King Thor is the end of an epic as Jason Aaron and Asad Ribic dare to complete the magnum opus they started 7 or so years ago. The four-part miniseries aim to resolve a few dangling threads like Thor’s daughters and their place in the story, the resolution of Loki and Thor’s brotherly spat, and most importantly an ending for Gorr, the God of God Butchers. Last issue Thor and Loki literally gored each other as they fought, but Gorr has returned. If you’re just joining this series know that there’s a rich history between Thor and Gorr, but the battle that takes place in this second issue is an easy one to appreciate.
The strength of this issue resides in how Jason Aaron writes Loki. The character is beaten, and Gorr even hints that Loki has wished to take his own life for millennia. He’s in the saddest state a god can b ine while at the same time Thor is at his most fearsome and heroic. There is a key and touching scene between Loki and a human who decides to pray for him even though Earth’s humans are at a stage in their evolution where that hasn’t become a thing. Loki shoos them away only for them to pray even harder. It’s a moment that reveals the relationship between gods and humans is important and real.
As Loki flounders hoping to finally end his life Thor is fighting to the very last, not to save the universe since it’s already lost, but to simply thwart Gorr once and for all. The battle rages throughout the issue with Thor and Gorr both inflicting massive damage. These two hate each other and every blow feels important to the rich tapestry Aaron and Ribic have laid down over the years.
Ribic’s art, along with color artist Ive Svorcina and letterer Joe Sabino is some of the best they’ve ever done. The last few pages are shrouded in darkness and rendered with obvious brushstrokes rather than solid black. The art looks hand-drawn and tactile giving the epic story a mythical feel. Much of the narrative takes place in space and the wide-open spaces are impressive with a sense of depth that allows these god-figures to float and have the weight of their own. There is a level of detail here marked with Svorcina’s colors that gives the book an almost European feel if you’re familiar with comics from across the pond. There is a cinematic quality that is unmistakable.
That goes for dialogue too with plenty of one-liners and clever titles that add to the seriousness of this ongoing legend. Gorr speaks as if he himself is a storyteller dubbing Loki the “Butcher of Truths” one minute or naming his sword the Annihilablade the next. At the same time, Thor’s daughters appear to be going on a side quest that feels storied and mythical in nature.
All in all this book feels incredibly important even though it takes place in the far future and there isn’t a single Marvel hero outside Thor to be seen. That’s saying something! King Thor is a labor of love that is grand in its mythology and hard-hitting in its awe-inspiring duels.
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