Thor has progressed a lot in his journey from prince to king, and he now rules over Asgard but sure doesn’t seem comfortable in the new role. That’s exactly what Thor #1 would have the reader think, and it does an impeccable job of conveying its message. You’ll come into the first issue expecting to see an invigorated Thor who’s ready to enter a new chapter in his thunderous life, but instead we find a god-king who’s more vulnerable and uncertain than ever.
The opening of Thor #1 manages to encapsulate pretty much every important element of Thor in just a few pages. We see his arrogance, his ferocity, and his reluctance as he puts off his new kingly position just a few moments longer by sending Mjolnir on a wondrous tour of the realms. Seeing Thor’s hammer crash through a creature’s head with arcs of lightning only to then see the rainbow Bifrost bridge set against the city of Asgard is an impressive juxtaposition that reveals just how different Thor is in comparison to the world and job to which he’s returning.
One of the best and most revealing scenes in Thor #1 happens not when Thor is slinging his hammer across realms or planning to take on new threats, but instead takes place in the king’s chambers when he’s visited by Loki. The trickster manages to expose a weakness of Thor in a way that only Loki could, and from their dialogue to the subtleties of their actions, the moment shared between the brothers is one of the best the issue has to offer.
Loki and Thor can’t help but wear their emotions plainly for each other, from Loki’s sneer to his eventual acknowledgement of Thor’s power when facing the king’s rage. This is also when we learn that Mjolnir isn’t as easy to lift as it has been in the past—a troubling realization for both the readers and Thor since it exposes a crack in his new, kingly armor. Loki knows Thor better than most, and it’s through this exchange and Thor’s strained grip on Mjolnir that we understand the tone of the story and the urgency of Thor coming to terms with being a king.
Thor hardly lets up after that meeting between the two since readers are immediately thrust into visual spectacle of a grand entrance from Galactus and Thor’s rage boiling over. From there until the end of the first issue, nearly every depiction of Thor we see embodies his character perfectly, whether he’s trying to overcome a problem he can’t solve with force (and Mjolnir) or mounting an offensive to try taking care of things that way anyhow. The now-darkened Silver Surfer’s preview of planets previously unknown is as dazzling as it is informative and is one of the most impressive sequences you’ll see in Thor, right up there with the end of the first issue that’s best seen firsthand.
One of the most commendable parts of Thor #1 is that nothing is ever wasted. Every scene and every conversation between characters serves a purpose, whether that’s to highlight Thor’s reservations or showcase the mightiest parts of the hero. Even the rune carved above Thor’s throne, a detail which could’ve easily just been throwaway flavor for Asgard, finds its way back into the story in a powerful way.
The implications for Thor’s future are laid out plainly and powerfully in Thor #1. Off to a tremendous start, the series offers temptations not only of exploring planets previously unknown, but also examinations of the most relatable and compelling parts of Thor.
Published by Marvel Comics
On January 1, 2020
Written by Donny Cates
Art by Nic Klein
Colors by Matthew Wilson
Letters by Joe Sabino
Cover by Olivier Coipel and Laura Martin