Thor: God of Thunder Volume 1: The God Butcher

Collecting Thor: God of Thunder #1-5

Writer: Jason Aaron

Artist: Esad Ribic

Marvel Comics, $24.99, color, 136 pages

I expected to dislike this book, and was pleasantly surprised.

For one thing, we've seen this "God Butcher" story before, or something very much like it. I don't remember the details, but it wasn't long ago that Thor battled some entity that ran around killing gods. And here he is in this book, doing exactly the same thing.

Plus, I knew before getting started that this book was basically "part one" of the God Butcher story, so there would be no resolution. For $25, you'd like SOME kind of ending!

But as it turns out, Aaron has made good use of his expanded space for the story to ratchet up the horror factor, as Thor discovers one slaughtered pantheon after another, and to raise the threat level, as Thor is clearly outclassed by the God Butcher. We know this because Aaron tells three stories simultaneously, of Thor facing the G.B. in his youth, in the current age, and in the far future where a very Odin-looking Thor is the last of his kind.

I'm not normally a fan of this sort of multi-temporal storytelling, because usually it's more confusing than useful. But Aaron begins to dovetail the stories toward the end of this volume, which eases the cognitive dissonance a bit. And it does elevate the God Butcher as a foe that is not easily dispatched -- if he ever is.

But the greatest pleasant surprise in the book is the artwork of Esad Ribic. This is beautiful stuff that looks painted. Plus, Ribic really pushes himself to show the power and grandeur of his subject matter, which results in some spectacular scenes and battles.

So, yeah, Volume 1 is just part 1 of this story. But I still think it's worth reading -- especially if Volume 2 lives up to the promise.

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My only problem with the output on these Marvel volumes so far is that they seem to put out half of a story each. I haven't bought any of them, because I'm reading the Marvel books in floppy form, but that would be my one complaint.

But as for this book in particular, I love the Heavy Metal look of the art. I think that's incredibly appropriate given the subject matter.

Cap, my opinion is 180 degrees from yours. I find the entire "Gorr the God Butcher" story to be interminable. I just want it to be over so something can happen.

Your opinion was one reason I expected to hate this, too, Randy. The art really offsets a lot, though.

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