King Thor #1 ends one of the longest and most epic runs in modern comics. It was December 2012: America had just survived a presidential election, "Gangnam Style" was one of the top songs in the world, and a little book called Thor: God of Thunder released its first issue. The series, written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Esad Ribic, was a noted departure from past Thor comics—it spanned three eras, one set in the ancient past, one set in the present day, and one in the distant future. Thor: God of Thunder re-established Thor as a cosmic being, one not of Earth but from the stars, and thus expanded his supporting cast to include beings not only from Earth but also strange alien pantheons. He even gave Thor a new nemesis—a literal God killer from a distant alien world who vowed to kill off every deity after watching his personal prayers go unanswered.
It has been nearly seven years since Aaron and Ribic began their epic run on Thor. Aaron (who collaborated with multiple artists over the run) has chopped off Thor's arm, plucked out Thor's eye, handed Mjolnir over to Jane Foster, who became Thor for a time, destroyed Mjolnir, and brought back Mjolnir. And now we've arrived at the end of Aaron's Thor tale—reuniting once again with Ribic for King Thor #1.
For a story about the end of the universe, King Thor #1 is a remarkably simple tale that hearkens heavily back to the beginning of Aaron's run. Outside of Thor and Loki (whose conflict remains at the heart of the series), the book's only other characters are Thor's granddaughters and Shadrak, a longtime reccuring character who gets an amazing payoff in this issue. And while Thor and Loki's battle is earth-shattering and epic, it's also melancholic and barren, a reminder that we're approaching the end, not only of Thor, but of the entire universe.
That's not to say that the story itself is hollow—Aaron finds a few new ways to deliver epic destruction and moments that top off just about everything we've seen so far, and Ribic's art is as gorgeous and dark as it ever is. There's really no complaints to be found in the comic's composition—the well oiled pair of Aaron and Ribic are firing on all cylinders as they enter Thor's final stretch.
In a way, King Thor #1 strips Aaron and Ribic's Thor run to its roots, which is the way it should be. We've seen payoffs of just about every other storyline, from the long-gestating "War of the Realms," to Jane Foster's final fate, and even Mjolnir's death and rebirth. All that's left is the Odinson's story, and whether he'll succumb to the God-Killing Blade that has plagued him over millennia. The last page brings back another longtime player of Aaron and Ribic's Thor story, who likely has a thing or two to say about killing gods. How that character plays into this epic Viking ballad of a comic remains to be seen, but King Thor is a remarkable first chapter to Thor's final battle.
Published by Marvel Comics
On September 11, 2019
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Esad Ribic
Colors by Ive Svorcina0comments
Letters by VC's Joe Sabino
Cover by Esad Ribic