Marvel Comics, 2015-2016
Writer: Jason Aaron
Review by Neil Raymundo, January 18, 2016
In Scandinavian mythology, Thor is the god of thunder. The concept of a powerful, hammer-wielding entity fighting for good against evil has been commercially exploited by Marvel comics since 1962, with considerable success. Many of the concepts inherent to the character have become well-trodden paths for writers. This story is however new: it is a detective murder mystery, albeit an esoteric and confusing one.
The story, written by Jason Aaron, is set after a recent Marvel Comics’ cross-promotional event called Secret Wars. The plot of this was to milk the goodwill in the company’s various realities by consolidating the survivors of each razed continuity into a single one ruled by Doctor Doom, a long-standing villainous character rendered omnipotent.
In the new reality, various characters from different continuities coexist regardless of how unlikely it was given that universe’s particular logic. The characters are policed by an army of Thors, which consist of various characters that are or have been wielders of the enchanted hammer Mjolnir, even going so far as to include several time-displaced versions of a single character.
The quality of Mr Aaron’s “Thors” mini-series can be a challenge to assess objectively, because it is on the one hand a well-written detective story with a serviceable plot twist, but on the other hand is also somewhat crippled by its dependence on the Secret Wars cross over event and prior knowledge of the Thor comic book franchise. As a consequence, it is vastly inaccessible to new readers, but entertaining to an established audience.
The main protagonist is a veteran Thor named Thorlief. This is the reality-displaced Thor from Marvel Comics’ “Ultimate” continuity, and his partner, the reality-displaced Beta Ray Bill (an alien version of Thor, first created in 1983). The two Thors have a reputation as two of the best that the corps has to offer, with feats such as taking down a dozen versions of the immensely strong character the Hulk at the same time (which earned Thorlief a reputation as the “Ultimate Thor”) and solving multiple big cases that have cost previous Thors their post.
If this sounds more like a police drama than a title about Teutonic thunder gods, then that assessment is entirely correct.