Thor: God of Thunder #13
Thor: God of Thunder #13
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Ron Garney
Color Artist: Ive Svorcina
Letterer: VC's Joe Sabino
Part of what worked so well about the God Butcher was the timeless quality that story possessed. Stripped of Asgard, and his usual supporting cast, we were treated to a quintessential Thor story that really delved into what makes the character endure For Aaron's second arc, he begins to ground the title much more firmly in the character's current status quo.
With a movie centered around him set to hit theaters in just a few months, it is of course time for an arc of Thor that features Malekith the Dark Elf. I'm a bit wary of movie tie-ins to begin with, and one following so closely on the heels of the near perfect Gorr the God Butcher saga just seemed doomed to disappoint. However, once again, Aaron proves that he and Thor are a match made in the halls of Valhalla.
Part of what worked so well about the God Butcher storyline was its timeless quality. Stripped of the sometimes distracting trappings of continuity, Aaron was free to really delve into a nuanced examination of Thor's character, and tell a story that doesn't feel confined to any one era of the character's publishing history. For his second arc, Aaron begins to ground the the title more firmly in the character's current status quo (Asgardia is floating over Oklahoma etc, etc). Accordingly Aaron trades the more cosmic scope of the first arc for the trappings of a Tolkein-esque fantasy, a welcome change as this is a genre vastly under-represented in comics. There's even a map of the nine realms at the end of the issue.
Aaron really sells the menace of Malekith in the opening sequence which I found to be especially successful having read no prior stories involving this character. Often times its easy for a writer to fall back on the assumption that the readers devoted following of the title will be enough to establish the threat of a retuning character, but Aaron ensures this story is accessible for new fans as well as the old.
Ron Garney is an artist who I continually make the mistake of under appreciating. I am always impressed with his work when he finds his way onto a title I'm reading. Then he moves on, and I lose track of him until the next time I come across and am blown away by the manner in which he continues to evolve his style. His soft line work (I honestly can't tell if he inked his pencils or not) adds to the illustrated fantasy feel that is really working for this arc, and his renderings of the icy and foreboding Niffleheim have me very excited to see his tour of the other realms of the world tree.
Fans of this title should put any fears of a Sophomore slump to rest. There is still plenty to love about Thor God of Thunder. Aaron has effortlessly segued into a new sub-genre for this book, while maintaining all of the great character work and big scale action of his debut story. Thor God of Thunder remains one of the strongest performing titles in Marvel's line up.