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Have you guys been reading Thor: God of Thunder? It’s great! I 100% recommend it to everyone. Fantastic writing, ever better art, solid characters, and a truly epic scale. I love it.
There was a certain page out there that really circulated around the Internet and got me thinking… is Thor: God of Thunder the best Superman comic we have out right now?
Let me explain. This point in the Godbomb arc comes after The God Butcher calls Thor unworthy of his godhood. Up till then, Thor had sworn to protect Midgard, yes, but he was still very much headstrong and obsessed with battle. After this, the comic went a new, awesome direction. Thor became almost wholly benevolent. He still loved to fight, of course this is comics, but he fed alien children, he did great acts of kindness from his heart. He wanted to help.
To me, the greatest Superman stories have always been the ones centered around a largely benevolent Superman and his troubles with mankind or situations that test the application of his power. Stories like All-Star Superman, Superman: For Tomorrow, Superman for All Seasons, and Superman: Peace on Earth to name a few.
After all, is it entertaining to watch a god foil a bank robbery? No. Superman is on whole other level. So is Thor. I mean, he’s literally — well not exactly I guess — he’s mostly allegorically a god. With monsters and demons and the whole shebang. So instead of organized crime and world domination, we’ve got to deal with some heady themes and weighty concepts. And for the most part Thor: God of Thunder is doing that month after month.
Now I’m not saying the current Superman books — Superman and Superman Unchained — are bad necessarily. I don’t keep up with them really, but they seem as solid as periodical Superman books go. However, they don’t exploit the character for everything he’s able to represent.
Which is a pretty big part of it. I used to think you could never make a monthly Superman comic that consistently hit those big themes, that found new ways to present intriguing ideas, that challenged our ideas of authority and power. After all, pretty much all of the Superman comics I listed above are self-contained graphic novels, not arcs out of the main title.
However, I think Thor: God of Thunder proves me wrong. Is every issue a master thesis on Power and Responsibility? Oh my no. But the comic keeps finding ways to use the character of Thor for more than just a god who easily thwarts crime and punches aliens. It’s filled with the kind of philosophy Superman, at best, represents and, at worst, gets resented for. Sometimes it’s glaringly obvious, yes, but other times it’s deeply felt.
The current arc deals with climate change and the mega corporation Roxxon. For all his power, Thor is unable to stop humanity from doing what they will. He’s unable to stop the bureaucracy surrounding Roxxon and while he can do things like bring in ice from a moon of Jupiter and destroy polluting power plants, he finds them far from easy fixes.
Stories like these speak to us. The United States is the most powerful country on the planet, but we have yet to find quick fixes. Unable to force change in others, caught in endless corporate and governmental bureaucracy, we have so much power and so few ways to use it.
These kind of issues are what characters like Superman and Thor were meant to symbolize. So while DC has Superman fighting Red Lanterns or whatever (I’m not sure what he’s up to now. Doomsday again I think?) I’ll be more than happy to stick to Thor: God of Thunder.