Thursday, October 2, 2014

NEW FEMALE THOR LAUNCHED THIS WEEK, WRITER JASON AaRON SAYS SHE'S HERE TO STAY

The new female Thor launches this week, and series writer Jason Aaron says she's here to stay

It's been less than two months since the world first learned about it, and now, it's official. Call her Thor.

It is confirmed of "Thor" #1, which tells how the original Thor we all know (perhaps best of all, Chris Hemsworth's character in the movie) is replaced by a new Thor with two X chromosomes.



For superheroes to stay alive, they have to change with the times. It’s a dilemma the comics industry has struggled with for decades, here and there resisting and elsewhere confronting head on. It's also one of the best parts about loving comics. When I was a kid, few of the characters I loved looked much like me. The few that did weren’t exactly marquee characters, the icons like Spider-Man and Wonder Woman that fans could rally behind outside their local comic book shops. Today, however, there's a black Spider-Man out there, one that’s not only valid but beloved. Changes like that come in waves. As creators slowly but surely create characters that reflect their audience in readers from different backgrounds, races, genders, and sexual orientations, comics as a whole get better for everyone.

More change is on the way and the latest wave hits tomorrow, as Thor, one of Marvel’s core characters, becomes a woman. The hammer Mjolnir, for reasons that are still unclear at the beginning of this new series, has judged the Odinson unworthy, leaving the God of Thunder weakened. Now a mystery woman has taken up not only his famous weapon, but his role and even his name. It’s easily one of the biggest changes Marvel has ever made and, according to series writer Jason Aaron, that's exactly how he wanted it.


Aaron has served as steward for Thor’s mythology since 2012, when he launched Thor: God of Thunder, throwing readers back eons to see the god’s earliest adventures while also sending them into the far future when an aged Thor sits the throne in Asgard. All in the same book. The question of worthiness has always served as a through line in Aaron's work. His Thor is the kind of character that can face off against threats like the God Butcher and the Phoenix Force, but he’s well aware his strength isn’t a given. "I’ve always written him as a god who wakes up everyday and looks at that hammer and doesn’t know if he’s gonna be able to pick it up," said Aaron. "So he’s always sort of worrying and praying about if he’s a good enough god and is he truly worthy in the grand scheme of things. I love the idea of taking that away from him." This is a dark time in the character’s life, he says, and it’s his greatest test grappling with the loss of his greatest weapon.

Meanwhile, Thor’s whole world has also changed around him, particularly because women now play increasingly central roles in his existence. Asgardia itself, the renewed home of the gods in Marvel continuity, is now ruled by goddesses collectively known as the All-Mothers. He has a newfound sister in Angela, a powerful lost Asgardian from the Tenth Realm who is strong enough to defeat him at his best. And in the future, Thor has three super-powerful granddaughters, Frigg, Ellisiv, and Atli, who are known as the Girls of Thunder and are warriors of the same stripe as the Odinson himself. With all this already written, that even the name Thor should pass to a woman was an obvious, if not immediate, decision Aaron was more than ready to make, a reaction to all the changes that have already begun to take root in his corner of the Marvel universe.


"The plan was always to get to the point where the Thor that we knew had become unworthy," he said. "But at some point I got to the story of somebody new carrying the hammer. I didn’t know who initially, but once I started thinking about it, I knew that I wanted it to be a woman. Thor has been in publication since ’62, and in all those years we’ve rarely seen a woman pick up the hammer. And if you look at Thor’s supporting cast — especially with the stuff I’ve been doing — Thor’s surrounded by a lot of female characters. So when you start to look around in this world and say, 'Well, if he can’t pick up the hammer, who can?' it seemed natural that it’d be one of these women."

Going forward, the question then becomes, how long can this new status quo last? Superheroes have a funny way of coming back from whatever trial they face — even death itself — and given that Old King Thor still wields Mjolnir in the far future, it stands to reason Thor will get his hammer back at some point. So what happens to the new Thor? According to Aaron, we won't know for a long while. Thor Odinson isn't going anywhere, and he still has plenty of adventures ahead. But enough track has been laid bringing this new take on the character in that it'll be some time before the God of Thunder proves himself worthy again. Whoever is under the helm, it's her show from here on out even if Avengers: Age of Ultron is right around the corner.


Whatever happens next, comics fans can at least be assured that change is coming. And change is good.



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