To be honest, I’ve always liked Thor more as the Avengers’ tank than as a solo character, so I’m not well-versed in his series. But since I’ve been correcting some of my oversights lately, I figured I’d take a look at the first Simonson issue, Thor #337, in Marvel Unlimited.
And yeah, this is a strong start—definitely makes the case that I’ve been missing out.
The high concept is wonderful: What if someone else was worthy of wielding Thor’s hammer?
The cover gives it away. Yes, there is another. An alien, in fact. An alien named Bill—Beta Ray Bill, that is.
Simonson is just as strong on the art as he is on the story. He brings a dynamic style that’s in the vein of Thor’s original artist, the late great Jack Kirby, but there’s no mimicry here. Simonson achieves his own distinctive flair. (“Beta Ray Bill” is a pretty Kirby-esque name, too, come to think of it.)
The cliffhanger works great, too, leaving Thor in genuine peril, his fate uncertain. (Well, as uncertain as a title character’s fate can be, I suppose.)
I may have to check out some more.
Writer/Artist: Walter Simonson
Publisher: Marvel Comics
How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Thor by Walter Simonson Volume 1 (TPB)
Appropriate For: ages 10 and up