Best Shots Review: UNWORTHY THOR #2

"Unworthy Thor #2" preview
Credit: Olivier Coipel (Marvel Comics)
Credit: Olivier Coipel (Marvel Comics)

Unworthy Thor #2
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Olivier Coipel and Matthew Wilson
Lettering by Joe Sabino
Published by Marvel Comics
‘Rama Rating: 9 out of 10

“I am Unworthy, not dead.”

Credit: Olivier Coipel (Marvel Comics)

A rousing team-up and unexpected cosmic threats make the second installment of Unworthy Thor soar. Writer Jason Aaron, using the strong foundation of his God of Thunder run, brings the Odinson back to the ruins of his old home in search of the fabled lost hammer, but instead of power he finds brotherhood in the form of Beta Ray Bill and legions of baddies to tear through thanks to the revealed villain, the Collector.

While Aaron and his dynamic art team of Olivier Coipel and Matthew Wilson bring the pain in the form of multiple action beats, expressive characters, and panel layouts that race the audience’s eyes over the action, it is Aaron’s attention to character and continuity that truly sells the conceit of his latest Odinson story. Though Jane Foster has made the most of her time on the main roster, Unworthy Thor #2 shows that there is still plenty of fight in the heart of the fallen Odinson.

Credit: Olivier Coipel (Marvel Comics)

In the ruins of old Asgard, the Odinson finds a fellow brother in thunder for the first time in a long time. Picking up directly after the debut’s touching return for Bill, Jason Aaron’s newest installment of his first Odinson story since the conclusion of Secret Wars' Thors reveals the broken heart beating in the Odinson’s proud chest. Standing with his brother Beta Ray Bill against the hordes unleashed by the Collector, who has stolen old Asgard for his immense collection, the Odinson reveals that he hasn’t slept in nine months due to what nightmares may face him.

Aaron’s attention to character is well noted, but his return to the story of the Odinson reveals a new layer of noble sadness from the writer and from the character. Using a delightfully creepy cameo from his God of Thunder run, Aaron uses Odinson’s nightmare to carefully lay out the melancholy beneath the bluster of the leading man and to explore the emotional themes he is just starting to explore in this city. Aaron even manages to present a suitably gigantic plot that is heavily informed by his past exploits with Asgard’s favorite/fallen son. This plot, involving the Collector and a powerful artifact left over from a dead universe, stands tall next to Aaron’s characterization and makes Unworthy Thor #2 a blockbuster with both heart and brains.

Adding to the blockbuster feel of this second issue are penciler Olivier Coipel and colorist Matthew Wilson. Coipel, a fan favorite Thor artist, shows little sign of losing what made him such a fan favorite during this previous time with the character. Filled with fast-paced blocking and dynamic but not overcomplicated panel layouts, Coipel throws himself headlong into the team of the Odinson and Beta Ray Bill, highlighting both of their fight styles throughout the opening action sequence.

Credit: Olivier Coipel (Marvel Comics)

In the issue’s latter half, Coipel displays another aspect of his work that fans love; his sense of scale. After the Odinson is captured by the Collector, he takes him on a drone tour of his newest acquisition which Coipel renders with wide aerial shots of the crumbling Asgard, highlighting its broken beauty. Colorist Matthew Wilson also gives his all to the proceedings, shifting from deep dark star fields and fiery explosions in the opening set piece to ashy gold buildings in the abandoned old Asgard. Wilson’s ambidextrous palette match the mercurial pencils of Coipiel to the letter and provides Unworthy Thor #2 the kind of space opera visuals it so richly deserves.

Though the Odinson hasn’t been on the scene that much as of late, Unworthy Thor #2 puts him back in the spotlight in large scale and unexpected way. Re-adapting to his voice with ease, Jason Aaron swings for the fences in a big way, both in terms of plot and character and through he’s only two issues into this latest story, he’s already displaying a high batting average even after all the time detailing Jane Foster’s adventures. Along with the pencils ready made for a heavy metal album cover from Olivier Coipel and rich colors by Matthew Wilson Unworthy Thor #2 proves that age old adage that the first time is luck, but the second time is skill.

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