There is a major shake up happening in Marvel.
Starting in October, Thor, The Might Asgardian Norse god of Thunder would be…Thor, the Mighty Asgardian Norse goddess of Thunder.
The statement released on Marvel.com:
Marvel is excited to announce an all-new era for the God of Thunder in brand new series, THOR, written by Jason Aaron complimented with art from Russell Dauterman.
This October, Marvel Comics evolves once again in one of the most shocking and exciting changes ever to shake one of the “big three” of Captain American, Iron Man and Thor. No longer is the classic Thunder God able to hold the mighty hammer, Mjölnir, and a brand new female hero will emerge worthy of the name THOR.
Speculation is wild about the origins of the new wielder of Mjölnir, and the only hint that the lucky lady is someone who Thor himself saved. She’s built herself off of his mighty blondness and as of October, we’ll find out just who she is and how Thor lost his mojo.
“The inscription on Thor’s hammer reads ‘Whosoever holds this hammer, if HE be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.’ Well it’s time to update that inscription,” says Marvel editor Wil Moss. “The new Thor continues Marvel’s proud tradition of strong female characters like Captain Marvel, Storm, Black Widow and more. And this new Thor isn’t a temporary female substitute – she’s now the one and only Thor, and she is worthy!”
The hammer chooses the wielder, just like Hogwarts Sorting Hat decides that your weak ass is a Hufflepuff and worthy to wield the hammer. (I’m kidding, I don’t know if Hufflepuff is weak, I’ve always been sorted into Gryffindor) Everyone can be worthy to carry the hammer, which is the great appeal of the entire mythos behind the Cosmic Marvel universe.
In 1978, issue 10 of Thor, The Watcher speculated what would have happened if Jane Foster found the Hammer.
So it’s not out of the realm of possibility for the ownership to pass from Thor Odinson to someone else. It has happened before. Especially when you consider that Throg was an actual plot point.
Thor is a name, not a title.
Naturally, the nerd hordes had a temper tantrum regarding the sex change because nerd rage.
Essentially, comic book purists can accept Throg, vaguely recall The Watcher’s one shot story about Jane and Mjölnir but for her to actually happening during a current run is a problem. The statement includes (paraphrase) a nod to the neglected female comic book fan, which makes it seem like a bit of a cash grab but it also acknowledges that female fronted titles are in demand and Marvel suits aren’t stupid. Captain Marvel, AKA Carol Danvers has been having an amazing run under Kelly Sue DeConnick which has spawned into a great Ms. Marvel title. X-Men founding member Ororo Munroe, aka Storm, is getting her first lead title despite having been in comics for longer than the recently decreased Wolverine who’s had multiple runs as a lead character. Marvel has been leading the charge in comic book diversity where DC is struggling to keep up. Both companies have the luxury of celebrating 50 years in the business and Marvel seems to be the first out of the old guard to truly embrace that the world is in fact very different today than it was upon some of their classic titles first printing.
Yesterday it was announced that John Constantine in the upcoming NBC paranormal horror series Constantine would not be bisexual as is cannon with the comic book. That’s a whole other argument but the nerd rage was interesting. They were dismayed at having this part of the character be downplayed when it was essential to who he is. The show runners also discussed that he will not be smoking as much as he does in his Hellblazer title.
At the heart of the hero is still the heart of who they are.
What does it mean that Thor is being replaced by a woman?
What it means is that readers will be treated to a richer experience in storytelling because you have to make your character someone to care about. As a woman, you’re invested in a character that isn’t another run of the mill damsel in distress and as a male reader, you’re still reading a comic book with a ass kicking lead with a legacy. When Miles Morales, the famously biracial kid from Queens, became the new Spider-man, the world almost imploded. From the nerd purists to the racists, Miles becoming the new Spider-man was the prime example for why comics need to change, why diversity is important and why everyone should feel welcome and represented in the great big world of comics and fantasy. They are escape routes and lessons in being a better person packed into bright pages. People of color and women should be included in this world that essentially doesn’t know the same politics as this one does.
