Marvel’s current mega-crossover has put one of its biggest villains in charge of everything. And the law enforcement officers making sure that Doctor Doom’s will gets obeyed are all Thor. All of them Thor; all of them cops.
Thors #1—by Jason Aaron and Chris Sprouse—is a comic that digs deeper into one of Secret Wars’ coolest ideas: being a Thor on the patchwork endtimes planet of Battleworld is like being a cop. (Mild spoilers follow. Hover over the top left of each image and click on the magnifying glass icon to expand it.)
It’s a different kind of avenging for a different status quo, one where the mythical realm of Asgard seemingly doesn’t exist. But even without so many of the familiar trappings of the Thor mythos, this first issue still works quite well.
One of the things that’s great about the Thor character in Marvel Comics’ fictional universe is how it’s tethered to the concept of worthiness. It isolates the Thunder God as an extremely entity. He’s already rarefied as an actual Asgardian deity but, among their ranks, is even more singular as the person designated to wield the powerful magic hammer Mjolnir. When someone else is even able to pick up the hammer, it’s a big deal.
So it’s to Jason Aaron’s credit that he’s able to quickly establish how different personalities for the many Thors appearing in this issue. Granted, he’s leaning hard on many of the tropes that play out on police procedural TV shows like Homicide, The Wire and Law & Order. I watched a ton of Homicide when it originally aired on NBC ages ago and it’s clear that Aaron probably did, too. Certain lines and sequences are almost exact reproductions of moments from that show—and the others named above—but given tweaks to make them fit in a far more fantastic framework.
The pairing of nitty-gritty police investigation with the faux Shakespearean dialogue that’s Thor’s trademark is one of the best things about Thors #1. It also uses the familiar retinue of Thors from Marvel’s publishing history in excellent fashion. The Thunder Frog from Walt Simonson’s legendary run on the character shows up in a hilarious way here, along with a Groot Thor and a Thor in the form of the fearsome Asgardian war robot called the Destroyer. The Odinson who’s been the primary Thor of the mainline universe isn’t even the lead investigator here. That role goes to the Thor from the recently deceased Ultimate line of comics. Odinson does get a priceless cameo, though.
Showing dozens of versions of Thunder Gods drinking, grousing and answering to hard-ass commanding officers isn’t that far afield from how Thor’s been portrayed in the past, especially during Aaron’s tenure. You need to be a special person to be a cop and you need to be a special person to be Thor. Reckoning with life and death up close is a near-sacred vocation, one that can grind away at you if you’re not careful. There’s no possible way that the set-up of Thors will continue after Secret Wars is done but, while it exists, we’ll be getting an inspired mash-up of two very fertile genres.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.