All New Thor: A True Hero

by GregFahlgren

Examining the Identity of the New Thor, her impact, and what it means going forward.

Thor Odinson, the God of Thunder, founding member of the Avengers, and my friend Julie’s favourite Chris Helmsworth role, has been a mainstay in Marvel Comics since 1962. In that time, he’s been a crippled doctor named Donald Blake, a frog (dammit Loki!), has lost his power, gained in back, and fought Galactus wearing the Destroyer Armour (yeah, that happened.) However, recently, Thor Odinson has been replaced by a female Thor, the new wielder of the hammer Mjolnir. But who is this woman? How did she get the hammer? Why was Loki a woman in Original Sin? (Jason Aaron, if you read this, can you please give me answer, I was so confused). And why is this sudden change of the Thor status quo so important? Well, today I am going to do my very best to answer these questions for all of you Fair warning, there are spoilers ahead, so if you want to find out on your own by reading Jason Aaron’s Thor run, DON’T COME ANY FURTHER!!

Unworthy?

...Okay, so the people who don’t want spoilers are gone? No? Well, sucks to be you then, so moving on.

During the Original Sin event last fall Thor’s status quo was severely changed. Firstly, he discovered that he had a long list sister, Angela (see my posts on the Guardians of the Galaxy). More importantly however was what happened in the event’s closing moments. During the final battle with Nick Fury (long story), Fury whispers something in Thor’s ear. Suddenly, Mjolnir goes plummeting to the moon, Thor unable to lift it anymore. Thor, in one sentence, became unworthy.

The other Asgardians tried to help him, but Thor remained disgraced, unable to lift his hammer. Even his father, Odin, could not move it, despite being the one who spoke the enchantment in the first place (given, he’s kind of a misogynistic pig, so he wouldn’t be worthy anyway). Thor, meanwhile, takes up one of his first weapons, the axe Jarnbjorn, and goes to earth to fight Malekith, who uses Jarnbjorn to cut off Thor’s arm, leaving both the God’s and his hammer’s fate up in the air.

She Who Is Worthy...

Shortly after Thor left to fight Malekith, the rest of the Asgardians went back to Asgardia, their new home, leaving Mjolnir where it lay. However, soon thereafter a lone woman came to Mjolnir, and declared, “There must always be a Thor.” She then reached down, and grabbed a hold of Mjolnir. Suddenly, the inscription on the side, “Whoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor!” change to “if SHE be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor!” In a flash, the woman became Thor, and the world of comic books was rocked to its core.

The reaction to this move by Jason Aaron and the team at Marvel was explosive to say the least. Many more, shall we say, “traditional” comic book fans, were appalled that Thor had been replaced by a woman, citing “political correctness” and “pandering to the female audience” as the reasons behind this move. Others felt that it was a part of a “feminist agenda” to “ruin comics”. Now, I’m just going to pause for a moment to address those people: You’re all idiots, shut up, and if you don’t like it, leave the comic alone and don’t read it. The rest of us are are trying to read about a badass person with a hammer, and don’t care what sex they are. Got it? Okay, moving on.

On the other, more sensible side, the new Thor was met with overwhelming positive response. Marvel, who has been making a concentrated effort to be more inclusive in both their product and their creators, gained national news headlines from the news, many praising the choice by giving women a new superhero they can look up to. The books sales skyrocketed as well, letting Marvel know that they had made the right decision, pushing the All New Thor to the head of line, and quickly making her an Avenger.

Now, obviously male Thor was a little upset by this, and demanded that she return the hammer to him. However, during a battle with frost giants, Mjolnir refused his call, and he finally accepted that it was no longer his to hold. Feeling that being unworthy of the hammer made him unworthy of his name, he bestowed the title ‘Thor’ to Mjolnir’s new wielder, taking the name Odinson from then on.

 

Identity Revealed

Now, obviously male Thor was a little upset by this, and demanded that she return the hammer to him. However, during a battle with frost giants, Mjolnir refused his call, and he finally accepted that it was no longer his to hold. Feeling that being unworthy of the hammer made him unworthy of his name, he bestowed the title ‘Thor’ to Mjolnir’s new wielder, taking the name Odinson from then on.

Eventually, Odin forced the issue by sending his brother and the Destroyer armour to take Mjolnir from Thor. However, with the aid of Odison, Freyja, and a number of women who Thor had thought possible candidates as the new Thor’s identity, they defeat the Destroyer and shame Odin. Odinson tried to claim that Thor was Roz Solomon, SHIELD agent and latest love interest, but was proven wrong when Roz showed up, standing next to Thor.

