By Molly Jane Kremer. In the first issue of Thor, we didn’t see a whole lot of the much-anticipated (and in the more ignorant corners of the internet, much-maligned) all-new, all-lady Goddess of Thunder, and what we did see was hidden under a mask-like helmet. Jason Aaron, with two critically-acclaimed years of authoring Thor’s exploits under his belt, is letting this mystery smolder like a pyre about to ignite, and while we don’t find out Thor’s identity as yet (a most enjoyable tease for this reader), we do get a real introduction to her, and just as importantly, we get to see her beat the living bejeesus out of scads of frost giants.
The entire issue follows along with our new mystery heroine, and starts off exactly where the last issue ended, as she picks up Mjolnir (whose inscription newly reads “… if She be worthy…”) and transforms into Thor. The book contains a large amount of both her inner and outer monologue, and it’s immensely entertaining to see her thoughts – similar to that of a typical modern woman’s – before they leave her mouth and turn into that nigh-Shakespearean Thor-speak that the Thunder God is so (in)famous for. Even the same “olde-tyme” style font is used for those word bubbles, and it’s great to follow her thoughts and sentences as they switch between syntax and styles. Aaron’s handle on her dialogue (both of the perfectly contrasting versions of it) is both impeccable and engaging.
She’s written as ridiculously endearing and relatable; Aaron already has a really fantastic grasp on her voice and persona. She goes from tiny crises of confidence at seeing the dastardly work of her foes (“… this is too much… I don’t even know what I can do…”) to sheer invigoration after the first throw of her hammer (“… oh man. Oh wow. Quick, say something badass…”) to a foray or two into her predecessor’s verbal chutzpah (“… the next giant who hungers for flesh will taste cold Uru!”).
The basic workings of her powers is something we’ll certainly see more of in time, but the first few glimpses thus far are fascinating. Mjolnir seems to interact differently with this Thor than the other guy-Thor (Man-Thor? Dude-Thor?). She speaks to the hammer more, perhaps out of a newcomer’s uncertainty – a refreshing (and more human) change from Thor Odinson’s often arrogant audacity. The way Mjolnir functions in battle has changed as well: instead of being wielded as a simple blunt object or lightning rod, it’s now a flying flurry of frenetic energy, ricocheting off (and through) all foes, as does the wild, ribboning arcs of lightning it calls down. Perhaps this Thor allows the hammer to take its own initiative, still learning its ways and uses, whereas the Odinson didn’t let Mjolnir have such frenzied freedom.
Speaking of Thor Odinson, we don’t see him at all in this issue (and honestly, his absence is barely noticed). We needed these twenty-two pages with our new Thor, to start getting familiar with our eponymous heroine (seeing as she only appeared once in costume, on one page, in the entirety of the first issue of her series) and in Thor #2 she owns every panel, from Thor’s utter exhilaration at discovering her new powers to her (literally) crashing into a 15-page battle sequence. With a few changes, this could have made a great first issue in itself. (It certainly contains more of what everyone thought they’d be getting last month.)
The art, as in the last issue, is once again impeccable. Unlike in Thor #1, it’s not just Malekith who gets to flaunt gorgeous, flowy, art-nouveau-esque locks. Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson render Thor’s blonde hair rarely laying still, but constantly tossing about: coiling and twining into an Alphonse Mucha enthusiast’s dream. Additionally, the nigh-constant action of this comic plays well to their strengths. Many of the sound effects seem to be nimbly drawn into the art itself – the THOOOMs and KKRRAKs are precisely etched into Jotunn ice as Mjolnir violently meets it – giving even more dynamic flow to an already fast-paced joy of a read. The combination of Dauterman’s inks and Wilson’s colors are kinetic: brisk and bright, and constantly driving the reader forward.
This is a superhero just dipping her toes into her powers for the first time. It differs from the origin story we more often see nowadays, in that picking up Mjolnir has transformed her into a version of someone she’s already familiar with, and given her a power set she’s already seen in action (or so she’s hinted at). Introducing a legacy character – which Thor now definitely is – can often be more compelling than an original character; not only is she getting used to a new power set within the midst of battle, she has the thought of living up to the greatness of her predecessor on from her mind (“… tell me, how much did it hurt whenever Thor would punch you? More or less than this?”). And when that predecessor is an ages-old Viking storm deity – achieving that ideal will be a daunting task indeed.
Written by Jason Aaron.
Art by Russell Dauterman.
Colors by Matthew Wilson.
9.5 out of 10