For nearly seven years, Jason Aaron has crafted a story weaving in and out of the entire Marvel universe, aiming at one goal: the redemption and ascension of Thor. Along the way, he has assembled the finest creative team in comics today: Russel Dauterman and Matt Wilson. In addition, the story has branched far beyond Thor and Asgard, roping in most of the living Marvel universe into a final war that consumes all ten realms, finishing its final battles on Midgard. “Epic” is used too often to describe comic events, but it is entirely warranted here. In the style of the epics of old, Aaron, Dauterman, and Wilson have created a tale that will be a cornerstone of the future of Marvel comics for decades to come.
It is difficult to pick out the “best” bit of this story and collection as a graphic novel. The “best” part about it might very well be, surprisingly, the worst part: that it ended. Creative teams in television and comics alike have a very hard time saying goodbye when the time is right. Volumes upon volumes of graphic novels sit on shelves, filled with stories that keep going with no clear purpose. The War of the Realms is the clear, unequivocal ending to this major chapter in Thor’s story. What truly began with questions about his worthiness and what that means for him as a god and a man ends with the realization that “worthiness” is never in the eyes of others. Thor never needed to prove himself to anyone but himself. The final page of the story is a well-crafted story in and of itself, leaving us wanting more, but knowing that this chapter is closed. Wherever Thor’s story goes from here, the universe had shifted and changed.
Aaron, Dauterman, and Wilson’s influence cannot be understated. Thor’s sudden haircut in Thor: Ragnarok and the introduction of Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster taking the mantle of Thor in the forthcoming Thor: Love and Thunder both come from the pages of their work. Some of the best Marvel stories in recent years have come from the pages of The Mighty Thor and The War of the Realms, including Jane Foster Thor, the relationship between Freya and Odin, Daredevil taking over the mantle of Heimdall in a faith-bending trip, and Loki’s constant redemption and betrayal story. All have been given life by this creative team. Oh, and Spider-Man wearing Asgardian armor. And Freya wielding the Black Bifrost looking like she’s straight out of the pages of Heavy Metal. And the Storm of Thors.
There is so much layered in this volume. It is the comic equivalent of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame in six issues. This book is a roadmap for a future Marvel epic and we have it now. In our hands. Wait, you don’t? Buy this book. Buy copies and give them as gifts to friends and co-workers. This is the most important touchstone in comics in the 21st century so far and should be rightfully praised as such. Aaron, Dauterman, and Wilson are true artists and this is their magnum opus. What an amazing ride. All hail The All-Fathers.
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