"Thor: God of Thunder" #13 keeps the amazing adventures of the Norse God of thunder rolling thanks to the imaginative storytelling of Jason Aaron and incoming artist Ron Garney. Aaron shows no fear of any of the Nine Realms as the opening chapter of "The Accursed" plunges into the frigid depths of Niffleheim with the Dark Elf Scumtongue and his band of elves.
Scumtongue and company come seeking to free their lord and master, Malekith, one-time ruler of the Dark Elves (and upcoming foe for "Thor: The Dark World"). Their journey, as with all mythology-based quests, is fraught with danger, disaster and death. Rather than bounce between the Dark Elves and Thor, Aaron makes a nice choice by completing the story of Malekith's liberation prior to checking in with Thor. That introduction of a terrifyingly violent foe blended with Malekith's madness catapults the deposed Dark Elf king to a significant threat.
When Aaron does finally reunite readers with Thor, it is during a celebration in the halls of Asgardia, with flowing mead and roasted goat. It presents a nice moment of camaraderie that allows readers to enjoy some downtime with Thor and his Asgardian posse. Aaron nails every personality tightly and gives each a chance to introduce themselves to any potential newer readers. With a trio of scenes throughout the course of "Thor: God of Thunder" #13, Aaron continues to expand the Nine Realms, adding as much to Marvel's Thor mythology as he borrows from Norse mythology, keeping the story fun and entertaining. Some of the concepts like winged tigers and Hel-snakes seem to leap from Frazetta paintings, and through those Aaron definitely leaves a thumbprint on the legend of the Thunder God, right next to Jack Kirby and Walt Simonson.
The visuals in "Thor: God of Thunder" #13 round out with a map of the Nine Realms and Yggdrasil by Haemi Jang that could serve as the endpapers for every future "Thor" collected edition, but the real star at the center of this issue's universe is Ron Garney. Having worked with Aaron before, Garney loses no time in finding his groove, immediately making the Nine Realms seem like second nature. Garney's artwork is crisp and clean, at times revealing and other times well-polished, helping to make this comic book feel burgeoning and alive. Garney's characters are comic book perfection: lithe and bulky, hideous and handsome, beautiful and bone-chilling. There is no lack of variety in these pages. While Esad Ribic was a strong match for Aaron's tale of the God Slayer, Garney is a magnificent fit for a story that evokes Walt Simonson's work on this title while simultaneously forging new ground. The colors from Ive Svorcina over Garney's pencils feel like crayons or chalk pastels and add an otherworldly quality to the visuals. Joe Sabino adds his two cents through masterful lettering and puts the finishing touches on the opening chapter of another Thor epic in the making.
While the timing of pitting Malekith and Thor against each other is certainly owed in no small part to "Thor: The Dark World's" impending November release, the execution of the coupling and the acceleration of "Thor: God of Thunder" #13 is all Jason Aaron. Every issue of "Thor: God of Thunder" rises to the top of the comics pile, making a claim for the best that Marvel publishes. "Thor: God of Thunder" #13 offers an inviting point for readers to jump in for a pitch-perfect introduction to the Nine Realms. This issue delivers a more powerful action-packed punch than the previous, but taken together they portray the versatility of the character and Aaron's ability to humanize the God of thunder without neutering the grander tale to which Thor belongs.