What If? Thor #1
Writer: Ethan Sacks
Artist: Michele Bandini
Colorist: Matt Milla
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover Artist: Marco Checchetto
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Review by Nico Sprezzatura
This past month has brought readers a wide variety of new What If? stories from Marvel, and this week’s What If? Thor #1 asks the question: “What if Thor was raised by the Frost Giants?’”
“What if Thor was raised by the Frost Giants?’” is a pretty decent hook for a What If? story because it flips the well-trodden origins of Thor and Loki (his trickster adoptive brother). Loki was born of Jotunheim, but raised by Asgard, so what if Thor was born of Asgard, but raised by Jotunheim? The results may surprise you.
Writer Ethan Sacks (currently of Old Man Hawkeye) gets good mileage out of the issue’s central concept, exploring what this colossal change to Thor’s (and Loki’s) backstory would mean for them in this particular reality. For all the cosmic differences made to their characters here, there are still certain constants that remain the same (e.g. Thor being the favorite son; Loki’s positive relationship with Freyja) and comparing/contrasting the differences makes for an interesting reading experience. Also, Thor as a blue Frost Giant is just cool.
Speaking of which, Michele Bandini’s art is lovely to look at. One of my favorite parts about Jason Aaron’s Jane Foster era of The Mighty Thor was Russell Dauterman’s art, which Bandini recalls to positive effect. What If? Thor #1 calls for a mix of low-stakes conversational scenes as well as big, epic battles with monsters and the like, and both are pulled off pretty admirably.
Matt Milla’s colors really tie the knot on the bow, too; there’s a wide-reaching palette on display here. Given how one of Asgard’s most prominent locations is a literal rainbow bridge, you kind of expect Thor-adjacent stories to be similarly colorful, and this issue delivers as much.
The Verdict: Buy it.
If anything and everything Thor is your jam, or even if you’re looking for an interesting one-off AU story, then you can’t go wrong with What If? Thor #1.