There are two good reasons to read Thor #7 this week, and they both have to do with new starts. Not only is issue #7 the start to a new arc, but the excellent Aaron Kuder takes over the series’ art duties here as well. It’s a perfect time to jump into the series — all you really need to know is Thor is the king of Asgard and Mjolnir is getting heavier to hold. This issue is a surprising one as it plays against expectations, plays out some setup, and features plenty of Iron Man. Wait, what book is this?!
This book opens with a mechanic on the older side fixing up a truck and bearing witness to Mjolnir crashing down to Earth. A lot of attention is spent on who the man is before he investigates the hammer and makes a call. Pay close attention to this scene, as it will matter going forward. Cutting away, writer Donny Cates revisits Asgard after the brief time spent there before Galactus showed up in his first story arc. There’s some cleaning house going on to set things straight for the series, which helps further define what Cates’ take on Asgard and its characters will be. This includes Thor’s inability to wield Mjolnir, which ultimately is what this book is about.
It plays that out with some crafty misdirection, which takes us back to the mechanic. In some curious, at times funny scenes, Iron Man is used to juxtaposing superhero stuff with average everyday people. Kuder is exceptional at creating a mood when Tony Stark enters the book. That goes for the depiction of both Mjolnir and average people in the book. Again, juxtaposed with these Earth scenes are Asgard scenes, reminding us of the very outlandish nature of the realm. Beta Ray Bill, for instance, is downright frightening to look at, while Thor has elements to convey his godlike status.
Colorist Matthew Wilson does it again with some of the best colors in the business. Just check out the tablecloth below and you can see the subtle use of color to create a sense of texture and variability. Wilson has been great at creating mood and atmosphere in the series and now it’s all about the little details. That goes for Asgard, but also the people on Earth, too. These details help flesh out the world in meaningful ways.
Customary of Donny Cates, there are big surprises as you read which always makes his books fun. Like opening a present, there are at least two things that happen in this book that’ll make you giddy and expand your imagination. There’s a cool new design in store for readers, too. Kuder makes it simple, but quite cool with simple additions.
The juxtaposing works between Earth and Asgard, to a point, but at times this cutting back and forth can feel clunky. The plotting makes the opening page quite heavy, with cuts to Earth that seem absent and slow (a cut to a field with a reporter is one such scene). There’s a lack of ebb and flow to much of the book, which is due to a variety of things. Overall, the pace feels off.
I liked this first issue of the next big Donny Cates Thor arc. Kuder captures the weirdness of heroes and the normalcy of humans on Earth supplying plenty of awe to go around. At this point, the surprises Cates manages to stuff into every issue makes him a must-read comics writer no matter the story or creative team. It’s just a matter of whether the story itself is to your tastes. In this case, aside from the pace, it’s another example of how Donny Cates is great at entertaining.