Updated: May 28, 2020
Thor God of Thunder Volume 3: The Accursed. Written by Jason "God of Stories" Aaron. Artwork by Ron "7/10 isn't bad" Garney, Nic Klein (Issue #12) and Das Pastoras (issue 18). Colours by Ive Svorcina.
Gorr may have been defeated, but Thor's troubles are only just beginning! I'm back for part three of my billion-part retrospective of Jason Aaron's landmark Thor run. If you missed Thor's triumph over the unhinged Gorr the God Butcher, you can read all about it right here! If you're all caught up, then come with me, and see what terrors lie in wait for the God of Thunder:
Volume 3, quiet fittingly, is a tale in three parts. Two one-shot tales, and then the main story, detailing the return of the most feared Sorcerer in the nine realms.
First, we have "Once Upon A Time In Midgard": a collection of short tales, showing Thor catching up with old friends and setting a few wrongs to right, after his long period of absence.
While this is mostly short, fluff tales, alternating between funny, heartwarming and sad, Aaron never lets a chance for some breadcrumbing slip by...
In the midst of his filler tales, Thor goes to visit his old friend and former love, Doctor Jane Foster. Sadly, all is not as well as he had hoped. Jane breaks the news that she is sick. Six weeks prior, she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and has just begun chemo. Naturally, Thor handles this exactly as you'd expect him to do. His first reaction is to look for something to smite, his second is to try and fix things with magic. When both of these fail, he pouts. In the space of a few pages, Aaron manages to perfectly sum up everything that made his run so amazing. Thor's power, his burning need to do what is right, tempered by his hot headed nature and the ever-present spectre of his very human fallibility. All of this weighed against the seeming fragility of Jane Foster, whose sickened form belies her god-like willpower, and a spine made of pure Uru.
This collection ends introducing one of my favourite new Marvel characters, S.H.I.E.LD. Agent Roz Solomon, who has just graduated, and taken up her position as an environmental scientist. We'll be seeing a lot more of her, soon!
The second standalone tale is "Days of Wine and Dragons." I'll be honest, there's very little to say about this story. There is wine, there are dragons. Thor's there. Some ladies are too. That's about it.
But the main body of this volume is "The Accursed." From deep in the pits of Hel, a strikeforce of Dark Elves have freed Malaketh the Accursed, the most powerful and feared Sorcerer to ever live! So, naturally, he just wants to kick back and relax, after his centuries long incarceration.
If only! Nope, the freed Malaketh has only one thing on his mind... War!
But this fight just might be too much for Thor. He's going to need some help. Help from more than just Asgard.
He's going to need: The League of Realms!
As long as he can get them to stop fighting each other long enough to fight Malaketh, that is...
Why this book is so good:
The first time I read this volume, I was a little put off. After the epic scope of The God Butcher, and The God Bomb, The Accursed felt so... small. After seeing Gorr's final showdown with three Thors, I wasn't sure how to get excited for one Thor vs one angry elf...
But that's the strength of Aaron's writing. Nothing is ever small. Nothing is ever self-contained. The events of this volume will form the core plot for pretty much the entirety of Aaron's Mighty Thor run. As you're reading the story, seeing all the parts unfold, meeting new faces you'll soon be very familiar with, you get this feeling that you're part of something that is only just starting, and that it's going to end up as magnificent.
And let me tell you, friends. You'd be 100% right!
Join me next week, for God of Thunder Volume 4: The Last Days of Midgard. Thor has fought many vile creatures over the years: God Butchers, Frost Giant Kings, even his fellow Asgardians. But now he faces his most dangerous foe yet...
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!