THOR: GOD OF THUNDER #18
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Das Pastoras
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: January 29, 2014
This issue is an excellent conclusion to Volume 3 of Jason Aaron’s run on Thor: God of Thunder. The one-shot format reminds us exactly what his strengths are as a writer: he gets what makes Thor entertaining, and what makes him important. The formula of hammer-swinging adventure combined with a hard lesson for the young godling is one that works, and this issue is a prime example.
An adventure from young Thor’s past, this issue has everything you could want. Drunk dragons. She-Vikings. Dead trolls. There’s a lot of moments of bombast that highlight Thor as the big character he is, not just physically but conceptually. Thor does not half-ass anything, be it battle or revelry. But, and this is easily lost when Thor is tossed into a team setting, Thor is not a dummy. A slow learner sometimes, maybe, but not totally free of introspection. Aaron is great at writing moments that highlight what draws readers to Thor on a human level – difficult choices, reality checks, disappointed father figures.
The art this issue is phenomenal. Das Pastoras follows in the footsteps of Ron Garney and Esad Ribic with visuals that look like they came from some ancient tome of heroic tales. Each panel is a beautiful painting with colors that pop like a Norse fantasy should. You can feel the humor of Thor waking in a pile of his and someone else’s vomit (gross), plus the horror of poor Gudrid. Plus, dragon. DRAGON. Skabagg could not have looked cooler. It takes a master to make a pink dragon awesome.
Reviewing this book is never hard, because it’s been setting such a high bar for awesome and joy since it came out. If you missed out on this run and picked this issue up as a one-off, please do yourself a favor and grab the “God Butcher” and “God Bomb” arcs. Then work your way on up. Comics should always be this much fun.