Art: Esad Ribic
Colors: Ive Svorcina
Blood in the Clouds is Chapter Two of the five-part God Butcher story and it’s exactly what you’d expect from a book with words like “blood,” “god,” “butcher” and “clouds” in the title. Talk about truth in advertising! You get what you pay for and this might have been the best four bucks I spent this week.
The God Butcher takes place over three eras in Thor’s life, starting about 800 years ago, picking up in the present day and continuing in the far future. This issue takes place almost entirely in the past (issue #1 was split fairly evenly between the three eras) and that’s just fine. Thor hasn’t earned Mjolnir yet; he’s a little younger and a little more brash and arrogant (imagine that) than the Thor of the present day. It’s a subtle distinction and Jason Aaron, to his credit, doesn’t overplay it and it works really well.
We get our first really good look at Gor, the God Butcher, in this issue and he’s pretty striking. Almost naked, virtually featureless and immensely powerful, Gor looks like he was hiding in the background of an old Obituary album cover. He nearly gets the better of young Thor in a pretty intense battle in (you guessed it) the clouds, which features plenty of blood and a fantastic “why-Thor-is-awesome” moment. Esad Ribic is rapidly becoming one of my favorite Thor artists and this is a character with Kirby and Simonson looming large in his history, so that’s no small feat!
The action shifts very briefly to the present day and even more briefly to the future, but that’s alright. We needed this issue to get to know the younger Thor a little bit and the battle in the clouds wasn’t something to be rushed. Aaron and Ribic are crafting a genuine epic with this one, and I can’t help but wonder if the next Thor big-screen adventure will be similar in tone to this one.
The best part about this issue is that we’re still only just getting started! With three more chapters in this story,and with Gor looking like a villain who could potentially have some staying power, this one looks like a keeper! There’s been no shortage of action in the first two issues of Thor: God of Thunder and it’s likely to jump to the top of my reading pile any time a new issue comes out. Well done!