STORY BY: Jason Aaron
ART BY: Chris Sprouse, Karl Story
Right, I get it. Worlds have died. Heroes and villains have been mashed together across a new world. Each area has its own version of whatever is going on, ruled by Doctor Doom. Has this not gone on long enough?
If, like me you are a little jaded with the ongoing Battleworld element of Secret Wars, you may miss out on a couple of gems. After a couple of disappointments in the tie-in saga, I am glad to say that Marvel have pulled out a cracker.
The Thors are the police force of Battleworld. Under the watchful eye of Sheriff Strange, various individuals deemed worthy wield their version of Mjolnir . It’s here we step into a murder scene. Not just one however, but five murdered women from five different kingdoms. It doesn’t take the Thors, led by fan favourite Beta Ray Bill, to determine that each woman is the same woman and once identified, they may be able to stop the next one being killed.
I have read Jason Aaron’s work before, reviewed his Star Wars book, which I found to be lacklustre. This is the complete opposite. I have always been a sucker for a good murder story and Aaron moves the pieces around majestically. He does so in way that helps introduce the various Thors, each of the main players getting some panel time. These aren’t just fluff pieces to please fans, although fans will get a kick out of the various Thors, these elements add to the greater picture of Battleworld. Interestingly, there is still discord about mutants so not everyone in the group thinks alike. This is important as in some cases, people read police force as fascist force. The discord also serves to humanize the characters, by letting what we may perceive as flaws, show. Aaron does such a great job with the setup that when the punch line finally hits, you are totally taken by surprise. My only concern is that the alternative vibe might have been taken a tad far, when you actually have to introduce a certain character by name, rather than let the art speak for itself.
Speaking of art, Chris Sprouse is the artist tasked of making the blonde, long-haired, bearded Thunder God look the same but different. In part this achieved by utilizing other people whom have wielded the hammer. This makes great use of the rich history of Thor as well as allows Sprouse to flex his considerable talent. He is ably helped in his task with inker Karl Story and more so with colourist Marte Gracia, whose work on a number of pages and panels allows Sprouse to focus on the characters rather than rendering a lot of complicated backgrounds.
It is fantastic when a writer fits a book or character well. Aaron has done a number of books for Marvel but has really hit his stride with Thor. This shows throughout this book, in the quality of the pacing, the dialogue and even the twists and turns that surprise you with their simplicity.
If only every tie-in book was as good as this…..