Written by: Jason Aaron
Art by: Russell Dauterman
Thor was one of the All-New Marvel Now’s (keeping track of these relaunches is hard) most anticipated books, due to the highly publicized new Thor. While it was kept a mystery for the duration of the run, it has now been unveiled that the new Thor is none other than long time supporting character Jane Foster. Letting the cat out of the bag has done wonders for this series, as now we get to focus on who Jane is as a character rather than the mystery of who this new Thor is.
The story in this debut issue is told on two fronts; the first half focuses on traditional old-school superhero action. Here we see Thor leap into action to save a falling space satellite in a beautifully drawn sequence full of the usual epic moments that have characterized Aaron’s run. After this we start getting involved in the greater politics of Asgardia, something that feels like it should be impenetrable for new readers but is actually presented in quite a friendly and interesting way. There’s a lot going on in this comic, and given that we now know who the major players are and what their relationship to the story is it makes for a much more involving read. A stark contrast to the last series that kept Thor’s identity in the shadows, often making it hard to get invested in what was going on.
As stated, Jane Foster being revealed as Thor has done wonders for this series, making it both more fun and giving it a stronger emotional hook. I don’t know if it was just me, but the last series didn’t do much for getting me to like the new Thor, especially given how much Aaron had made me fall in love with the original Thor during the God of Thunder series (see what I mean about relaunches?). A lot of it was just typical “fish out of water” type stuff, but without the character’s identity to give it any context, why should we care? Here this problem is deftly solved, with Jane being the perfect character to don the mantle (or hammer in this case) of Thor. Firstly, being a long time supporting character, her new perspective on a world she’s familiar with gives some general role reversal fun. What really seals it though is due to the developments in Jane’s personal life. As has been heavily publicized, Jane is dying from cancer, and every time she uses her powers her situation gets worse. A terminally ill superhero is not a new concept, All-Star Superman dealt with something similar, however the fact that actively using her powers to help people is killing her is a very interesting idea. Her battle with cancer also brings out her strength as a character, Dauterman draws her looking very frail, which is rather shocking, yet brings out her inner strength in her transformation. Even as a human though, Aaron never writers her as defeatist. She may occasionally snap sarcastically about her position, yet she still comes across as a hero 100%. It’s boldly inspiring and this one issue has made me fall in love with her character, more so than her entire appearances so far. The little touches too, like her personal and superhero life blending into each other through little phrases and actions does wonders to making her likeable and giving her a character.
What initially felt a little jarring however were the aforementioned Asgardian politics. It’s thankfully not at all hard to follow, there have been some major changes to Asgard (now Asgardia) and Aaron mercifully spares us from having to sit through an info dump by having character positions and status quos told through quick dialogue exchanges, and Dauterman places visual cues expertly in the landscape to bring readers up to speed without need for any exposition. What does grate a little however is an extended dialogue scene in the council of the ten realms. It’s quite a lot to take in, especially after such a fast paced opening, grinding the pace to a sudden halt. I don’t want to seem dramatic, but it was starting to give me flashbacks to the Star Wars Prequels. What also confused me was Jane’s place in all this. I assumed being Thor she was acting as a Midgard ambassador, however no one seems to actually know Jane is Thor, which confused me a little bit. It’s not a big deal, but certainly something that struck me as odd. I did however start getting into all the politics side as it become more manageable to digest, and I applaud Aaron for including such a large scope to his run. It certainly differentiates it from the other Marvel books and gives Thor a big sandbox to play in. This is helped by the reveal of the villains at the end making their reappearance, including a new surprise entry who is sure to be polarizing (which I unfortunately can’t talk about here). What I will say though, is that it does make me interested to read on. There’s plenty of meat to chew on therefore and seems to be plenty to work with in the rest of the series. It’s a packed comic, but aside from the mentioned jarring change of tone, it remains fun throughout and gives readers, regardless of experience, a lot to care about.
The Mighty Thor is a great start to what should be a fantastic series. This book is absolutely gorgeous, Russell Dauterman and colourist Matthew Wilson being an A-list art team worthy of the character. When you combine this with the punchy, epic moments of Aaron, as well as his great sense of humour, you get a comic that’s equal parts epic and involving as well as straight up fun. This is a massive improvement over the last run, and should even turn naysayers into die hard fans. If you’ve never read Aaron’s Thor run or are a lapsed reader, this is a perfect place to start. This is one of the best books to come out of the newest Marvel relaunch, and not something you should overlook. Get in while the going is good.