The Best Graphic Novels You Should Read After Seeing Thor: Ragnarok

Hey, guys

By now a lot of you have probably seen Thor: Ragnarok. I saw it and thought it was a blast, if you’ve haven’t had the chance yet, check out our podcast, “The World’s Best Podcast with Paul & Tim”, where we discuss and review (with spoilers) Thor: Ragnarok. It’s one of our best Episodes and we had a lot of fun making it.

I’m always looking for an opportunity to talk about comics. This seemed like a great opportunity to recommend some Comic Books/Graphic Novels to read AFTER you’ve seen Thor: Ragnarok. This film was filled with references and Easter Eggs to some classic Marvel stories. Much of the plot and story elements of Thor: Ragnarok are heavily influenced by 2 or 3 Marvel Graphic Novels, which I’ll list below. I’m also including a few books that are great places to start if you’re looking to read some great Thor or Hulk stories, but aren’t sure where to start.

I’m a big advocate for the medium. Anytime I write an article about great graphic novels, I usually include an Amazon link for the comic book I’m recommending so our readers can easily find the book if they decide they want to check it out. This wasn’t part of any promotion we’d arranged with Amazon, I just wanted to point people in the right direction. But World’s Best Media has grown way beyond the blog I started. We want to continue to give you all of our great podcasts, articles, reviews, videos and more of the best content possible. So, now if you decide you want to purchase one of the graphic novels, movies, or any other stuff we recommend, by going through the Amazon links we provide (like the ones below), a small percentage of the money goes back to us at World’s Best Media to help keep us up and running. So if any of you want buy any of the things we recommend, going through our Amazon Affiliate link would be a huge help and massively appreciated. We don’t ask that you go out of your way, but if you’re going to buy something on Amazon anyway, It’d be great if you went through our links. Thank you so much for all of your support.

Now, here are the best Comic Book/Graphich Novels to read after you’ve seen Thor: Ragnarok…

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Planet HulkWritten by Greg Pak/Art by Carlo Pagulayan & Aaron Lopresti

Planet Hulk is sensually Gladiator in space starring The Hulk instead of Russell Crowe. That’s one hell of a hook. In the Marvel comics there’s a group called The Illuminati, they consist of key, powerful individuals from each corner of the Marvel Universe, all of Marvel’s different groups like The Avengers, X-Men, FF, etc. are represented in some form form or another. They include Tony Stark, Doctor Strange, Reed Richards, Charles Xavier and more. They’re kind of a bunch of pricks actually
Fearing that he will eventually become too dangerous and get out of control, The Illuminati (the pricks that they are) form a plan to trick Banner and send him (Long with the Hulk off Earth permanently ). They pick an uninhabited, ideallic, peaceful planet with everything he needs supplied on the ship to live out his natural life in comfort. In the eyes of Illuminati they are protecting the planet Earth and giving their friend Bruce Banner what he’s always wanted: some peace, to be left alone (Sure, justify it all you want you fucks). Being geniuses and all, you’d think that once Banner was on the space ship and a tape plays explaining what his so called “friends” had done to him, that The Illuminati could have predicted The Hulk would go apeshit and fuck up the space ship. Which, of course, he does. This knocks the ship off course and instead of landing on paradise planet he ends up on Sakaar , or as The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy called it, “The Gaping Asshole Of The Galaxy: 2016”. Ruled by a tyrannical King, one of the biggest parts of Sakaar’s culture is their Gladiator matches. The upper class of Sakaar watch various alien beings fight to the death. Using a device that allows the King of Sakaar and his minions to control Hulk, he reluctantly becomes a gladiator in the Gladiator Arena. Needless to say it’s fucking awesome. I’m sure you can imagine The Hulk would be pretty fucking good as a gladiator , even on an alien plane. The device keeping him a slave only keeps him from escaping, otherwise when he’s in the arena The Hulk cuts loose big time. It doesn’t take long for Hulk to becomes their star gladiator and eventually after making some a few friends and even falling in love, he leads a revolution to free all the slaves. I’ll stop hear because that’s the basic set up and it wouldn’t want say anymore to ruin the story. One of the unique and touching things about this comic is that out in space, The Hulk doesn’t look like a monster (he’s still scary to the other aliens when he wants to be) and all of admiration, acceptance and love that he was denied on Earth, he found here on this far away planet. It’s a great story with a gut punch of an ending which I won’t spoil here. The vast majority of The Hulk stuff in Thor: Ragnarok is from the Planet Hulk story. But not just that there are places and characters that are important in the comic that pop up in the new film. Including Korg the rock man and Meek his little friend he carries around, they’re key characters in Planet Hulk. Don’t think that just because you’ve seen Thor: Ragnarok that the Planet Hulk storyline is spoiled, it goes in some very different directions. It’s a modern classic Hulk story and any Hulk or Marvel fan needs to give this one a shot.

