Thor #5 // Review
Thor #5, written by Jason Aaron, with guest artist Christian Ward, continues a story that began as a backup in the first issue of the current series. In that issue, set Eons in the future, when everything is dying around an Earth that Thor and his daughters revived, the God of Thunder set out to find a way to save the universe...and ran smack into Wolverine, the current host of the Phoenix. That’s a long time to wait on a huge cliffhanger, but this issue proves that is was totally worth it.
Aaron has been playing the long game with the Old Thor story, weaving it in and out of his tales since he began his run years ago, and they are always some of his best work. This issue, set up as an interlude to the current Thor story, continues that tradition. Beginning with a flashback to Thor and Logan sitting in a bar, discussing their long lives and favorite drinking holes, you couldn’t ask for a better character beat between these two. The fact that nobody has written that scene before now is insane. It’s so obvious, but only Aaron would think to do it. And do it well, he did. Springboarding off of that flashback, readers are launched into a cosmic confrontation between the two “men” at the end of the universe. However, if you’re thinking this issue is just an excuse to have a cool throwdown in space, you would be wrong. The battle is epic in scale and action, but the true hook is the philosophical conversation between its two warriors. Much like in the first scene, Wolverine and Thor are portrayed as opposites in nearly every aspect. Thor loves his long life, and still feels young at heart. Logan, on the other hand, feels the weight of his years on him, and senses “the end” coming, almost as if he is welcoming it. Similarly, in the future, Thor has done, and continues to do, everything he can to prolong the life of the universe. Logan, as the Phoenix, believes it is time for the universe to end, and sees Thor’s actions as meddling with the natural order of things. It’s some of Aaron’s best writing, and will be considered heavily when people talk about the all-time great Thor runs in the future.
The only downside to this story, is that it isn’t wrapped up in one issue. Yes, this is nothing new when it comes to Aaron’s Old Thor stories, as he has been essentially telling them as one big B story throughout his tenure as writer, but once again, this chapter ends on a cliffhanger (and a huge one, at that). Considering how long the readers waited for a continuation after the Old Man Phoenix reveal, waiting that much longer for the next chapter will just be downright torturous. Here’s hoping it comes sooner than this one did.
Artist Christian Ward, the same artist that gave us the visuals on the first part of this story, does a wonderful job once again. His masterful mix of fantasy and cosmic elements is perfect for playing out all of Aaron’s wild ideas for the Old Thor adventures, but the real gem provided by Ward this issue is his final page, in which a surprise appearance is made in a spectacular fashion. Any Marvel fan will probably squeal with delight at the sight of this page, and then look around in embarrassment to see if anyone witnessed it.
All in all, this was a pretty flawless issue. Even if you’re not a big fan of the Old Thor stories, this one is the one to read. Even if you thought Wolverine as the Phoenix was a goofy concept, give it a shot. It’s not played for laughs. This is a deadly serious story, and both characters are written exceptionally well. This is, by far, one of Aaron’s best issues of Thor so far. If you’re not currently reading this book, you should at least give this one a try.