Thor has completely captured me in a way I never expected it to, and I’m honestly at a bit of a loss to tell you why! He wasn’t ever my favorite character in the movies…it actually took me quite a while to see his particular movie, long after I’d seen everyone else’s. I just had no interest in a Norse God as a superhero. It seemed too easy. Of course he’s a super hero, he’s a GOD. How could he not be? But there is something about the way Jason Aaron is writing him and the way Esad Ribic is portraying him that has completely ensnared me.
For this story we go back you Young-Thor, at some point after he first saw the dead god’s head in the first issue. He is leading his people to war, only to find that the gods of the opposing side have been killed. As he is is searching, the godbutcher appears. Throughout their fight, we read about Thor’s encounter with another killer, and trying to learn the difference between a killer and a warrior. At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of this…it was a weird juxtaposition, this life or death battle happening while we’re reading about a distant memory. But it worked really well in the end – it was a story that led to something that was happening right then, which would, I suppose, trigger the memory in the first place.
Once the battle is over, with Thor just barely escaping, we flash forward to the present-day Thor who has killed the servant he was battling in #1, who tells us that the godbutcher in present time must have grown immensely in power (no, that’s not ominous at all….) since they last fought. Vowing to stop him, Thor flies away, and we get a quick panel of Old-Thor still fighting, and Young-Thor, in the snow, having fallen from his battle with the godbutcher, axe landing in the snow next to him.
This whole issue I really enjoyed – artwork, story, pacing. I thought they were all done very well. I’m still having a hard time believing that I’m enjoying this story, but I can’t ever seem to put it down!
Also, kudo’s to this issue for making me pull out a dictionary! Abattoir = Slaughterhouse
This issue follows present day Thor on his search for the godbutcher. First we visit a massive library, where a rather humorous little exchange goes on between the librarian and Thor, about how Thor was certainly the most scholarly-type and that he was never expected in a library. There was tension beneath the librarians words, but I was just laughing through it. I can almost imagine Kid-Thor trying to take this guy down 🙂
From there, we do a bit of world-hopping, checking on gods of different places, ones that had not been heard from for a very long time. They were all dead, all (presumably) by the godbutchers hands. Now, it would be REALLY easy to make this part of the story boring and repetative. Again, I don’t know how Jason and Esad do it, but it doesn’t feel that way at all. You are so engaged, so invested in seeing all of these places that you don’t for a second feel like things are getting repetative or that the story itself is slowing down. And to do that, when most of what you are reading is exposition, it a huge feat. I tip my (non-existant) hat to both of them, because that was some very well done story-telling! We get the little tidbit of how this is somehow Thor’s fault. The assumption at this point, at least for me, was that it was he had failed to kill the godbutcher during the battle we saw last issue.
We flash back for a moment to Young-Thor and his experience a few days after the initial battle, waking up a few days later and encountering another god who was attacked, but not dead yet. He tells Thor to find the godbutcher in a nearby cave.
Flash back to present day, and we have Thor and Stark (I swear this man cannot stick to his own series!!) searching for that same cave. And we get a bit of juxtaposition that shows that Thor has grown since his younger days. Whereas, when he was young, he did not ask for help when heading to the cave to face the godbutcher a second time, this time, he does ask Tony for help to warn other gods of what may be to come. Its a shift in his character, and shows growth in the time since the last encounter, which I thought was a really nice touch.
The end…is hard to explain. We do a lot of flipping back and forth between the three different Thors, all trying to show what happens next in their respective storyline. We see Young Thor enter the cave, almost haughtily, and get dragged in and loose his weapon. Old Thor is continuing to battle and refusing to loose to the servants of the godbutcher. And then we have Present Day Thor. He tries to get a warning to his own people, only to hear something moving near him – except it’s not the gotbutcher. Its something else, that quickly tells Thor that the the godbutcher is doing what he did because of what Young-Thor did in this cave the last time he was here…
Oh cliffhangers…how I hate you so!
It occurs to me, as I read more of Thor in other series, that Jason really has a knack for writing Thor in a way that lets you know that he’s obviously from a different time, but not so obviously that it bogs down the story. Thor is so much easier to read here than, say, in All New X-Men where I felt like his speech bubbles were terribly jarring. His dialog felt so clunky…And he’s not quite so hard to read in this series. I guess you have to have the right sense to write him well? Who knows….but I am loving this whole series, and will certainly be picking up the next ones!