By Paul Montgomery
In the fallout of the “Godbomb” story arc and the God Butcher’s reign of terror, writer Jason Aaron ushers THOR: GOD OF THUNDER on a grand hunt through the Nine Realms. Malekith the Accursed shrugs off the bonds of his eternal prison to seek retribution against Asgard. The next chapter in the epic saga heralds the return of one of Thor’s most loathsome adversaries.
“The Accursed,” starting in September, sees happier tidings as well, including the glorious reunion of the Warriors Three and another collaboration for the WOLVERINE and ULTIMATE COMICS: CAPTAIN AMERICA team of Aaron and artist Ron Garney.
Of primary concern to Aaron: the ancient art of cartography.
“Any good fantasy story has to, at some point, have a map,” he explains. “We haven’t had a good map of the Nine Realms in a while and I wanted to fill those in.”
Aaron wagers that the average THOR reader might have a little trouble rattling off all nine offshoots of the World Tree, but those worlds of elves—light and dark—dwarves and frost giants often prove just as much home to the Odinson as Oklahoma or Asgard.
For those playing at home, that’s Asgard, Midgard, Jotunheim, Muspelheim, Alfheim, Vanaheim, Nidavellir, Svartalfheim and Hel.
“By the end of this arc, readers will know those landscapes, that geography, and should be able to digest it all more readily,” promises Aaron
In that way, Aaron plans to quite literally set the scene for the return of Malekith.
|Thor: God of Thunder #13 cover by Ron Garney|
“He’s the bad guy coming up in [the] ‘Thor: The Dark World’ [film and] also a big part of the great Walt Simonson run,” he notes. “I wanted to bring him back not just as a one-off, but in a big way as a fixture of Thor’s rogues gallery.”
Former leader of Svartalfheim’s race of Dark Elves, the sorcerer Malekith has escaped his extra-dimensional prison, ready to rally his people against his captors. However, though Malekith’s thirst for revenge remains strong as ever, his realm is changed.
“He’s on the run,” Aaron explains. “He finds that the Dark Elves won’t necessarily welcome him back with open arms. He doesn’t like what’s happened to them since he’s been gone. He feels they’ve grown weak.”
Expanding upon the systems he installed with the Parliament of Gods, Aaron plans to cast Asgard as the seat of a congress for rulers of the Nine Realms themselves. The fugitive Malekith views all this as an unwelcome influence on his once mighty race. The forum plays host to fantastical intrigue as Malekith declares his intent to purge Svartalfheim of its festering weakness, plotting the genocide of his fellow Dark Elves.
“Malekith eyes the Dark Elves as gone weak because of Asgard,” says Aaron. “He’s disappointed and disgusted in them and so he sets out to slaughter his own people. Thor and some new friends set out to stop him, chasing him across all the known worlds.”
In addition to those new comrades, Aaron harbors big plans for some more familiar battle brothers and sisters:
“We’ll see the Warriors Three drinking mead with Thor in the halls of Asgard. We’ll see Sif.”
Though we can’t confirm that Volstagg will reclaim his voluminous figure in past, present and future in time for the grand hunt, Aaron offers that new developments see the family man and warrior assume a new role within Asgardia during this arc.
“It’s always good to raise Hel with Ron [Garney],” Aaron adds. “Hell, we’ve worked together quite a lot. He’s one of those guys who can draw everything. He can handle the emotional moments as well as all the crazy fight scenes with weight and gravity and make them feel real.”
With a time-tested partnership as foundation, Aaron refuses to go easy on the incoming artist.
“This arc I’m hitting him with a lot of fantasy elements,” he promises. “Lots of landscapes. Lots of creatures. Elves. Dwarves. Trolls. Giants. All sorts of strange winged mounts for them to ride.”
“This story, on one hand, is kind of a dark, gritty, stern-faced story. Malekith on the run as this desperado, Thor and his posse out trying to bring him down. But it’s all woven through this fantasy landscape with its wealth of crazy characters as interesting as ‘Lord of the Rings’ or ‘Game of Thrones.’”
For complete coverage of Marvel at C2E2 2013 all weekend long, head to marvel.com/c2e22013!