Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Russell Dauterman
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
I reviewed the last #1 issue of Thor from Marvel just over a year ago. I enjoyed it (gave it 4/5 stars) and it was significant enough of a change in the character that a new #1 seemed warranted. With this new first issue I can’t say I particularly enjoyed it and I definitely wouldn’t say the story earned this issue being a new #1. The Mighty Thor #1 is a lackluster issue focusing on cancer and politics, made more enjoyable by the always dynamic art of Russell Dauterman.
Let me use just a paragraph to get this gripe out of the way: Marvel periodically flooding their titles with new #1’s despite having no good story reason to do so really bothers me. This series is a perfect example. This could easily have just been the next number on the title. There’s no good reason to restart the numbering. The first volume of Thor went for over 400 issues. The second volume lasted over 80 issues. The third volume was 34 issues. The fourth volume? 8. 8 issues. Moving on.
In my review of the 1st issue of the last volume of Thor I said that I was pleasantly surprised at enjoying it. The surprise was because I didn’t like the premise of having someone else take over as Thor but my dislike was overcome by the well written mystery of the new Thor and with interesting story and action. In this issue the mystery is gone and the answer to it is that it is Jane Foster, who is slowly dying of cancer and she is eliminating her treatment every time she turns into Thor. Personally, I don’t enjoy reading about cancer and chemo treatments, especially when the resolution will have to either be the character dying or a magical cure coming along. But even less so do I want to read about it in a Thor book. The book also shows some sort of supernatural equivalent of the UN which can’t stop bickering and politicking long enough to stop an attempted genocide. This is another real world problem I didn’t enjoy finding myself reading about, nor that I was looking for in a Thor comic. Elf bodies are falling from the sky onto Earth! Thor will stop them by jumping into action and… having an impotent political meeting in the form of a dying human.
All of that being said, if that’s the kind of content you’re looking for in a Thor comic, it is excellently written here. Of course Jason Aaron’s writing is nearly always top notch so this isn’t surprising. There is a deft mixture of the real world issues like cancer with the other worldly issues involving elves and gods, and Aaron certainly makes the reader empathize with Jane Foster’s plight.
The villain is once again Malekith. Unfortunately Thor’s rogues gallery has never been very strong other than Loki whom they’ve used a tremendous number of times. So we’re left with characters that are second rate at best: Malekith, Ulik, the Destroyer Armor which has literally no personality.
And then there is Dauterman’s art which makes me feel bad for not giving the issue a higher rating. Every page is a pleasure to look at. But nowhere does his work shine as much as when Thor goes into action. The burning effect around Mjolnir as it blazes through the atmosphere, the close up of the hand grabbing it’s handle, the popping off the page of Thor flying up into the sky, it all feels alive. Unfortunately, this makes it all the more disappointing that we only get to see it for a small bit, and even then against no foes at all. Only for what feels like a rather rudimentary rescue story-wise.
For me and many others the only real Thor will always be Thor, son of Odin. So The Mighty Thor #1, a comic where he is replaced by someone else, has it’s work cut out for it. It has to be so good that we can overlook the fact that the character that we actually wanted to read about isn’t here. This issue falls far short of accomplishing that.