The intensity of Gorr's assault upon the pantheons of the universe does not lessen in "Thor: God of Thunder" #5 written by Jason Aaron with stunning art by Esad Ribic. Aaron reveals more of the source of Gorr's grudge, opening his thoughts to the readers, which plays out nicely and sets up the cliffhanger between the God of Thunder and the God Butcher.
The intensity of Aaron's story is evenly matched by the heavy metal-infused art from Esad Ribic depicting a Thor who would kick sand in the eyes of the warrior from Molly Hatchet's album covers (if that character were not created by Frank Frazetta). On the other hand, Gorr springs from the collective conscience of Aaron and Ribic and, as such, is a heavy metal villain right down to the cloak of shadows draped over his shoulders. Ribic isn't all heavy metal, however, as the humanity in Gorr's eyes, despite the inhuman qualities of the rest of his appearance, adds depth to his madness and intensity to his cause. Gorr finds satisfaction in ripping the still-beating heart from a god and frustration in having to slog through mortals who come to Thor's defense. All of that emotion is quite evident in Gorr's eyes and it really doesn't take much to project this character to a mental replica of the silver screen. Additionally, Ribic's expressions on all three ages of Thor link the Thunder God without depicting carbon copies in different attire. The choreography Ribic orchestrates in the fight scenes rounds out the artwork nicely, soaked in shadow and heavy with detail. The color and the lettering, however, are a bit of a letdown.
Maybe it's because I've read the first four issues digitally, but the colors in this issue seem murky and washed out. Compared side-by-side with my copy of "Nova" #1, I noticed that the red Marvel NOW! bar across the bottom of the cover is several shades lighter on "Thor: God of Thunder" #5. That dwindling color quality carries to the inside. On the upside, the shading Ribic used to darken Gorr's cloak comes through in perceptible lines, much as you would expect to see on the original artboards (presuming Ribic actually uses boards). Despite the washed out tones, the color palettes help to distinguish present day from far-flung future from distant past once those time periods are established early on in this issue. The sound effects employed, however, are clearly hand-rendered and lacking in conviction.
While "Thor: God of Thunder" #5 appears to turn the tide of battle a bit, putting Gorr on the run, it's quite clear that there is more of Gorr to come. I wouldn't have it any other way. Aaron has birthed an intense new foe for Thor and the grander Marvel Universe while giving Thor's mythology more depth and agility. Having enjoyed five installments of "The God Butcher," I find myself wanting to see more of the handiwork of Gorr, especially in a universe as rich in gods and godly characters as the Marvel Universe. For now, however, I'll simply tick away the days until the next installment of this new classic from Aaron and Ribic.