The new Thor is here. The book hit stores today, so this is a general warning for the spoiler averse: tread not here ye who abide no spoilers for mental agony awaiteth you.
Okay, everyone gone who doesn't want to hear spoilers? Good. Let's go.
I wrote about the new Thor before, and this issue does answer one of the things I brought up there. I predicted this story would be built on the worthiness theme which was already an important part of Thor: God of Thunder. And I was right. As Jason Aaron said in the farewell to issue 25 of Thor: God of Thunder, he's continuing the story to explore what exactly worthiness is. What it looks like. Who has it.
There are, of course, still unanswered questions here. For one thing, we don't know exactly what it is that makes Thor Odinsson unworthy. That's still to be determined. But the struggle for worthiness will be central, it looks like, and what the ramifications of this unworthiness will be are certain to bring drama tot he story. Worthiness is all over the place here, and that's fascinating. It almost makes Mjolnir a character, a fact sure to please Darcy.
Thor desperately wants his hammer back, but whatever Nick Fury told him which caused him to drop it is keeping him unworthy. He asks his friends to try their hand - Volstagg, Fandral, and Hogun tells us that none of the Warriors Three could do it. Odin walks up and tries his hand - cursing and telling the hammer he should melt it down when it refuses to move even for him.
Crisis strikes before the hammer situation can be resolved however: Malekith has led an army of Frost Giants to recover Laufey's skull as part of his war to destroy the realms. Thor retrieves his axe, Jarnbjorn, and goes to earth to stop the giants. Malekith taunts Thor over not having his hammer, and decides that without that big, heavy hammer Thor doesn't need so many arms either and cuts Thor's arm off.
So we have Malekith to thank for Thor's new look. which puts him on the path toward looking like Old King Thor:
But the real showcase here is who the new Thor is. It's not stated outright, but it's very heavily implied. At the end of Thor and Loki: The Tenth Realm, Loki helped Odin return from a self-imposed exile. And Odin's attitude upon his return is to be a giant ass.
He's extremely dismissive toward Freyja, telling her that while Thor might not speak to her, he'll speak with him because he is Thor's father. Thor isn't in a mood to prove his father right, though. The first word he speaks to anyone who is not Mjolnir is "whisper," in answer to Freyja's declaration that "We know not what the enemy did to cause this."
Odin starts yelling at Thor, and Freyja chastises him and suggest talking instead of yelling. Odin accuses her of coddling him, and coddling Asgardia. Freyja points out how strange it is, then, that her "coddling" kept Asgardia safe. Odin throws Thor away from the hammer and tries to lift it himself. And when Odin fails to lift the hammer she jokes that Odin's coddled too.
This is the beginning of a running theme through the book: the quarrel between an All-Mother and an All-Father. Each is certain they know what is right, that the other is unnecessary. Odin now favors isolation and avoiding fights; Freyja favors marching to war against the Frost Giants, and Thor favors fighting the giants on earth after.
Aaron's engaging here with a lot, but he's particularly aiming at shutting down Odin's sexism. He constantly remarks that his place as All-Father is superior, that he is owed fealty above the fealty owed to the All-Mother, telling her "It is time you remembered your place." He accuses her of coddling her son, implies that while a boy can ignore his mother he should not ignore his father, and addresses her as "woman."
In every way, Odin is being portrayed as very much a giant, sexist douchebag. If nothing else gives it away, addressing her as "woman" should be a good tip off. Men, if you ever address a woman as "woman", you might be a raging, misogynist asshole.
Freyja looks to Mjolnir when Odin tells her to remember her place, and here we have it clearly laid out. The final two pages show us a figure stepping up to lift the hammer, saying "There must always be a Thor."
Our new Goddess of Thunder might just be Freyja the All-Mother. And who better to explore the concept of worthiness with than someone merciful enough to help Loki earn a sort of redemption.
It's a new start and a new Thor, and its an eventful way to begin. It may be a bit on the nose - I'm not sure we needed just about every speech bubble from Odin to reflect the sexism of his thought process. But then again, it's not an inaccurate depiction of how rabid misogynists speak - the presence of a woman or the idea of woman usually gets some response from them.
The art's lively and fun. Malekith is downright disturbing here, in a very good way. The giants are big and appropriately brutish. Thor has a beard of unworthiness (maybe that's why none of the Asgardian men can lift the hammer). It's worth a look if you haven't checked it out already. All aboard the Freyja as Thor train until shown otherwise. Time to see an All-Mother kick ass like she should.
And now we can say that in the comics, like in the films, Thor's prior worthiness was in spite of being Odin's son and not because of it. There's still the boob-plate armor, though. Maybe that can change in a few issues and we can have Thor say something like how she thought it was good, but realized it was impractical and looked kind of dumb. Maybe. Jason Aaron - talk to your artists and make it happen. Thor will be super worthy if that happens.
Image Credit: Comic Book Resources
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