Jason Aaron (Writer), Nic Klein (Artist/Colorist)
The Story: Thor returns to Midgard as he tries to do his godly duties while having some fun on the side too.
The Review: The more I read this series, the more I see that Jason Aaron is trying to emulate another famous character from the Distinguished Competition. It has been very subtle at times, especially in the conflict against Gorr, yet there were some moments here and there to show what Aaron, with intent or not, made Thor look like a very famous character. A man that isn’t exactly human with humongous strength that tries to see the best in a lot of people and helps those in needs however they are. Does it sound familiar?*
Of course, despite the moral similarity between this particular character and Thor, there are some key differences which Aaron shows very well. One of them goes along with the theme that the writer seems to be tackling: godhood. Thor is a god with all that it entails, which he shows with his benevolence and his actions as we see the effect he has on the people of Midgard and to some key persons in his life. The issue is full of moments that are touching upon the subject, yet are done in an absolutely positive and delightful way.
It is a smart twist to show how the Marvel universe reacts to Thor, considering the fact that it is common knowledge that he is a genuine god. Seeing him interact with a man on death row, a bunch of fisherman, a monk, some nuns and a bunch of kids in hope to help them with whatever they need is actually quite fitting, but also fun and smart. Even with his look, the way that Thor is shown, in his dialogue and mannerism, he is shown as not only fitting in but he seems much larger than life. Roasting a dragon shank to feed of children that seems to live poorly, now that’s a good mix of real-life issues with fantasy.
Despite the fantastical elements attached to the story, Aaron is capable of bringing some other issues aptly without putting away, showing that even Thor cannot solve everything. While I am a bit unsure about the reasoning behind the fact that they decided that Jane Foster now had cancer, Jason Aaron brings the message that not even Thor can accomplish all miracles aptly. Bringing in the history behind the two characters through their interaction in a particularly sweet moment behind the two, he nails just what makes the character so likeable to begin with. Even with a real-life situation, Aaron doesn’t dumb or bring down the general feeling of hope this issue tries to compel.
Another real-life situation brought to the book in a larger-than-life way is the scene featuring Rosalind Solomon, a S.H.I.E.L.D. environmental scientist that just got out of her cadet years. While their scene is pretty much cut in two and result in four pages, Jason Aaron brings the more romantic, yet also clueless aspect of Thor, resulting in us getting the whole package of romance, comedy and truthful characterization about the god of thunder. These scenes adds to the whole in a delightful fashion.
The whole is also beautiful to look at thanks to Nic Klein, who brings the A-game he had when he was on Winter Soldier. His panelling flows very well, showing the multiple angles of several scenes and switching from several without hurting the pacing one iota. He nails the tone each panels tries to convey, as we get a furious Thor against bigoted religious fanatics, yet is incredibly pleasant when dealing with war veterans. The expressions of the various characters are really well-done as well as their body language, which is done in a way that does not suggest exaggeration rather than a certain normalcy. Klein gets bonus points for his Thor though, as he is simply majestic, always clashing with each scenes in a way that is striking, yet never in a way that seem negative. His strange look only add to each scenes as his cape, helmet and armor make him seem otherworldly, which is exactly the point.
Nic Klein also does the coloring in this issue, which he does quite well. Every scenes gets a different angle, a different palette that caters to the need created by the script. The death row scene is dark, yet not without its share of warm colors that Thor brings with him. The scene with Jane Foster, in a striking way, is full of warm and bright colors despite the seriousness of the subject that the two character are discussing. The dance scene, the frozen thundra, everything is right when it comes to coloring.
The Conclusion: Simply put, a superb issue full of positivism that shows just how Thor deals with the folk in Midgard in a way that makes sense considering how the normal people in the Marvel universe might see godhood. With a powerful artistic direction from Nic Klein, it’s just a great issue that I cannot recommend enough.
Hugo Robberts Larivière
*Considering the fact that this version is heavily reminiscent of a certain version of this character as brought to life by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, this should come as high praise indeed.