Spencer: To tell a good story, characters need to face consequences for their actions. Just look at Heroes, where characters could quit jobs, disappear for months at a time, or even switch between “good” and “evil” at the drop of a dime without ever facing any consequences, thus giving us little reason to care about what the characters did, since none of it mattered anyway. Contrast that with, say, Breaking Bad, where every decision the characters make, no matter how small, has the chance to ruin their lives; everybody’s actions matter, causing the viewer to become invested in the story and pay close attention to what happens. Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic follow the latter example, fortunately, in Thor: God of Thunder 21, which finds both versions of the titular god dealing with the consequences of actions he took in previous issues. Continue reading
Spencer: As its name would suggest, Thor: God of Thunder is a book concerned with the more theistic side of Thor’s existence. Although at first glance this current storyline seems more interested in environmentalism than examining godhood, that doesn’t mean this element is missing completely; it just means that Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic are making us work a little harder to find it. After all, this issue features two different versions of the thunder god, a cosmic force so powerful that he makes gods tremble, and an evil CEO with the ego of a god. What’s the one thing they all have in common? They all do whatever they want, no matter what the consequences may be.
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Thor: God of Thunder 13, originally released September 18th, 2013.
Drew: A reviled leader returns, shocking a land that had long ago moved on. OR A beloved leader returns, rescuing a land that had long ago lost its way. Depending on your political ideology (and location) those statements could equally describe Silvio Berlusconi, Vladimir Putin, Newt Gingrich, or Hillary Clinton. The point is, nobody is the villain in their own story, though they may widely be seen as such by others. It can be hard for people to understand how their political savior is seen by others as pure evil, and it’s exactly that kind of superlative exaggeration that has devolved modern politics into tribal chest-thumping matches. Thor: God of Thunder 13 isn’t quite even-handed enough to confuse anyone about who the villain is, but it does provide a thrilling introduction that has us rooting for that villain…at least until he starts killing babies. Continue reading
Today, Ethan and Drew are discussing Thor: God of Thunder 12, originally released August 28th, 2013.
Ethan: Religion is a funny thing. The effort and complexity inherent to trying to establish a useful way of thinking about where stuff comes from and how we should keep it going forward is difficult to wrap your head around. We humans are bundles of passion and logic, of guilt and pride, of doubt and certainty. Whether you think that’s thanks to some awkward midpoint of evolution, or intrinsic tension between physical and spiritual existence, it’s a heckuva weight to walk around with, and religions (or opposition to them — a kind of religion in itself) is seemingly one of the only ways we’ve got that get our species through each day and each millenium. Rather than a denial of the tension between our daily life and the unthinkable bigness of space and time, religions find ways to incorporate the vast distances that are out there into our miniscule doings. In the issues of Thor, God of Thunder leading up to #12, we’ve mostly focused on the Big, Godly Conflict; this issue takes its time to let us steep in the Small, Human Cares and to explore how those two scales are linked.
Today, Shelby and (guest writer) Christopher are discussing Thor: God of Thunder 11, originally released August 14th, 2013.
Shelby: Despite what Neverending Story would have you believe, all stories do, in fact come to some sort of conclusion. Comic book conclusions tend to be more vague than most, since the end of one arc merely marks the beginning of the next. Conclusions are especially fluid when the story features a bomb made of time, with the ability to rip through all of time, and your heroes are three versions of one character at different points in his life. This is where Jason Aaron leaves us with his conclusion to the Godbomb arc: if Young Thor will grow to be Thor the Avenger who will eventually become King Thor, is this story every really over?
Today, Patrick and (guest writer) The Freakin’ Animal Man are discussing Thor: God of Thunder 10, originally released July 17th, 2013.
Patrick: Oh, I got this one: there are three Thors. They represent the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Together, they are the christian God, separate, but still one, and they’re in danger of being wiped out by someone who hates God(s). No, wait, maybe it’s a joke: “three Thors walk into a bar. They all order mead.” No, wait – it’s a Shakespearean tragedy, and Gorr is like Othello, driven to murdering those he cares about because he’s too wrapped up in a single thought. Shit, there’s something archetypal about this narrative, but it’s hard to nail down what that is, exactly.
Today, Shelby and Ethan are discussing Thor: God of Thunder 9, originally released June 12th, 2013.
Shelby: Religion, mythology, and fantasy: all three have slightly different connotations. Religion refers to a set of beliefs about where we came from and where we’ll end up, generally involving some sort of god(s) and a moral code. My rural Wisconsin, Lutheran upbringing means I tend to default to the Christian God, Three in One, etc., etc. Mythology is more folkloric, a collection stories about heroes and gods: the stories that fuel all religions, but a term often ascribed to the religion of the other. As in, “my beliefs are religion, yours are merely myths.” Fantasy is the imagination that fuels the myths, the crazy daydream that dreamed up the stories in the first place. Personally, I believe it’s the myth, the story, that ties these three together: the imagination creates the story, and the story fosters belief. No where is the connections between religion, mythology, and fantasy more apparent than in Jason Aaron’s Thor: God of Thunder.
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. Continue reading