Written by: Jason Aaron
Art by: Chris Sprouse
One of the most interesting ideas in Secret Wars was a Green Lantern-esque Thor Corps watching over the domains of Battleworld under God Doom. It’s an idea brimming with possibilities for a series and so I was very excited to get my hands on this. This is the first Secret Wars tie in I’ve read that feels truly connected to the main series, with a great exploration of how the Thor Corps operate. There’s been a murder and we get a front row seat to how the Thors deal with such an event. The end result is not what I was expecting at all, in both good and bad ways.
This first issue really caught me off guard, going in I was expecting a very fantasy rich tale, but the comic is actually very similar to a cop procedural drama. It’s an angle I like as it manages to feel very different from other Marvel comics, particularly Thor stories, while still managing to contain many references, locals and characters from traditional Marvel books. This is the issue’s biggest strength, its world building is hugely interesting and it’s blending of familiar genre tropes with outlandish Marvel backdrops leads to a very interesting world that I want to explore more of. While occasionally some of these references felt more like adverts for the other Secret Wars tie ins currently out, it does a good job of fleshing out Battleworld and making it feel like a real interconnected space.
A big downside however is that for the first half of the book the tropes feels a little bit too familiar. While the Marvel backdrop does leant a sense of uniqueness from a Marvel comics perspective, the actual cop drama stuff feels very played out. A lot of the dialogue between the Thors feels a little clichéd and their personalities feel a little flat. Things improve when ultimate Thor and Beta Ray Bill become the focus, their banter between each other feels like it has a lot more weight and respect than the other Thors, arguing jovially over things like “who’s taken down the most hulks” and so on, and it seems like it’ll be an interesting partnership to explore throughout the series. The mystery too starts a bit slow, with not enough context given for readers to start figuring stuff out of try and get engaged themselves, but by the end some really interesting ideas are thrown in which take advantage of both the Thor mythos and the nature of Battleworld to end on a very intriguing note. Hopefully with the set up out of the way the more interesting elements of the mystery and even more of the world can be explored in future issues.
What does remain fantastic throughout however is the art of Chris Sprouse; every Thor has a greatly unqiue design bringing forth a lot of character to their looks even if they feel a bit shallow. It’s a very similar feeling to last year’s Spider-Verse, seeing familiar characters blended together and slightly altered. Some of the Thors are quite humours additions and certainly got a few laughs out of me, so while a lot of the dialogue fell flat, it was at least nice to see Aaron’s humour on display elsewhere. There are a lot of nice little details Sprouse throws in to other characters in the world which manage to be subtle and cool without coming off as cringe worthy. It’s a very beautiful book therefore and well worth a look simply for that.
Overall, Thors starts a little slow as it can feel a little familiar to other cop style dramas, but as the story advances and things get a little crazier and the world is explored, things start to get really unique and interesting. The end is a lot stronger and provides some genuine intrigue, laying the groundwork for a solid series with some big ideas. If you’ve been following and loving Secret Wars then I’d recommend picking this up to get an interesting new look at the world, as it’s one of this issue’s highpoints.