Still sizzling from his appearance in last year's SECRET INVASION: THOR limited series, the only other being to wield the power of the God of Thunder finally finds a bit of peace—maybe.
Beta Ray Bill, an alien Korbinite who possesses all the god-like abilities of Thor, opens an exciting new chapter in his life this April 15 in SECRET INVASION AFTERMATH: BETA RAY BILL – THE GREEN OF EDEN #1. Long title, yes, but writer Kieron Gillen gives us the short and skinny of it:
"People decide Beta Ray Bill is a god," says Gillen. "Other people decide he isn't. Bill deals. Plus, Enormous Mechanoid Space Squid."
"Skuttlebutt is back," Gillen adds. "I have nothing but love for sentient battleships. My family has a sentient battleship on my mother's side. Great guy. Everyone should know one."
Imbued with power by Odin himself, raked over the hot coals by Skrulls during the Secret Invasion and still finding the strength to battle on, Bill's become a classic Marvel character in his own right. Impressed by what
"He's gone through hell in recent years," he notes. "He's lost his people. He's been trapped in another dimension stuck in a Sisyphean battle. He's been tortured by Skrulls. But he doesn't sit and whine. He gets back on the horse, and back out there helping the universe. But in GREEN OF EDEN the cracks start to show. He increasingly can't ignore what he's been through. He has to act."
Thor once existed as a god among men in ancient times and Bill's experiences with the alien race in this far-flung tale mirror those days in a way, though perhaps not necessarily a good one.
"This is absolutely the core of the story," explains Gillen. "People tend to talk about Bill as, well, 'Thor, but a space horse.' But one of the key things of Bill is a separate paradox. He's an alien—as in, firmly in the science-fiction tradition—who happens to have the powers of a figure from mythology. Thor was fine with being worshiped. Bill isn't. Bill knows he isn't a god. In fact, Bill is weirded out by being treated as a god.
"By having people try to treat him like how Thor once was allows us to show how different the two hammer-wielders are."
"The criticism side of what I do shapes my comics most," he says. "The main part of my job is taking apart things and explaining how they work. When I do any comic work, I attack characters and try to get back to their fundamentals—the reasons why anyone should care. It's especially true when I'm writing characters who've been "offstage" for a while, which is, so far, all I've done in the Marvel Universe.
"A main pillar of criticism for me is saying 'Why this matters.' That's of enormous use when trying to do this sort of thing in comics."
Also of enormous use: the incredible artwork of Dan Brereton, which graces the pages of GREEN OF EDEN and who Gillen can't praise enough.
"Epic capital-R romance," the writer says of Brereton's visuals on the one-shot. "In fact, epic is too small a word, really. Dan really sells how Bill's world is both phenomenally ludicrous—which is a word I use only as a compliment, as in, awesome beyond normal bounds of taste—and incredibly weighty.
"You know the week it hits there will be nothing on the stands which looks or feels like it."
SECRET INVASION AFTERMATH: BETA RAY BILL – THE GREEN OF EDEN touches down April 15. And read Beta Ray Bill's first appearance on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!