Mjolnir is destroyed, Asgard lies in ashes; the Gods are refugees on Earth — all of this means that Thor is going to be a very busy boy for the next little while. And that’s without mentioning the oncoming war…
Thor # 1
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Mike Del Mundo
Cover Artist: Mike Del Mundo
Colorist: Marco D’Alfonso
What You Need to Know:
Thor Odinson is back. While he’s still unworthy of lifting the hammer Mjolnir (and, anyway, it’s been cast into the sun) he’s once more the God of Thunder. Jane still has cancer, the Gods are scattered, and a major war is coming to earth. But at least Loki appears to be out of the picture…
What You’ll Find Out:
The book opens, in traditional adventure-story fashion with a shot of Thor running away from a ruined Thai temple, holding a giant, stylised stone eye. He’s being chased by a bunch of guys sporting mohawks and pointy teeth. They chase him to the edge of a cliff while Thor’s inner monologue delivers a load of bantery exposition which catches us up on the story so far and tells us that this is the Temple of Cyttorak, which means that this fight is going to get interesting, fast when the Juggernaut inevitably shows up.
Thor fights his attackers, producing a giant axe from the folds of his cloak while the demon’s henchmen taunt him about his missing hammer.
Thor’s inner monologue reveals that the giant eye he’s carrying is a mind-control device, lost from Odin’s hoard.
With the sound of thunder, The Juggernaut approaches and faces Thor on the cliff edge, appearing in a lush, full-page spread.
The Juggernaut makes a joke about Thor being a woman, now, and they banter back and forth for a few panels before the Juggernaut gets bored and smashes Thor over the side of the cliff.
Thor falls fast, hurtling towards some very nasty skull-skewering spikes. As he plummets, he calls out to Screwbeard the dwarf, ordering him to send the hammer they’ve been forging. After some back and forth, the Dwarf obliges. The hammer flies into Thor’s hand, and Thor flies with it. He draws the glowing weapon back, ready to strike Juggy across the helmet, and with a mighty roar, he does so.
Unfortunately, the hammer cracks into a thousand fragments.
The Juggernaut finds this very funny, and he begins bashing Thor’s face in.
While this is going on, Thor dialogues with Screwbeard, arguing over the dubious quality of the weapon he made, until Thor finally orders him to, ‘Send them all!’
The next page reveals Juggernaut standing in a rain of hammers. They hundreds of them fall, forged in different shapes, and they scatter the cliffside like strange flowers.
One of Cyttorak’s orkish henchmen bends down to touch one, wondering if anyone can lift them, and his answer comes when lighting cracks out from every handle, every haft, electrocuting everyone who wasn’t born of Odin.
Thor rises, standing from the lightning. He lifts one of the hammers up, saying, ‘Allow me to introduce myself, knave.’
The next page is a full page spread: Thor, slamming the Juggernaut across the face in a rain of blood and teeth; a few scattered stars.
On the next page, Thor is flying towards the ruins of Old Asgard, explaining that he broke all of his hammers save for one, finishing the Juggernaut.
When he arrives, Screwbeard chastises him for destroying all of his work and explains that while he can continue making hammers, the magic ore they need is running out (the mines are empty) and so the quality must fail. Thor dismisses this ominous sign with his usual optimism.
On the next page, the signs of entropy continue when Thor encounters Heimdall. The fragments of the rainbow bridge have been gathered, but there is no Bifrost to recharge them, and even if there was, Heimdall is totally and seemingly permanently blind. Thor asks how the Gods are faring and Heimdall replies, ‘Either we will survive and rebuild, or else face the final Twilight and pray for Valhalla.’
On that note, Thor goes searching for his father.
He finds him on another cliff, his one eye staring out into nothingness. They speak of the passing of the world and Odin shifts the subject to ask Thor, ‘Have you seen her?’
Thor answers, ‘Yes.’
We don’t know who ‘she’ is, not yet, but we find out when the story flashes back to a flying Viking ship landing in The Bronx.
Rosalind Solomon is in an irritable mood, supervising move-in day for the Asgardian refugees who came to Earth with Lady Freyja. Hoards of trolls and dwarves crowd the apartment complex, making trouble.
Thor watches the chaos until Jane Foster (bald and cadaverous, but alive, for now) approaches from behind. She tries to goad him into a better mood with a well-timed hammer-as-penis joke, and her attitude is jaunty, but it doesn’t work. It’s hard to tell if it’s the stress or the fact that Jane’s still pretty clearly dying that bothers Thor. So Jane tells Thor where ‘she’ is.
Freyja is upstairs, feeding a totally bandaged warrior. She and Thor converse and Thor tells her that Odin is as worried about her as she is about him. Freyja snaps back, retorting that she isn’t worried about Odin.
She was asking about Loki.
They have the old conversation about trust and second chances, but it’s clear that it’s become nothing but a habit for both characters. It’s just a story they tell each other so that they can live.
Thor gets angry, thinking about it, so he flies off on another quest, this time journeying to Atlantis to steal a jewel from Namor.
There’s a one-page spread with a lot of banter and punching.
The next scene opens on the Newark Harbor. Thor tosses a giant shark onto a deck and rips a treasure from its gullet while Thori sniffs it and asks if he’s been a good guard dog. He starts to eat the shark.
