Regular BGH readers might be skeptical of a mainstream superhero like Marvel’s Thor being featured on a horror comics blog. I’d argue that Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic’s current run on Thor has more than enough horror hallmarks: an alien serial killer of gods, a dystopic and hellish future, hearts ripped from chests, eyeballs gouged- that sort of thing. Topping all of this carnage off with vikings and the Norse God of Thunder, and you certainly have a comic book that’s as metal as any album reviewed here.
Last year, Marvel comics had a soft reboot of their universe, called “Marvel NOW!”, that did not wipe away or retcon fifty years of continuity (much of it spectacularly nutty; seriously, check out any Marvel character’s wikipedia page sometime. The Punisher has been a literal angel and a Frankenstein's monster, for Pete’s sake), but offered fresh starting points for new readers potentially gained from the gigantic success of the recent Marvel Studios films (which prominently feature Thor, of course). Thor: God of Thunder smartly utilized one of Thor’s unique qualities: He’s immortal. It’s not like he’s just been around a few hundred years, either. The guy potentially has been- and will be- around for eons.
For this story arc, titled “God Bomb”, Aaron and Ribic use time travel as a means to assemble a team of Thors during three crucial stages of his life. We have the young, barbaric Thor that was worshiped by vikings, the current, heroic Thor that’s a member of the Avengers, and the distant future’s Thor, who is grizzled, jaded and in a fascinating twist, potentially Odin (Thor’s father) himself. The three versions of the Thunder God gather to battle Gorr “The God Butcher” (winner of the best villain name ever award), who is murdering or enslaving all the gods through the ages. Those that Gorr does not slay, are forced to work on the mysterious “God Bomb”, which is said to be able to destroy “all of divinity”.
Aaron’s take on Thor is refreshing, and his dialogue is top notch. The past, present and future Thors are all unique characters in their own right (as are their granddaughters, also featured prominently in this arc), and the banter they share is a lot of fun. Gorr is a formidable and chilling foe, one capable of anything (as seen in this particular issue). Ribic’s art combined with Svorcina’s colors make for some of the most dynamic illustrations in sequential art around; a perfect fusion of classic fantasy art ala Frank Frazetta and that of traditional super hero comic books. High adventure, ultra violence, gods crucified on comets... this issue has it all.
While this is issue four in a five part story arc, the back issues should be available at any comic shop worth a damn. Still, like with any good story, you can jump in with this issue and play catch up at a breathless pace. You won’t regret it.