Time and space. Now and the future. Young and old.
Brian Michael Bendis once wrote that the present and the future are happening at the same time, simultaneous acts on the site on different stages.
So it is in Thor, God of Thunder #20, wherein Jason Aaron writes of the last days of Earth and the god that loves it. In the present, Thor reminds us that he is indeed the son of Gaea, Mother Earth, she who is the spirit of the life-filled planet. That is why he has always loved it, so Roy Thomas penned. That is why he has always been there in its darkest days, as he is now and will be millennia from now.
This second installment of “The Last Days of Midgard” storyline is a simple yet complex one. The great marriage here of sorcery and science, Thor and Agent Solomon, against the earth-ravaging Roxxon Corporation reminds one of Sub-Mariner tales of the ’60’s. A noble spirit, like Namor, like Thor, cleaning up the mess of mankind, showing them the wrong of their ways amid a polluted land.
In the future, like the present, there is much dust, mostly used to obscure the giant planet-eating machine of the Devourer of Worlds. In this land of death, of nothingness, Old Thor prepares to battle one last battle for the sake of his mother’s home. Without an army, even without a hammer, Old Thor prepares to go one-on-one against the greatest threat the universe has ever known, its caretaker, Galactus.
Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina paint bleak but beautiful worlds, now and the to-be, as Thor battles his threats. In the present, Thor taking Agent Solomon into the heart of the lightning is spectacular, creating one of those scenes of wonder we thought only Kirby was able to explore visually. In the future, Old Thor battles hot and heavy, his burdens feeling like the weight of a thousand thousand worlds upon his back.
There have probably been times when Thor has been greater, the writing has been crisper, or the art better. But I cannot think of when that might have been.
Thor, God of Thunder #20 is a triumph for the eye and mind.