The truth is, Marvel should be working on creating a new female lead, fresh origins, fresh stories, fresh everything. They may still be a long way off considering the success of their legacy titles but the seeds are being planted now. They’ve started that with the introduction of Kamala Khan as the aforementioned Ms. Marvel but there are established rules with that power because of the years of the hero having been male. She still needs to be a hero with an old credo in a modern world that may not welcome her. By introducing new faces in old roles however, you demonstrate that anyone can and will be worthy of the title of hero.
The rage comes from the boat of comfort being rocked and people who don’t like change being toss out of the boat. We don’t know who the new Thor is and won’t until the title rolls out in October. We don’t know the conditions to which Thor loses his ability just as we don’t know how long she’ll be Thor. For all we know, Sif is the new Mjölnir wielder and the ‘other woman’ is Loki in disguise. That’s what makes the speculation so exciting. Taking someone and putting them into an extraordinary circumstance, like becoming something more is a universal experience. It’s a journey that everyone will go through as they discover who they are. Why should an extraordinary experience like becoming a superhero, a guardian, a crusader be only limited to men, or white men? Why should we continue to tell the other that they will remain that way because comic books say so? We are at an age of discovery, where someone somewhere at every second will discover who they are, who they are meant to be and what greater allegory is there than the superhero comic book title? Image Comics, Top Cow and Dark Horse are fantastic when it comes to the idea of diversity in storytelling but they aren’t the MAJORS like DC and Marvel are, plus, their titles tend to lean more maturely than Marvel and DC do.
I get that people are upset that this is happening to their beloved character but it doesn’t change who that character is at the core of their principles. The wild thing is that when Loki has swapped genders, it’s so totally Loki that it’s accepted. Some of it is ridiculed because people are five and have problems with things that challenge their personal belief systems and that’s cool but their distaste is tainting a very simple thing. Sure, Loki is evil and evil people do lousy things but there was no real uproar once Loki went back to being a boy. Maybe women aren’t allowed to be evil? Even if they’re the god of mischief.
After Ragnarök, Loki returned in a female body working with Doctor Doom so Thor would unwittingly resurrect his Asgardian enemies and manipulated Balder to make him the new successor to the throne of Asgard. In reality, Loki retained his male form after Ragnarok but hid himself inside Thor’s reborn lover Sif. During this period, Hela and Loki used magic to send Loki to the past to cause the events that led to his younger self being adopted by Odin as a means to eliminate Bor, Thor’s grandfather.
You can deal with spectral cosmic forces, space and time travel but a chick in charge, burn down the world.
What will be interesting is if the new Thor sticks around, what threat does she pose when it comes to warrior woman iconography? Gender Swapped Starbuck was the space warrior of our dreams but that didn’t come with controversy. We’re years away from Xena who was years removed from Wonder Woman who grand mothered Buffy the Vampire Slayer.. Could the new Thor be the new power character we’ve been looking for in the comic book universe? Can she become the next mainstream hero to stand with Black Widow, Maria Hill, Storm, Kitty Pryde, Black Cat, Melinda May, She-Hulk and Elektra? Of course she can, the real question is, come October, will you be willing to go on that adventure?
Personally, I’m looking forward to covers that aren’t spandex and ass shots. I mean c’mon. I’m badass, but don’t pay attention to my ass, just watch yours while it’s getting kicked.
With San Diego Comic Con just around the corner, one can only speculate that Marvel has succeeded in dominating the show floor and panels with this announcement as well as the media tour for the upcoming Guardians of The Galaxy, which features the daughter of Thanos and master assassin Gamora. Details will probably start surfacing once the con kicks off and we may get an idea of what’s in store for Thor and the new wielder of Mjölnir, so everyone who is butthurt now will be placated later on. Odds are, the answer will be so decent, that whatever controversy that may arise will be quelled by just how stupid they had been in the first place.What we do know is that Marvel is continuing the trend of understanding that readers, good solid committed, readers will always seek, find and buy the titles that interest them because that’s the business they’ve gotten themselves into.
What we want to see is a character that gives new life to an old name, that makes you discover comic books for the first time or rediscover them all over again.
FOUND OUT WHO IT IS:
DC had better step it’s game up.