Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic have been creating such a pitch perfect symphony of fantasy based cosmic insanity in the pages of Thor: God of Thunder that I was a bit hesitant to see a new artist take over. Ron Garney is one of the most professional and reliably solid artists working in comics today, but Aaron and Ribic had such a perfect symmetry working during the “God Butcher” storyline that anything that broke up the pairing would have been unwelcome. I shouldn’t have blinked, as Garney picks up right where Ribic left off, crafting an incredibly badass heavy metal Thor. His renderings of Asgard and Niffleheim are each like the most intense album cover you’ve ever seen. His gods pulse with vitality, and clearly this is some of the finest work the artist has ever produced.
As for the story, it would be hard to find one that could follow up “God Butcher,” but Aaron succeeds with a tale that reestablishes Malekith the Accursed (you’ll see him soon enough in Thor: The Dark World) in the Marvel Universe. Malekith is a very different villain than Gor, the God Butcher. While Gor was a seriously intense threat, scowling and burdened with dark purpose, Malekith is a cackling fiend, taking glee in the mayhem he spreads as his Dark Elf minions bust him out of his prison in Hel.
Mr. Aaron creates wonders in every corner of the Nine Realms he touches. From the frozen souls trapped on the beaches of Hel waiting for the tides to drown them, to the giant spiders guarding Malekith’s prison, to the pit of snakes Malekith is trapped in, each detail of Aaron’s Asgard is filled with aspects that feel like they were pulled out of some obscure corner of ancient Norse myth and twisted just enough so they feel at home residing in a contemporary Marvel comic. As for Malekith himself, the story fits right into established comic continuity, but it also feels like it will be a perfect story for movie audiences to turn to after they see the Thor sequel.
“The God Butcher” was a very isolated story for Thor. Other than his past and future selves, Thor worked alone. In “The Accursed,” Aaron will finally have a chance to play with the Warriors Three and Lady Sif, four characters who, by no accident, also will feature prominently in Thor: The Dark World. Aaron has the group’s banter down and gives the reader a sense he has written them for years. As they race to a burning Svartalfheim to find the Dark Elven realm burning and to confront Malekith, astride a flying white tiger, the band that just blew your ear drums out with “The God Butcher,” just plugged in their amps for a second set…and it’s going to be loud.
Thor, God of Thunder #13“The Accursed” Part 1 “The Great Niffleheim Escape” or “The Svartalfheil Massacre”Writer: Jason AaronArtist: Ron GarneyColor Artist: Ive Svorcina