Not one, not two, but three Thors take their battle to the far future to attack the Black World of Gorr. As Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic have done with every story featuring Gorr and Thor, the creative duo presents readers with a wonderfully strong and compelling story. While the final page is intended to have readers scramble for more as Aaron drops the hammer -- three of them actually -- to close out "Thor: God of Thunder" #9, readers need nothing prior or immediately following for it to serve as a satisfying read as Aaron delivers a captivating story worthy of eager follow-up. This is a resilient single issue of one of Marvel NOW!'s greatest and most consistently solid titles.
Part of what makes "Thor: God of Thunder" #9 so enjoyable is the collective presence of all three Thors that Aaron established in "The God Butcher." Aaron manages to make each of the Thunder Gods distinct in their voice and confidence, playing one off the other to spark humor and instill adventure. Very few writers would be able to make this happen with any character, but Aaron bends mythology against itself in the pools of time to create stories worthy of any pantheon. The writer brilliantly displays his ability to understand Thor and what poses as a challenge to Marvel's God of Thunder. Any installment of Aaron's work is approachable and definitive. I've been trade-waiting this book, but had no problem whatsoever following the flow of the story and the motivations and labors of the principal characters.
I love that Gorr's future world is depicted in scratchy shading that exposes the pencil lines of Ribic's work. Not only does it present an unusual appearance for an alien landscape, it also imbues an organic quality to the setting, as though it might open up at any point to swallow the reader, or at the very least ooze from the comic onto the readers' hands like the symbiotic Spider-Man costume now worn by Venom. Weaponized and at Gorr's command, the world is not to be overlooked. When Gorr and Thor share panels, the contrast in styles between what Ribic has applied to Gorr and the smooth, lush, painterly collaboration between Ribic and colorist Ive Svorcina is remarkable. Even though Ribic applies a wide array of textures to Thor, those surfaces are markedly different, defining Thor as having more dimension and warmth while Gorr would almost certainly project optical illusions not unlike oil slicking on water's surface. One small panel, on the fifteenth story page serves as a speedbump, scraping out the bottom of this story as the fantastic art hurtles us through. Gorr's mouth is muddled in one of the worst touch-up jobs in modern digital comic book coloring history. Mercifully, that is but one panel as the rest of "Thor: God of Thunder" #9 is simply beautiful.
Jason Aaron matched up with Thor was enough for me to figure on giving this book at least a passing glance every month, but little did I expect to find my favorite title in the Marvel NOW! lineup. "Thor: God of Thunder" #9 is a stellar example of everything -- from space sharks to the rain of godblood -- that Jason Aaron brings to this title and to Thor's mythology. This is a new era and Aaron has done a fantastic job building timeless adventures with Esad Ribic. I'm itching for the final two chapters of "Godbomb" and fighting the urge to double my purchase for a title so very worthy of my cash.