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    Pick of the Week: Aaron and Dauterman are Gonna Leave You Wanting “Thor” [Review]

    By | October 2nd, 2014
    Posted in Reviews | 7 Comments

    After months of hype, the new Thor inherits the hammer from her predecessor. Sort of. Kind of. Okay, only a little bit really.

    Check out our review of “Thor” #1 below and be wary of some mild spoilers.

    Written by Jason Aaron
    Illustrated by Russell Dauterman

    • The great hammer MJOLNIR lies on the moon, unable to be lifted by anyone in all the heavens! Even THOR!
    • Something dark has befallen the God of Thunder, leaving him weakened and for the first time in forever… UNWORTHY!
    • But when Frost Giants invade the Earth, the hammer will be lifted and an all-new Thor will arise! A Thor unlike any we’ve ever seen before!
    • Who is this new GODDESS OF THUNDER? Not even Odin knows!
    • JASON AARON teams with hot up-and-coming artist RUSSELL DAUTERMAN (CYCLOPS) to create a bold new chapter in the storied history of Thor!

    I’ve been anticipating “Thor” #1 for months now. Not really out of interest, however. Though female characters, Jason Aaron, and legacy heroes are some of my favorite things in comics, my interest was piqued when the new female Thor was announced on The View. Though the logic behind announcing the comic on a show like The View is debatable(?), it at least got people talking. “Thor” #1 was going to be a huge game changing comic, one that passed the mantle onto a new character and redefined the Thor legacy, and as a fan of Aaron’s work, there was a lot to enjoy in “Thor” #1. But as one of the many people who signed onto “Thor” #1 for the new goddess (who I’ll just call Thor from now on), I was disappointed to find much more focused placed on the older wielder of Mjolnir, Bror Brodinson.

    That last gripe isn’t actually so bad. “Thor” #1 is a direct continuation of the story told in “Thor: God of Thunder” which is widely regarded as one of the raddest comics to come out of the Marvel NOW! relaunch. However, the relaunch in “Thor” #1 does little to reset Aaron’s grand story as we’re thrown right back into the mix with frost giants, dark elves, Roxxon, and the return of Odin. Last month’s “Thor: God of Thunder” #25, the ‘final’ issue of the series, was the first issue to arrive after all the tumultuous events in “Original Sin” but it involved a number of short stories rather than any new status quo. While it made for an excellent final issue then, that leaves a lot for “Thor” #1 to catch up with, including the entire premise of the series.

    As a result of all this shuffling around, “Thor” #1 limits itself to the audience of those who’ve kept up with every facet of Thor in the past year or so. Read “God of Thunder” and not “Original Sin”? Too bad. Read “Original Sin” and not “God of Thunder”? Hope you like Malekith. Did you decide to jump on with this #1 because of the new Thor? Enjoy these final two pages where she shows up and stands.

    Normally I wouldn’t give so much heat to a comic for being so tied up in its own backstory, but as a widely publicized #1 you’d expect a stronger introduction to Aaron’s mythos than what’s seen here. All that said, none of this is any of the creators parts and more to do with the nature of #1’s in comic books these days — because when you get past all the continuity laying about, there’s a lot of fun ideas to play with, many of which are beautifully depicted by Dauterman who definitely has a penchant for finding comedic moments within epic ones. His depiction of the Brodinson also establishes a new status quo for the former God of Thunder as a scene that would’ve made for a triumphant tapestry in the past series instead looks like it could be set to Yakkety Sax.

    And it’s in establishing this new status quo for the unworthy Bror that Aaron’s story takes off. Though the first half or so of the issue is rather slow, it picks up considerably when Brodinson picks up his axe and sets out to prove himself worthy. Honestly, Aaron’s depiction of the Thor mythos has been so consistently stellar and seeing the Prince of Asgard pushed to the brink makes for some very compelling comics. I’ve been harsh on “Thor” #1 but it’s important to remember that everyone here are all creators at the top of their games creating one of their biggest stories, which is where the problem likely lies.

    Continued below

    “Thor” #1 deserves to be a huge story, and it’s definitely been marketed as such. However, the content of the issue itself functions a lot more as a stepping stone between the previous “Thor” series, everything that went on in “Original Sin”, and the new status quo. And within this mad rush there’s barely enough time to focus on Bror, much less the new Thor whose appearance is meant to act as a surprise despite her appearing on the cover of the comic as well as The Goddamn View.

    “Thor” #1 isn’t a bad comic as much as its one caught within a whirlwind of obligations. In fact, if you want to get into semantics, it feels a lot more like a #0 issue than a #1. There’s beautiful art, compelling directions for old characters, thrilling new characters and then… nothing. If this was “Thor: God of Thunder” #26, I’d call it an excellent cliffhanger. But as the start to an entirely new series, it leaves a lot to be desired, especially for new readers who might get thrown off from digging into one of the best “Thor” runs of all time.

    “Thor” #1 is a lukewarm debut from an absurdly talented team. It’s a series that’ll definitely get better as the story goes along and we get into the mystery of who’s wielding the hammer. It’s Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman, it has to be good. Hell, a month from now I’ll likely be yelling at everyone to buy this book like their lives depended on it. Until then, the limited taste of Thor’s future doesn’t taste so satisfying ever since it came out Whoopi Goldberg’s mouth three months ago.

    Final Verdict: 6.7 – Comic book marketing is so weird, you guys.

    James Johnston

    James Johnston is a grizzled post-millenial. Follow him on Twitter to challenge him to a fight.