What Is The Black Winter? (Thor #1 Review)
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Nic Klein
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: Joe Sabino
How does one follow the great run that Jason Aaron literally just finished a couple weeks ago? Who's crazy enough to even attempt that? The answers... Just like this and Donny Cates.
While I'm a huge Cates fan and I long thought, that if anyone should succeed Aaron on Thor it should be him, I was still skeptical. Not that he would do a good job, which he does, but that it was simply too soon I felt that Aaron's conclusion could have used a little more time to "breathe", but at the same time I'm glad we didn't have to wait months for a new Thor book. After reading this issue, it's clear I was right, Cates was born to write Thor. He clearly has a love for the character and has been itching to write this book for some time. It gives the feeling like he has been held back and is finally being unleashed.
The book opens up with Mjolnir flying through the 10 realms, telling the tale of each realm as they continue to recover from the War of Realms. It finally comes to Midgard where it blasts through the head of a monster. After a quick note written by Iron Man, Mjolnir returns to it's keeper, Thor. First off the fact that the God of Thunder was able to throw his hammer through all 10 realms is crazy, I don't think we've ever seen that before. But you can see that he has grown weary in his new role as King of Asgard. He asks Lady Sif, the new protector of the Bifrost, if there isn't anything else that might need tending such as the smiting of a Frost Giant. But like the note on his hammer from Iron Man, "Nice Shot! Enjoy Your Retirement", his priorities have changed and it's time to be King to his people.
Jason Aaron left Thor in a great position for Cates to take Thor in so many different directions and 5 pages in I was already hooked. It's little things like Thor creating his own throne from wood and stone, grown from Yggdrasil itself, because he doesn't want to sit on his father's throne but one of his making that I loved. Or the obligatory visit from Loki, which was probably one of the best scenes. Thor grunts as he lifts Mjolnir to which Loki calls him out saying, "I don't recall you ever... grunting.. when you used to pick it up.." But Thor shows his brother that he's definitely not lacking in power, especially since he's now the All-Father.
While the first half of this book felt like the perfect continuation of Aaron's run, it's in the middle where it truly becomes something new and unexpected. In true Cates fashion, he goes for somethin completely insane. Galactus lands in the middle of Asgard destroying a good portion of the city. HOLY SHIT... right? I mean there's no way I could have seen this coming. The double splash page by Nic Klein was one of the best uses of a splash page I've ever seen. Oh yeah and by the way, Klein's art on this book is phenomenal. I wasn't to familiar with any of his prior work and his art in this issue blew me away.
OK back to Galactus. Once Thor goes to attack him, we learn that he came not to destroy but for help. The Black Winter is coming. So what's a God of Thunder to do? Call on Galactus' heralds to find out more about this "Black Winter". After a brief explanation from Silver Surfer, Thor agrees to help him stop this Star Plague. But then Cates throws another curveball which I won't divulge, I'll let you guys see it for yourself. I will say that it was one hell of an ending.
Overall, while I'm still sad that Aaron's run has ended I'm really excited for Cates run. This was the perfect way to launch a new series following a really successful run. He's doing something completely new and exciting. Let's just hope he stays on here longer than his GOTG run.