About Thor’s arm (also Dr. Jane Foster)

thor armIt was Thor’s mighty arm that made me buy this comic. I had been planning to drop the series. Thors, the spoof of the police procedural Jason Aaron wrote as part of Secret Wars, was a fun idea but as soon as Aaron fridged Jane Foster in that miniseries I was out of there. I had found his recent issues of Thor itself to be good but not great.

So I almost didn’t pick up The Mighty Thor #1. But then I saw Thor’s arm. Probably the mightiest arm I’ve seen on a leading lady in a mainstream comic. It is mighty and meaningful and I needed to buy this comic. We live in a culture in which most comics artists and comics movies care more about crafting a female body to serve their notion of the conventional male gaze then they do about crafting female heroes who can believably catch a falling space station with their bare hands.

I regularly see She-Hulks with smaller arms than any woman at my gym. I’ve seen She-Hulks with waists that would not accommodate a gastro-intestinal system. And yes, I’ve seen Marvel artists draw She-Hulk and female Thor with the same exact body they give every other woman, maybe a few inches taller but just as willowy.

So seeing this Thor, this woman who is not designed to look like what publishers assume men want to wank-off to, is hugely gratifying. Artist Russell Dauterman‘s Thor is beautiful and strong and so she’s certainly the female physical ideal of a lot of people or– at least one physical ideal out of many. But she’s not built solely for that purpose. She’s built to catch a space station with one hand. She’s a female power fantasy and she turns down Tony Stark’s romantic advances (a good call).

Dauterman’s art on Thor has always been good and he’s always drawn her looking physically strong but the sheer size of her arms on this cover is unprecedented even from him.

And then I look at how he draws the body of Doctor Jane Foster— Thor’s all too mortal alter ego currently undergoing chemo to treat her cancer. Dauterman does an uncanny job drawing her bones and veins and pain. She is so sensitively drawn it hurts to look at her. Not because she’s thin or has lost her hair, but because of the delicacy with which she is drawn.


But Jane’s emotional and physical strength are both showcased in her cancer treatment scenes and in all of her interactions. It’s a worthy portrayal. If her Thor body is a female power-fantasy her mortal Jane Foster form is a visceral connection to physical pain experienced by our friends and loved ones and sometimes ourselves. Her relationship to her illness is hard for me to write about but I’m sure it will continue to be a central theme.

Jane is heroic, standing up to make her case to her fellow Senators in the Congress of Worlds — a governing body of the 10 Realms. She is physically tiny in the face of the mythic beings made of fire or whatever green stuff Light Elves are made of. But she presents her case to them and while she doesn’t win, she also doesn’t flinch. And she doesn’t let anything stop her— not as Doctor Jane Foster and not as Thor.

FullSizeRender(1)The colors from Matt Wilson are rightly radiant on Asgurad. He’s a great fit for this comic. Dauterman’s gatefold cover is wonderfully colorful and fun. I usually don’t care one way or the other about gatefold covers but this one packs in all the characters of a classic George Perez special with sensitive fine lined swirling art that’s all his own.

The current story arc in Thor is full of intrigue. Different realms and players are maneuvering against each other in twisty ways. There’s even Roxxon, the evil company most likely to show up in a Thor book these days, acting like an ungodly merger of Exxon Oil and Fox News. Roxanne is just so evil and entertaining and tremendously in character for Exxon and Fox News. I really love how Aaron is writing Roxxon. I’ve been disappointed with how several evil corporations have been written by the big two of late but this one looks very promising.

And Loki is back.

So between the political machinations, the portrayal of Jane Foster and her cancer and the excellent art– I’m highly endorsing this comic. But especially Thor’s arm.

Story: Jason Aaron Art: Russell Dauterman
Art 9. Story 7.5. Overall 8 Recommendation: Buy