Review – The Unworthy Thor #1 (Marvel Comics)

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Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artwork: Olivier Copiel, Matthew Wilson (colours)
Release Date: 2nd November 2016

Following his sudden and unexpected unworthiness brought on by a mysterious whisper from Nick Fury during Original Sin, it’s safe to say that things haven’t been going particularly well for everyone’s favourite Odinson.  While Jane Foster has been kicking ass and grabbing headlines as the all-new, all-different Thor, this brand new series takes a look at the hammerless man left behind, and does so with an impressive mixture of gritty angst and large-scale cosmic bravado.

This is a hard-drinking, bare-chested and dirty-brawling Odinson, a fact which is summed up perfectly during the opening sequence which shows him being pummeled into the mud by a group of foes he would previously been able to dispatch with a mere wave of his hand.  The artistic partnership of Olivier Coipel and Matthew Wilson work wonders in hammering home (no pun intended) Odinson’s plight, with a ragged, kinetic touch to the action sequences and a snarling, frustrated former God of Thunder.  Everything flows smoothly, and the layouts and expression of the characters are of the typically high standard that you would expect from a pairing like this. Wilson does a commendable job of using a slightly more washed-out palette than some of the other big Marvel books, echoing the powerless plight of the title character.

As should come as absolutely no surprise to anybody, Jason Aaron displays a strong, confident voice with the former Thor, even in spite of his troubling predicament.  The character’s internal lamentations about his lack of power make for compelling reading, as does his unwavering self-confidence which seems to flourish as a result.  The larger-scale moments of exposition are handled impressively, and while there’s definitely a lot of interconnected backstory leading into the series, almost everything you need to know is explained within these pages, making this an ideal jumping on point for new readers.  There are also a few instances of Aaron’s underrated sense of humour on display too, preventing things from getting too serious or, dare I say, too worthy.

Following the announcement of this series, a lot of readers were clamouring for the nature of Nick Fury’s mysterious whisper to finally be revealed.  Personally though, I’m of the opinion that, in all honesty, it doesn’t actually matter what Fury said.  At least not yet, anyway.  The specifics of just how Thor lost his worthiness – while undeniably intriguing – aren’t really the focus here. This is the journey of a hero trying to reclaim his former glory and struggling to come to terms with his new found powerlessness (or relative powerlessness anyway), and it makes for thoroughly entertaining reading.

With this latest release marking his fiftieth issue with the character, I’m ready to call Jason Aaron the greatest Thor writer of the modern era, and I can’t think of anyone who would realistically be able to argue with that assessment.  Aaron just flat-out gets the character, and yet at the same time he isn’t afraid of making bold, sweeping, game-changing adjustments in order to tell a better story.  This latest series puts the former God of Thunder in a wholly unfamiliar position, and revels in the violence and desperation which ensues.  And, at the risk of making a fairly obvious pun, there’s no denying the fact that Aaron, Copiel and Wilson are more than worthy of telling this latest chapter in the God of Thunder’s story.

Rating: 4.5/5.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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