Tomorrow sees the official debut of Marvel‘s new female Thor in Thor #1. Announced in July on The View, the change has been met with the expected condemnation, praise, and skepticism. This is just one of numerous changes that have swept the comics industry lately, expanding the diversity of characters we see between pages.
Marvel alone is launching three big changes this week, with the new Thor, a new role for Bucky Barnes, and Sam Wilson taking over the role of Captain America, all part of Marvel’s Avengers NOW! initiative. While changes have occurred in the past, like death in comics, those changes were only temporary. Thor, and his brother Loki, have both been women in the past, and in Thor’s case, he’s even been a frog. So, you can understand the skepticism by many.
But even temporary, this is a big change. Unlike previous changes, this is a brand new person wielding Thor’s hammer Mjolnir.
During the announcement writer Jason Aaron emphasized what this actually means:
This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR. This is the THOR of the Marvel Universe. But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before.
For those that don’t know Thor is a god-like being who resides from Asgard, and is the son if the Asgardian King Odin. Thor debuted in 1962 in Journey into Mystery, and though things have varied in his exact origin, generally Odin banishes Thor to Earth until he learns humility.
Whosoever holds this hammer, if HE be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.
That lack of humility prevents him from picking up Mjolnir, his hammer, which helps him focus his abilities and is his main weapon. Some other than Thor, have been worthy, so this change is nothing new. A horse faced alien named Beta Ray Bill, Captain America, Conan, Hulk, Magneto, Superman, Wonder Woman, and a few others have proven their worthiness. But, the hammer sort of makes the character the God of Thunder. No hammer, it’s not quite Thor (though Thor has wielded an axe in the past pre-hammer).
So what got Thor to no longer to be worthy? The specific reason is kind of a mystery. Recently Marvel’s event Original Sin saw some of Marvel’s best unravel the mystery of who killed the Watcher. Eventually it pitted the heroes versus a very different Nick Fury, who had plans to defeat the heroes, Thor being one of the first. With just a whisper, Fury caused Thor to lose his worthiness sending Mjolnir to the surface of the Moon, where Thor has attempted to pick it up (and failing at it) since. What exactly was whispered is still a mystery, the first of many, like what woman will be worthy!
The fact the next wielder of Mjolnir shouldn’t be a surprise. Aaron has surrounded Thor with a very female centered cast. After Odin’s fall as leader of Asgard, Thor’s mother, Odin’s wife, Freyja, the All-Mother, has taken over and renamed their world Asgardia shifting it to more of a matriarchal society. Sif, Thor’s friend and fellow soldier has played a larger role in her own series for a while. Thor’s long time love interest Jane Foster has returned front and center dealing with a new relationship and cancer. Thor’s own brother Loki was a woman for a while. And then theirs new characters like Thor’s own granddaughters who have been key players in flash-forwards looking at King Thor in the future. Then there’s S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Roz Solomon who has been a new love interest.
Who takes over the role of Thor has been a mystery, but here’s who we think are the most likely suspects:
Freyja – Thor’s mother would be an interesting switch. The All-Mother had been ruling Asgard, but with Odin’s return, her role is up in the air. This one is a long shot, as she might have a larger role settling Odin back in to rule. There’s now a council Odin will need to deal with, something he hasn’t before, and Freyja may need to stick around as a diplomat, and to ease Odin into the new ruling dynamic.
Angela – The character debuted in Image Comics’ Spawn, and after some legal battles is now over at Marvel. She has had a large role in Guardians of the Galaxy, and her history has recently been revealed as the sister of Thor and Loki, who was kidnapped by the Angels of Heven. She has her own series to focus on, and recent revelations should be sending her on a path to find her place in the Marvel Universe and Asgard. Being Thor too would seem to be a bit too much.
Jane Foster – Thor’s former love interest was last left on Asgard to help watch over things for Thor. She’s suffering from cancer and has refused mythical treatment. In the past, Thor has switched places with a human, so having Jane swap out with an Asgardian warrior wouldn’t be too crazy. It’s a bit too obvious of a choice for me though.
Valkyrie – is an interesting character that recently was leading a team of all-female Defenders. Generally she’s a warrior who Odin had chosen to lead the Valkyrior, but has held numerous roles, and has had her history muddled with to fit the latest version of the character. The last she was seen was in that Defenders series, and it seemed like the character was leading to something….
Roaslind (Roz) Solomon – A relatively new character to the Marvel Universe, she debuted by inviting Thor to her S.H.I.E.L.D. academy graduation. She’s a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent focused on the environment and protecting it. Most recently she stood by Thor’s side to battle the corporation Roxxon who was polluting the Earth among other things (and whose story will continue). Out of everyone, she’s the one I’m picking to wield the hammer. Her introduction is too recent to not be for a reason, and she’s shown a want of protecting the Earth, something Odin and Freyja, will appreciate. When Thor is confronted by his granddaughters about the change, he’s obviously hurt (or possibly ashamed) about it, and an ex would make that even more interesting.
This is a story that Aaron has been building towards in his run on Thor, and we can’t wait to see where he takes it next. Thor #1 hits stands October 1.