I’ve been spoiled for the mystery behind the new Thor for quite a while now. So the drama behind the big reveal falls pretty flat. I was expecting that, however, and the three-part story leading up to the reveal by writer Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman still manages to be pretty entertaining in and of itself. We’ve got the new Thor throwing down with the Destroyer, who has been sicced on her by Odin and his brother Cul. The Odinson’s ongoing detective efforts to find out who this new Thor is are interesting enough, but worth it for the hilarity that ensues when his results are revealed to have come to naught. There’s also Roz Solomon “Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s” continuing campaign to bring down Roxxon and its CEO Dario Agger, who spends most of his time here bonding with Malekith and becoming a little more rounded as a character as we learn more about his backstory. Dauterman draws the hell out of all this, with the high point being a fantastic mostly-female battle royale against the Destroyer. It’s only three issues, but this small run satisfies and portends good things for the title’s future.
Rounding out the collection is an Annual featuring two good stories and a pretty great one (along with an old issue of “What If?” which shows that the idea of Jane Foster as Thor is not a new one). Aaron teams up with Tim Truman for a story about Old Thor’s birthday and how his three granddaughters try to find him the perfect gift. Truman’s rugged style is a perfect fit for the character and the story which winds up being a welcome extension of what Aaron has been doing with the character. “Nimona’s” Noelle Stevenson teams with artist Marguerite Sauvage to show us how the new Thor won the trust of the Warriors Three. It results in a fun bit of high adventure that would’ve benefitted from being told in a longer format.
Best of all is writer C.M. Punk’s story of a most epic night of boozing involving Young Thor and Mephisto. The former wrestler acquits himself decently here as a writer with an enjoyably goofy story that has Marvel’s Not-The-Devil encountering a rare situation where he doesn’t come off as the smartest man in the room. I think Loki’s meddling and the ending don’t come off as well as they could have, but what really makes this story great is the art from “Chew’s” Rob Guillory. Punk’s story is pitched perfectly to the artist’s skills as a cartoonist and the art is simply a joy to behold from beginning to end. Yes, Guillory’s contribution likely set production on “Chew” back a few weeks. Much as I love that series, I’d say the results here were worth it.