Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Jason Aaron, Butch Guice, Tom Palmer
Artist: Esad Ribic
The second volume of Jason Aaron’s Thor: God of Thunder opens with a brief interlude as we delve a little deeper into the early days of Gorr, witnessing the chain of events that led him to becoming the feared ‘God Butcher’. We see his mother, wife and child all falling prey to the ravages of his home planet, all the while clinging to the (seemingly misplaced) faith that the gods will save them. These events add a further dimension to Gorr’s character which, while perhaps not reaching full-on sympathy, definitely gives us a greater understanding of why he’s doing the things he’s doing. The artwork in this first chapter is provided by Butch Guice and Tom Palmer, and while it doesn’t quite measure up to Essad Ribic’s stunning work on the rest of the series, it still provides a nice contrast to the ongoing story, and serves as a deep, cleansing breath before we take the plunge into the madness to come.
From here, we dive right back into the story where we left off at the end of volume one as we find Gorr’s malevolent plot to create a ‘World without Gods’ nearing fruition. Once again, Aaron manages to keep the story running smoothly in spite of the potentially contrived time travel shennanigans, and manages to nimbly sidestep any of the potential plot holes and paradoxes during one brilliantly chuckle-worthy conversation between the Thors. There’s actually a lot more humour on display here overall, and while it doesn’t come anywhere near becoming a ‘comedy book’, the occasional light-hearted moments do well to prevent the book from taking itself too seriously.
That said, when things get serious they get very serious indeed, with the stakes being raised to near unimaginable levels and some truly jaw-dropping, air-punching moments as the three Thors are finally united against their terrifying foe. These moments – and the sheer scale of the conflict – are brought to life once again by the utterly astounding visuals of Ribic, whose luscious colours and detailed, expressive characters work perfectly in tandem with Aaron to provide a sprawling, cinematic conflict. As the battle wages on, the subtle differences in characterisation between the three Thors really comes to the fore, with each ‘version’ tackling the fight in their own unique way, and each getting a chance to showcase their own unique strengths. As you would expect, ‘Thor the Avenger’ shines the brightest, serving as a balance between the youthful exuberance of ‘Young Thor’ and the weary yet devastatingly powerful ‘King Thor’.
The conclusion is utterly satisfying too, something a lot of ‘epic’ stories fail to manage. Aaron sticks the landing with confidence, tying up the loose ends smoothly and managing to cement Thor’s place as the unquestioned ‘God of Gods’. Given the intense drama and incredibly high stakes of this opening eleven issue arc, it’s almost difficult to see where the series can go from here to keep up its early momentum. However, with Aaron at the helm, I have no doubt that he’ll manage to continue – if not improve upon – this incredibly strong start. One thing’s for sure though, I’m definitely going to be doing all I can to get my hands on the rest of this series as a matter of urgency, and I strongly urge you all to do the same – assuming you haven’t already. A truly fantastic title that has made compulsory reading of a character I’d never really connected with before.
You can purchase Thor: God of Thunder Volume 2 from Turnaround Publisher Services (who generously provided the review copy of this title) via their official website.