Though the series up to this point has had somewhat of a slow build, finally Thor and Galactus come to behold the all-consuming entity known as the Black Winter. However, things may not be as they seem.
A New Beginning
After taking over as writer after the great Thor run by Jason Aaron, Donny Cates has put his own personal stamp on the series. Though the story has moved at a slow-burn pace at times, Cates has been building to a big reveal. As you might expect, the results are both magnificent and unpredictable. Thor #5 is no exception, as the story ends with a huge twist.
A Cosmic New Threat
The story opens with Sif and Beta Ray Bill discussing the Black Winter and Thor’s reign as king. They bring into question his actions to this point. Sif questions Thor’s competence as king, while Bill remains more optimistic. From there, things really take off. Galactus and Thor find themselves overwhelmed by the entity known as The Black Winter. Despite their best efforts, the two are no match for the cosmic being. The Black Winter proceeds to focus his attention specifically on Thor. He gets into the thunder God’s mind, and asks if he’d like to know how he dies.
Visions of Old Foes
To the surprise of Thor, apparitions appear of some of his greatest foes. Seeing the likes of Gorr the God Butcher, Loki, and Fin Fang Foom brought to life by Nic Klein’s beautiful artwork mixed with Matt Wilson’s grainy and naturalistic coloring is a sight to behold. The Black Winter makes reference to how Thor has had several potential deaths, but claims to be the only one who knows how the King of Asgard will truly perish. In spite of his bravado, Thor knows that the entity’s words ring true. As he desperately fights back with all the power of Mjolnir, Thor dares the Black Winter to show him his end.
The Big Twist
This is where the big twist comes in (spoiler alert!). As Thor and Galactus gather themselves, The Black Winter vows to show Thor the truth. He tells Thor he has not come here to consume his universe. He explains that there are worse threats to the universe than he on the horizon. The Black Winter goes on to say that Galactus has been hiding the truth. He reveals that he is here for only one purpose: to reclaim Galactus, who is actually his Herald.
Storytelling at its Finest
When it comes to storytelling, one can always count on Donny Cates to put forth a Herculean effort. Many have been critical of the story up to this point, with some even claiming that it fell into far too many tropes. However, Cates has the ability to lure viewers into a false sense of complacency before hitting them with a left hook of “did that just happen?” That’s exactly what occurred in this story. It’s easy for readers to assume the narrative of Thor becoming a Herald of Galactus was just lazy writing, but it was actually integral to the big reveal at the end of this issue. At some point, readers are going to stop doubting Cates. Thus far, his Thor run has been a strange and wonderful ride.