[Disclaimer, Thor’s identity has not been revealed nor confirmed as of yet, but a great deal of this article will feature a speculative argument.]
How many people do you know that have said that word like it’s a dirty, four-letter swear? Like the examples I’ve provided below-
Sl**, C***, F***, Sh**
I’m sure you can imagine some rather unpleasant four-letter words that fit the bill there. In the meantime, here are some better four-letter words.
Girl. Lady. Good. True. Thor.
According to this week’s issue of Marvel’s THOR, by Jason Aaron and guest artist Jorge Molina, not everyone can make the distinction between the bad words and the good that I’ve listed here.
Take, for instance, Crusher Creel, the Absorbing Man- it shocks him to see a woman in place of the familiar, manly Thor Odinson. It shocks him even more to admit she’s kicking his butt! If it wasn’t a big enough crime to see the Absorbing Man robbing money from an armored car, he parrots the sentiments of many an angry man I’ve encountered on the internet in regards to the newest thunderer in town. Aaron is a smart writer, which is why he takes these fears and anxieties expressed by detractors to the series, and smashes them down just as quickly as Thor brings down her hammer.
If it wasn’t made clear enough in the previous issue that this woman is the one and only Thor, the name conceded to her by Prince Odinson, the message rings loud and true in issue #5 once more. She is Thor. She is worthy. Don’t call her Lady Thor, Thorita, or Girly Thor. It would be like calling Prince Odinson He-Thor, Manly Thor, or Thor Guy. The heroic persona of Thor passes to the new wielder much in the same way the name Captain America passes to the holder of the shield. Sure, the man was born Thor Odinson, but he wasn’t always the hero Thor. He earned the title by being worthy of the hammer and vowing to protect those who could not themselves. I see no reason that the new protector shouldn’t receive the same respect. Prince Odinson agrees with me.
But then there are Crusher Creels, who run their mouths, say “feminist” like it’s a bad word, and are disrespectful towards women. Thankfully, Thor gives us a quick fix for the haters- she breaks his jaw. Sometimes, though, it’s not that simple. Especially for those of us without Mjolnir’s powers. In those times, we have to turn to the strength within ourselves, and sometimes even the kindness of another who is willing to help.
Okay, so that’s not exactly how it goes in Thor, because things would be too easy for her. But we do meet Titania, Creel’s partner in crime, who accepts punishment at Thor’s hand [or fist], because she recognizes just how formidable Thor is, regardless of her gender or her predecessor. It was the most gracious punch to the face I’ve ever seen anyone take.
And it spoke volumes about standing in solidarity with one another, despite opposing ideals. Also, it was pretty funny.
The conflict with Creel is only a fraction of the book. The rest is dominated by scenes of Asgard, with a melancholy Odinson, a furious All-Father, a concerned Freyja, and Thor herself, contemplating what the power and responsibility means to her.
It’s all very exciting, and this may be Aaron’s best-written issue yet. He balances many plates with the colorful cast of characters and the fast-paced events that usher us through scenes of Molina’s soft, gorgeous art that conveys action and drama at the same rate as the writing. Dauterman’s bold designs translate well to Molina’s unique style for this special story. [Dauterman will return regularly starting Issue #6 next month.]
We’ve all got Crushers and Odins in our lives. And sometimes we have Prince Odinsons, Titanias, and Freyjas. Not everyone is the same, and certainly no one is perfect. People say, do, and believe different things for different reasons. Not everyone will love you, not everyone will be against you. But at the end of the day, it comes down to whether or not you stay true to yourself in a way that would make Mjolnir gladly fight in your company.
So, if we know nothing of Thor’s identity thus far, at least we know she’s a feminist. I mean, it just makes sense. And it’s clear Jason Aaron means it. This is not “political correctness”. This is a writer with a vision and a meaningful story for a smart, brave woman who is a hero in her own right, not just because a hammer told us so. At the moment, everyone is comparing her to the legacy of a man, but I have no doubt she will make her own legacy that stands alone from the original god of thunder.
But do we really know nothing of her identity? I’m thinking I have a good idea.
