Graphic Novel Review: Thor – God of Thunder: The Accursed
15:20 15 April 2014
Thor goes all Lord of the Rings when the Dark Elf Malekith returns...
With the rich tapestry of Norse mythology incorporating various breeds of elves and giants, brave warriors, evil sorcerers, grumpy dwarves and powerful dragons, it’s perhaps surprising that so few Thor writers inject their tales with a Tolkienesque flavour.
The era-ending Ragnarok saga depicted in the Thor: Disassembled trade paperback, written by Mike Oeming with art by Andrea DiVito, offered a conclusion of sorts to the saga of the Norse Gods which wore its Lord of the Rings influences proudly on its sleeve.
Flash forwards a decade, and current writer Jason Aaron offers his own take on The Fellowship of the Ring, as Thor brings together a disparate “League of the Realms” to do battle with a resurrected Malekith, most wicked of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim.
The creation of celebrated Thor writer-artist Walt Simonson, his return here is an obvious tie-in to The Dark World, the latest movie featuring the Thunder God, in which he is portrayed by Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston, but that’s where the similarities end.
This Malekith is, if anything, even more ruthless and homicidal than his on-screen counterpart, as he begins a relentless slaughter of Dark Elves in order to cement his position as their one true leader.
After refugees from Svartalfheim petition the “All-Mother”, a triumvirate of female deities consisting of Freyja, Gaea and Idunn, they bring together representatives from the Nine Realms to bring down Malekith and end his reign of bloodshed, including Dark Elf sorceress Waziria, Light Elf and gunslinger Ivory Honeyshot, explosive-toting dwarf Screwbeard, the troll Ud, Thor Odinson himself, and the silent giant Oggmunder Dragglevadd Vinnsuvius XVII, known as Oggy for short.
Although at the heart of this tale is the quest to find and defeat Malekith, Aaron makes sure there’s plenty of interplay between the various members of the League, who come to put aside their races’ age-old differences and unite against this common foe. There is also the small matter of a traitor within their ranks who is apparently tipping off their adversary about the group’s every move…
Having hit the ball out of the park with his debut storyline The God Butcher, Aaron proves he’s not a one trick pony by not only delivering on all counts with the epic saga of The Accursed, he also gives us a moving character piece in the one issue story Once Upon A Time in Midgard, which finds the Thunder God visiting various friends and communities across the Earth which mean something to him. A lovely, emotional story which never veers into sentimentality.
Aaron obviously has a long-term game plan for his Thor run, and it’s fascinating to watch him bringing the various elements together for the future. There have been a lot of creative changes at Marvel lately, some more successful than others, but bringing a writer of Jason Aaron’s calibre onto Thor has propelled the title to the very forefront of the publisher’s superhero line, and that is a position truly worthy of a god…