Thor enters his boat. The cabin is packed with garbage and assorted, presumably dangerous treasures.
It turns out that Thori is a very bad guard dog, because Loki’s in there, too, finishing off the last of Thor’s beer.
He claims that he isn’t there to fight, but of course, Thor attacks him. They wallop each other until Loki tells his brother that he will act as Bifrost for Thor, taking him wherever he needs to go, in exchange for ‘something on this ship’ which he will name when the job is done.
Before Thor can agree or object, Loki opens the door to transport him, obviously hoping to send him through the portal alone. But Thor grabs Loki by the collar and Loki winds up transporting everyone, from dog to ship to rotting shark, into Niffleheim, land of War and Death.
Before Thor has time to think, a huge tank of a vehicle approaches, driven by a figure in a horned helm. The warrior calls out, ‘Come, brother. Ride with Baldur the Brave if you want to survive in the Land of the Dead.’
It says, ‘To be continued Next Issue’ in the text box on the bottom of the page, but the story isn’t over.
The next page opens ‘Untold Eons from Now’ and Thor, grown ancient, is battling a giant, interstellar shark.
He isn’t trying to kill it.
He’s holding the ancient leviathan back from Earth long enough for his daughters to prepare a vegan meal for it, one which will satisfy its craving for meat without it devouring the planet.
As the shark eats the soy-chum, one of his daughters wonders why it’s come to earth. Surely there’s other food for it, out there.
Back on ‘New Midgard’ Thor enters the home of a woman he made after the old earth fell. He formed her out of dust and earth, to be the mother of the new human race.
Her name is Jane. She was married to a man Thor made. His name was Steve.
She’s dying now.
They talk, as she goes. Thor was trying to remake what was utterly lost in some unnamed catastrophe, and he managed it. For a while.
Eventually, Jane dies and her body is burned on a pyre.
Thor’s youngest daughter approaches and attempts to get him to admit that the universe is finally dying. He won’t, until his hammer returns (apparently at long last) from a journey he sent it on.
The hammer tells him that there is nothing left outside of the earth.
Thor flies out, despairing, into nothingness.
There’s a page composed of murk and depressing thoughts, before Thor comes to the end of all things and lands, hard, in molten light again.
The final page is a spread. It’s spectacular — beautiful and ridiculous all at once.
It’s Old Man Logan, bearded, encased in Phoenix Flame. His claws are out. He looks at Thor and says, ‘Hey bub. Welcome to the End of Time. Hope you brought some beer.’
What Just Happened:
Entropy is the central theme of this issue. Beneath the lush colors and hilarious banter, we’re left with the bare bone facts that the universe is in a state of inevitable decay and any fight against it is absolutely futile. This theme is underlined throughout the issue in a number of ways. Jane’s alive, true, but her cancer is still spreading. The Dwarves can remake hammer after hammer, but the quality of the production is reduced every time because the magic ore is running out and there’s no way to renew it. The Gods are still holding the mythic patterns of their relationships, but they’re wearying of it. Loki has betrayed and been forgiven so many times that the brothers barely bother paying lip-service to the act. In the far future, the lights of the universe are failing, one by one, and nothing new can be born upon the earth.
In the Norse myths, Ragnarok is absolutely inevitable. Death (entropy), comes for everyone, and it isn’t always glorious. It doesn’t always happen in the heart of battle and it doesn’t always take the form of active, fertile chaos. More frequently, death is the quiet unraveling which comes from absolute exhaustion. It’s the body wearing out from cancer — no matter how many jokes you make in the face of it. It’s the Gods losing power, species going extinct, it’s stars which fall to sleep as quietly as snuffed-out candles.
Beneath the banter, the witty dialogue, the bright colors, this could prove to be a very depressing book.
But I don’t know to think it will be.
Death always gives rise to life again. At least, that’s the way it’s played out on earth so far. When the story dulls with the telling, it’s time to add another, reactive element, to shake it up. So far, this book appears to be made up of the bones of old stories, but there’s something stirring in there, something alive. It’s going to be interesting to see what it turns out to be.
For now, let’s talk about the way that the dialogue (even the clunky exposition) balances with the art. Let’s talk about the way that very serious themes are masked by elements of both visual and linguistic humor. Look at this page.
Thor is talking about the purpose of the item he’s stolen. He knows that Juggy wants it for mind control and that it works through the eyes. On this page, the sound-effects given to Cain’s enormous footsteps become a set of goggles for his eyes.
This is just one example. Another appears in the scene where Thor throws the giant shark onto the deck of his ship and tears the jewel from its guts. That’s reflected in the epilogue, a true mirror image when Thor holds the star shark (the last of its kind) away from his boat so that he can save it. In the first scene, the shark was a monster, guarding the treasure. In the second, the shark was itself, the treasure. Almost every page is planned out like this so that there are levels of narrative and visual resonance everywhere.
It’s a multilayered, beautiful, and deeply satisfying book.
Final Thought: Things fall apart. The center cannot hold. The Gods are scattered, war is coming, and Thor’s having problems with his hammer. But what else is new? Read on to find out.
Follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook!
Join our Age of Social Media Network consisting of X-Men, Marvel, DC, Superhero and Action Movies, Anime, Indie Comics, and numerous fan pages. Interested in becoming a member? Join us by clicking here and pick your favorite group!
User Review( votes)