(Mild spoilers ahead, but I do not reveal Thor’s identity)
Last September Marvel made headlines by announcing that in the new Thor series, Odinson (aka the previous Thor) would no longer be Thor. Rather, a woman would be wielding the hammer Mjolnir and headlining the comic. Importantly, she wasn’t going to be called “She-Thor” or anything like that. What may seem like a simple name choice signals that the new Thor, though she is a different gender from the previous, was not going to be defined by it. There was certainly a good measure of push back from dude-bro’s who couldn’t imagine a woman being Thor. Thankfully, the comic came out and after its initial eight issue run I can say with full confidence that Thor is a woman, she is a feminist, and she is amazing.
The premise of Jason Aaron’s run (with art by Russell Dauterman) is that Odinson has become unworthy to wield Mjolnir. At the end of the first issue a woman of unknown identity walks up to Mjolnir alone, and picks it up, stating that “There must always be a Thor.”
And with that she is transformed into the Goddess of Thunder. In issue two she starts to kick some real ass, but her outward heroism is balanced by her inner thoughts that show someone who is uncertain, albeit with a nice sense of humor. She isn’t just a “strong female character,” she doubts herself, but she pushes past that doubt – sometimes with a quip – to save the people she cares about.
One of my favorite moments is when Thor is battling a villain named Crusher Creel. He mocks Thor for being a woman and says that “Damn feminists are ruining everything!” He then mockingly asks Thor what happened to Odinson: “What’d you do, send him [Odinson] to sensitivity training?”
During a battle scene Aaron is able to equate anti-feminists (such as those who were opposed to this nwe Thor) with blockheaded (literally) villains like Creel. Thor proceeds to punch Creel in the jaw, thinking to herself “That’s for saying ‘feminist’ like it’s a four-letter word, creep.” It’s absolutely wonderful.
Later, Creel’s partner Titania steps in, knocks him out, and surrenders. Titania shows sympathy for Thor saying “Can’t have been easy for you. Hasn’t been for me either” referring to being a woman with powers. It’s a nice moment of solidarity between two women on opposite sides.
This series isn’t just about Thor, however. Odinson at first desperately wants Mjolnir back, to the point of fighting Thor for it. However, he quickly relents and acknowledges Thor’s worthiness, and gives her his blessing to use the name Thor. His change of heart is a (perhaps self-aware) model for how those who initially react negatively to a change (especially one that leads to greater representation) should re-examine themselves and what the change actually means.
Odinson goes on to try and discover Thor’s true identity. Aaron had me guessing as to Thor’s identity and threw many curveballs. One of Aaron’s successes is that there are enough significant female characters in this series to have me thinking it could be any of three different women.
When Thor’s identity is finally revealed, it works so well and gives even greater depth to her character. The presence of such characters as Sif and SHIELD Agent Roz Solomon is a major reason why Thor is so good.
Back on Asgard there are family struggles between Odin, Odinson, and Freyja (Odin’s wife/Odinson’s mother). Prior to the start of the series, Odin was in exile and Freyja took over Asgard as its All-Mother. Upon returning, Odin and Freyja struggle over who should rule Asgard.
Odin acts like a petulant child when his authority is questioned or when he does not get his way.
Freyja is a foil to him. She is calm, collected, and not fueled by pride. She wants what is best for Asgard and views Odin as a despot. She and Thor have an especially great moment alone together.
This conversation follows Freyja being told she is not needed as the All-Mother and Thor being told that the real Thor is a man. Both of them display an inspirational resolve in the face of such misogyny. They both have confidence in their own power and worth. When Earth is invaded by frost giants Freyja leads a team of Asgardians on the offensive, despite Odin’s orders not to. Later on, she and Odinson lead a team of female super heroes from across Asgard and Earth to aid Thor.
Freyja and Thor’s mutual respect is great to see. Freyja is an older woman, she is a diplomat, and she is a warrior – this is a very rare combination indeed.
Freyja might just be my favorite part of this series.
I cannot recommend Aaron’s eight-issue run on Thor enough. He is able to make a story about the Goddess of Thunder in a fictional world of superheroes and mythical Norse beings feel extremely relevant by weaving in the sexist reactions caused by women in power and then showing these women’s empowered responses to it. It was recently announced that Thor’s story will continue in The Mighty Thor this November. I am so excited to see where he takes things. We need more comics like this, and the only way that’s going to happen is if people buy and read them when they do come around.
Have you read Aaron’s run on Thor? What did you think of it? Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter, @TotallyKyle95! And if you enjoyed this piece stay tuned here, GamesWithFriendsWrites.WordPress.com, for more of my musings and opinions on video games and more! You can also check out my YouTube channel for my Let’s Plays and The Games With Friends Show. Enjoy!