Now, again, if you don’t want to know anything more, TURN BACK! SPOILERS! I’ll wait...

Are they gone? Again, don’t really care if they’re not, moving on.

After Odinson leaves, Thor returns to Asgardia in secret, placing the hammer down and in a flash, is returned to her true identity... are you ready? No? Don’t care:

JANE FOSTER!!!!!!!!

Yes, that’s right, former love interest, and current representative of Midgard on the Council of Worlds, THAT Jane Foster, is the new THOR! Wild right? Moreover, Jane has unfortunately been diagnosed with breast cancer, and is currently undergoing treatments while being Thor at the same time. Pretty cool right?

 

Why It Matters

Like I said earlier, the revelation of the new Thor was met with some rather vocal opposition from the minority of comic book fans, along with a HUGE positive response from the majority. Having another woman superhero, especially one with such a big name, was celebrated as a major step in the right direction for the world’s #1 comic book publisher. More diversity in comics is something many have been screaming about for years, to the point where it’s still rather astounding how long it took Marvel and DC to clue in. The last few years have improved things considerably, and All New Thor is just another step on the long journey to equal representation. However, Jane Foster being revealed as Thor’s new identity makes this change even more significant, and no just because she’s Thor's love interest. 

Think about this: How many women suffer from breast cancer? How many women have died from it? How many have had to have their breasts removed in order to survive? And how many others are out there, suffering from various types of cancer, their lives forever affected by the disease if they somehow manage to survive it?

This is why Jane as Thor matters. This woman, who as a doctor knows how deadly this disease can be (even refused Thor’s help when he offered magical treatment) is picking up a hammer and fighting bad guys. Even knowing that these actions could make things, she refuses to allow her disease to stop her from doing something she feels NEEDS to be done.

And there’s the crux of it. Jane picked up the hammer, not because she wanted to or was asked to, but because she felt that, “There must always be a Thor.” In her mind, the world needs Thor, needs his protection. But with Odinson unworthy, she couldn’t allow Mjolnir to just sit there uselessly, like many people feel when they are stricken with a disease like cancer.

This woman, who as a doctor knows how deadly this disease can be (even refused Thor’s help when he offered magical treatment) is picking up a hammer and fighting bad guys. Even knowing that these actions could make things, she refuses to allow her disease to stop her from doing something she feels NEEDS to be done.

 This is SO important in today’s society, when people stricken with a disease are written off, told that they can’t do anything except fight the disease. This is in no short uncertain terms, a long of crap. By picking up that hammer, Jane Foster is telling anyone that has suffered from cancer that they are NOT useless, that they CAN make a difference, and that they should NEVER no do the things they need to because they’re sick. That’s the greatness of what Jason Aaron has done, and I for one think it’s one of the best things to happen to comics in a long time.

 

Conclusion and Going Forward

When Jason Aaron first announced the direction he was taking Thor in, I was a little taken aback. On one hand, I thought it was pretty cool to have female Thor. On the other hand, I like Thor, I like his attitude, his honour, and his somewhat corny sense of humour. To see him replaced was a difficult thing to swallow.

However, when I learned that Thor wasn’t be replaced or killed off and only renamed, and that there would be two separate characters in the story, my worries softened. Reading the first issue, those worries disappeared, Aaron telling a great story and unveiling this new hero in grand fashion. Finally, when it was revealed that it was Jane Foster holding that hammer, a cancer patient, picking up that hammer and fighting bad guys, my heart soared. All New Thor had become officially cool, so cool that I can barely contain myself. Jane picking up that hammer is a moment in comic book history that will be remembered and revered for years to come.

Meanwhile, Odinson is still out there as well, fighting in the Secret Wars that have torn Marvel apart. Despite his initial anger, he now fully supports the new Thor, standing with her against his father at several points. This is also an awesome thing Jason Aaron is doing. Many men, and I use the term loosely, would have become bitter, and try to make her fail. But not Odinson. Odinson will stand by her, even if he doesn’t know who she is (yet). If that isn’t an example of what men everywhere need to be like, I don’t know what is.

Where this story goes is still up in the air, but given how well the sales for the new book have been doing, coupled with public response, I think Jane Foster as Thor is going to stick around for a while. I can’t wait to find out what happens next for Thor and Odinson, but I know that with Jason Aaron writing and Russell Dauterman drawing, it will be awesome!

Thanks for reading everyone, and I strongly urge you to check out the collected editions for All New Thor featured above, including all of Jason Aaron’s Thor: God of Thunder Series posted below. Until next time, Happy Reading!

Updated: 12/13/2015, GregFahlgren
 
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