Thor by Jason Aaron: The Complete Collection Vol. 1 – Book Review


I recently read Jason Aaron’s run on Doctor Strange, and it made me want to seek out more of Aaron’s work at Marvel. The most obvious place to begin, of course, is with his legendary run on Thor. Since the Thor: Love and Thunder movie will be hitting theaters soon, it’s probably a good time for me to brush up on Marvel’s take on the ol’ God of Thunder.

So I picked up my copy of Thor by Jason Aaron: The Complete Collection Vol. 1 and dug in.

What’s collected here?


This book collects Thor: God of Thunder (2012) issues #1-18. All of this material was written by Jason Aaron, while a whole host of artists worked on these issues. A majority of the first part of the book was drawn by Esad Ribić, and a good chunk of the latter portion was drawn by Ron Garney. You’ll also see art by Butch Guice, Nic Klein, Emma Lupacchino, and Das Pastoras.

There’s also a pretty robust cover gallery and some concept sketches in the back of the book.

All of these issues are also collected in the Thor by Jason Aaron omnibus, so if you’re thinking about picking up the omni, you can skip this book entirely.

Also, the recently released Thor: The Saga Of Gorr The God Butcher contains issues #1-11, meaning The Complete Collection is, as the title suggests, more complete than the God Butcher book.

How is the quality of the book?

Thor by Jason Aaron: The Complete Collection Vol. 1

My copy of this book is the second printing, manufactured in September of 2019 at LSC Communications in Kendallville, Indiana. This is a paperback, and the pages are thin, though it does feel heavy and sturdy. There’s also less image bleedthrough than some of the Marvel omnibuses I’ve read.

Since this is a softcover book, I feel quite a bit more nervous about pressing the pages flat than I would if this were a hardcover with a stitched binding. I did treat this book a bit more carefully than I do my hardcovers, and it still got a little dinged up.

Thor by Jason Aaron: The Complete Collection Vol. 1

That said, the images look fine and this is a lot more convenient to carry around than an omnibus. I could actually see myself going out and reading this at a coffee shop, whereas it’s really hard for me to take some of my bigger omnibuses out on the town.

Is the story any good?

Thor - The God Butcher

The story is very neatly divided up into five-issue arcs, with a single issue between each one. That’s why 18 issues was the exact right number for this collection — you’ve got five issues, plus the single issue spacer afterward, and this pattern is repeated three times. I’m sure I don’t have to spell this out, but just in case you have no idea how the math works out on this, it looks like: 5+1+5+1+5+1=18.

Anyway, I’m not here for basic math; I’m here for epic tales of gods and war — and there are plenty of those here. The book begins with the God Butcher story (issues #1-5), which I’d heard nothing but good things about. Plus, the title just sounds badass — this is something I’d been wanting to read for a really long time.

And I have to say, it doesn’t disappoint. The basic setup for the story — that some being has been slaying gods for millennia — happens in the first issue, and the mystery elements had me hooked from the very beginning. From there, we’re off to the races, as they say, and Thor chases a god-killer across time and space. This is an incredible story that’s really hard to put down. I don’t want to say much more than that, because you should really read it for yourself, but know that this book starts out ridiculously strong.

Thor: God of Thunder 6

As I mentioned earlier, Issue #6 breaks from the story a little bit, though it’s a flashback issue that gives some context for the main story. In this story, we see the origins of Gorr the God Butcher, which is pretty interesting.

Also, instead of Esad Ribić, you have Butch Guice providing the art for this one issue. I have to say, I much, much prefer Ribić’s art to Guice’s.

Thankfully, Ribić returns with issue #7, kicking off the Godbomb saga (which runs through issue #11). This is actually the second arc of the Gorr story, picking up right where issue #5 left off — with Thor traveling to the future and meeting his future self, (and he’ll eventually meet up with a younger version of himself as well). So three Thors team up to take down Gorr’s superweapon, a bomb that can move through time and kill every god that has ever existed — a godbomb.

Thor: God of Thunder 10

And this is an incredibly satisfying conclusion to the saga of Gorr. Again, I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s really, really good.

Issue #12 is a quieter issue, with Thor interacting with various people on Earth who are important to him. This one is drawn by Nic Klein. I should point out that it’s the cover of this issue that was reused for the cover of this collection — with the image of Thor flying against a backdrop of New York.

And then we jump into the Accursed storyline (issues #13-17). This arc begins with a prison break, with a bunch of dark elves breaking Maleketh the Accursed out of a prison in Niflheim. And, I mean, you know this is one bad dude if they locked him up in prison in the land of the freaking dead, right?

Thor: God of Thunder 13

To maintain the tension after that epic fight against Gorr, the series really needed a top-tier villain, and Maleketh does just fine in this regard. Of course, there’s some bureaucracy in the way, and in order to defeat the mischievous dark elf, the League of Realms is formed. This is a coalition of dark elves, light elves, dwarves, giants, and trolls, and each faction sends a representative to hunt Maleketh. It’s a little bit like the Fellowship of the Ring, I suppose.

But all of this leads to a whole lot of bickering between team members, and what seemed like it would be an epic battle against Maleketh kind of devolves into a series of losing skirmishes and arguments. It does feel a little bit like they took a great villain and squandered a great deal of his potential.

I’m not saying it’s bad or anything — it’s still delightful to read — but it definitely feels somewhat less exciting than what came before it. I did enjoy the ending in issue #17, though. To not spoil too much, I’ll just say that it’s ironic rather than satisfying, and it starts setting up War of the Realms, which will happen much, much later in this run.

And then issue #18 is kind of like an Asgardian version of The Hangover, where Thor wakes up from a drunken night of reveling and has to figure out what happened. Of course, while this is mostly played for laughs in the first part of the story, it does swing really hard toward the tragic by the end. I’ve said this before, but I really do like tragic Marvel characters, so I did appreciate this issue by the time it wrapped up.

All in all, I have to say this is a pretty good collection of stories, and it has me interested in reading more of Jason Aaron’s esteemed run on Thor. Thankfully, there is a Thor by Jason Aaron: The Complete Collection Vol. 2.

Is this a good place to start reading Thor comics?

Thor: God of Thunder 13

Honestly, I think this is an excellent place to start reading Thor. Jason Aaron is really good at making sure you know everything you need to know exactly when you need it, without getting bogged down by an overreliance on extensive amounts of past lore. This is a really smooth read for folks new to Thor, and if you’ve seen any of Thor’s movies, you already know more than you need to know about the character before diving into this run.

So yes, if you’ve never read Thor, this is a great place to begin. Welcome to the party.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x