Prince Odinson’s got a list- he’s going to be checking it a lot more than twice in the coming months. If I may, I’d like to present my theory that will make his search a lot shorter.
With confidence, I suggest to you, dear reader, that our new Thor is none other than Jane Foster herself. I may be deceived by Jason Aaron’s red herrings, or blinded by my own fallacious ideas, but I believe I’ve put together the most logical argument for why it has to be her. Dust off your noggins, we’re going back in time for my strategic, chronological look at all signs pointing to our friend Foster.
Issue 12, Thor: God of Thunder:
It all starts with Thor: God of Thunder, Issue 12. God of Thunder ran for 25 issues, written by Jason Aaron, so the new Thor series is a direct continuation of this. In my opinion, this series most strongly and faithfully represented the character of Thor, moreso than most recent runs. I don’t think the choice for a new Thor happened on a whim- Aaron must have been planning this for a good while. Jane first appears halfway through the series, looking a little different than when we last saw her. [Her most recent appearances before this one were in Journey into Mystery with Sif for one issue, #652, and Thor the Mighty Avenger for the duration of the short-lived, non-continuity series from 2010.]
In the comics universe, she is a practicing physician of Earth, unlike her cinematic, astrophysicist counterpart. But we don’t see her in her scrubs this time- we see the doctor turned patient. In issue #12 of God of Thunder, Jane is sick with breast cancer, a week into radiation therapy when Thor lands on her doorstep. This issue also introduces the first ever appearance of Rosalind “Roz” Solomon. However, I want to focus on Jane.
Immediately upon his arrival and seeing her ill state, Thor offers to leave and find her some healing stones. Jane instantly and ardently refuses, saying that she absolutely does not want any magical cures- “That sort of thing always comes with a price”, she says. Her appearance concerns Thor- Jane looks tired, has lost her hair, and is weak, but still she soldiers on. Thor claims this makes her exceptionally brave, but she suggests she is “just a regular woman. This is just something women do.” And that “sometimes you have to let the humans save themselves.” These things will become important later. Hell, they’ve stuck with me since I first picked up the issue.
Finally, she claims that Thor is “even sexy when [he’s] pouting”. Conceding that she will not accept his help, Thor takes Jane to the moon for one last hangout [Jane is dating a man named Walter at this time], before he goes off to fight his next big foe. On the moon, Jane learns “that there’s a blue area of the moon, where you can breathe the air”. That ends her appearance in the issue, as they spend an evening watching the sun set behind Earth.
Issue 24, Thor: God of Thunder:
Jane’s next and final appearance in the series is in the penultimate issue, #24, following the earth-shattering fight between Roxxon CEO Dario Agger, also known as the Minotaur, and Thor. The fight brought Asgardia to the ground and levelled the entire city of Broxton, Jane’s home town.
Before we see Jane, Freyja meets Roz and blesses her with courage and permission to date Thor, as it is clear the thunderer loves the SHIELD agent. Thor then leaves to help clean up the debris that is Broxton. As Thor and Jane survey the wreckage, he asks her to leave Midgard. The Congress of Worlds in Asgard needs a representative of Earth, and Thor can think of no one better than Jane for the job. He promises that he won’t try to make her seek healers, but promises she can use the Bifrost to return to Earth for her treatments.
Having broken up with Walter and having her home destroyed, she assents and ascends with Asgardia as it returns to the sky. Meanwhile, Roz punches Agger in the face for what he’s done, and promises she isn’t finished with him.
Freyja and Jane look down through the clouds, and the Asgardian informs Jane that that “have MUCH work to do”. On the ground, Thor and Roz look skyward, and Thor tells her that his mother taught him “sometimes we must let go of the things we love”, a reference to Asgardia, and foreshadowing to the loss of his hammer.
The issue ends with Old King Thor, in a distant future timeline, naming two rivers in the new world after Jane and Roz, claiming they are unforgettable names.
From here on out, I will use Thor to refer to our female heroine, and Prince Odinson to refer to the male.