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Thor: Dissassembled Wrtten by Mike Avon Oeming/Art by Andrea Di Vito

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In the early aughts, a legendary comic book writer named Brian Michael Bendas began his run on what would become a classic run on the Avengers franchise. Before the main event you series began, he wrote a miniseries that set up the events of his upcoming Avengers run called Avengers Disassembled. Avengers Disassembled had a massive impact on the Avengers comics that are still being felt today, over 15 years later. The Avengers would never be the same. Along with this massive status quo change, many of the flagship Marvel characters got the similar clean slate treatment where big cataclysmic events happened in their lives. So there was Iron Man Disassembled, Captain America Disassembled, and most relevant here Thor Disassembled. Thor Disassembled is the biggest influence on for Thor: Ragnarok besides Planet Hulk. In the story, Ragnarok the Apocalypse for the Norse gods has begun. Loki, Hela, Surtur The Fire Demon, and Fenris Wolf all play a huge part. Ragnarok was an event that had been prophesies for centuries, so the Asgardians knew that one day this day would come. Much like the events of Thor: Ragnarok, Thor, Odin , Loki, and all the other gods were destroyed along with Asgard. However in Norse mythology death and rebirth is cyclical. Much like the revolving door of life and death in Comics. After Ragnarok it was destined for the gods to be reborn and starting with Thor, the new all father, Odin’s time having past. Though beloved by some, this is not a fantastic graphic novels by today’s standards. There are other Thor books that a excellent reads (a few I’ll list below). While Thor Disassembled isn’t great when compared to Marvel’s storytelling out put over the last 15 – 18 years. It’s not going to be one of your favorite comic books of all time., but it has some great moments especially if you’re interested after seeing Thor: Ragnarok. Asgard and everyone in it are completely take off the board in the Marvel Universe for several years after this story. However, that is far from the end of Thor Odinson and The Asgardians in the Marvel Universe.

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World War Hulk Written by /Art by John Romitta Jr,

After years of living a happy life and ruling the planet Sakaar with a wife and child on the way Hulk was finally at peace. Until the ship that brought him to the planet Sakaar in the first place (built by The Illuminati, these fucking guys again) suddenly explodes in a devastating wave killing Hulk’s pregnant wife, unborn child, dear friends, and more. Hulk has anger issues in the best of times, so after this, well… woe unto those who stand his way. As far as the Hulk Is concerned, The Illuminati are responsible for this death and destruction. Hulk gathers his greatest and most trusted warriors (including Korg the rock alien from Thor: Ragnarok) and comes to Earth in a Sakaaran Warship, seeking vengeance with brutal and unstoppable wrath. These fuckers finally pushed The Hulk too far. Thus World War Hulk begins. The Hulk has one main target, those pricks in The Illuminati: Tony Stark, Reed Richards, Doctor Strange, Black Bolt, Namor, and unbeknownst to Hulk (the deceased, at the moment anyway) Charles Xavier. He means to make them pay for the lives they took and the mistakes that they made. Many classic comic book questions like who would win in a fight between The Hulk and (X) are answered here. This is balls to the walls action, but there are some great character moments throughout. Including some surprising revelations about exactly who are Hulk’s friends and who are his enemies. It’s a great book and a great sequel to Planet Hulk.

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Thor: God of Thunder Vol.1 Written by Jason Aaron /Art by Esad Ribic

