WRITTEN BY Jason Aaron
ART BY Esad Ribic
COLOURS BY Ive Svorcina
LETTERS BY Joe Sabino
COVER BY Esad Ribic
PUBLISHER Marvel Comics
With so many great comics coming out every single week it is very difficult to make the choice for Comic of the Week these days. I know I’ve said this before but it is striking how much quality is coming out of all the publishing houses this year. With the Marvel NOW initiative ramping up week after week, Image having arguably their most successful period in their twenty year history, and numerous independent companies putting out quality books each Wednesday, it really is a fantastic time to be a comic book fan.
This week saw the release of the second issue of Nick Spencer and Riley Rossmo’s inventive, twisted new series Bedlam, as well as the first issue of a new series by Image publisher Eric Stephenson, in the form of Nowhere Men. I really enjoyed both these comics and either one of them would have been worthy picks this week.
However it is Marvel that has won out this week. With five Marvel NOW titles released this week there was a good chance that one of them would end up being picked for this accolade. There is one title that has hammered its way out of the whole pack of great comics this week to emerge as the victor. That comic is Thor #2.
I highlighted issue #1 of this new incarnation of Thor in the Wednesday Watchlist a couple of weeks ago, and issue #2 was Jo’s pick in Tuesday’s Watchlist. For me Thor is the stand-out title in the Marvel NOW initiative.
I’ve never really read an ongoing Thor title before, though I’m aware of the classic runs by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Gerry Conway and John Buscema right up to Matt Fraction’s recent hit stint. I like the character, and the whole mythology behind Thor and Asgard; I’ve just never got around to picking up the title regularly. I’m giving most of the Marvel NOW titles a shot, but Thor is one of the few that I was almost certain/sincerely hoped I would be on board with for a long time.
Jason Aaron has not disappointed so far. His take on the character is a classic one, but with just enough hints of Aaron’s particular humour and distinct voice to make it seem refreshing and exciting. I really like the concept of the three ages of the character interweaved throughout the story, even though this particular issue predominantly features the young Thor. I’m looking forward to seeing how Aaron develops this as the comic continues. He says in the editorial of this second issue that he plans to keep this theme going beyond the first few arcs.
In this issue we see the full horror of the God Butcher, the first enemy Thor must face in this series. As his name suggests, the God Butcher has rained murderous terror on Gods of all worlds and realms, and now he is determined to add the God of Thunder to his kills. An almighty battle in the sky ends with Thor pierced by the God Butcher’s black sword, before a lightning strike sends them both falling to the ground. The action then cuts to present day Thor who swears to avenge the deaths of the Gods of Indigarr. After a brief glimpse of old man Thor the issue ends with young Thor bloodied and broken in the Baltic snow, his axe stuck in the ground beside him.
This final scene, and the comic as a whole is beautifully illustrated by Esad Ribic. The art is enhanced spectacularly by the colouring of Ive Svorcina. The opening sequence with Thor directing a longboat through thick fog in the Baltic Sea is haunting, the mists almost lifting off the page.
The battle scene in the sky, featuring winged horses, a fearless, gung-ho Thor, and the black cloaked God Butcher is frenetic, exciting and really draws the reader into the action. Ribic is also brilliant at facial expressions and gives a real sense of the fury and determination of Thor in battle.
The cover to this issue is stunning, as was the cover for issue #1. I think I stared at it for about five minutes before I even opened the comic itself. Even now I keep looking at it in awe.
Thor is definitely one of the most stunning reinventions so far in the Marvel NOW universe. With The Indestructible Hulk and Uncanny Avengers already gaining the accolade of Geeks Unleashed’s Comic of the Week, Marvel’s reboot that is not a reboot is threatening to kick the Distinguished Competitions unequivocal reboot into the dust.