“Worthy” is the final part to the Son of Asgard comic and by far my least favorite. It’s not even that this story is bad—it’s just boring, and if you’re familiar with Thor, you’ve seen it before. Though I know this comic was published before either the live-action or animated feature, it is still our obligatory and predictable “Thor proves himself worthy” narrative. We know that Thor is going to prove himself worthy in the end—there’s no question about it—so the only thing we can possibly be interested in is how he proves himself worthy and see the struggle he goes through. Unfortunately, to me, that struggle is not enough to redeem this arc.
After the events in “Enchanted”, Thor still feels dejected that he cannot yet wield Mjolnir and he spends most of his days attempting to lift the hammer. After Sif and Balder come to lift his spirits, Thor gets the idea in his head to go talk to the Fates about his destiny and what he needs to do to be proven worthy. They tell him he must face death. Thor is put off by this, since he already died once, but he accepts that he might have to die again in order to wield Mjolnir.
Once he makes it back home, he discovers that Storm Giants—who I think are supposed to be Frost Giants, since they came from Jotunheim—have attacked Asgard and kidnapped Lady Sif. Odin plans to lead an assault to get her back, but he wants Thor to remain in Asgard where it’s safe. After Odin has gone, Thor decides to leave anyway. He storms into the trophy room, picks up Mjolnir, because he can apparently do that now, and races off to Jotunheim. There he discovers that the Jotun leader Rugga has traded Sif to the goddess of death, Hela, in exchange for immortality.
Now knowing where Sif is, Thor goes to confront death once again, finally understanding what the Fates had told him earlier. It turns out that Hela is upset that Thor cheated death in “The Warriors Teen”, and she stole Sif because it was Sif’s tears that brought him back to life. Additionally, Hela implies that Odin has wronged her in some way, and taking Thor from him will be a blow from which not even the All-Father can recover
. Thor attempts to fight Hela, but even with Mjolnir, he is no match for the goddess of death and she easily defeats him. When Sif attempts to aid Thor, Hela decides that she will kill her too, since until this point, she only kept Sif alive so Sif could tell Odin about Thor’s death.
With no hope in sight, Thor offers his life willingly in exchange for Hela allowing Sif to live. Hela has never before had someone offer his own life to her in order to save someone else and she cannot bring herself to take a life so noble. Thor and Sif share a passionate kiss, and then the two of them fly off back to Asgard. The end.
This entire arc took three full issues to complete, and it’s not that much of a story. Essentially, Sif is kidnapped, and Thor saves her. I would forgive the story if it had been particularly compelling with Thor’s character, but it’s not. It doesn’t really delve into his person all that well or let us get to know him. Thor will always be a hard person to relate to, especially because “
being worthy” is hard to define. What about him is worthy? He risks himself to save Sif, which Hela claims no one else has ever done before, yet every warrior in Asgard constantly risks him or herself to keep Asgard safe. Hell, even Loki risked his own life to save Odin in “The Warriors Teen”. However, Odin specifically tells Thor that it’s not what Thor does, but who he is that makes him worthy—so it’s not that he risks his life to save Sif, but that he’s just special, because he’s Thor. As such, he is hard to relate to, especially in this regard. We need to know more about who he is as a person, his internal conflicts outside the hammer, and his relationship with other people, among other things.
We get some of this in “Enchanted”, but that was more about Sif’s relationship with Thor and with the rest of society than Thor’s relationship with Sif. We learn about him in “The Warriors Teen”, but ultimately, that ended up being Balder’s story, since Balder was the one who had more internal conflict and saved the day in the end. So this arc should have been Thor’s shining moment, but it just wasn’t. Events happen, and Thor reacts by becoming worthy, whatever that means.
It doesn’t surprise me that the final arc of Son of Asgard was about Thor proving himself. This does harken back to the Essential Thor comics, and I do like this version better. In the Essentials, Sif is also kidnapped, and Thor saves her, proving himself worthy to wield Mjolnir. The two stories are radically different. It’s been a while since I’ve read it, and I don’t feel the need to dig through all my comics looking for it at the moment, but if I remember correctly, originally this was Sif’s first appearance. She was an innocent blonde maiden who wore pretty dresses and was ultimately an example of the typical “damsel in distress”. She was also Balder’s sister. Later on, Sif’s character was reintroduced as the warrior woman we know today.
I’d say “Worthy” is better than the Essential comics because of Sif. Yes, in “Worthy” she is nothing but a damsel in distress whom Thor saves in his quest to be proven worthy. However, thanks to “Enchanted”, we got to know her more as a person. She is someone that we can relate to and she had a role in the narrative before this, giving her character more of a purpose. So in other ways, “Worthy” can also seem worse, since it’s such a regression for her character, but I do like that Son of Asgard took the time to develop her beforehand and give her character meaning.
I have to say that I really wanted more out of this arc. While “The Warriors Teen” and “Enchanted” certainly had their problems, they were at least a different take than what we’re used to. That is not the case with “Worthy”. Maybe this would have seemed stronger had I not watched either the first live-action movie or the animated feature—and indeed, I first read this years ago before watching those movies, and I remember liking it marginally more back then—but for anyone looking to get into Thor, that probably won’t be the case. Many comic book fans are starting with the movies, and will probably watch them before ever getting around to reading something like “Worthy”. It’s the same damn story, but with less believable character development.
Thor hasn’t really messed anything up, he doesn’t have character flaws he’s overcoming, and he’s not bettering himself as a person. He’s just worthy, because he’s Thor. If you want to read Son of Asgard, I greatly recommend it, but I also recommend skipping “Worthy”. If you want to read it, that’s fine, but I found it a boring waste of time.