I'm so glad that it only took two issues to meet Gorr the God Butcher, and that when we did meet him it happened quickly and we got a whole lot of him. No needless teasing of his abilities or drawing out of the reveal. He attacks full force, and it make this issue his almost as much as it's Thor's, because while Thor tells the reader a story from his childhood through narration boxes, it is Gorr who dominates the actual in-battle conversation. And the battle itself. Giving him enough time and space to fully display his power level, his hatred for gods, and his physicality was a smart move. Suddenly the faceless villain from last issue has not only a face, but a powerful personality, and it definitely got my attention in a way the debut did not.
Jason Aaron makes a lot of these intelligent decisions throughout Thor: God of Thunder #2. He gives most of the story this month to past Thor, with only a few very brief cuts to see present Thor and future Thor at the beginning and end of the issue. It just makes good sense that the reader would meet Gorr for the first time by seeing Thor's initial conflict with him, and the few instances where we do jump in time are effective and deliberately chosen. And because the bulk of this issue is devoted to one enormous battle between two superpowerful combatants, that fight gets to be as hard-hitting and impressive as it wants. Yet by having Thor tell the tale of the insane, murderous god from his past, we still get content and characterization in the midst of all the fighting. It's a well-crafted script through and through.
Just like last time, though, it is Esad Ribic's artwork that most delights me. This issue sees him with a different colorist, Ive Svorcina, and while the palette is still excellent and even feels Dean-White-esque, having someone new on colors helps cement for me that Ribic is the true star of this book. There is such a tremendous level of detail, even in the clouds. It gives a sense of realism, of life to the artwork, even when what we're seeing is a god and god killer battle each other in the sky. Gorr's actual appearance doesn't wow me, but it doesn't bother me either. He's appropriately menacing and strange, and his look is definitely not what I was expecting, which always wins points.
I really loved the end of the fight with the massive lightning blast, both visually and in terms of the story. It was easy to predict based on the preceding page, but somehow that didn't lessen the impact. It was such a huge moment, and a huge bolt of lightning, that it's just as satisfying when you see it coming as it would've been as a surprise. Thor is the god of thunder, and though we are used to seeing him bash his enemies with a hammer (or, in this case, an axe), it's good to be reminded that this is not the only tool in his belt. Plus who doesn't love seeing the villain put in his place? Suck on that, Gorr!
This is shaping up to be one hell of an epic, balls out Thor book, and I am thrilled. It's been some time since I was this amped up about the character, even though historically he is one of my favorites. I have high hopes and, as of now, high expectations for Aaron, Ribic, and team. But regardless of what comes next, they knocked it out of the park on this one.