The writer forging the future of Marvel is getting a stab at Generations! Jason Aaron is joining the comic book madness of Generations to write Thor and tease the future of Marvel with the Avengers of 1,000,000 B.C. in this week’s issue of Generations! We’re taking a look at the big issue which brings the original and Jane Foster versions of Thor together under one beautiful comic book roof–welcome to The Marvel Rundown!
Generations: The Unworthy Thor & The Mighty Thor #1
Written by Jason Aaron
Illustrated by Mahmud Asrar
Colors by Jordie Bellaire
Letters by Joe Sabino
Alexander Jones: From the moment readers were shown the true identity of the new Thor, there was an inherent expiration date plugged into the character. Jane Foster has cancer and she chose to not heal her herself with magic Asgardian sorcery. Each comic she is in could bring her closer to death. Marvel has already shown a renewed interest in bringing the original Legacy heroes back in the Marvel Universe. Instead of directly tapping into some of the drama surrounding Foster or the duo of Thor this issue is anchored around the progression of the hero. The feature film starring Thor has become an integral part of the Odinson’s personality, showing his past as an arrogant, greedy young man. In the pages of Generations: The Unworthy Thor & The Mighty Thor #1 Foster tries to quell some of the sexism and arrogance within the Odinson, attempting to show him what kind of potential he has to be the stoic Guardian of Asgard that personifies the hero in the pages of present day Marvel. Watching writer Jason Aaron touch on these beats and show a different version of the Odinson is a nice anchor for the overall series but isn’t as pronounced as some of the beats in the previous Generations and Thor issues. Last week’s issue centered Wolverine brought up the death of Logan as a harsh counterpoint for the light tone of the comic and before that readers were treated to the Phoenix issue which utilized the horrific fate of Jean Grey for high dramatic tension.
Mahmud Asrar’s pencils perfectly illustrate how the artist is one of the greatest, most under-appreciated creators currently working in the industry. Jordie Bellaire’s colors give the issue a direct Rafael Albuquerque inspiration with exaggerated faces and the watercolor hues. Asrar’s extremely kinetic pencil set makes the full issue seem grander in scope and direction than Aaron’s script might suggest. Halfway through the tale when Asrar finally gets to Jane Foster Thor, he shows the visceral energy with the character and does an excellent job contrasting her with the Odinson. Even though the design for each Thunder god looks similar, readers will not mistake one character for another. VC’s Joe Sabino retains the insane lettering from the core book during the action scenes. One of the most interesting aspects of the story is how the artists interpret concepts other creators originally drew. Watching Asrar draw Mike Deodato and Russell Dauterman created concepts and characters not created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby is an interesting lens at which look at the series.
While I can’t deny the joy pulsating within Generations: The Unworthy Thor & The Mighty Thor #1, I wish the comic had something more substantial to say about the Thor franchise and direction of the character. Aaron has made a distinctive mark on the character during his legendary run. So far the writer has introduced a bevy of emotionally charged moments in Asgard, but those ideas were not quite present here. Another sad aspect of the comic is how light the ties to the book seems to be towards the Avengers of 1,000,000 B.C.. There’s a slight tease at the end that’s creatively worked in the last couple of pages, but Aaron only tosses in the smallest connective tissue between the Avengers teams and the new comic. Even though this comic may not quite be substantial enough, there’s still quite a few novel ideas about the book which should wins fan over.
Melding Apocalypse into the Thor Universe is a fantastic idea, even though his characterization is thin here. Apocalypse’s imposing presence is perfectly sized for a Thunder God of such immense power but framing the character as threat that can be taken down in one issue is going to same readers groan. Another aspect of the series which may anger more casual Marvel fans is how the book’s cliffhanger doesn’t directly tie into the overall series. The publisher wisely instructs readers on where to go next to follow-up on this aspect of the comic, but readers are going to need to wait a little longer and pick up a different title to see where the cliffhanger of this particular issue is going to follow-up on.
Generations: The Unworthy Thor & The Mighty Thor #1 is a beautiful comic book with a solid script. While the series may not live up to the dramatic heights of the past couple issues of the main Thor title, the charming dialogue and characterization makes the issue a worthy inclusion into the Generations slate of one-shots. While this installment may not be perfect, the story is immensely charming and suitable for readers that enjoyed the Generations one-shots so far.
AJ Frost: I truly enjoyed Generations: The Unworthy Thor & The Mighty Thor #1 for its humor, meta-awareness and its grand intention of telling a fun, action-packed story as only Marvel could do. The entire issue is filled with great nods to the mythos of Thor and, in some ways, I think the one-shot format allowed writer Jason Aaron to play with expectation and have a little fun at the expense of super fanboy: The older iteration of Thor wonders not only why the new iteration is a woman, but also wonders how she can wield Mjolnir. The interplay between the Thors encapsulates the entire issue (and perhaps even the broader point of Mavel’s radical departures from their original creations):
Original Thor – “How is a wench worthy of the hammer when Thor is not?”
Modern Thor – “Perhaps because you use words like wench…”
Besides the story, the art is peak mainstream comics goodness and Mahmud Asrar does a magnificent job of displaying the scale of the Thor universe, but also its strangeness. There’s a great run of action splash pages in this comic, and Jordie Bellaire’s colors really add to the magic of the whole affair.
So, while Alex found some worthy points that may deter some fans from picking up the comic, I do not share these qualms. For the casual reader, this is an excellent mash-up of old and new, and a vividly executed symphony of classic Thor tropes and action.
Next week Secret Empire wraps up and we’ve got more Generations–it’s going to be a pretty important week for Marvel!