Thor: The God Butcher and Godbomb

Thor: The God Butcher
by Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic
collecting Thor: God of Thunder #'s 1-5

At 139 pages (five issues + extras), this hardcover retails $24.99. Can you believe that? I'm sure the library gets it at a discount, but is unreasonable to get at retail.

The story reads like a murder mystery in three timelines, with three different Thors. It's an exciting, immersive read into the mind of Thor as he investigates who's butchering Gods across the universe.

Literally, it's a butcher, because Thor finds their limbs cut off and their bodies decapitated, faces frozen in agony and terror. The butcher's this alien-ish guy named "Gorr," who's convinced that the gods have failed him and are intent on creating a "godless age." By, eh, chopping off their limbs and heads. Jason Aaron writes the grand dialogue you'd expect from Thor, an intelligent narration and it's drawn meticulously by Esad Ribic. Just check out this panel from issue 3:

It would have been so much easier to just paint in the black, digitally, but Ribic actually draws in the darkness by hand. It's Gorr's "shadow dogs" devouring Thor and Ribic actually drew them in himself! It makes the threat that much more real, when you can see that each stroke is like another animal.

Jason Aaron knows how to write comic books. His lines are great, for example, there's this one about the galactic frontier God that "wrestled black holes just for fun." It's great comic books.

It's a shame the story isn't fully collected in this hardcover. You'd have to pay $50 just to get a full story out of the title. Good stories win new readers. This is a good story. But it isn't a full story.

Thor: Godbomb
by Jason Aaron, Esad Ribic and Butch Guice
collecting Thor: God of Thunder #'s 6-11

Butch Guice draws a special 6th issue that clues you in on why Gorr is so angry at the gods. I was at first a little miffed that Marvel needed to pull in another artist to continue the story, but it's not a continuation. Rather, it's a break in the story, and a good one at that. After a life of hardship, the death of his wife to hunger, life in the desert living by the slime of caves and seeing his son die before him, Gorr is convinced that the world is better off without deity(ies) to worship. It's a very humanist way to look at it, when you read about it.

By sheer luck, he happens across this "All-Black the Necrosword. The slicer of  worlds. The annihilablade" and thus gets his god-killing abilities. After that origin story, Ribic takes us away for the last five issues of the collection that continues Gorr's efforts. Rather than using the Necrosword to butcher gods by hand, individually, he wrenches information from Shadrak, God of Bombs, to create a time-spanning "Godbomb."

It's constructed by gods that Gorr's enslaved and it took 900 years -- after which, Thor meets himself across three timelines to wage battle against Gorr and prevent the onset of the Godbomb.

It goes off anyways, but the Thor from our timeline, Thor the Avenger, performs a deus ex machina and saves all of the gods. Gorr is taken care of and we can resume our religions. Humorously, Thor "dies" for the ninth time in history and wakes back up in 3 days. It's great being a god.

Thor: The God Butcher and Thor: Godbomb tell an exceedingly good story about Thor with some cute commentary on religion. I don't consider myself a Thor fan, but any comic book reader would enjoy the story, and I recommend this very highly. Pick it up if you can.

BONUS PANELS:

When your world's about to end and you're going to enter the greatest fight of your life, what time is it?
Miller time.

Aaron takes a jab at the X-books and gives us a hint at what Thor might think, when he sees that he's become the All-Father, King of Asgard:

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