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Thor #1 by Jason Aaron & Russell Dauterman Review

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<i>Thor</i> #1 by Jason Aaron & Russell Dauterman Review

Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Russell Dauterman
Release Date: October 1, 2014
Publisher: Marvel

Recent instances of superhero gender/race-swapping have either been an attempt by Marvel and the other publishing monoliths to (A) invite a broader spectrum of individuals to the magic and wonder of their globally-adored characters, or (B) shield themselves with political correctness, but you only believe the latter explanation if you’re a tool. The funny thing about the New Female Thor is that she isn’t a new idea. In 1999’s dynamite alternate future tale Earth X by Alex Ross and Jim Krueger, Odin turns Thor into a woman in order to further his/her studies in humility, and I don’t remember anyone getting huffy about it. Granted, Twitter didn’t exist until 2006, so if assholes complained about the God(dess) of Thunder’s new cleavage in the previous millennium, far fewer people heard about it.

Here in 2014, jeez, we were all jazzed up to read about the much-anticipated female New Thor, and (SPOILER ALERT) she doesn’t even make her grand entrance until the final page of Thor #1. A shadow murmurs “There must always be a Thor,” a requisite flood of light bursts forth, and the New Thor raises Mjolnir and strikes a kickass pose. Spending so little time on New Thor, especially seeing as how she’s on the cover of the book, comes off as a bait-and-switch. Then again, who isn’t sick of origin stories by now? Wouldn’t it be totally boss if acclaimed scribe Jason Aaron lets New Thor remain an enigma for as long as possible, thereby adding an aura of mystery to the title? This certainly beats the predictable option of revealing it’s long time supporting character Valkyrie under the helmet.

Aaron and Marvel editorial guessed correctly that the relaunched Thor would require some basic exposition for newcomers — the scribe delivers with an expert application of Asgardian dialogue that flaunts the dialect’s goofy gravitas. This is a table-setting issue, but it deftly avoids getting bogged down in backstory whilst explaining why someone else must wield Original (aka male) Thor’s magic hammer. For those who are curious: during a battle on the Moon, Nick Fury whispered an unknown phrase into the hero’s ear (maybe it was “banana?” Let’s just assume it was “banana”) and, inexplicably, Original Thor could lift his storm-summoning phallic metaphor no more.

In this debut issue, Original Thor spends weeks trying and failing to move his signature weapon, becoming increasingly mopey while the rest of the Asgard gang stands around feeling bad for him. When dark elf archvillain Malekith the Accursed attacks a Midgard seabase that immediately calls Sealab 2021 to mind, Original Thor nobly rushes to vanquish the threat. But with most of his powers still inaccessible, locked up in an immobile slab of enchanted stone on the frickin’ Moon, Malekith does quite a nasty number on the founding Avenger. Aaron writes the villain as the vicious, smirking ringleader of the Frost Giants, which makes you wonder what could’ve been if Christopher Eccleston had played this version of the villain instead of the bland blue guy who rarely speaks in Thor: The Dark World.

Artist Russell Dauterman renders a handful of memorable images, particularly a gaggle of Frost Giants on a 2-page splash, and a brokenhearted Original Thor kneeling before Mjolnir. It takes a true knack to convey emotion through illustrations to make the reader empathize with the erstwhile God of Thunder, even if he’s way too attached to an inanimate object.

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