Thor: God of Thunder was started by Jason Aaron during Marvel’s, Marvel Now ! Initiative. It was by far one of the best books that came out at that time. Even though there’s been all kinds of crazy Marvel events and Thor books under new names, Jason Aaron’s Thor epic is still going strong, just under the new name, The Mighty Thor.
Thor: God of Thunder follows Thor through the eons and focuses on Thor at three very different points in his life. The past, present, and the distant future. The past, when he was a young irresponsible drunk, hanging out with the Vikings on Midgard, slaying any monster he could find, sleeping with any women he could find, and spending the entire time drinking copious amounts of ale. His dream is to one day weird the mighty Mijonir. This is not the Thor we know today, this is the Thor who is not yet worthy to wield the mighty Mijonir. He loves Earth and the humans who occupy it, but he doesn’t have the same humility and respect for humanity that we tend to see in Thor, but the hero is in there.
In the present, we see the Thor we know and love, the god that has become worthy to wield the mighty hammer. Thor: The Avenger. Hen he may be god, but he’s the type of guy you’d like to hang out and have a beer with. He’s gained some depth and humility since his younger days and learned the value of responsibility.
Finally we see millennia into the future where Old King Thor is one of the final gods in existence. Midgard has burned. Thor is The All-Father to a ruined and desolate Asgard. His only company is the wave after wave sent to him by Gor The God Biutcher. He is in a constant state of exhaustion to keep the army of his vicious and me at bay. Thor looks a lot like Odin here, he’s missing an eye like we see in the movie, and he seems to be missing his left arm. I’m not sure what the arm is made of, but it look similar to the material The Destroyer is built from. Any, even though I’m sure he‘d like his flesh and blood arm back, the one that’s forged for him functions exactly like a “normal” arm. We find out later in the story that after Thor lost his arm, the dwarves, the best smiths and makers in all of the nine realms forged him an arm prosthetic that makes him as good as new.
The common thread throughout the story, as we see Thor in these three very different points in his life is Gorr The God butcher. He’s basically a serial killer for god‘s. An absolute sadist and one of the dangerous most dangerous foes Thor has ever encountered. Why he is doing this and how he became so powerful is revealed throughout the story, so I won’t spoil it here. But it’s a fascinating and thought provoking story. Future All-Father Thor is keeping Gorr’s minions at bay, but Gorr’s real weapon is the Necrosword. This is rather cool Easter egg from Thor: Ragnarok. For reasons unknown, Hela wielded The Necrosword in the film. All that crazy black shit she could use to attack people and the fact that she was seemingly unstoppable, a lot of that came from the Necrosword, a incredibly powerful weapon. Don’t get me wrong, Hela is monumentally formidable on her own, but with the Necrosword she’s nearly impossible to beat. And to be honest I do not think she died in the destruction of Asgard. (Also, the inclusion of The Necrosword make hopeful we may see Gorr make an appearance in a Marvel film down the line)
That “God Butcher” storyline is probably one of the best Thor comics that has been written in years and it kicked off a run that continues to be one of my favorite books to come out month after month. When all said and done it will be hard to choose which story from this epic Thor run that is my favorite. Jason Aaron will be remembered as one of the greatest Thor writers we’ve ever had. If you like Thor at all this is an absolute must.

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Indestructible Hulk Written by Mark WaId/Art by Various

Indestructible Hulk is a great series from long time comic book writer Marc WaId. Basically, Banner has come to terms with fact that he and The Hulk are one being, he’s made his peace with the monster inside him. But he wants to be remembered for more than just the destruction caused by The Hulk. People often forget that Banner is in the same intellectual league as men like Tony Stark, Reed Richards, and Hank Pym. With the possible exception of Pym, because he created fucking Ultron, these men will be remembered for their incredible scientific achievements. While Banner will be remembered for being a monster. So, Banner approaches Maria Hill who is the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. at the time. He proposes that she sets him up with a lab, resources and staff to build wonders: new, clean renewable energy, cures to cancer, solutions to the negative impact of climate change, etc. In return, she gets The Hulk. Even though he’s gone to extraordinary lengths to greatly reduce the risk of turning into The Hulk, Banner has realized that Hulk episodes are inevitable. When that happens, it’s Hills job to step in and aim The Hulk wherever the smashing needs to be done. Because there’s no shortage of bad guys, terrorist groups, and super villains up to no good on, a daily basis, all around the world in the Marvel Universe. It’s really fun book with great art that does something different with The Hulk: Bruce Banner Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.. There are a lot of great guest stars from throughout the Marvel universe including Tony Stark, Thor, Beast and many more. Waid’s entire run on the series is collected in one easy to read volume. Highly recommended.

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Honorable Mention:

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Ultimate Wolverine Vs Hulk Written by Damon Lindelof/Art by Leinil Francis YU

Wolverine and The Hulk are long time rivals. Even though this story technically takes place in the Ultimate Universe (Before it merger with Marvel Earth-616 or Marvel Earth Prime as it’s now known. Wow. What a nerdy sentence. I’m proud of myself) it’s a great story with some very minor, superficial things that carried over into Thor: Ragnarok. The fact that the story has beautiful art and was written by the creator of LOST is a big draw too. Great book to check out.

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Avengers Disassembled Written by Brian Michael Bendis/Art by David Finch

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This was the main story that Thor Disassembled tied into. This is NOT required reading if you’re just looking for cool Hulk and Thor stories to read after you’ve seen Thor: Ragnarok. However, it is the beginning of Bendis’ modern classic Avengers run, which ran for close to a decade. Fantastic Avengers stories. Start with Avengers vol.1 Breakout and keep going from there if you’re hooked.

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Thanks for reading!

-Paul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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