Needless to say, this issue is not an ideal jumping-on point for Thor newbies. This is the end of a journey, not the beginning, and it’s one that demands a certain familiarity with the King Thor storyline that’s been slowly unfolding for the past seven years. There are direct callbacks to Aaron’s earlier work that require that context to fully appreciate. But that’s exactly why King Thor is so adept at recapturing the excitement and thrill of those early God of Thunder issues. It brings this massive story full circle and rewards readers who have been following from the beginning. It channels the same sense of scope and wonderment that have defined so many of Aaron’s Thor comics, albeit it with a sadness that suits this diseased, dying Marvel Universe.
Another key strength in King Thor #1 is its ability to make the most out of a seemingly simple and straightforward premise. As enticing as the prospect of the final showdown between Thor and Loki is, there’s also the question of how that battle can support a four-issue series. As it turns out, there’s much more to the conflict that initially meets the eye. Thor’s granddaughters continue to play an integral role in the conflict,a and some other familiar faces from Thor: God of Thunder also show up. By the end, it’s clear Aaron and artist Esad Ribic have an ambitious plan for their final Thor collaboration.
It would be almost blasphemous to tell this story without Ribic and colorist Ive Svorcina working alongside Aaron again. Their art, as much as anything else, helps forge those connections to the beginning of Aaron’s run and recall the epic clash between the three Thors and Gorr the God Butcher. Together, they give the battle between brothers an epic scope, even as the washed-out colors and heavy textures convey a universe choking out its last, desperate breaths before oblivion takes hold. The art in this issue is beautiful yet terrible to behold, and that’s just as it should be.