It's no secret that I'm a HUGE Jason Aaron fanboy. I got the position writing for POP based on my first review for Sea of Stars. So, naturally, my entry into our Comics Retrospective series has to be Jason Aaron's landmark run, writing for everyone's favourite Norse hammer-slinger, Thor Odinson.
In the coming weeks, months... possibly years, I'll be re-reading and sharing my thoughts on every arc of Aaron's saga. From God of Thunder Volume One, through Mighty Thor, War of the Realms and finally King Thor.
It's worth noting: I'll not be covering "Original Sin." While the events of that series are of vital importance to Thor's tale, the important parts are actually only about 2 panels long, right at the end of the book. So, I'll mention the pertinent details as and when required, but won't be going into detail.
Well, there's no time to start like the present and no place to start like the beginning. So, are you sitting comfortably? Got a flagon of mead and a haunch of roast boar at the ready?
Good. Then let us embark upon the greatest Thor tale ever told. A story that begins in the year 893AD, and will take us all the way to the ends of time. Let us begin the story of Gorr The God Butcher, and his run in with:
Thor: God of Thunder Volume 1: The God Butcher.
Script: Jason 'God King' Aaron; Art: Esad 'The Best There Is' Ribic; Letters: Dean 'I've run out of funny titles' White.
A tale told in three eras, God of Thunder Vol 1 begins with a younger Thor (hereafter referred to as 'Viking Thor') carousing with some friends in Iceland, celebrating a successful Frost Giant hunt. But when the severed head of a fallen god is found floating in the river, Thor sets out on a hunt that will change his life, and the lives of everyone he knows, forevermore.
In the present day, the Thor we all know and love (hereafter referred to as 'Avenger Thor') answers the prayers of a poor young girl on the far-off planet of Indigarr. In what seems an easy task, he brings the storms back to her drying world, and saves the day once more. Aww, ain't that just the sweetest?
But when the girls father informs Thor that the world has no gods of its own, Thor's search will lead him to a startling discovery, and reopen old wounds...
Last, millennia from now, in the broken ruins of Asgard, an ancient and weary Thor (hereafter referred to as 'King Thor') sits upon his ruined throne. What could have happened, to bring the Realm Eternal to such ruin? And what exactly are the black hounds, who plague these once fine halls?
Why this book is so good:
I could, and often HAVE, spoken for hours on why I think Aaron's run is the greatest run in Thor history. But I'll try to stick to just the events of THIS arc, for now.
I'm a huge Thor fan, have been for a while... but Pre-Aaron, he had started to become a fairly one-note character, especially outside of his own books. If there was ever a problem the other Avengers couldn't handle, a threat so great that Iron Man or Captain America had failed to subdue, then in came Thor, swinging Mighty Mjolnir. By the time he'd finished, the enemy was either beaten, or broken down enough that the other Avengers could wrap things up.
And while this was always fun to see, sometimes you want something MORE than just "fun." You want to see your favourite characters pushed to their breaking point... and maybe a little beyond. Because it's only when the chips are down, and the stakes are at their highest, that you see what you're really made of.
And that is exactly what Aaron does, in The God Butcher. Indeed, this idea of "What is Thor, when he's NOT Thor?" Will be a recurring theme, throughout Aaron's whole Saga. In this opening tale, we see Thor's first clash with potentially his greatest foe, the mysterious 'Gorr The God Butcher'. I think it's safe to say, that if you credit Aaron with nothing else, he has certainly created one of the best villains Thor has ever crossed hammers with. And if you tune in next week, for part 2 of my Retrospective, you just might find out a little more about our angry friend Gorr...
You might even find you agree with him, a little.
If you want to read along with me, you can find every issue of Aaron's Thor Saga on Comixology, Amazon, or better yet, your local comic store!
I'll see you next time, for Thor: God of Thunder Volume 2: The God Bomb.