Thor #1 has a cinematic feel to its writing and art that will ease new (and lapsed) fans into the status quo as well as shutting up people, who said “female Thor” was a gimmick. (They’ll probably still complain.) Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman open up the issue with a mythology-tinged mystery before going directly into the power struggle on Asgardia between Odin and Freyja. During all this physical and verbal action, Thor is still striving to lift Mjolnir and as such, “worthiness” is a major theme of Thor #1. Does one’s gender, royal blood, or ability to wield a magical weapon make one worthy? This debate might seem antiquated, but even in democratic republics like the United States, “background” things like gender, social class, beliefs, and ethnicity. Why has there never been a female president? Why wasn’t there a black president until 2008? Heck, why wasn’t there a Roman Catholic president until 1964? Aaron looks at these questions of what makes a good leader or hero through the lens of the Asgardian pantheon and its foes. And artist Russell Dauterman turns all those crazy alien monsters he drew in Cyclops up to eleven with the Frost Giants and shows how petty and ridiculous the Asgardians look to go along with Aaron’s haughty dialogue. The Wicked + the Divine colorist Matthew Wilson helps with the transitions to different areas from the dark bubbles under the ocean to the bare landscape of the moon and giving the characters a godlike or not so godlike glow .
In Thor #1, Aaron wastes no time introducing an external (Frost Giants) and internal (Asgardian succession) conflict tying the whole main cast together while cultivating the mystery of the new Thor. And the journey is just as fun as the endpoint with readers getting to see the workings of a bigger plan behind the Frost Giants and, of course, all the bantering and bickering between the Asgardians, especially Odin and Freyja. Odin and Freyja also form a nice nature/nurture dichotomy in their relationship to Thor, who has the roughest time in this issue. Dauterman’s gives Thor (whose figure definitely looks like Chris Hemsworth) vivid facial expressions that show his sadness and vulnerability as well as his continued heroism. Maybe Mjolnir is just a big jerk. There is also a certain returning villain that Aaron makes very unlikable, but he makes his dialogue campy and humorous while also making sure he fits in the big picture.
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But these weighty themes, gods and monsters wouldn’t work without the vision of artist Russell Dauterman. Dauterman balances storytelling and atmosphere by putting an important image, like Mjolnir or Asgardia in the foreground, while the action plays out in the background. His layouts match the story well cracking when characters start to squabble or returning to a more traditional set-up during a slower, more thoughtful page. Matthew Wilson’s colors help the tone turn on a dime, like when the pitch black Hugin and Munin crash into alert Odin to a plot development. This black offsets the black of the space around Asgardia. All things considered, Thor #1 is beautifully laid out and colored with humorous dialogue, interesting conflicts, and thought provoking themes beneath the myths and magic. It is definitely worthy.