Donny Cates stepped in to fill the big shoes left behind the Jason Aaron and his incredible run on Thor and has not missed a beat. Cates has taken everything Aaron established and moved forward to show us what happens now that Thor is the All-Father of Asgard after the events of War of the Realms. Thor has not had a chance to settle in for long as Galactus arrived and immediately turned Thor into the new Herald of Thunder. Galactus and Thor’s team-up came due to the coming Black Winter event that has threatened to destroy the Marvel Universe if it is not stopped. With the stage set for Galactus and Thor to take on Black Winter head on can two of the strongest characters in the Marvel Universe stop what is coming? Let’s find out with Thor #5.
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Nic Klein
Colorist: Matt Wilson
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: On Asgard, Lady Sif (who is the current watcher of the Bifrost) watches over all the people from various planets arriving and being helped by the Warriors Three and others find a place to be safe.
An injured Beta Ray Bill approaches Sif to ask about Thor’s whereabouts. Sif reveals that Thor has masked his appearance even to her and starts to wonder if it was right for Thor to become king with the recent decisions he’s made. Beta Ray Bill believes Thor can still rise up to be the king they need.
Sif then asks Beta Ray Bill what he was praying for while at Yggdrasil. Beta Ray Bill says it was for forgiveness for something he isn’t sure of what. Beta Ray Bill then offers Sif to go grab drinks with Volstagg and the others. Sif says she will join them when Thor gets back.
At the edge of the Multiverse, Thor and Galactus do their best to battle Black Winter as it tries to consume them. All-Death offers to show Thor how he will die while Galactus is stopped from attacking by the Black Winter. Thor states he will not fall and goes into the portal that All-Death created.
Thor wakes up in a twisted labyrinth and calls out to Black Winter to face him. Black Winter speaks about how Thor has no hope of defeating it. Thor yells that he is not afraid of the end. Suddenly Thor is hit from behind hard enough to be sent flying through a pillar.
When Thor gets back up he is surprised to see Gorr standing in front of him. Thor is then stabbed from behind by Loki. Thor attempts to fight back but is stomped by Mangog.
When Thor recovers he is stunned when Gorr, All-Black, Loki, Mangog, Jormungand, Malekith, Surtur, Enchantress, Mephisto, Apocalypse, Juggernaut, Annihilus, and Doctor Doom appear together in front of him. Thor does his best to fight all the villains but is quickly overwhelmed by their power and numbers, all the while Black Winter mocks the Herald of Thunder about nearing his end. Hearing enough Thor uses his full power to create a massive lightning storm.
The lightning storm helps Thor escape the labyrinth he was in and reunites with Galactus. Thor then orders Black Winter to show him his end if that is what the future holds. Black Winter then forms into a dark version of Thor.
Thor asks Galactus if this is what he saw when he saw Black Winter. Galactus says he did. Black Winter taunts Galactus, who he calls by his real name of Galan, to tell Thor the truth about why he is the last survivor of his planet. Thor states he does not care and that all he wants to do is to stop Black Winter from destroying the universe.
Black Winter reveals that it is not looking to destroy the universe, since this universe has a darker fate awaiting it. Thor then wonders why Black Winter is here then. Black Winter states he is there to reclaim what is his and points to Galactus, who Black Winter states is his herald. End of issue.
The Good: Keeping things simple and straight forward has been the best thing that Donny Cates has done with “The Devourer King” arc. That is not to say there is a lack of depth in this story. Cates delivers strong character development throughout these chapters. But as Thor #5 showed, having the focus be just on a few characters has allowed “The Devourer King” to have an epic aura around the events taking place.
There aren’t many characters that can take on a team Thor and Galactus. To Cates credit, he has created such a massive and believable threat in the Black Winter that you understand why Thor and Galactus struggled against it. The way Black Winter talks has a chilling tone to it that you are left wonder how exactly Thor and Galactus will defeat it.
The “confrontation” in the labyrinth between Thor and Black Winter added to how scary of a threat the villain is. Black Winter being able to manifest all the villains that Thor has fought in the past showed how this is as much a mental battle as it is physical. Thor can’t simply overcome The Black Winter by powering up. There is more to this threat than we even know.
Which all made the cliffhanger ending with The Black Winter revealing to Thor that Galactus is actually one of his Heralds even more fascinating. That was not exactly the direction that was expected from “The Devourer King.” This unexpected ending created so many more questions as to what is really going on. Especially considering that The Black Winter outright told Thor that he has no interest in destroying the Marvel Universe.
This also positions Galactus to have an even greater character arc when all is said and done with “The Devourer King.” The Black Winter continuously taunted Galactus about his true backstory as Galan and how we don’t know all the details. As of now, there is no reason to doubt that The Black Winter is telling the truth as Cates has written Galactus’ intentions throughout this arc to be filled with secrets he is keeping from Thor. What those secrets are and how it relates to the current events.
Making this all the more interesting was the fact that The Black Winter stated that an even larger, darker conflict is about to hit the Marvel Universe. Given how The Black Winter said that to Thor and Galactus it doesn’t seem that it is talking about Empyre or any other announced Marvel event. This teased dark threat seems to be something else entirely that could be looking to strike Marvel’s Multiverse.
Through all of this Cates has done a good job continuing to test Thor both as a hero and All-Father of Asgard. We continue to see the question be raised if Thor is ready to be king. Even Thor himself seems to doubt that, though he won’t admit it. At the same time, Thor does show he takes the responsibilities that come with All-Father of Asgard seriously. This isn’t the same brash adventuring superhero Thor. Thor has been hardened by all the events he has been through, especially during Jason Aaron’s run. Cates continues to do a good job using the previous events in Aaron’s run to develop his version of Thor further.
The scene between Beta Ray Bill and Lady Sif added depth to this part of the story. While Sif has accepted that Thor is the new All-Father of Asgard, she knows better than anyone the issues Thor has. Juxtapose that with Beta Ray Bill’s confidence that while Thor may not have been ready he knows his friend can step up to be the king Asgard needs. It was a great character moment for Beta Ray Bill that shows how much he still believes in his friend. Sif being convinced by Beta Ray Bill’s words added to how Thor evolution as All-Father of Asgard will take time to reach the same level of confidence that Odin had in that role.
At the same time, Thor once again shows off how powerful he is as he faced off against some of the greatest villains in the Marvel Universe without hesitation. Even though these were manifestations of the villains the fact that Thor did not back down and went right into The Black Winters creation says a lot. It made the show of power when Thor unleashed a massive thunderstorm to destroy the dimension that The Black Winter placed him in even more impressive.
Nic Klein continues to impress with the strong cosmic visuals he delivered throughout Thor #5. Klein, along with colorist Matt Wilson, has a great talent for matching the artwork to the tone that Cates is going for in the story. From the bright, colorful visuals as we see people arriving on Asgard from the Bifrost to Thor and Galactus’ fight with The Black Winter the entire issue looked great. The art really amplified the threat that The Black Winter was throughout this, which is what the villain needed to gain the credibility the story is going for.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Thor #5 is another fantastic entry in what has quickly become one of the best comic books Marvel has in their publishing line. Donny Cates and Nic Klein just continue to knock it out of the park every time they step up to bat. Thor #5 was no different as we get an issue filled with strong character moments and an ending that makes the next part of “The Devourer King” arc highly anticipated. If you are a Marvel fan I highly recommend checking out Cates and Klein’s Thor because this is one comic you don’t want to miss out on reading.
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