Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Thor: God of Thunder 8, originally released May 8th, 2013.
Patrick: I’ve got a story I like to tell about the end of my tequilla renaissance. Shelby and Taylor were there, they can tell you that I made some bad decisions that evening where booze was concerned. I’ll spare you all the theatricality of it, but highlights include: leading my friends in an incoherent late-night jam of Mario Bros. music in our apartment building; crying naked in the bathroom; and vomiting in the bed. What can I say – I’m a classy guy. If only I’d been accompanied by two more-experienced versions of myself-from-the-future, maybe I could have made less impulsive decisions that night. Maybe. Let’s see how that same line of thinking applies to Thor.
We’ve simplified things this time around – everything in this issue happens in chronological order and in the same era. Yes, that is what constitutes “simple” storytelling in Thor: God of Thunder. Our two elder Thors are still making their way to The Unholy World of Gorr, which is good because the youngest version of Thor has just about had it with being a slave for the God Butcher. He’s not alone – there are gods and goddesses from throughout time working along side him, and they are also sick of building the Godbomb. Fortunately, the coalition of rebellious gods — which includes Thor’s three granddaughters — have most of a plan: a sort of Godbombbomb. Unfortunately, young Thor is the impulsive type and he snatches the device and makes a MAD DASH for the Godbomb. Only, it doesn’t do shit, so he bails. He encounters the other two Thors in low orbit around the planet, and they all decide to attack Gorr together.
That’s right: all three Thors on the deck of the same magical space longboat. I don’t know if Jason Aaron has been doing this the whole time, but it looks like he’s landed on a clean little naming system to distinguish these guys: young Thor is “Thor Odinson,” modern Thor is “Thor the Avenger” and old Thor is “King Thor.” Just as we’ve standardized “OE Scott” to refer to the old, evil version of Cyclops in All-New X-Men, I’d like to standardize these monikers. This issue mostly follows the poor decision-making of Thor Odinson of the Viking Age.
What it boils down to is that he’s not a guy who has learned to pick his fights yet. So he fights ’em all, and he’s just never successful. His first act of rebellion — to throw down his boulder and demand not to be whipped — is quashed by Gorr’s policy of crucifying other gods when the slaves are out of line. The second time, Thor ends up talking shit about Gorr right to his son’s face, resulting in… whatever painful-looking act this is:
But these two acts pale in comparison to his final, last-ditch attempt to get back at Gorr. It’s such a telling character moment that Thor simply grabs the bomb while everyone else is still deciding how best to use it. Not only is he not successful in saving anyone, he’s blown the only weapon they have against the God Butcher. I know Thor’s particular brand of bravery has a certain “shoot first, ask questions later” quality to it, but Odinson’s bullheadedness is the final word in proactive stupidity. Now that he’s teamed up with The Avenger and King Thor, we run into the very interesting prospect of a character learning something from himself, which is always fun.
Actually, I hope the elder Thors are going to be able to control — if not Odinson — at least themselves. The issue starts with The Avenger asking how much longer it will be before his battle-lust is satiated. It’s essentially the Asgardian equivalent of “are we there yet?” But King Thor does talk some quick sense into him. Actually, I love that panel, so let’s take a look at it.
There’s something so immediately regal and badass seeing these two Thors zip through space on a viking longboat. Look how much of the panel’s real estate is given over to blurred starfield. Letterer Joe Sabino could have put some of those speech balloons in the upper-right corner, but the fierce blackness these Thors are headed into paints too compelling an image to obscure with speech. Plus, Esad Ribic and colorist Ive Svorcina continue to nail the grandeur of these characters – they’re posed so casually heroic and the starlight reflecting off their armor is awesome. But the other beautiful thing about this panel — and the dialogue throughout — is that Aaron hasn’t forgotten the more humorous sensibility that made the last issue so enjoyable. Like, I just love The Avenger complaining that they’re out of ale (horn in hand) only to have King Thor be all “Go polish thy hammer” (which is filthy, by the way) “or practice growing a beard” (which is hilarious).
Shelby, what’d you think? I realized I spent most of my time writing about various Thors, but this issue introduced us to Thor’s granddaughters and took a closer look at Gorr’s son. I mean, it’s hard not to be blinded by the hero of Asgard when there’s three of him, but maybe I shortchanged the supporting cast. To that end, it’s sorta interesting that we don’t see Gorr himself in this issue at all (other than on the cover, I guess…).
Shelby: Ah yes, the tequila renaissance: a night that shall forever live in infamy. We’ve all had those nights where we would have been better served by future versions of ourselves telling us to knock that shit off. I love how Thor Odinson is all eye-rolling and “you old farts,” like any teenager would be, but also like he doesn’t really grasp that they are him. HE is both of those old farts. I think I might have just broken my brain a little bit with that one. And you are dead on correct about the badassedness of the Thors United.
I want that on a t-shirt, or painted on velvet to hang on my wall. It’s a fantasy fan’s dream come true. And please do not forget that Odinson hit The Avenger in the face with a space shark. I barely understand that sentence, it’s so ridiculous and awesome.
Odinson may be the poster child for “proactive stupidity” as you so charmingly put it Patrick, but he’s figured out what Gorr has really done. Right after his ill-advised conversation with Gorr’s son, Odinson says to him, “Open your eyes, boy. He isn’t a man at all. Not anymore.” Young Thor has realized what we’ve been hinting at all along; in setting out to destroy all the gods, Gorr has set himself up as a godhead himself. He literally stole the powers of a god to begin his little journey, his son reveres him and there are probably weaker gods who have been under his power long enough to fear him, vengeance-is-mine-sayeth-the-Lord style. How has he been so driven by his delusions that he fails to recognize what he has become? I’m wondering what would happen if Gorr should detonate his device; would he be just as dead as the rest of the gods in the universe?
Aaron continues to challenge the ideas of god(s) and faith in this title. Gorr’s son explains to Odinson that the world will be better without the gods, that believers of opposing religions will no longer hate each other, that instead of focusing on the afterlife people will just stop and enjoy the life they are living now. Those all sound to me like people-problems, not God-problems. I could very easily blame God The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Allah, and all the prophets and angels for terrorism and continuing hostilities in the Middle East, but I know better. I know it’s people who have fostered that hatred, not God Himself. People are too focused on what comes after death instead of living the life they have? Again, that’s a problem with the people who worship the gods, not the actual gods. Gorr had those problems, and he blamed his gods for them instead of taking the harder path of blaming himself. Once Gorr destroys all the gods in all the universes (assuming he isn’t destroyed himself) and things still are shitty and people still hate each other and don’t take the time to cherish what they have, who is he going to blame then?
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Shelby raises an interesting point about Gorr’s son – he’s sort of been brainwashed into believing his father’s own rhetoric. That’s pretty close to the way I took in religion as a kid (and I assume that’s true for a lot of people), and I can’t wait to see if Gorr’s son pushes back against this idea in the same way.
I think that sort of brainwashing is what leads to the kind of religious rebellion Gorr has undertaken. He was so conditioned to believe completely, that when his life went poorly he lashed out against all the gods instead of questioning his faith and coming to his own conclusions (what, atheism just wasn’t an option?). The religious zeal Gorr’s son has been exposed to creates a very black and white opinion of religion, gods, and faith in general.
Hey Patrick! If you’re ever in a band, you totally need to name it “Tequilla Renaissance.” You drank yourself into a great name there 😛