Thor #7 // Review
Writer Jason Aaron takes more time out of his ongoing story of the War of the Realms to deliver a heartfelt tale of young Odinson in Thor #7, with artist Tony Moore and colorist John Rauch. As Thor neglects his Asgardian duties to spend time amongst the mortal Vikings of Midgard, Odin decides to teach him a lesson, with the help of Loki. What follows is a story of heartbreak, loss, and the origin of Thor’s worthiness that should go down as one of the single best issues of this title ever.
At the core of this story, Aaron is examining Odinson’s relationship with Midgard (Earth, if you’re nasty). He enjoys his time there, and gets joy from answering the prayers of his followers or engaging in battle on their behalf. Is it because he is looked upon with adoration by the people of Midgard, or because he is a god among men, capable of much greater feats than its citizens when he’s there? It’s unclear at the beginning of the issue. By the end, however, through his relationship with a mortal woman that doesn’t worship him or treat him as a god, readers see his appreciation for the realm, and its people change to something completely pure. There have been other writers that have tried to explain Thor’s worthiness or his connection to mortals and their brief lifespans (Kurt Busiek did a wonderful job in his Avengers run), but none have pulled it off so masterfully as Aaron did here.
The other leg of the story is Odinson’s dysfunctional relationship with his father. Aaron does an amazing job illustrating the two gods’ inability to see eye to eye on the subject of Midgard. There is a lot left unsaid that calls back to Aaron’s recent reveals of Odin’s own relationship with Earth. He clearly associates a great deal of pain and loss with Midgard, but he’s not telling Thor that, so it just drives a wedge further and further between them when he tries to keep him from it. The disagreement even goes so far as to have Odin conspire with Loki to hurt his own son to teach him a lesson about mortals. Fortunately, at the end of the issue, Thor chooses to interpret loss and pain in a wildly different manner than his father, illustrating just how opposite they are from each other.
Guest artist Tony Moore, does a great job delivering the young Thor and his viking surroundings this issue. He also provides a great take on the young Loki’s creepy, horned look, and the epically angry Odin, but his real triumph is his rendering of Thor’s love interest, Erika the Red. You immediately know who this character is and what she’s all about from the moment you lay eyes on her, without reading a single word of dialogue or exposition. Rauch’s colors are also the perfect compliment to Moore’s work, and he is given plenty of moments to show off his skills, between the blood-soaked battles on Midgard and the fiery executions given by Odin. If this book loses its regular art team any time soon, these guys would be a great choice for replacements.
If you’re looking for a definitive Thor story, or a single issue you could show to a new reader to get them onboard, your search is over. This issue, in many ways, is the not-so-obvious origin of Odinson. No, it doesn’t tell of his first time picking up Mjolnir, but it does show how he became worthy of picking it up in the first place, which is what Aaron has been telling us is the defining trait for Thor all along. It’s why he felt like he had lost everything when he became unworthy, and it’s why he’s been trying so hard to regain it ever since.