Esad Ribic returns to the pages of Thor for the start of another interesting and exciting story that looks set to rival ‘The God Butcher’ in scale. Jason Aaron’s run on the Thunder God really does show no signs of slowing down.
We begin out in space, with Thor visiting dead planets and worrying that this might happen to his beloved Earth. The reason for this new environmental concern from Thor presumably comes from his new love interest, SHIELD Agent Roz Solomon, who first appeared back in #12 and makes her return here. Roz is on her first mission, investigating why a bunch Whales are fleeing a conservation area at a rapid pace. Roz discovers that they are being chased by a group of huge Whaling Submarines owned by Yashida Industries (who are of course run by the Silver Samurai, this story feels much more connected to the Marvel Universe than previous ones, and more than that, it feels like a continuation of what Aaron did in Wolverine). Roz tells them to stop, but they open fire on her, destroying her flying car/submarine and leaving her out in the open water. Luckily for her, Thor comes in to help out. Or it might not be luck, it might be because Agent Coulson prayed to him. I really enjoyed the dialogue between Roz and Coulson in this issue, I could hear Clark Gregg saying those lines, and both the character and Aaron seem to be having a lot of fun with Roz and Thor’s fledgling relationship.
Thor stops the submarines fairly easily, but as soon as that’s wrapped up, Coulson informs Roz about a new situation that needs dealing with. It’s here that we are introduced to the big villain of this atory, Roxxon and their new CEO, Dario Agger. Agger gives a big speech about how now that Roxxon is independent again, they can get back to what they do best, which is improving the planet and saving the world. It’s a good speech, and it’s clear from it that Agger is bad news. He reveals his new plan to /save the world’, which is to mine Ice from Europa, one of Jupiter’s Moons and use the water that comes from it to give the whole world clean, fresh water. Roz butts in and takes Agger to task, asking how much he’s going to charge for his moon-water, and also reveals that Roxxon themselves are responsible for a lot of Global Warming and melting the icecaps. They are causing it, and then profiting from it, which is pretty dastardly, and shows the Europa mining project up as a scam. Agger maintains a legitimate front, and even claims that there’s nobody else out there who knows what’s best for Earth other than them. This of course, is Thor’s cue to arrives, as he drops a chunk of ice that dwarfs Roxxons. I loved the splash-page that shows how Thor got this (by punching a Frost Giant in the face naturally).
I also liked seeing Melita Garner show up here as a reporter covering Agger’s press conference, she played a role similar to Roz’s in Aaron’s Wolverine run, so it was quite amusing to see them interact with each other. Agger is still trying to save face, and tries to befriend Thor, but he’s having none of it, so the Roxxon chief is forced to leave with his whole plan scuppered. Back on Roxxon Island, we see that Agger is more than just an evil CEO, he takes off his glasses and starts to transform into something, we don’t know what. From the cover to this issue, I would guess that his college nick-name ‘The Minotaur’ was in fact literal. I’d be excited to see Thor go up against some Greek Mythology, if only for the possibility of a Hercules team-up. Thor and Roz agree to work together to stop Roxxon, but Roz refuses to join Thor in Asgardia to discuss it over mead, but rather wants to meet over coffee in the morning. I wonder how long Aaron is going to delay this coupling? It’s certainly refreshing to see a God not hold all the power in a relationship.
The issue ends in the far-future, with Old Thor and his Granddaughters wandering the desolate wastes of Earth, and Thor lamenting what went wrong. The present scenes here show Thor start his quest to preserve the Earth, but here we see that he fails, so what goes in between? It’s going to be exciting to find out. But it’s not like this epilogue isn’t important in it’s own right, as frickin’ Galactus shows up. We’ve got Roxxon in the present, and Galactus in the future, how crazy is that?
As I said, Esad Ribic returned with this issue, and it was a welcome return, his painterly, European style fits perfectly with a title that has just as many fantasy elements as superhero, and he, along with colourist Ice Svorcina deliver a comic where every page just looks great. It’s not just the epic splash-pages though, it’s also the subtler things like Agger’s facial expressions that convey his true contempt for the world. Everything here looks like an iconic piece of fantasy art, hell, Galactus is only a silhouette, but it still works incredibly effectively.
This was a brilliant start to the new story, and if any of you guys haven’t been reading this book, now is the time to jump on board.