I often think it is important to have a back story for a character to really understand the motivations behind their actions and thoughts, and that is the central focus of this series. The issue opens with a look at the 'God Butcher,' who he is, and why he had set out so long ago to torture and murder the Gods, but what it doesn't do is explain where the character obtained his powers from in the first place. We see how he gets them, but it's not clear what the character who had them in the first place was doing with them.
The art is good, I think it really sets the tone for the story being told in this issue. You get the sense through the colors and the backgrounds illustrated by Butch Guice that the region where the character lives is completely desolate. The tribe he belongs to is starving, and has been starving for a long time. I think both the artist and Jason Aaron capture the sheer bitterness and sadness of the situation, and you get to see the thought process of the character and see him evolve. Bitterness, loss, and sadness influence him and we see that sort of blossom.
I think its important to have an issue like this because it gives us a more well rounded perspective of the antagonist in this series, who he is, what his motivations are, and why he does what he does. All of this becomes clear and more important and overall I think it is executed really well.
If you are looking for Thor (which would make sense since this is his series), then you will be disappointed as the character does not make an appearance in this issue. The issue instead focuses on The God Butcher and deals with the character's back story. This is all very interesting, but there is no real break in the story for the reader to take in and digest the character -- it feels like everything is explained all at once and sort of thrown at you from the beginning. I think the story would have been more interesting if it was broken up a bit and it wasn't a complete flashback.
Another problem I had with the issue is the fact that it is unclear at what point in time this story is being told. This is something vital to the story and something that should be clear, but isn't. The result makes reading the story slightly confusing.
I enjoyed the art a lot in this issue, I think it was one of the highlights of the book. Guice really does a solid job setting the tone for the story, and I think it's important. You can really sense the desperation of the character in so many scenes in this issue, and I thought that was important to the story being told. I think it would have been good if the issue was broken up a bit more and we got to see what Thor was doing, but we don't really get that here. This is also not an issue you want to start off reading as it doesn't give you an idea of what has been going on in the series overall, even if it does a good job giving us a backstory. The story itself was interesting, I really liked the fact that we get a deeper look at the character in general and what drives him to kill these Gods. It was a necessary issue and was, overall, really well done.