The War of the Realms is over and much has changed. Loki now sits upon the throne of the Frost Giants, having won the crown his father thought him too weak to defend. The Lady Sif now acts as Asgard’s sentinel and defender of the Bifrost, possessing the power to see and hear all the occurs within the Nine Realms once-held by ever-ready Heimdall. And Thor? Thor is now the All-Father and undisputed King of Asgard and the Aesir. It is a moment of triumph, Thor’s proudest accomplishment as a warrior… and he has never been more miserable.
Thor is a mighty warrior and a battle well fought to defend those in need has ever-cheered him. But the time for battle is past and the time to lead is now. And while Thor has been ever confident in leading the charge when war came to his home or those he swore to defend, he feels less capable when it comes to statecraft and speech-making. He can direct soldiers in the heat of conflict, but inspiring them as a king? That is something new entirely. Worse yet, the comforts of battle are denied him, for why should a king have to contend with petty matters like one frost giant rampaging?
Thankfully, a new challenge is coming to threaten Thor’s reign and the universe itself. And the son of Odin will find himself tested like never before, as the opening salvo of the conflict hits close to home. Yet even then it hints at a journey to the furthest reaches of the Nine Realms… and perhaps even beyond!
I’ll say this much for Donny Cates – when it comes to gambling he does not bid low. Being put in charge of the Thor line following Jason Aaron’s extensive, popular and critically-acclaimed run would be a daunting task for any writer and finding a way to raise the stakes after the expansive War of the Realms should have been impossible. Yet he did it. I won’t say how but suffice it to say he found a suitably large threat, worthy of a Thor with the power of the All-Father. It is also removed enough from Thor’s usual rogues’ gallery so as to make this an entirely new threat for Thor and his allies to contend with.
I liked the artwork by Nic Klein, though I suspect he’ll be an acquired taste for some. Klein’s style is a bit rough and markedly different from the more traditional art we saw throughout War of the Realms. I think it suits the darker new direction of Thor, however, and it reminded me of Cary Nord’s work on Conan for Dark Horse. It looks interesting paired with the colors of Matthew Wilson, who presents a more vibrant palette than one would expect with such gritty artwork. The finished product has a unique look to it that invokes the feeling of old woodcuts and medieval tapestries.
Fans of Cates’ work on Venom as well as those seeking a more traditional Thor comic in the vein of Walter Simonson’s run would do well to check this new issue out. It will also be of interest to fans of Silver Surfer, as Norrin Radd has a rather prominent appearance which seems to be continuing his story from Silver Surfer: Black. I’m not much for the cosmic side of Marvel, but even I found the implications interesting.
Thor #1 releases on January 1st, 2020!
Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.