It’s had quite a bit of hype over the last few months, from a somewhat forced announcement on The View to Fox News’ hot take on chicks in comic books from Jon Stewart’s punching bag. And this week, Thor #1 actually arrives on stands. And what stands out most about it is that it’s a good point for new readers to get on board.
One of the biggest questions I get from people who want to get into comic books is “Where do I start?” Picking up a book with a triple digit number on the cover, or even a double-digit one, can be confusing, and starting in the middle of a story arc with twelve parts is a tough way to start reading comics. So Jason Aaron has a balancing act to pull off; how does he tell a new story about Thor, and make it accessible beyond just those of us who can pronounce Mjolnir correctly?
Mee-ole-near, if you were wondering. Anyway, the answer is to pick up directly where the previous book left off.
A quick recap for those who weren’t following Marvel’s enormous summer crossover Original Sin; Thor was whispered something, which has been kept a mystery but is pretty bad news, and now, nobody can pick up Mjolnir. No, not even Thor.
You might remember that the enchantment on the hammer states that only someone worthy can wield it, and that’s a pretty short list. Whether Thor is no longer worthy for reasons we’re unaware of yet, or no longer feels worthy, is left open to interpretation. The point is, he can’t lift it. But that’s not going to stop him from fighting for the human race, and it doesn’t mean no one is worthy.
Probably the most interesting aspect of this book, without getting into spoilers, is Aaron’s characterization. He lets their conflicts define their personalities for the reader, while giving hardcore fans plenty to pick up on. There’s a brief moment early on in the book, where Odin completely misunderstands his son, that speaks volumes about them both.
The book is as much about the politics of Asgard as it is about Thor, and split between Freya, who is an active, interventionist godlike figure, and Odin, who puts Asgard above all. It’s an interesting angle not least because even if it’s clear where Aaron’s, and Thor’s, sympathies lie, you kind of get where the All-Father is coming from; let the humans deal with this crap, he’s got his own realm to protect.
Helping matters substantially is Russell Dauterman on art. Dauterman’s art is always quite good, but he does particularly sharp work with expressions and posture, here; it’s hard to balance storytelling and eye candy, and he pulls it off with aplomb.
It’s a strong issue, overall, and it leaves a lot of questions open. But if you’re a new reader, or just curious about Thor, this is an ideal place to start. And, if you’re still not sure, here’s a preview of the first few pages.