“Don’t worry your golden locks about ME, Thunder God! THORDIS can take care of herself!”
That’s what Thordis states on the cover of Marvel’s 1978 What If comic (Vol. 1, #10), which has become especially relevant in the wake of the Thor will be a woman news. This comic explores what would have happened if Jane Foster had found Thor’s hammer instead of Donald Blake.
While comic book Jane of the 70’s had a more reserved/sometimes damsel-ed role than our beloved MCU Jane Foster, she does do a fabulous job of questioning the Thunderer and Dr. Blake, his human alter-ego. So what’s it like when Jane gets all the power in this issue?
Synopsis and Review
The comic book reviews what happened when Donald Blake found the hammer. We’re reminded that this is, of course, an alternate reality and supposition. The story then begins with the story of Don – now accompanied by Jane – encountering Saturnians in Norway. This time, Jane is the one who runs off to retrieve Don’s cane. She’s trapped in a cave and reflects on how helpless she feels.
Jane discovers a primitive walking stick which she attempts to use as leverage to move a boulder so she can escape the cave. She then assumes the power of Thor. (As Siskoid points out, she doesn’t get his memories – just his powers. This marks a crucial difference between the new direction of the Thor comics and this one, which takes place in an alternate reality anyway.)
Jane becomes Thordis and can wield Mjolnir. She takes the name after recalling: “I remember from nursing school a Norwegian girl named Thordis. That has a nice sound to it!” With her powers, Thordis lifts the boulder and rescues Don from those creeps from Saturn. Don asks her to return to get “the woman I love,” which is something he has not admitted to Jane while she is in her regular form.
Jane assumes her regular form to assure Don of her safety.
Eventually, Thordis has to deal with Loki and his badassery. Sif and Odin grieve because Thor is a woman (kind of like a lot of fans started doing at Marvel’s recent announcement).
Thordis worries about how the other Avengers are going to view her considering the change of gender. Giant-Man stares at her boobs. Wasp puts Giant-Man in his place (disappointing to see he’s still a jerk in an alternate reality, but nice to see she calls him on it).
At this point, Odin’s getting sleepy and readying himself for the Odinsleep – but he couldn’t trust a woman who has the power of Thor to watch over Asgard; in fact, he’s banished her. (Another father of the year award for Odin, right?)
Don then regrets not telling Jane that he loved her. She’s off being Thordis now and he truly misses her. However, he still embodies the soul of Thor, so Sif comes to him and poses as a helpless girl who cannot swim. Unfortunately, this method seems to be the best way to get Don to show interest in her bikini-clad form; when they speak, Don regains strength in his leg. Sif, however, is forbidden to tell him that he possesses the soul of Thor.
Loki shows up again to cause trouble, and Sif nobly defends Don – but is pushed to the ground. Don wrestles the villain, but Thordis is the one to show up and truly kick Loki’s jealous-bro ass.
Thordis then thinks: “Because of his lameness, Don was afraid to love Jane Foster, and now that he’s cured – he seems to have found someone else.” Thordis subs in for herself – that is, she assists Don with a surgical procedure to save Sif. Recovered, Sif agrees to help Thordis because Thordis believes she has foreseen Asgard. Don insists on accompanying the ladies who are insistent on protecting him.
They arrive in Asgard to find the hateful jerk Mangog, but Odin shows up to save the day and help them defeat him.
And then it gets a little weird.
Sif and Don end up together as Don possesses the soul of Thor. Odin transforms Thordis into Jane-goddess and realizes he loves Jane Foster as a goddess. Over time, she gets over Don and capitulates to Odin’s love. This fits the “shock ending” as promised on the cover of the comic book. Even though it’s weird, it’s awesome that Jane Foster still manages to assume the Queen of Asgard title.
As a fan of most incarnations of Jane, I believe the eventuality of queen suits her best.
After all, a woman’s place is on the throne.
- Sif and Jane/Thordis don’t get catty and fight over Don/Thor.
- Thordis is as tough, honorable, and courageous as Thor.
- The fact that Marvel considered this as a concept in 1978.
- Jane is more willful than many women in comics while still being nurturing; the spirit of the character and her inner strength remains the same.
- Queen Jane Foster of Asgard, in her own Asgardian form. The way it should be. Obviously.
- Odin liked Jane more once she looked more like her actual self.
- Jane was transformed back into her original appearance (though made Asgardian); she did not have to look different to be cared for or respected at the end of the issue.
- While the Odin/Jane relationship was weird, it didn’t leave our ladyhero in the dust and broken-hearted as a punishment for assuming power. That’s pretty damn important.
What Didn’t Work:
- The ending was powerful but rushed.
- I don’t mind Sif and Thor being ‘meant to be,’ but a lot of the Jane/Don dynamic was discarded to make it happen.
- Sif, one of the most powerful females in all of Asgard, damsels herself and tosses on a bikini to make sure Don feels ‘like a man’ when he rescues her. She should have tried lifting a car instead; that’s more impressive.
What If Jane Foster Had Found The Hammer Of Thor: Writer: Don Glut – Artist: Rick Hoberg – Inker: Dave Hunt (out of print)