Thor #1 Review

by Nick Devonald on January 01, 2020

Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Nic Klein
Colors: Matthew Wilson
Letters: VC’s Joe Sabino

Thor #1 lived up to every expectation I had of it. And let me tell you those expectations were high. Following on from Jason Aaron’s incredible run on Thor over the past year, which culminated in the incredible War of the Realms (and the four issue King Thor), Donny Cates had an incredibly difficult job ahead of him. He succeeds admirably.

I can only imagine it was incredibly daunting to take over the reigns. Cates manages to expertly sum up a lot of what’s come before without being dragged down with lengthy exposition. So even if you haven’t read any or all of Jason Aaron’s run on Thor you’ll be able to understand Thor’s new status quo.

A lot of #1s are guilty of being bogged down with setting up the rest of the story arc, or lengthy exposition on everything that came before, with the story and the characters suffering as a result. Not here. Donny manages to include everything needed to set the story up so naturally you don’t notice he’s doing it and just get to enjoy the story. Which leads me onto another thing I love about Donny Cates work in general. He understands the characters, he’s incredibly respectful of what the teams before him have done on these characters, but he very much makes them his own and tells his own story with them. This is his take on Thor and it’s incredible.

And he’s managed to do all this with only one issue. Free of what came before he can now tell his own take on Thor and I cannot wait. Donny has mentioned in the past, multiple times, how much he’s wanted to write Thor. That comes across in every page, every little detail, every nice touch. He’s writing what he wants to be writing and that sheer joy comes across in every panel. I honestly believe if a writer is enthusiastic and enjoying his work then it comes across in the quality of that work and that makes the difference from what would just be good writing to a masterpiece.

And if you weren’t aware of any of this he takes a page at the end to discuss writing comics, and his love for Thor. He comes across so humble, yet the talent shines throughout the comic. This isn’t a job for him it’s a labour of love and it’s incredible.

For reasons of spoilers I can’t go into any real story details, but there were a couple of twists and turns I didn’t see coming at all, which were great. Donny’s last issue of Guardians of the Galaxy was billed as the culmination of all his cosmic work, but I disagree. There are seeds that were planted in those series which are only just coming to fruition here. While not essential to understand the story I recommend reading Silver Surfer: Black before this story. (Even if you aren’t too fussed, it’s an outstanding story and deserves to be read. Go on.)

I realise this review is in danger of just me repeating over and over "Donny Cates is amazing, Donny Cates is amazing", but he really is one of the biggest and best talents in comics right now and deserves to be recognised as such. One last bit of praise for him then I’ll move onto the art (I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned it yet, it’s absolutely stunning!) Donny is really good at putting his own twist on characters we think we know. Look at some of his past work. Silver Surfer: Black, totally changes how we think of Norrin, changes his powers for the future, all while fitting in perfectly with the character. Frank Castle becoming the Cosmic Ghost Rider. I could go on and on, but every time he does it is such a fan pleasing moment. It get’s the reader excited for what’s coming next. And with this in mind he does it again here. Thor is now the king. His powers are even greater than they ever were before. Then Donny does something which changes it all again. It’s such an incredible moment and fans are going to absolutely love it and be so excited for what the future brings.

Enough about Donny Cates now. Onto the art. IT. IS. INCREDIBLE. Nic Klein’s work is phenomenal. The level of detail is unbelievable. I would love to get every single page of this comic blown up huge and displayed on my wall, it’s that good. He captures characters faces and expressions so vividly it tells as much, if not more, of the story than the writing does. Some comics are guilty of relying more on the words than the art but not here. This is a visual medium and they absolutely make the most of that here.

And of course every artist needs a good color artist as well and Matthew Wilson does a brilliant job too. A number of scenes are deliberately muted because of rain but this is just an excuse to make the main characters stand out front and centre. The thunder in the background. The rainbow bridge. The red of Thors cloak. They really stand out and it works so well.

I’m a big believer in a comic only being as good as it’s weakest link, whether that’s the writing or the art or the colors. You’d be incredibly hard pushed to tell me what’s the weakest link here, everyone does such a great job.

As a New Year dawns a New Thor stands ready to take on a galactic threat that threatens the entire Marvel universe. Luckily the team of Donny Cates, Nic Klein and Matthew Wilson are more than up to the job of telling this story. This isn’t just for fans of Thor, or Marvel, this is a comic all comic fans NEED TO BE READING. Yes, it’s that good.

Our Score:


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