Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson
Letters by Joe Sabino
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by George Marston
'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
For all the sound and fury surrounding the new Goddess of Thunder, it seems that Jason Aaron is going to milk the anticipation for longer yet. Though Thor #1 packs plenty of Asgardian power, it suffers from a distinct lack of the very thing that is going to draw many potential readers in. Still, that can be forgiven thanks to Aaron's dedication to setting the perfect stage for the introduction of his somewhat contentious lead. With Russell Dauterman in tow, providing pitch-perfect art, and a grasp on the mythos of Marvel's resident super-deity that Aaron hasn't shown since he took the reigns over a year ago, Thor #1 is a definite success, if not a smash hit.
With Thor #1, Jason Aaron performs a masterstroke, elevating the downfall of Thor Odinson beyond its inscrutable beginnings in Original Sin to show a God of Thunder truly broken and without hope, while simultaneously establishing an Asgard thrust into turmoil by the return of Odin. With the All-Father and All-Mother at odds, and Thor a man without hope, let alone real power, the stage is perfectly set for Mjolnir to be taken up by the mysterious woman who appears all too briefly in this issue. Fortunately, any worry that Aaron is abandoning the Thor (Odinson) we've all known and loved for years is well assuaged, though if this issue is any indication, he'll be put through the ringer something fierce before he regains any of the majesty we associate with him.
If there's a downside to Aaron's taut authorship, it's the formulaic way it approaches the introduction of the new Goddess of Thunder. If you were to guess, before cracking open Thor #1, exactly how much of its content would be comprised of Mjolnir's new wielder, you almost couldn't get it wrong. Still, her appearance is powerful, and can a book truly be criticized for sticking to a formula if the formula works as well as it does here? Aaron deflty sets up motivations for Thor Odinson, Freyja, and the newly returned All-Father himself, all the while putting his themes of gender equality, environmentalism, and self-worth subtly at the forefront of the story.
Russell Dauterman is quite possibly the best Thor artist since Olivier Coipel. He lacks some of the grandiose sweep of Esad Ribic's painterly art, but his take on the Asgardians is full of charm and bluster, and, like Aaron's well-poised script, does a perfect job of setting Odin and Freyja at odds. Dauterman also nails Asgard's other denizens, like his menacing frost giants, or the best take on the ever-present Malekith since he became a staple of Thor's recent adventures. Further, Matthew Wilson proves once again why he's one of the best in the business right now, adding a perfect blend of brightness and grime to the Asgardian's well-worn, but still ethereal universe.
Thor #1 may be too by-the-numbers to truly feel electric - indeed, the most innovative concepts it holds are relegated to the briefest of glimpses. However, there's a lot of potential here. Thor's feud with Roxxon continues, and the politics of Asgard are more interesting than they have been since Jason Aaron has been writing the title. More than that, Russell Dauterman is a perfect fit - Thor #1 would be worth the price of admission for his art alone. Aaron and Dauterman may not have captured their lightning in a bottle, but it has definitely struck. And where there is lightning, there is thunder, and that is what Thor is all about.