As one of the few comics folks on this blog, I feel I’ve been remiss in my duties. Yes, friends, four issues’ worth of the new lady-led Thor comic have gone out into the world, and here I haven’t written a damn word about them.
Let’s fix that. (Spoilers below for issues #1–4.)
You may remember that Marvel made a making-dudebros-cry announcement last summer: the Thor we were familiar with would be stepping down from his position as, well, Thor, and the mantle would be taken up by a woman. The first issue of the new Thor comic debuted a few months ago, and in short, it’s really awesome.
So, how did the new Thor get her powers to begin with? Well, a few months ago, there was a Marvel-wide event called Original Sin, in which a ton of dangerous and old secrets were aired. One of the secrets affecting Thor was so traumatic to him that learning it made him suddenly unworthy to carry Mjolnir, and he had to leave the hammer on the Moon where he’d dropped it. (We still haven’t found out what that secret was.) When news comes to him that Malekith the Dark Elf has attacked Midgard, leading an army of Frost Giants, Thor goes after them anyway with nothing but an axe—and is pretty soundly defeated. All is not lost for Midgard, though: a mysterious woman appears on the Moon and takes hold of the hammer. Doing so transforms her into a superhero with all the Asgardian powers that the original Thor had.
Mystery lady tracks down the Frost Giants and beats the shit out of them, but her smackdown is interrupted by a surprising antagonist: the Odinson himself. He’s furious that some strange woman has taken his hammer and demands it back, but when they’re set upon by further enemies, he realizes that she wields Mjolnir with an ease and skill that he never had. When the Avengers finally show up, dude!Thor publicly acknowledges her heroism to them and cedes the name of Thor to her, deciding to be known henceforth as the Odinson.
We’re still not sure who the new Thor is. One theory said she was Freya, but when Thor himself asked her if she was his mother, she kissed him pretty non-familially. To be honest, I suspected that she wasn’t Freya well before that, simply because of her internal monologue. While Thor’s speech is properly formal and old-timey (and written in the “An Asgardian is talking” comics font) when she speaks aloud, her thoughts sound more like that of someone who’s new to hero-ing.
I don’t have enough of an encyclopedic knowledge of the Marvel Universe to guess if it’s someone we’ll know when she finally unmasks, but I can at least speculate as to what she’s like. I’d peg her as a white woman in her twenties, because her inner monologue doesn’t sound mature enough to be older, and because the Thor transformation may have changed her attire, but her hand was white-skinned before she picked up the Hammer. (Also because it’d be skeevy to have a character of color change to a white character when she powered up.) I don’t think she’s ever had any kind of power on this level, so I wouldn’t guess that she’s a mutant or an Inhuman or anyone who’s had superpowers before this. And finally, I don’t know what the economics of space travel are in the Marvel-616 universe, but she has to have enough money and resources to just jaunt out to the moon by herself to poke at Thor’s abandoned hammer. Time will tell if any of this holds true, of course.
Besides the mystery of Thor’s identity and the ongoing threat of the Malekith/Frost Giants villainous duo, there isn’t a huge amount of plot to pick apart so far. I think as of right now the story is working on establishing the character before they really get into the meat of any more complex storylines.
Comics being a visual medium, I can’t possibly sign off without talking about the art. I don’t think I’ve read anything penciled by Russell Dauterman before, but he’s doing a hell of a job. As I constantly say, art is one of the make-or-break aspects governing whether a comic is enjoyable, and when a comic follows a female hero or heroes, it’s important that the art isn’t just nice to look at, but that it also lacks an objectifying gaze. Dauterman’s Thor is never cheesecakey, and I was never thrown out of the story thinking, “ugh, that pose.” Furthermore, there was a lot of contention about the boob-cup armor on Thor’s costume when the concept art was released, but thankfully her breastplate is not generally drawn to contour to both individual boobs in the comic. Since boob-cup armor is downright dangerous in battle on top of being objectifying, I’m glad they’re omitting it. She still does have stylized gaps in the abdomen of her outfit that bare her skin, and in a perfect world she wouldn’t, but I’m less concerned about that than the breastplate – the costume seems to be responding somewhat to her own desires – see: the mask that provides her anonymity, which the original Thor did not have. So it’s possible that those could be marked down to personal choice.
So what’s to come? I expect we will eventually find out Thor’s true identity, but not for a while. She’s won the battle with Malekith and the Frost Giants, but she certainly hasn’t won the war, and I expect that the reveal of her identity will have enough repercussions to be a whole plot arc of its own. I wonder if we’ll see any team-ups, as well, but again, I expect they won’t come for a while, mostly because it’s important for the story to set up her own identity and personality before they start randomly throwing other heroes into the mix.
Whatever is to come, I can’t wait to read about it. What have you thought about Thor so far? Let me know in the comments!