Thor God of Thunder #1
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Jason Aaron
Penciler: Esad Ribic
Of all the proposed Marvel NOW! new directions, Thor God of Thunder stood out as the most ambitious. Jason Aaron set out to craft a Thor epic that spanned millennia, taking place in three distinct eras: Young Thor in viking days, Thor in his prime during the Marvel age, and Old King Thor ruling alone at the end of Asgard and all that was. This first issue really sells the potential of this time jumping, but shows that Aaron has quite the task ahead of him.
Aaron has a tough line to walk here. Thor is essentially confronting the same antagonist and mystery across three different eras. Some incarnations of the character know exactly what is going on, which is difficult when parsing out a mystery story. Aaron does a great job of withholding key details, while letting slip juicy morsels, keeping the reader from feeling too frustrated by the experience.
The narration is carefully crafted and it is apparent just how much fun Aaron has been having getting into the mindset of a god. Aaron distinguishes the three different versions of Thor and nicely plays up their different levels of maturity and experience, all the while being the same, recognizable character. It seems that the major focus of Aaron's run will be exploring the nature of god hood, a thematic endeavor as ambitious as the time jumping mystery story he's begun. So far Aaron has shown he is up to the task, but it's still very early in the game.
Esad Ribic and Thor are a match made in Valhalla. The alien landscapes are hauntingly beautiful, and the viking scenes look like something out of an old tome of legends and myths. Ribic really sells the vicious nature of the antagonist Thor faces through the brutal rendition of the leftovers of his works. He also distinguishes the different Thor's in his art, young Thor bears less muscles and is a much more expressive character, while old king Thor battle scarred, dour, hunched, and world weary.
Thor God of Thunder #1 throws a lot of ideas at the reader. One thing's for sure, this book will give you your money's worth, as Aaron and Ribic pack each page full of story. If Aaron is able to achieve what he has set out to do in this issue, his run will no doubt represent a definitive incarnation of the title and the character.