiefs under her wing is incredibly charismatic, if not terribly creepy. On a similar note, I felt that those same chiefs managed to stand out with their individual personalities. They did feel a bit archetypal and basic in a way. They simply didn’t have time to develop any uniqueness. However, I still felt like Aaron managed to give them their due despite this.

Ridiculous Beauty

THOR #2, Page 3. Image courtesy of Marvel Comics.

In THOR #1, I didn’t necessarily take to Mike Del Mundo’s art style. I think the problem stemmed most from the setting and writing than anything else. Set on Earth in a very realistic, grounded story, his work didn’t really have the chance to stand out. In THOR #2, though, Mike Del Mundo impressed me greatly. His work shines in the mystical effects and strange elements of this book. The way Sindr’s flames envelop the land around her, the way the snow wraps about the Odinsons… Everything Del Mundo’s pen touches in THOR #2 is beautiful. Also, his design work is incredible. He had to design a Hel-Train and Balder’s war buggy in this issue, both of which were intensely cool from the off.

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THOR #2: Final Thoughts

Jason Aaron’s THOR #1 was a good comic that truly felt like a strong homage to the character. THOR #2 exceeds it in every way. This book doesn’t try to ride on the coattails of Aaron’s prior success. Rather, he breaks from the previous tones and storylines, giving us something truly unique. Though some of the characterization feels a bit bland, the whole is something deeply intriguing. This issue alone ramps up my excitement for the rest of the series, and I cannot wait to see where Aaron goes next. The War of the Realms is here, people. It’s time to join the Odinsons!

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