Movie Villain Malekith Plagues THOR: GOD OF THUNDER

The massively successful Marvel Studios films are as good a promotional opportunity for the company's comic books as could likely exist, and the publisher has a history of attempting to capitalize on those opportunities. When the last Thor movie debuted in theaters in 2011, Marvel launched a new volume of The Mighty Thor comic book intended to be accessible to the movie audience.

Though sequel film Thor: The Dark World is scheduled for release on Nov. 8, Marvel won't be doing that this time around — current book Thor: God of Thunder is still only a few issues old. But, as announced Sunday afternoon during Marvel's "Next Big Thing" panel at C2E2 in Chicago, they are tipping their hat towards the upcoming film, with a major appearance from the movie's villain, Malekith the Accused (played on screen by former Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston).  

Malekith, ruler of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim, was introduced during Walt Simonson's legendary Thor run in 1984, though his appearances have been relatively limited since then. The new five-issue arc, titled "The Accursed," starts in September with Thor: God of Thunder #13, and features series writer Jason Aaron reuniting with his frequent collaborator Ron Garney. Newsarama talked with Aaron for more.

Thor: God of

Thunder #13

cover.

Newsarama: Jason, the “Accursed” arc starting in September will be  running down the major promotional lead-up to Thor: The Dark World, and while the movie is in theaters. There are also some common elements, like the use of Malekith the Accursed. How do you approach that type of story? Obviously it’s in current Marvel continuity, and not in the world of the movies, but presumably you’re wanting o open things up a little bit for those that might be curious out of the movie audience.

Jason Aaron: Sure, of course. It all kind of fits together with what I’ve done so far in the first couple arcs on the book. The first 11 issues have kind of all been one big story about the God Butcher, with Thor flying around the cosmos, and off in an adventure that’s taken him through time. Right after that, it made sense to bring him back to Midgard, back to Asgard, back to the midst of the Marvel Universe in a big way.

That’s where we start. The first issue of the Malekith arc you’ll see Thor hanging out with the Warriors Three and Sif, who we haven’t really seen at all in the present day in the current series. He’s back on Asgard at the same time that Malekith, who’s a villain from the great Walt Simonson run that’s been seen a couple times since then, is sitting in jail for the many times he’s tried to conquer/destroy the Nine Worlds. The first part of “The Accursed” is a very strange, otherworldly prison break, as Malekith makes his escape and sets off to wreak havoc again.

Nrama: Malekith, as noted, is a character from the very famous Simonson run on Thor, but really hasn’t been in that many comics in recent years. Was it exciting to get to add to the legacy of this character that hasn’t been as exposed as many other Marvel villains?

Aaron: Sure. I went back and reread all the Simonson stuff, and there was a good Malekith appearance in the Dan Jurgens run. But yeah, not too much there. Even in those Simonson issues, Malekith for the most part was in service to Surtur. He was kind of paving the way to that big battle. So this is really the first time that we’ll see Malekith really cut loose, and we’ll find out what he’s up to. He breaks out of prison, he comes back to his people, the Dark Elves, who he was once the ruler of, and he doesn’t like the state of them. He doesn’t like how things changed in his absence. So he sets out to change that, by killing as many of them as he can. So it’s Malekith on a murder spree across the Nine Realms, with Thor and some friends giving chase.

 

Nrama: This arc sort of marks a new phase of the book, in that, at least for the course of this story, it’s set entirely in the present with current Thor?

Aaron: Right, exactly. After dealing with the three versions of Thor for the longest time, this arc focuses in just on the present-day Thor. Young Thor and Old Thor will still be popping up from time to time; there will be a Young Thor standalone coming relatively soon, probably after this arc. There will be more stories with those guys. It was fun to write those three versions of Thor, but now it’s nice to downshift and focus in on one of them for a full arc.

Nrama: Right, and you’re getting to play with other the familiar Asgardian elements — you mentioned the Warrior Three and Sif — for really the first time in the series.

Aaron: It was good to write that first scene with Thor hanging out with the Warriors Three and Sif, drinking mead, and celebrating. You’ll have to read to see what it is that they’re celebrating.

This is still an arc that introduces some new supporting characters. Just like the first couple of arcs were about expanding Thor’s place in the larger scheme of things, in terms of the culture of the gods — we introduced Omnipotence City, which is like this capital city of the gods from all the universe, and the librarian there. This arc will also be about Thor’s place within the Nine Realms. This is a journey that takes us to a lot of those different realms. I want to give a clear picture of what these places are — what’s the difference between Svartalfheim and Niffleheim? — and who lives where, and what’s the landscape, and the important locales in each realm. We’ll be mapping that out as the story goes along. Part of that will be introducing some new characters who hail from different corners of the Nine Realms.

Nrama: That sounds similar to what you’ve done in Wolverine and the X-Men, and what is likely frequently the goal of writing these types of books — introducing new concepts while also synthesizing them with familiar elements, and presenting old things in new ways.

Aaron: I think that’s always the challenge. Those are the best stories. Ones that can incorporate new ideas with these characters we’ve all been reading since we were kids. I like that fusion, that interaction between new characters and some of these old favorites.

Nrama: And you and Ron Garney are reuniting for this story, after doing a lot of Wolverine stories and Ultimate Captain America a few years back.

Aaron: Ron’s awesome. Certainly I’ve worked with him more than I’ve worked with any other artist during my time at Marvel. He and I get along really well. He’s a guy who could draw anything. We’ve done action stories, and superhero stories, and gritty stories, and a little bit of everything. This is certainly the craziest story we’ve done. There are a lot of fantasy elements in this; a lot of elves, enchanted forests, winged creatures.

The first cover kind of gives an idea of what we’re going for. It’s very much a Frank Frazetta-Conan kind of cover, with Malekith riding on a winged white tiger. That’ll tell you we’re not toning down the fantasy elements by any means. If anything, this is turning them up a notch. And Ron can draw any of that. Ron can draw this craziness, and still give it a weight, and make it seem real.

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