After the epic ‘The Accursed’ storyline, Jason Aaron switches gears for a fun, one-issue story about Young Thor fighting a Dragon. But it’s a lot more complex than that.
The issue begins with Thor waking up with a raging hangover inside the mouth of a dead Dragon, where he is praised by the women around him for saving their village from the beast that had been terrorising their village. Thor doesn’t remember anything much, so the ‘Queen Of The Northern She-Vikings’ fills him in, but, when the Dragon, who isn’t dead, wakes up, the true story is revealed. This Dragon, who’s name is Skabgagg, wasn’t the one who had been attacking the villagers and eating their dogs, he was just a Dragon who met up with Thor on his hunt, and agreed to help him find the true culprits, who turned out to be Trolls. After Thor and Skabgagg killed all of the Trolls, they got royally pissed on Troll Booze, leading to their epic hangovers and the current state of affairs. Wary of this story, the Queen tells Thor and Skabgagg to lead them to these Trolls, and prove that it’s the truth, which they do, and so another piss-up begins. I really enjoy these tales of Young Thor, where he’s just a debauched jack-ass, they are a hell of a lot of fun, and they show just how much humanity has changed him in the intervening years, and how important the likes of the Avengers and Jane Foster have been.
After this party, Thor returns home to Asgard, where he is lectured by Heimdall and told to see Odin, but he just goes right to bed. Skabgagg also returns home, where his father chastises him for spending time with humans instead of just eating them, and basically disowns him for not being a true dragon. This is where the story takes a dark turn, as Skabgagg returns to the Faroe Island village and tries to have another party with his friends, but inadvertently ends up eating and drinking all of their supplies and setting fire to buildings. Worst of all, in an attempt to dance with a Shieldmaden, he accidentally kills her. Thor is called by the villagers to help deal with the Dragon, and so an emotionally charged battle begins, with Skabgagg succumbing to his true nature and trying to kill Thor for stopping his ‘party’.
In the end, Thor slays the dragon, but he’s not happy about it, and even turns down a drink from the Queen. This issue really shows Young Thor take a step towards maturity I feel, and was a surprisingly affecting read, I felt really sorry for Skabgagg in the end, in fact, he reminded me of a (less stupid) Lenny from Of Mice And Men, which might be strange reference point, but it works. He couldn’t escape that he was a big, brute, and neither could Skabgagg, and in the end, he died.
This was a really good comic, and one that did a great job of subverting my expectations for what a Thor Vs Dragons story can be. Jason Aaron is playing with a lot of fantasy tropes and clichés in this series, and each time, he does something new with it.
The art here came from Das Pastoras, who is unfamiliar to me, but is a great fit, his style, much like Esad Ribic’s, feels very European, very Heavy Metal (both the comic and the album cover art style), and as such, fits with a medieval fantasy story. This issue reminded me of Ladronn, which is high praise, and I’d love to see Pastoras return for more of Young Thor’s adventures in future issues.