This marks the 50th Thor comic written by Jason Aaron over the span of six series; from Thor: God of Thunder to just plain Thor, Thors, The Mighty Thor and now Unworthy Thor #1.
Can Aaron keeps things interesting with a tale that sees Thor fighting to regain his worthiness?
Unworthy Thor #1 (Marvel Comics)
So what’s it about? For the full Marvel summary just read this:
Odinson’s desperate search to regain his worthiness has taken him out into the cosmos, where he’s learned of the existence of a mysterious other Mjolnir. This weapon of unimaginable power, a relic from a dead universe, is the key to Odinson’s redemption – but some of the greatest villains of the Marvel Universe are now anxious to get their hands on it as well. Can The Odinson reclaim his honor, or will the power of thunder be wielded for evil? The quest for the hammer begins here.
Why does this book matter?
Jason Aaron has been writing a fantastic Thor since day one; he’s captured the personality and gusto of the character well (and also the personality of alternate timeline Thor’s too). Add to the mix the art by Olivier Coipel and you know the fantasy elements will be rich and the character work deep.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Thor has seen better days people.
We’ve seen Thor (who’s actually Odinson at this point since he doesn’t have the hammer) booze and be merry, but not while he wallows in despair which is a unique place for him to be right off the bat. Aaron quickly and effectively gets to the core of our protagonist’s understandable predicament via captions and gets inside the character’s head well: Thor’s out of options and desperate for a change. He’s also a bit rusty which connects with his desperation as he’s seen better days personally and heroically. When he takes on a few trolls he still has the heroic nature to him though and you’ll root for him to keep fighting to find his way back out of the darkness.
The plotting of the issue is tight, guiding the reader into the current state of affairs with Odinson, the Avengers, and the current Odinson on the team whilst weaving in action and the new mission at hand. The issue may open with Odinson weak, but Aaron gives him an effective spark to keep going and reclaim his heroic standing.
Artist Olivier Coipel does a great job handling the action, and the heavy use of captions in the early pages, delivers plenty of detail and grit to the proceedings. Odinson’s barechested look (complete with a rope holding up his pants) suits his nature and yet he still comes off as heroic nonetheless. It’s actually quite striking how Coipel manages to make Odinson look barbaric yet still work in a cosmic sort of setting. His trusty goat is also believable and heroic in its own way, though it still has the ability to sell the comedic relief effectively. The colors by Matthew Wilson maintain the more gritty hand to hand combat of fantasy stories (and the trolls have a fantastic sickly green to them). There’s a bit of inspired cosmic beauty from both Wilson and Coipel in the issue too, but I’ll leave it at that to avoid spoilers!
It can’t be perfect can it?
If you like character work you’ll adore this as the captions get you right inside the hero’s head from the start, though if you want all action I’m sure you’ll find it slow for your tastes. Aaron does lay on the captions rather thick for the first half of the issue, but hell, you need to set it up somehow and he’s all alone, after all.
Florecent laser sticks!
Is It Good?
The quest for redemption is at hand and though Thor is unworthy the story is anything but with tense, vivid action and great character writing.