For a brief time, I thought I might gain a modicum of respect for comic book writer Jason Aaron. After numerous failures ranging from Wolverine to The Incredible Hulk, it seemed the writer that created Scalped had emerged to bring that talent to Thor. The first few issues of the new Thor: God Of Thunder series were unbelievably good. Aaron took a simple idea and managed to have it span three generations of Thor. The villain, a ruthless evil called Gorr The God Butcher, was one of the most interesting Thor had faced. This also brought Thor back to the realm of the mystical, something sorely lacking in other Thor titles. It all seemed so perfect.
Then the reality of how Jason Aaron writes kicked in, and now Thor: God Of Thunder is coming dangerously close to smashing itself on the rocks of Aaron’s overbearing need to drag things out. We’re five issues in and nothing has changed, the plot continues to play out the way it has with no signs of stopping. I’m not against a lengthy plot thread, but make the issues differ from one another. This new Thor: God of Thunder #5 is the same as #4 – Thor up against Gorr and Gorr beats Thor but Thor will stand no more!! This entire issue is made up of Thor posturing and Gorr slapping him around. In the end, we’re no closer to a resolution and the coming attractions for next month herald the origin of Gorr.
Plot missteps like this kill the momentum of a series. First, this should have been the epic final battle, or at least the first part of the final battle. Jason Aaron should have shown us what happened when Gorr first went up against Thor in the cave, as well as bringing us a humdinger of a final throwdown. Instead, we get more talking, lengthier melodramatic speeches from Gorr and empty threats from Thor. Back and forth it goes, amounting to nothing. Aaron clearly wants to drag this whole thing out, which has always been his Achilles' heel.
Another problem Aaron has is that he can’t deliver the big finish. If Aaron’s stories were wrestlers, Shawn Michaels would develop leg cramps right before Sweet Chin Music, or Brock Lesnar’s back would give out right as he lifted you up for the F5. In short, Aaron just can’t get the job done. Aaron creates situations that are so dark, so untenable, that when his endings come they’re either too easy or too ridiculous to work.
For example, after stretching Wolverine’s fight over too many issues, and throwing too many things in his path, the end fell flat. It didn’t work as the ending to such a mammoth villain. Same thing here, Aaron has made Gorr so powerful that Thor’s final battle with him may seem anticlimactic. No, I don’t know this for a fact, but overextending a series and then screwing up the end has been Jason Aaron’s M.O. as of late. The repetitive nature of issue #5 just doesn’t give me great hope that Aaron can pull this off.
Helping to make Thor: God Of Thunder #5 more enjoyable is the art from Esad Ribic. I’m usually not a fan of this fine art fantasy style, but here, it works. Ribic’s pencils and paintings are epic; they feel like they fit a story this big. His simplicity with Gorr is awesome. The great God Killer is just an ugly, deformed monster. It’s a nice subtlety, rather than making him some mammoth creature. Ribic’s work brings a true sense of the fantastic to this story arc, and it works beautifully.
I also applaud color artist Ive Svorcina. Again, this is not my usual taste. Svorcina colors are reminiscent of watercolors in how they blend together. In the hands of a less capable artist, this issue would be a mess of blurred colors and undefined blobs of ink. Svorcina makes it all flow effortlessly and brings out another element of the supernatural.
Thor: God Of Thunder #5 isn’t a deal breaker; as there’s always hope I’m wrong. Having read a lot of what Jason Aaron does, I just don't have much faith.
(4.5 Art, 2 Story)