THOR: GOD OF THUNDER- GOD BUTCHER
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Esad Ribic
Color Artist: Dean White (#1) & Ive Svorcina (#2-5)
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Rating: 10/10 Hammers
This week begins the first issue of King Thor by Jason Aaron. The final issues of his epic that has spanned over the last few years. It’s hard to believe that we are drawing to a close with his time working with the God of Thunder so I thought It would be great to look back to where it all started in preparation for the end. Pray to your spoiler-free gods to be spared but they will not hear you.
I didn't realize what I had witnessed when I first saw it. It was the summer of 2015. Sitting at my kitchen table eating dinner at almost midnight. I would watch something on youtube to fill the quiet of the one-bedroom apartment. What I discovered was some Marvel event that had recently occurred, Original Sin. That night while eating some crock pot macaroni I watched as Nick Fury took down Thor, one of the Avengers’ heaviest hitters, not with any big weapon or superpower, but a whisper, sending a hammer, that the son of Odin could no longer lift, down to the moon.
What came next wouldn’t be until December of 2016. I had just begun my collection of comics that summer when I learned about the upcoming mini-series, Unworthy Thor. While I didn’t care much for Thor at the time based on my limited knowledge of the character, I was excitedly telling a fellow coworker about the god who became unworthy. A winter break alone on campus, looking after the handful of students scattered through the hilled resident halls, turned into a birthday scavenger hunt left behind by my coworkers. At the end of my search, I found my gift, Unworthy Thor #1, and with it the story and writing of Jason Aaron that began to change everything I knew about Thor. By the start of 2017 I was down in my local comic shop picking up Thor: God Of Thunder - The God Butcher and catching up on his entire run.
Do They Bleed?
A young godling sits among the Norsemen. They discover what’s left of a body washed up along the shore. Thor Odinson looks back at the face of the body, frozen in terror, and knows it belonged to a god. In the present, far out in space, a young child from another world’s prayers are answered when Thor arrives with rain to end the drought. Angry and in disbelief that this planet’s pantheon is nowhere to be seen or heard from, he sets out to discover a gruesome scene. His past haunts him at the sight. A millennium from now, the last remaining god, haggard among the ruins of Asgard, will make his final stand against an enemy that has given him nothing but suffering. That’s just the opening issue.
This story takes place across three different time periods. Thor’s early days, the current times we know him in, and the far future when he is an old man. A mysterious creature known as Gorr who seeks out to murder any god he finds. Our young Thor narrowly survives multiple encounters with this butcher despite his arrogance with great luck. Upon immediate introduction of this character in Thor’s past, we’ve seen him murder at least four gods. Weeks of torture to our young hero would have led to one more dead god, if Thor had not held out as long as he did. Luckily, his faithful Norseman came to the rescue.
What seemed like a defeat of the crazy god killer turns into a horror as Thor realizes that Gorr survived. What follows next is our Asgardian traveling across the universe, following a trail of immortal bodies left in Gorr’s wake. When finally Thor catches up to Gorr, we see that his master plan of creating an age without gods is being set into motion in the most brutal of ways. Try as he might to stop the butcher, Thor’s valiant efforts are for naught as he chases Gorr through time to the future where we see his older self, who has continued to be unable to stop Gorr from enacting his ungodly agenda.
The God Artists
When I first laid eyes on the art in this book, It was unlike anything I had ever seen before. The consistent bright colors and super-hero-like art styles of books I’d been reading previously, were replaced with something entirely new. Esad Ribic’s art had this larger than life quality to it that I could only think of as how Thor would tell his heroic stories to the Norsemen he surrounded himself with. Large rippling muscles, giants and gods that even dead, are a sight to behold and locations that take us to both the heart of the universe as well as the beginning. Gorr’s design is especially interesting to see considering he is the butcher of gods. In the comic, Thor describes Gorr before he sees him as someone that must have a lot of tools that he uses when he butchers, as there are never any around. We expect some giant creature, with all sorts of weapons yet we find our murderer a gray evil being in a simple black cowl. The cowl was artistically really cool to see as it is more than a hooded accessory. It was a thing of darkness that could be whatever weapon Gorr wanted.
The art in this couldn't be completed without the rest of the pantheon on here. Ive Svorcina and Dean White on colors helped fit the tone of what this book was telling. The events in these issues were not of bright adventures and heroic deeds. The gods of the universe were being slaughtered and Thor was powerless to stop it. Throughout this book, colors are bleak and dark. Hues of blues and purples, along with the faint orange glow in godly places are wrapped in dark shadows both from the light and Gorr, that like Thor learned years ago, they teach us fear. Even out of the shadows, what events transpire in the light are met with colored skies and walls that all feel empty.
The God Writer
It’s no surprise Jason Aaron held onto writing Thor as long as he did. From my first read of this book, to now, you immediately feel something special from it. I am a huge fan of the braided story he tells here between Thor’s past, present and future. It’s amazing to watch as Aaron transitions so effortlessly from Thor being brash and full of himself in one moment, to someone who has watched the universe and everything he loves die around him.
Both Thor and Gorr present amazing internal dialogue as they narrate the story for themselves at times. It brings back things to that sense of larger than life tales being told here. His writing of Gorr, while evil and twisted, has lots of hints to the more deep-rooted issues he has towards all gods in the Marvel Universe, leaving you anxious to learn more in the next book. While his hatred from Gorr is one that drives interest in learning more about the butcher, we have Thor’s rage and fear towards Gorr that makes it even more exciting. It’s rare to see a god scared, so building up to the reveal of what Gorr did to Thor in the past, there is a sense of uneasiness when Thor mentions how much he tries to forget what he experienced. Jason Aaron’s writing allowed me to see a very human side of a god in Thor within this story, making him more likable.
The Conclusion Bomb
A book where the hero doesn’t triumph and smite evil. A god who has known defeat by an enemy in three different points in his life. A butcher who sees the gods unfit to sit above the rest of the universe. This book became the beginning of something spectacular and laid out some great hints to what would eventually be Thor’s downfall in Original Sin. If you, like me, were never sure you would be a fan of Thor (except when being portrayed by Chris Hemsworth) then you are in luck with this book. No prayers are needed as Jason Aaron takes you on an epic that spans years, as he takes you through the rise, fall, and the road to worthiness of Thor Odnison.