Thor #1

If it feels like every new Thor launch is scripted by Jason Aaron, that’s because this is the sixth time the prolific writer has had his name attached to one thundering #1 or another. And while the Jane Foster/Thor arc (itself witness to two premiere issues) with Russell Dauterman will forever hold a special place in my heart, there’s reason to believe that for this week’s “Fresh Start” Thor #1, Aaron has saved the best for last.

“Likely the last,” Jason? Tough to hear, and as much as we’d like for you to be to Thor what Dan Slott was to Spider-Man (or maybe you already are?), we know about all good things and such. But if your final act is going to kick off with art by the fantastic Mike del Mundo and feature back-up tales by the equally incomparable Christian Ward, you won’t hear anyone complaining.

This is like the single-best issue of Heavy Metal in one Marvel comic book. It opens with the main story, illustrated by del Mundo, in which the newly restored Odinson (of questionable worthiness, and still missing a signature hammer), commanding the mantle of Thor once more, pursues a variety of dangerously powerful artifacts that are now scattered across Midgard following the Mangog’s obliteration of Asgardia. First obstacle, soldier and erstwhile avatar of the demon Cyttorak, the unstoppable Juggernaut.

The War of the Ten Realms is still raging, which while bad news for the good guys, is great news for those of us caught up in this epic yarn. And on the bright side, Jane Foster isn’t really dead (that welcome just-kidding revelation made in last month’s Gates of Valhalla) and Mjolnir isn’t destroyed, it’s just chilling in the center of the sun. It’s no bold prediction to think that this final act concludes with Thor getting his mojo and his mallet back in time to stop Malekith once and for all. But in the meantime, we get to enjoy the exploits of Odinson while he auditions any number of blunt and edged instruments of war, all gorgeously brought to life by the dynamic del Mundo.

The book closes with the first part of an occasional backup feature. King Thor, eons from now, literally has his hands full. He’s got the last of the space sharks in his mitts, eager to chomp down on whatever flesh remains in the cosmos. He’s raising a trio of sassy granddaughters, the godlets of Thunder. And, oh yeah, the universe is dying. Journey into Mystery indeed! And goddam but can that Christian Ward light up a page!

June 6 | New Release Highlights | June 20