Author’s note: I’m going to be totally honest with you. I’m not paying attention to what’s happening with Secret Wars, like at all. There are logos for Battleworld, Secret Wars, and Last Days on the top of my comics, and I don’t know what means what. I don’t care who remembers the 616 or why they do; I’m just here for the wacky alt-universe stories and the Doom puns, man. So if you’re looking for what you “need to know” before reading this comic, I say just go with it! It’s COMICS!
Jason Aaron’s work with the Odinson has been some of my favorite comics. And it’s been pretty well-established that I am a Thor Girl. Picking up Thors #1 this week was a no brainer. The basic concept of the book is a group of worthy hammer-wielders act as an inter-dimensional police force on Battleworld (they’re the guys who took America Chavez away from A-Force. America, NO!). Just about everyone who’s picked up Mjolnir in a comic is on this team.
I guess I was expecting a kind of Nova Corps or Green Lantern Corps vibe to the book, what I got once one of the greatest cop movies since Hot Fuzz. Aaron pulls together all the tropes of the cop genre and gives them a wonderfully Asgardian twist. Like Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy, there a a lot of love for the source material(s) and a wink of self awareness. It’s a lot of fun, especially if you like Thor and/or cop movies.
Here’s the breakdown of tropes Thors riffs on:
1. The Rookie Cop (who loses his lunch when he sees the dead body)
2. The Always-Yelling Police Chief
Ultimate Thor and Beta Ray Bill, our protagonist partners, aren’t back at the station five minutes before being dragged into the Chief’s Office for some strong words. Here we get Old King Thor of Aaron and Esad Ribic’s EPIC Thor: God of Thunder run as the angry chief. But instead of being angry about the massive amounts property damage the duo has caused with their loose-cannon antics, Old Chief Thor is upset because this is a big case and the Feds are breathing down his neck, so these two better not fuck it up!
3. The Quirky Lab Tech
We all know Barry Allen was a police scientist before they were cool, but for my money Abby Sciuto from NCIS made the quirky lab tech trope AWESOME. That was until I met CSI Throg. In case you mix up your Frog Thor and your Throg, the former refers to the brief amount of time Loki turned Thor into a frog, and the latter is an amphibian who wield a small piece of Mjolnir as his own hammer.
4. Blowing off Steam at the Cop Bar
After a hard day of battle, worthy warriors feast and drink mead in the halls of Valhalla. After a hard day of more investigative questions than answers (and getting yelled at by the Chief), worthy Thors drink mead at the local cop bar, Valhalla. I adore the detail in these pages. The hammers hung from the ceiling, the dive bar feel, you can almost hear the music from the out-dated jukebox and the loud chatter of friends and partners.
5. The Rat
When dealing with a shady case, sometimes you need to look to shady characters for answers. Beta Ray Bill’s trusty but untrustworthy informant is, quite aptly, the God of Lies and Mischief. And as the trope goes, Loki knows just enough to get Bill into trouble.
If you haven’t already read Thors #1 (seriously, get on that. it’s been out almost a week), you may want to give it a quick read before scrolling down. If you’re familiar with the tropes of the genre, these next two aren’t a surprise, but some may consider them spoilers for the issue.
Ready? Here we go.
6. “Her name is…” *dies*
The heros are about to get the most important clue of the case! But the person with the information is dying!! Will they learn what they need to know before it’s too late? Usually they do and it’s the twist you never knew you saw coming. It’s a cheap way to build tension and an easy way to make sure the protagonist has the information needed to solve the case, which is why it’s one of the most spoofed tropes.
7. “Stay with me, buddy!”
The Death of the Partner trope is another cheap way to raise the stakes and further motivate the protagonist to “get the bastard that did this to you”. The protagonist usually carries a lot of guilt over the death and uses his anger and Man Pain to blow through the bad guys.
While tropes make stories a bit predictable and stale; they’re tropes for a reason. They move a story along well and keep people engaged. Thors makes these tropes its own, and I enjoy waiting to see what kind of Marvel spin they’ll get. What did you guys think? What other tropes do you think we’ll see?