Asgard’s favorite son has captivated us from his first Marvel appearance in “Journey Into Mystery” #83 in 1962. As is the case with all of our favorite long time heroes, there have been many writers for Marvel’s Thor. In all the years I have read Thor in comics (since 7th grade) I can’t remember ever being disappointed. Thor Odinson has taken me along on many awesome adventures. However, since Jason Aaron came on as writer of “Thor” During Marvel’s reboot the Asgardian Hero has really stood out as a character.
Thor’s bravado and willingness to face any enemy no matter the odds has always been a part of who he is. Aaron takes this aspect of Thor’s character to new heights and explores the concept of Thor’s immortality in new ways. The new series, Thor God of Thunder, begins with a story arc called “The God Butcher.” In the first issue we find Thor in the year 893 A.D. It is not the Thor we are used to seeing. This is a younger Thor, a more bullheaded and less wise Thor. He hasn’t yet earned his hammer Mjolnir and wields the axe Jarnbjorn. This is the same axe we find out in Uncanny Avengers that Thor used dark magic to enchant so that it could break Celestial armor. A mistake that comes back to haunt him.
Young Thor leads a band of Vikings on a binge of drinking and revelry until he finds a dead god’s severed head. Flash forward to present day and we find that Thor has encountered the same thing on another planet deep in space. The comic ends Thousands of years in the future. Thor is old and gray and king of Asgard. He is also its sole remaining survivor. He faces the same foe that his two younger versions faced.
Flashback sequences can be tricky in comics, but Aaron handles it masterfully. He takes us deep into Thor’s character to reveal aspects of his life that have never been examined before. What does it really mean to be a god? We see young Thor drinking and having a good time with the Vikings that worship him. He quickly becomes their champion and leads them off after the god butcher. He ultimately leads them to their deaths. He has failed them as their protector.
Our present day Thor, having learned this hard lesson, searches for the god butcher by himself. He encounters a race whose deities have all been killed and who feel abandoned. They only fuel his driving force to prove that there are gods who do care. Future Thor, the All Father, shows us that he has spent Millennia proving that. He has lost an arm and an eye in the process.
Throughout the series this has been the theme as Jason Aaron has taken this character to new heights. I have been amazed with the current story arc entitled “The Last Days of Midgard.” Thor has always been the unwavering protector of the Earth. In this arc he fights for it on two fronts. In the present he faces the CEO of the global conglomerate Roxxon. It has been established that Thor lives in a city named Asgardia that hovers above the little town of Broxton thanks to Stark technology. He returns from a mission with the Avengers to find that Roxxon has their own city hovering above Broxton and they have also bought up every piece of property they could. They have grossly polluted the city and the citizens are suffering. Thor of course rushes to the hovering Roxxon city smashing and breaking true to form. The CEO doesn’t bat an eyelash as his lawyers present Thor with a lawsuit and a restraining order to stay away from the town of Broxton. Thor enters into a battle like we have never seen him fight before, a battle of wits.
As Thor faces the new threat in the present his future self, Thor the All Father, fights an old reoccurring threat to the Earth. He is the cosmic force known as Galactus. Thor faces him alone because the earth is completely void of all life. It is a glimpse of the Earth’s future if Thor fails to win the battle for the Earth in the present. The duality of this story is perfect. In both timelines Thor fights for the earth. In the present Thor fights for the earth in a very philosophical sense as he fights the greedy, devious, polluters of the world. In the future he fights for the earth in the grandest and simplest way. He fights Galactus for the planet earth itself. All life is gone yet Thor will not yield Midgard to anyone. In both battles we see that it is very personal to Thor and he is willing to give all to save the planet he loves.
Thanks to Jason Aaron’s new vision of Thor it has become one of my favorite reads every month. I can’t wait to see where he takes me next.