Thor: God of Thunder, Vol. 1: The God Butcher by Jason Aaron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As a kid, I made mine Marvel. As I grew up, however, Marvel comics held less and less attraction for me. Maybe it was the fact that I was used to the gritty old '70s versions of all the favorites and the '80s brought in a bit of a more "slick" aesthetic. There were also some very cool indy comics coming out at that time that took a bit of my gritty enthusiasm away. Of course, other interests took over, as well (most notably D&D and other tabletop role-playing games . . . oh, and girls). In time, I fell out of love with Marvel.
Fast forward to the Marvel movie era. I admit: I'm impressed. Though I am anticipating the upcoming Doctor Strange movie the most out of the franchise, I've been pretty happy with what's been produced . . . I'm talking the non-Fox movies here. I don't know if I'll ever forgive the butchering Fox has given Silver Surfer and Galactus. Ugh. Anyway, in the true Marvel movies, I've been rather taken with Chris Hemsworth's Thor. Thor was a favorite of mine back in the '70s. Probably because of that cool winged helmet, the condensed orange juice can lids on his chest and those boots . . . those boots . . . It's probably a good thing I was not a cosplayer, or I might have made the deadly mistake of wearing a pair of those boots to school one day and had the living crap beat out of me.
Of course, then I could be just like Thor. At least Thor in this graphic novel because, make no mistake about it, he spends a good chunk of his time getting powned by the God Butcher. He's not in a good way most of the time and, believe it or not, I sincerely wondered what the resolution might be to this story, if it might turn into a very non-Marvel ending.
Only problem is, there is no resolution. This is the first in a series, and we're left with quite the cliffhanger at the end. I don't mind cliffhangers as long as the writer gives me something to hang on, but I wasn't even given that common courtesy. What are the motives of the God Butcher? Can you at least give me a HINT?!?
Hence my dropping of the fifth star.
Besides that one glaring omission (on purpose, I know - gotta sell the next volume, but at least give us a hint) this was fantastic. I have toyed myself with the meaning of death to one who is immortal in my own writing. So I can genuflect, show some respect, get down on one knee when another writer handles the proposition well. And Aaron handles it well; quite well. The potential problem with this sort of tale about the gods is that it engages in so much hyperbole that the death of a god becomes a sort of pastiche, that it loses its pain and loss and becomes a sort of ritual sacrament, all holy and hush-hush, anesthetized from human feeling. Aaron avoids this and presents a Thor full of pathos, a Thor connected to humanity, to his people, and to the universe. So when he is threatened, and oh-boy is he threatened, so are the rest of our universe, his people, and humanity. I am eager to see what happens in volume 2. I feel like I have a vested interest in this story.
Though I'm not quit ready to "make mine Marvel" to the exclusion of others, they've definitely opened the door for me again, and I think I'll have a little look around. It's been a while.
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