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Jason Aaron’s Epic Run on Thor Began Ten Years Ago

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Today, we head back 10 years ago, to see the beginning of Jason Aaron’s epic run on Thor.

This is “Look Back,” where every four weeks of a month, I will spotlight a single issue of a comic book that came out in the past and talk about that issue (often in terms of a larger scale, like the series overall, etc.). Each spotlight will be a look at a comic book from a different year that came out the same month X amount of years ago. The first spotlight of the month looks at a book that came out this month ten years ago. The second spotlight looks at a book that came out this month 25 years ago. The third spotlight looks at a book that came out this month 50 years ago. The fourth spotlight looks at a book that came out this month 75 years ago. The occasional fifth week (we look at weeks broadly, so if a month has either five Sundays or five Saturdays, it counts as having a fifth week) looks at books from 20/30/40/60/70/80 years ago.

This time around, we look at November 2012’s Thor: God of Thunder #1 by Jason Aaron, Esad Ribic, Dean White and Joe Sabino, the beginning of Jason Aaron’s epic run on Thor.

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2012 was an interesting point in time for Marvel, as there were a number of high profile comic book writers who were in the midst of long runs on some high profile comic books. Brian Michael Bendis has been writing the Avengers for seven years, Ed Brubaker had been writing Captain America for seven years, Matt Fraction had been writing Invincible Iron Man for a few years, Jonathan Hickman had been writing the Fantastic Four titles for a few years and Rick Remender had been writing Uncanny X-Force for a few years. Also, Fraction had just come off a Thor run, Kieron Gillen had just come off an Uncanny X-Men run and Aaron had also come off a Wolverine and the X-Men run. So Marvel decided to do something big called “Marvel Now,” where all of these high profile runs came to an end, and the writers swapped books around (with Brubaker moving on from Marvel). Bendis took over the X-Men books, Gillen got Iron Man, Fraction got the Fantastic Four books, Remender got Captain America, Hickman got the Avengers book and, of course, Jason Aaron took over Thor and while there were certainly some excellent runs produced by those swaps (Hickman’s Avengers being particularly notable of the other ones), I think Aaron ended up having the MOST impact on his run, staying on the book for the next eight years, and completely revamping the series. And it all began with Thor: God of Thunder #1.


Aaron was blessed to be teamed with an initial art team as amazing as Esad Ribic and Dean White, as their lush, almost painted style was like watching a movie come to life on the printed page. Ribic and White would notably return to help Aaron finish off his run on Thor many years later.

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The clever conceit for the opening story arc was that we would follow Thor in three different time periods at once. There is young Thor, pre-Mjolnir, who discovers a god has been murdered…


Then there is present day Thor, who has answered the prayers of a little girl on a faraway planet who is forced to pray to Thor since her gods no longer answer any prayers…


Finally, there is King Thor, a gnarled old man in an abandoned Asgard, constantly wondering what went wrong with his life…


The thread that tied together all three stories was the reason why the little girl’s prayers weren’t being answered. After Thor dealt with the problem on the alien planet, he gets into an argument with one of the elders of the planet who sort of mocks the idea of gods as make beleive which, of course, irritates Thor. So he goes to investigate and learns WHY this planet has no gods, because Gorr the God Butcher has, well, you know, BUTCHERED THEM!


We don’t meet Gorr the God Butcher in this issue, of course, but we already know from this issue’s opening that Gorr was someone that the young Thor didn’t take seriously enough and that the modern day Thor was going to have to work very hard to deal with to help avert the dark future that King Thor has to deal with, as well.

And of course, Thor’s actions with Gorr will later lead to Thor being dubbed “Unworthy” and lead Jane Foster to take over as the NEW Thor, and that was a whole other storyline. Jason Aaron’s run on Thor was simply magnificent. Thor has really had an oddly large share of epic runs, right? Aaron’s run compares favorably to Walter Simonson’s Thor run, which is about the best praise that I can think of.

If you folks have any suggestions for December (or any other later months) 2012, 1997, 1972 and 1947 comic books for me to spotlight, drop me a line at [email protected]! Here is the guide, though, for the cover dates of books so that you can make suggestions for books that actually came out in the correct month. Generally speaking, the traditional amount of time between the cover date and the release date of a comic book throughout most of comic history has been two months (it was three months at times, but not during the times we’re discussing here). So the comic books will have a cover date that is two months ahead of the actual release date (so October for a book that came out in August). Obviously, it is easier to tell when a book from 10 years ago was released, since there was internet coverage of books back then.

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