Marvel really turned up with heat this past summer when they announced that Thor—THE ODINSON—was going to take a new direction—an entirely new direction.
No, it wasn’t going to be death.
No, it wasn’t going to be him reconciling with his evil brother Loki who is to take over the world (finally!).
It was the biggest bombshell Marvel comics has ever made to date.
The Thor Odinson was now going to be a female.
The Internet had a field day and I’m sure Marvel’s PR department spent a good time hiding from fire torches and pitchforks.
Fair enough. The Thor comic has been running 50+ years strong, and now some Marvel executives wanted to make dude look like be a lady?
Internet I hear you. While I was shocked by the sudden change myself, I went out and bought the issue the first day it was released. And what I found inside surprised me.
(Note to reader: I shall smite thee with spoilers below)
This Thor takes place in mainstream continuity of the comics. Which is geek speak meaning: “she isn’t going away anytime soon”. So buckle up and get used to it. She is not “Lady” Thor, she is now the ONLY THOR.
After a series of events in the last Marvel major event “Original Sin” Nick Fury whispered something into the original Thor Odinson’s ear that made him unable to wield the hammer.
Thor spends weeks at the side of his hammer, Mjolnir, as it says far sunken into the craters on the moon. In a state of malnutrition and weakness, Odin—who had been away waging a war on other planets—arrives from his long battle to find his son weak and talking to no one that surrounds him.
Odin had left the kingdom while he was away in charge to his wife, Freya.
And here’s where the Marvel hits us over the head with its new found feminist side.
Marvel wants us to believe that although it’s produced no smash-hit female comic book (thus far) and certainly no distinguishable female break-out character movie (sure, sure, Black Widow is on the Avengers team, but she only has about 20 minutes screen time.) that they are listening to their female audience.
Odin had left Freya in charge of Asgard—now called Asgardia—while he pillared and plundered about the cosmos only to return to Asgardia in a weakened state on the account of his now powerless son, Thor.
A frustrated Odin tries to figure out why the hammer won’t bow and move to his own command. A hammer should listen to the All-Father, after all he made the damn thing. Freya and the rest of the kingdom try to get Thor to spill about the chain of events that rendered him useless. Thor does not budge. Especially not to his mother, Freya.
Odin then takes out his frustration on Asgardia but most importantly his wife. Marvel really lays anti-feminism on thick here.
Odin goes on a tirade about how he left HIS kingdom in the charge of a woman. He does not regard her as his wife in this moment. But just a woman. And that if he had not been occupied that his son would never have lost the power to lose the power of the hammer unsupervised by a woman.
In a decided ploy for its new found female audience, Marvel makes—forces—Freya to fight back. And what she says to her husband might surprise you. I’m paraphrasing here, but essentially Marvel wants you to walk away with this overwhelming sense of female empowerment that will be taking place in this series. Yes, Marvel. We get it. You like ladies. You are targeting a new demographic. Stop shoving it in our faces with uncharacteristic outbursts from not normally chauvinistic characters, and solving it with some quickly pasted together empowerment tag line. It makes the story feel unnatural and aware of itself outside the comic which breaks the fourth wall.
You may have a new readership Marvel, but we aren’t stupid, and we get that you aren’t purposely sexist. We are with you Marvel, and we are with you in the long haul. Now get to the story at hand.
Freya, now at odds with her sexist husband Odin, passively aggressive waves off Odin and seems to have some devious plan of her own to find another wielder of Mjolnir. Meanwhile Thor continues to be silent on why he can’t pick up the hammer and travels to Earth—on a seemingly aimless mission—with a sword, and extremely vulnerable to attacks now that he is powerless.
And this is where the comic leaves us with; Odin possibly being forced to sleep on the couch in his throne room, Freya plotting to find another person who can possess the power of Thor, Thor on a suicide mission to find answers, and a mysterious girl who roams the moon and finds Mjolnir waiting for her in the distance.
For the first issue of a comic book it leaves much to be desired in terms of answers. Of course it can’t provide the reader with too many answers in the first issue of the series or else it wouldn’t be enjoyable. But since it coming off the coattails of another Marvel tie-in, it would be great for them to give some sigh of relief to those who have read the previous tie-in and are now jumping into this series.
The artwork is absolutely stunning, and I can’t tell you how happy I am that Marvel is not trying to sex the new Thor up.
If you can look past all the “hey look, we aren’t sexist! See!” stuff that pops up throughout the comic, it makes it a decent read regardless if you are male or female. On the flipside of that you may see your favorite Asgardians being ruder than normal—especially to female characters.
I can’t wait to find out more about this new woman who possesses the power of Thor and the shift in power dynamic for these set of Marvel characters she will soon come into contact with—particularly Loki. Until the next issue I suppose we will all have to wait and see.
In truth, this comic on the surface may seem like the Thor you never wanted. But after reading it you will see that is in fact the Thor that everyone needed.
Judge the new “Thunderer” for yourself in Thor #1: “If he be unworthy” in a comic shop near you.