Jason Aaron begins his next big Thor storyline, and not only is it awesome, but it’s a great new jumping on point for new readers, especially people who check out Thor: The Dark World in the Cinema and want more of Thor going up against Malekith, as the leader of the Dark Elves is the villain in both the new movie, and this new arc.
In fact, the whole first half of this comic is devoted to Malekith, and a mission to rescue him from his imprisonment in Niffleheim. A squad of Dark Elves try and bust him out of a pit of snakes, and have to fight some giant spiders, which is pretty awesome, Aaron always brings the Heavy Metal fantasy to this book. In the end, Malekith is free, but of his rescuers, only the brilliantly-named Scumtongue has survived, and even then, he has had to cut off his own tongue and become ‘Scumtongue the tongueless’ which is even cooler. Malekith then proceeds to eat the hearts of the giant spiders. Even though I’m not that familiar with this particular villain, it’s still obvious he’s a bad dude.
We then cut to a far lighter scene, but still great stuff, as Thor enjoys a feast with The Warriors Three and Lady Sif. The dialogue between these characters is fantastic, and once again, it’s clever on Aaron’s part to use these characters, as they are fairly significant parts of the Thor movies, as well as being just plain awesome in their own rights. The feast, and relentless mockery of Volstagg (The Voluminous) is interrupted by a Dark Elf having a freak out, and sensing that his home, Svartalfheim, is burning.
The Warriors Of Asgard immediately head out to see what’s what, and what’s what is of course, Malekith, who upon discovering that the Dark Elf race has gone a bit soft in his absence, has slaughtered entire villages of women and children. As I said, a bad dude. Thor and the gang confront him, and whilst there is a bit of clunky exposition about who Malekith is (I didn’t mind it too much, as I personally needed it, but I imagine some Thor aficionados will have really disliked it), Malekith once again shows how dangerous he is, by dismembering an Elf right in front of our heroes. Thor manages to save her, by using Mjolnir to cauterize her stump, but Malekith has escaped, off to kill the rest of the Dark Elf people (on an awesome looking winged white tiger, as I said, Aaron can bring the metal, this whole book is like a 1970s album cover), and the chase is on.
This was a great first issue of what looks to be an exciting story, the villain is awesome, and as I said, it’s perfect for new readers coming in from the movies, the villain is the same, the supporting cast and sense of humour is there, and as an added bonus, this issue contains a map of the Nine Worlds, which is certainly useful.
The artwork for this arc comes from Ron Garney, who did some really good work with Aaron on Wolverine, and they continue that chemistry here. Garney’s style is not as painterly and epic as Ribic’s was, but it definitely suits this more traditional, superhero story. All in all, this was another great issue of Thor, and that rarest of beasts… a perfect opportunity for newbies. Get on it!