A quick public service announcement: for a book ostensibly about introducing readers to the new female Thor, Thor #1 is staggeringly light on the new Goddess of Thunder. While writer Jason Aaron’s script offers some tantalizing shake-ups to the Asgardians’ status quo following the events of Original Sin, the hook that got us all in the door – the character on the front of the book – doesn’t actually show up until the final two pages (with all of one line).
Your mileage may vary on whether that is a legitimate tease or awkwardly drawing out a well-known plot point. But even with a lot of incident (Frost Giants! Malekith being sassy!), it feels like precious little actually happens in this issue.
When we catch up with the classic version of the God of Thunder, he’s on the moon grieving. Surrounded by his space god family (including the recently resurrected Odin), Thor is still reeling from something that Nick Fury whispered to him during the events of Original Sin, something that makes him no longer worthy to pick up the hammer (and the problem isn’t his alone).
The way Aaron frames this particular mystery, it seems like he’ll be playing the long game when it comes to what would make one of Marvel’s flagship heroes no longer “worthy.” There could be some other magic afoot, but whatever the case, Aaron has offered up a clever twist on the way Mjolnir works.
Then there’s Malekith, wreaking havoc at the bottom of the ocean. With the help of artist Russell Dauterman, Aaron creates a largely clever sequence reintroducing the Dark Elf and his giant minions who are in search of… something. By the way, for those keeping score at home, we’re up to three mysteries including who the blonde who’ll now wield Thor’s hammer. Malekith’s encounter with a hammer-less Thor doesn’t go well (and explains some of the preview art featuring a mangled, bearded Thor on a goat).
And… it feels weird. I don’t have a lot of experience with Malekith, but from my vague recollection, I think he offered a little more than a Loki riff. I suppose in the absence of Loki as a villain in the Marvel comics universe, Asgard needs another quipping, casually cruel villain to toy with Thor, but this is an odd fit.
Thor #1 is going to be a challenging issue for some readers. It’s the opening chapter in three mysteries (with more probably to follow) that withholds a little too much from the audience. The intrigue of discovering the identity of the new Thor is present, but it’s undercut somewhat by all of the many other question marks the story leaves out there.
Rating: 3 out of 5 burritos
Thor #1 is on sale this week from Marvel Comics. Read our interview with writer Jason Aaron as well!