I’ve been reading comics for quite a while. I truly thought I’d seen just about everything. I don’t know what Marvel has tapped into over there at the House of Ideas, but the comics these days are as good—if not outright better—than what I was reading, back in the day. Between House of X/Powers of X, Fantastic Four/X-Men, and now Thor, I believe Marvel’s comic dynasty is safe, for the foreseeable future.
Thor #1 opens with Mjolnir barreling at luminar speeds all across the Ten Realms. It lands on Midgard (Earth), right in front of Tony Stark, right after pummeling through the skull of a nameless beast the Avengers are fighting. Stark smiles and asks “if anyone has a Sharpie.” The all-powerful hammer then makes it way back to Asgard, directly into the outstretched hand of the mighty one, himself, Thor Odinson. The War of the Realms has come to a close, and Thor is now—officially—King of Asgard. This explains Iron Man’s message written on Mjolnir: “Nice shot! Enjoy your retirement.” Thor is no longer a super hero. He is now a king, and has to put gallivanting and crossover team-ups to a halt (similar to Black Panther, actually). Thor is not happy with this new role and expresses plenty of sighs and grunts to let this point be made absolutely clear.
This day is also the day Thor must deliver his coronation speech to the people. Thor is nervous (even though I didn’t think this was possible), but his nerves end up not being an issue, because as he is going to speak.. the gargantuan body of Galactus comes crashing down into Asgard, literally on top of the crowd of Asgardians. Thor immediately pounces on the celestial figure, not caring that the planet devourer is looking quite haggard and also missing an arm. Galactus asks the thunder deity to stop, warning of “The Star Plague.”
Weeks pass, and during this time rain falls constantly on Asgard, as well as an incessant barrage of lighting and thunder. Most chilling, ever since Galactus landed.. Yggdrasil, the World Tree, has been slowly dying. Thor has gathered all the living heralds of Galactus over these weeks. He speaks to them, asking what the “Star Plague,” or “The Black Winter,” is. No one answers. The next panel literally had me yelling as I held the comic. None other than The Silver Surfer, in full Fallen One regalia, comes phasing through one of the walls of the meeting hall. Marvel knows how to create an entrance and how to get its readers pumped up. He is also—of course—the only one with answers for the current predicament.
The Star Plague is an as-yet unexplained force that destroys universes. In fact, it’s the force that destroyed Galactus’s universe and spurred his birth into this one. The Surfer explains Galactus must face it again and—presumably—put a stop to it. However, Galactus is currently weakened and must be powered up before he can stop the cosmic wave of destruction. Norrin Radd reveals he knows of 5 planets (of course he does) that possess unique energies. He has hidden these worlds from Galactus for millennia. These globes will power Galactus up beyond his normal, already incomprehensible, levels to a new dimension of strength. This is the only way Galactus can stop the Star Plague and preserve the universe. This explanation initiates the plot of the story.
Later that evening, Thor leaves behind his king-ly duties and begins suiting up. He wipes Tony’s message off Mjolnir—Thor is now a hero, once more. Odinson, along with the all-black Silver Surfer, meet Galactus. The Surfer explains Thor will be coming along on this journey. Galactus refuses. He tells them that the Star Plague revealed to him the cause of his true death—and that cause is Thor, himself. To thwart this—at least for the time being—Galactus summons his power and blasts Thor with a blistering wave of energy. This energy does not destroy him, but converts him into a herald of Galactus—the Herald of Thunder. Worth mentioning, at this point, is this is one of the dopest costumes Thor has ever had, without question.
Marvel is on another level right now. My favorite title is Fantastic Four/X-Men, but Thor is a close second. I look forward to the coming weeks of superlative comic book reading.
—The Cavalier Nerd