With Thor God of Thunder 25 from Marvel we bid farewell to the team of Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic. The team has had an epic run on God of Thunder starting with God Butcher, and finishing it on a high note with Last Days of Midgard (That battle with Galactus? Need I say more?). And as sad as it is to see Essad Ribic to leave the title, we still, thank the Asgardian Gods, get Jason Aaron on a new Thor title.
Aaron and Ribic aren’t alone in this send off to God of Thunder. Aaron’s Scalped collaborator R. M. Guéra illustrates a story about the origin of Malekith. Eisner Award winner and Heavy Metal contributor Simon Bisley draws an epic story of Young Thor versus Frost Giants.
Issue 25 finds us in future Asgard with Thor’s granddaughters, Ellisiv, Frigg, and Atli, in the Great Library of Asgard. Atli, being dragged by her sisters to, Ugh, learn. In the Great Library the girls discover various volumes about their grandfather’s past and secrets of Asgard.
The first story the Girls of Thunder find is of Malekith the Accursed and how he came to be. And holy balls is it dark. “The 13th Son of a 13th Son” takes the reader to Svartalfheim, home of the Dark Elves. Here we find young Malekith who is sold by his mother to Undertaker Elves to be a Corpse Burner. A title that is as glamourous as it sounds. It’s Malekith’s duty to burn the corpses of fallen elves in the war between elves and trolls. After being captured by the enemy Malekith, find himself cellmates with a powerful elven wizard. With Malekith’s assisstance the two escape, and the wizard taking the child under his wing, the two cut a bloody swath through the realm. The tale ends with betrayal and revenge, and the rise of one of Thor’s greatest enemies.
God’s Damn Young Thor is such a badass.
The second story tells of Young Thor in Midgard, hunting Frost Giants who have been killing Vikings up and down the coast lines. What Thor thinks is just a group of Giants killing humans turns out to be something much more sinister. Well… yeah more sinister than people being killed. The Frost Giants need blood to resurrect their long dead leader Laufey. Thor being the badass that he is, stops the Giants, seemingly halting the ritual. Then to celebrate, cause he’s fucking Thor, he proceeds to drink mead from a Frost Giant’s eye.
The issue finishes Thor’s granddaughters finding a book bound in chains that tells of a time when the God of Thunder was deemed unworthy, and when times grew dark, when enemies returned, and when a woman hefted mighty Mjolnir and was found to be worthy of the power of Thor.
Needless to say, The Girls of Thunder reading the forbidden text irks their grandfather. He casts them out of the library, leaving him alone. Aged, tired, and ultimately alone, the God, lays his hand on book and remembers a time when he was not worthy of his station. The issues closes with a panel taken from Aaron’s recently concluded mini-series Original Sin, of Thor on the moon, after Nick Fury whispered something in Thor’s ear. Thor Crying out as he is unable to lift his hammer. Closing on the question of why is Thor unworthy?
Jason Aaron’s writing with this issue as with all his issues of Thor God of Thunder was top tier. No one writes the Odinson like Aaron. He’s brash, headstrong, noble, caring, wise. By focusing on Thor in three points of his life, Aaron really shows Thor’s growth from his adolescence on Midgard, fighting wars and bedding wenches, to modern Thor, the mighty Avenger we are all familiar with, to Old King Thor, who has taken the mantle of Lord of Asgard, and is broken and tired from too many battles and too many years. Ellisiv, Frigg, and Atli are great additions to Thor canon, and I really hope we see more of them. Maybe a mini-series, Mr. Aaron? Perhaps one that answers who their grandmother, and parents are? Probably unlikely… ah well. While Aaron was able to give God of Thunder a well deserved send off, he still was able to lay the foundation for the next part of his run. Who is this new Thor? What does Roxxon’s discovery of Laufey’s skull mean? What is the coming war that finds the universe in decay and ruin?
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention guest artists R. M. Guéra, and Simon Bisley. Their styles are unique enough to really give a different feel to the two stories. But they’re not so jarring as to take you out of the story as you transition from Ribic, to Guéra, to Bisley. Bisley and Guéra are phenomenal artists and deliver some of their best work.
It’s heartbreaking to see the talented Esad Ribic move on from this book. While Ribic has done other books before, like Wolverine, and The Ultimates, he really and truly shined here. It’s as if this book was made for him. Between his pencils that peek through, to the almost watercolour palette the digital colours has had throughout the series, Ribic has been on top of his game. A lot of that magic that shines through comes not only from the fact that Ribic is a gifted storyteller, it also comes from his synergy with Jason Aaron. The two are a great pair who made this book something that rivals Walt Simonson’s run on Thor. Other artists have worked on the book, such as Nic Klein, Dan Pastoras, and Ron Garney (who while I’m usually a fan of his work, really dropped the ball on art duties during his arc), but they didn’t quite have the same hutzpah as when Aaron and Ribic were together.
I was really anxious when Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic were announced as the creative team on Thor two years ago. I had hopped aboard the Thor bandwagon during J. Michael Straczynski’s run with Olivier Coipel, and had been following it ever since. Matt Fraction’s run was a major let down, and almost drove me away from Thor all together. When Aaron and Ribic were announced Marvel released some promotional design’s of Ribic’s and was upset when I saw they had changed Olivier Coipel’s design to an almost 80’s heavy metal design. I got worried what this new team had in store for the God of Thunder. Nervously I checked out the first issue and found my worries were all for nothing. Aaron’s writing was on par if not better than his Wolverine work, and Ribic’s art was a step up from his then recent Ultimates art.
I am psyched to see what Aaron has coming with this new Thor, and what will happen to the original Thor. While it won’t be quite the same as this last run, that may be a good thing.
- Cool stories about Malekith, Young Thor, and the Girls of Thunder
- Kickass art on all fronts
- Mystery of new woman Thor, and what’s to come
- I don’t want to see Esad Ribic go