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King Thor #1 review: An epic story dark in mood and spectacle

A satisfying and wholly gripping drama blanketed in action.

Almost seven years ago (way back on November 12, 2012) I wrote a review for Asad Ribic and Jason Aaron’s Thor: God of Thunder #1. At the time I recommended books on a buy or pass format, and I very much recommended buying it. I even emphatically quoted it:

“Now if you’ll excuse me, there is always someone somewhere in need of smiting with a very large hammer.” – THOR: GOD OF THUNDER #1

2012 me would be delighted to know that Ribic and Aaron would be joining forces again seven years later to finish out their epic story of the God Butcher and the many versions of Thor. We are now witnessing history in the making as these two creators — at the top of their game — put a period on one of the greatest runs ever. Does the first part of this epic ending live up to the hype?

So what’s it about?

Read the preview.

Why does this matter?

Aside from the history being made, this story is an interesting departure from conventional Thor stories as it focuses on a version of him that’s near the end of his life millions of years in the future. He’s older, maybe a little wiser, and the epic battle between him and Loki is steering into a dramatic finish. It’s a different kind of Thor story that might pique the interest of folks who may not typically like the thunder god.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

Time to battle!
Credit: Marvel Comics

This first chapter is quite a return to form that’ll have fans of the first story arc of the series remembering fondly how good Ribic and Aaron are as storytellers. It all begins with Aaron’s excellent captions, which are poetic in their ability to describe the end of things. One line reads, “And there is only one god left in all of Omnipotence City to bear witness to the feeble, palsied end of all that ever was.” It creates a heightened sense of drama, like an ancient tale of woe or Brothers Grimm. 

The story is split between Thor’s daughters on a mission and Thor fighting a powered up and super evil Loki. It’s a nice split as “The Girls of Thunder” uncover new details that’ll reveal a slower side of the story, juxtaposed with intense action on Thor’s side of the adventure. By the end, both stories will make you want more.

The art is excellent, which is no surprise. Ribic draws eyes so damn well, with an intensity that screams never-ending life, or those that peer into your soul making you fear for your own life. Loki’s face is positively haunting in this book and his costume is unreal and quite cool too. The colors by Ive Svorcina (and letters by Joe Sabino) never get in the way of Ribic’s art, especially when it comes to the shadow work and dripping black costume of Loki. There are many great moments of intense lighting from Svorcina from a foreboding sunset, to the bright burning light of a sun dying. A portion of the book takes place in space and the use of color and light helps remind us of that.

I’ve always loved how Thor can snatch Mjolner out of the air like nothing.
Credit: Marvel Comics

It can’t be perfect, can it?

I know Thor and Loki are gods, but how much can they take before it loses all meaning? Characters get stabbed through the gut with a blade protruding from their back and yet they keep going. Unfortunately, there are so many beat-down moments that should end a character that the fighting begins to lose all meaning by the end. A little more attention to these blows and how they matter to the battle would have made them more impactful. 

If you haven’t read anything about the God Butcher or the last few stories involving an older Thor from the future, you might be a bit lost here. That’s on you as the reader, but sometimes stories like this can weave in enough recap to catch you up.

Is it good?

A satisfying and wholly gripping drama wrapped in action. King Thor is an incredible exclamation point on an unparalleled epic story dark in mood and spectacle. 

King Thor #1
Is it good?
A satisfying and wholly gripping drama blanketed in action. King Thor is an incredible exclamation point on an unparalleled epic story dark in mood and spectacle. 
Incredible captions open the book setting the mood for an epic tale
The art is some of the best in the biz
The two plots mesh well
Some of the blows taken in this book seemingly don't matter (when they should kill!)
If you're going in blind the weight of the story will be lost (still entertaining though!)

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