As the comic book industry slowly starts coming back in full force we continue to take a look at the comics you should be looking out for when they continue their release schedule. Today we are going to spotlight Donny Cates and Nic Klein’s current Thor run that started at the beginning of 2020. Donny Cates has been one of Marvel’s rising talents with his work on Venom, Absolute Carnage, Silver Surfer: Black, Doctor Strange, Thanos, and other indie work. That body of work from Cates along with the talents of Nic Klein on art you knew going into the new Thor comic it would be great. And so far, after four issues, Cates and Klein have not disappointed with their work on Thor.
Writing characters that have been around for decades is never easy. Its even harder to work on a franchise after they are coming off an epic, character defining comic book run. That is exactly where Cates started as he was picking up Thor after the incredible, close to a decade, long run Jason Aaron had on the franchise. Aaron redefined who Thor was for the modern era. It also made it tough to see any other writer stepping in and matching that level of storytelling with the high level Aaron reached on Thor.
To Cates credit he has taken everything Aaron built and run with it. As he has shown through four issues, Cates fully understands why Aaron’s Thor run was so successful. He has taken what Aaron established and built on top of it with how he is examining Thor as the King of Asgard. That is a role we have only briefly seen explored for Thor. Aaron did some of that but had a different, post-apocalyptic take with his older King Thor. Having Thor as King of Asgard in the present is a complete shift for who we know the character as.
That is where Cates has been so successful. He has shown a great amount of respect for what Aaron built. Cates understood that for many fans coming into his run they define the modern day Thor based on how Aaron developed Asgard during his time on the franchise. Cates has taken on showing what the status quo of Thor being the new the new King of Asgard, aka All-Father, after the events of Aaron’s War of the Realms means to the character.
Throughout the first four issues Cates has really dug into how this new leadership role has been changing Thor for the good and bad. The biggest thing that Cates is not shying away from is the weight of being the new All-Father has on Thor. Each issue thus far has shown how seriously he is taking on that role while also trying to maintain his status as a superhero. Two great complementary examples of that are when Thor helps the Avengers on Earth while he is still on Asgard in Thor #1 and the tense argument between Thor and Sif in Thor #4. Both scenes show how the character is trying to balance two of the roles that he still has within the Marvel Universe.
This character work is given a different tone with how Galactus has come into play right away. Cates has treated Galactus with a larger-than-life tone that is so important to the character. When Galactus has been on screen with Thor there is a feeling that the end is coming. How that has impacted the decisions Thor has had to make as he became the new Herald of Thunder in order to stop the incoming “Black Winter” has been fascinating to watch. It builds greater anticipation for what will happen in this unsteady partnership Galactus and Thor have created when all is said and done.
But the most interesting plot element that Cates has been working on thus far in his early Thor run is the question around Mjolnir. We’ve seen Jason Aaron and others play with the idea of either Thor being unworthy or someone else wielding Mjolnir. Cates is setting up something similar with how Mjolnir has been used thus far that could lead to an even greater story for Thor’s reign as All-Father. That is definitely something to keep an eye on.
Nic Klein has also been excellent with his artwork on this new Thor run thus far as well. He has given an epic scale to “The Black Winter” storyline deserves. Because when you are dealing with characters like Thor and Galactus the word “epic” should come to mind every issue. Klein has delivered that with how his artwork captures who these characters and worlds are. You get a sense that what you are reading will affect the entire Marvel Universe if Thor is not successful in what he is doing. At the same time, you get a sense of the weight that Thor is carrying as All-Father. There is a specific scene at the end of Thor #4 that really gets across the emotional toll this story is taking on the God of Thunder.
Now with Cates and Klein’s run being four issues in you are early enough into this Thor run to catch up. That is something I highly recommend doing as Cates and Klein are delivering a big event scale story that you can jump in even if you haven’t read Thor before. Everything is presented from the beginning to get you to understand where Thor and Asgard is at the moment. Especially if you are into sci-fi/cosmic comic books Cates and Klein’s Thor is for you.
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