When Marvel announced its latest publishing initiative in the form of All-New Avengers NOW, my response was to shrug my shoulders and stifle a yawn. The plan calls for new versions of Captain America and Thor to take over the leads in those respective books, as well as a new, villainous version of Tony Stark to star in Iron Man, all with the requisite new first issues.
The whole idea had a very “been there, done that” feel to it for me.
I’ve already read a very good arc about another person taking over for Cap in Mark Gruenwald’s underrated “Cap Quits” storyline and enjoyed Ton DeFalco’s run writing Thor where he replaced the Odinson with Eric Masterson for a long stretch of very entertaining stories. And then there is best-forgotten “The Crossing” event from Avengers which saw Iron Man go over to the Dark Side and get replaced by a teenage version of himself.
The less said about that the better.
So I went into Thor #1 with a lot of diminished expectations. If I’m being honest, the only reason I even wanted to read it is because of the fact that Thor will now be a woman. At least that might give the book a new angle and provide some decent storytelling opportunities. Jason Aaron has done amazing work on Thor so far so I figured, why not?
After finishing Thor #1, I can honestly say it has been years since I have been so surprised about how much I enjoyed a book and this excited for the next issue.
Thor #1 is in many ways a throw back to the comics of old. It includes the classic Marvel evil corporation Roxxon, Asgardia in space, Frost Giants attacking an underwater base, the return of Odin and Malekith the Accursed and, in what may the coolest thing I’ve ever wrote, cybernetic attack sharks.
Yes, cybernetic attack sharks.
Aaron makes everything very new reader friendly, explaining how the events of Original Sin led to Thor not being able to lift his hammer Mjolnir and how even that won’t stop him from being the hero he is meant to be. There are also a few subplots about how the return of Odin may not be welcomed by all and the political power struggle that may follow.
But what I loved most about the story Aaron is telling is how much is feels like the Thor of old; the classic, big screen spectacle that had been missing from the title for many years. When reading any writer’s work on Thor, you can’t help but compare it to the definitive Walter Simonson run that defined the character for so long. In this regard Aaron is doing just fine. His work on the previous title Thor: God of Thunder was a step in the right direction and here he continues to create something new while also capturing the feel of those classic Thor stories of years past.
Russell Dauterman is a name I’m not overly familiar with, so I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of artwork when I read Thor #1. But after just a few pages, he had me hooked. Dauterman’s style reminds me a lot of Frank Quietly with the detailed line work and an almost cartoonish yet energizing feeling to his art. His character designs are brilliant, as can be seen by the look of the new female Thor, who makes her debut on the final page.
The identity of the new Thor is a mystery at this point, a plotline that looks to be a lot of fun to follow as it unfolds. I already have my suspicions as to who is under the helm and am looking forward to finding out if I’m right.
Thor #1 was a shockingly good read and nothing that I was expecting. Even if you are weary of constant relaunches and reboots, this is a book that is a lot of fun and a blast to read. One can only hope the rest of the All-New Marvel NOW titles are this good.