The Serpent’s Redemption In Thor #13

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]

Cul Borson, Asgardian God of Fear and frequent tormentor of his brother, Odin, was sent to Svartalfheim to learn the secrets of Malekith’s war plans. After filling us in on parts of his own history, Cul finds the Black Bifrost which Malekith has been using to send his forces across the Ten Realms. Cul discerns that it uses crystal mushrooms as a power source and then finds the mine that supplies the crystal mushrooms. Cul plans to destroy the Black Bifrost using the crystal mushrooms, but he finds that Malekith has been using Dark Elf children to mine the mushrooms. This would usually not concern Cul, the Serpent, but their plea awakens something in Cul that he thought never existed within him to begin with: heroism.

Thor #13 cover by Mike del Mundo
Thor #13 cover by Mike del Mundo

Thor #13 follows Cul’s covert mission into Svartalfheim. Cul is a butcher and enthusiastic killer, so Odin had reason to think setting Cul loose in Svartalfheim could potentially lay waste to the realm–or kill two birds with one stone.

Cul’s most significant moment in the sun was previously the Fear Itself crossover, which found the Asgardian God of Fear unleashing a series of hammers upon the Earth in an attempt to wreak an apocalypse upon the world. I personally wasn’t a big fan of Fear Itself, and many others seemed to dislike it as well.

Frankly, Thor #13 gives a better portrait of Cul than the entirety of Fear Itself. The latter seemed to want Cul as an ineffable, unstoppable force (which just didn’t quite click), while the latter situates Cul in the life and struggles of Odin and the history of Asgard.

Cul’s transformation within the issue is earned pretty well. At first, he doesn’t care for the Dark Elf children, but the cruel position in which Malekith has put them cracks into the fear god’s dark heart.

Thor #13 art by Mike del Mundo, Marco D'Alfonso, and letterer VC's Joe Sabino
Thor #13 art by Mike del Mundo, Marco D’Alfonso, and letterer VC’s Joe Sabino

Mike del Mundo is the artist on this issue as well, and he brings the fantasy-oriented vibe which serves Thor quite well. I still have some criticisms of his style, but I can’t deny that it’s unique and has qualities that suit the Thunder God’s comic. The color palette from Del Mundo and Marco D’Alfonso is strange and otherworldly to boot, which also fits the title.

Thor #13 is a solid companion book to War of the Realms, though the book is primarily interested in fleshing out the character of Cul Borson. It’s a nice portrait of the character and is worth a recommendation. Feel free to check it out.

Thor #13 comes to us from writer Jason Aaron, artist and cover artist Mike del Mundo, color artists Mike del Mundo and Marco D’Alfonso, letterer VC’s Joe Sabino, and variant cover artists Alex Ross and Heejin Jeon.

Final Score: 7/10

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