This issue barely features Thor at all except for the last two pages, but one detail on those pages is critical. Knowing what we know after 5 issues, the Freyja scenes in this book are a massive red herring. We want to focus on the end. The moon is in the shadow of the newly-ascended Asgardia. Where is the hammer? The moon. Did you know there’s a blue area on the moon where you can breathe the air?
She also lives in Asgardia now, if we recall.
When our mystery woman approaches the hammer- on the moon- she utters one phrase. “There must always be a Thor”. She hasn’t lifted the hammer yet, and so she is unchanged at the time of her utterance. Her word bubble font, though, denotes a human [mortal] speaker. Compare any Asgardian’s text with any human’s text in the issue, and note that the two are very different. Thor doesn’t speak after this until the next issue, so that is the only hint we are left with. A woman, mortal, on the moon, knowing she can breathe there, confident enough to try to budge Mjolnir. She lifts the hammer, and we have our hero. I want that last panel to become iconic in comic book history. It’s incredible.
Her speech has now changed to Asgardian font. Her thoughts remain in Midgardian font. The first thing Thor notes is that it’s good she’s wearing a mask. Why would she need to conceal her face?
She descends to Earth to encounter the lair of the Frost Giants, having trapped Asgardians and Avengers alike. I’d say, if this woman is a mortal, it really harkens back to Jane’s earlier speech about letting the humans save themselves. Our Thor might be a brave woman, but she might also be a regular woman, like Jane said she was.
The one logical snag- when she reaches Roxxon Island atop the frozen tower, Agger asks if they’ve met before. She thinks to herself “yes”, but tells him they have not met. If we recall, Roz had some fist-to-face discussions with Agger before, as well as other discussions in Issue 19 about Roxxon’s evil schemes that would exploit natural resources. However, it’s not unlikely that Jane would have at least encountered Agger in the fight in Broxton. I don’t think Aaron would so easily give Roz away in issue 2 with the word “yes”, so there must be something more here.
At the end of the issue, she loses the hammer behind enchanted doors, and wonders who she is without the hammer. Granted, in a room of Frost Giants, I’d be scared too, so I would not blame either Roz or Jane in this case for worrying. However, I think Jane has more to lose by changing back. Roz is a skilled fighter and is knowledgeable in the use of weapons. Jane doesn’t have much going for her in the way of defense. But that’s neither here nor there, when faced with Frost Giants bigger than houses.
There isn’t much in this issue except her growing anxiety over losing power the longer she’s away from Mjolnir. She begins to change back but manages to grasp the hammer once more before anything is revealed.
Thor vs. Prince Odinson. This one’s a good one.
Here we see the disgraced prince has a hard time letting go of things he loves- namely the hammer. He soon learns, though, that she brings new life to the hammer and he quickly concedes it is no longer his to hold.
He asks her to explain herself and who she is that she would be worthy of such power- she cannot explain. She says it’s complicated, but he has to trust her. Odinson and Roz were semi-dating as of the conclusion God of Thunder, whereas Jane and he were good friends/he asked her to be a diplomat on his home world. A little tougher to explain than “your girlfriend”, don’t you think?
Seeing the man so sad over the loss of his hammer, Thor wants to hug him, but instead she kisses him squarely on the lips- a possible nod to Jane’s assessment that he’s sexy when he pouts? Maybe some unsettled romantic feelings? Odinson hopes that she is not his mother, and we soon learn that Freyja has been frozen in ice since after the first issue, so she has no idea who the new Thor is either.
Thor and Odinson vow to bother with Dario Agger later, as Thor states they have “friends in peril”. Asgardians and Avengers- Jane has been living in the company of the Asgardians in the time between God of Thunder and THOR. Perhaps these are her friends. It also seems unlike Roz to let Agger slip away when she had such a prime moment to deal with him. The Minotaur lives to see another day, but perhaps in the future we’ll see mortal Roz fighting him.
Freyja being frozen also means that, unless she figured it out herself, Roz had no one to take her to Asgard to retrieve the hammer without anyone realizing it’s her. Freyja does note that there is something familiar about the Goddess of Thunder, though. She knows Jane somewhat well. In God of Thunder #24, Freyja says she knows not much of Roz, other than that her son loves the woman very much. Odinson, however, also deeply loved Jane. This issue is about saying goodbye to what you love. Just as Odinson says goodbye to his hammer and to his name, perhaps bestowing them on someone else he has loved and lost.
This issue is the first time since God of Thunder #24 that we hear mention of the Congress of Worlds [you know, where Jane Foster now represents Midgard?]. Odin wants to raise his brother Cul Borson to an inquisitorial position in order to combat this new Thor, but cannot do so without the approval of the Congress. Interesting, if this Congress elected his brutal brother while Jane was on the council, in order to fight Thor herself, who very well could be Jane.
Sif denies to Odinson her desire to hold the hammer, leading him to hesitantly remove her from his incriminating list, which includes Jane and Roz as the only two human names.
Additionally, Thor returns to the blue area of the moon and contemplates about the hammer. “The more I carry you around, the harder it gets whenever it’s time to let you go. I don’t know how I feel about that. Not to mention what you’re doing to my-”
Freyja’s appearance cuts her thoughts short, but perhaps the hammer is magically healing Jane’s cancer? Something she explicitly didn’t want? Which would make an interesting story- does she go against her personal principles in order to lift the hammer and protect the humans as she wants? What would Roz have that the hammer would do something to that she didn’t want? Certainly nothing as high-stakes as Jane’s terminal illness.
Finally, for this issue, Thor notes that she knows Freyja is clever and cannot let her guard down and reveal her identity. Jane is the one out of the two mortals who knows Freyja more closely and might be more easily recognized.
Will she make the most of her time, protecting the humans as a human herself, before she can’t do so any longer? Or will she abandon the power to avoid its magical curative properties? Remember, the original male Thor, when he was banished, was an ill physician [Don Blake] who could wield the hammer and then return to his weakened state when he put the weapon down. This would be a wonderful, unique homage to that heroic origin.
No information about this issue is out yet, except the cover, which features every woman [and Loki] that could possibly wield the hammer. Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Scarlet Witch, and Enchantress appear as well as Roz, Jane, Loki [probably a joke], Sif, Hildegarde, Freyja, and many other Asgardians. Knowing what we know about the potential of Thor’s mortal identity, I think it’s safe to eliminate the Asgardians. Also the women who have their own titles, such as Black Widow and Captain Marvel, probably don’t count. Basically, the fact that Jane and Roz are on the cover is the most important thing.
For me, all signs- all very subtle- point Janewards. I believe she would make the most compelling candidate- a Thor franchise legacy character, a true hero, and a woman that any of us could know in our own lives. This is not to detract from Roz, but I believe she, as a SHIELD agent, makes a better ally to Thor and Odinson than she does as the star of her own series. If you haven’t read God of Thunder, you wouldn’t know her at this point, as she is original to that series.
I love Jane dearly. I’ve loved everything she stands for, in recent years. Moving past the years of the old damsel-in-distress character she was at her inception, Jane has really come into her own as a kind, charitable woman who works for the good of her fellow humans. She’s a healer. Which is why, whereas Prince Odinson used the hammer to destroy, she would use it to rebuild. She has the greatest love of those around her, and while Roz is an environmental scientist and works to protect the physical world around her, Jane uses her abilities to protect the people around her and to keep them safe from harm. Roz is wonderful in her own right, but to me, the most compelling, dynamic choice for the thunder goddess is Jane Foster.
At this point, I will be happy with either woman, though, and will be completely blindsided if it’s neither of them. I can’t think of any two stronger candidates than these. It’s clear that Aaron and Dauterman have some surprises planned for us in the future, though, and I am exceptionally excited to see where they will take us, the readers. Whatever the end result, whoever the heroine, I trust their storytelling completely. That hasn’t stopped me from making a few theories of my own, but doesn’t everyone have their own secret hope for the reveal?
So, what do you think? Is it Jane? Or Roz? Or someone else entirely?