Big news broke today on the Marvel front from an unlikely source. This morning’s episode of the View featured our very first look at a new, female Thor who will be debuting in the comics in October. Yes, that’s right. We’re not only getting a new Thor but this new Thor is going to be female.
Comic book fans already knew that some big changes were coming for the big guy thanks to the solicits for Avengers #35 which also features a shadowy, thus far unidentified new Captain America. Instead of wielding Mjölnir he held a battle axe and the reasons for that are now apparent. Thor has been deemed unworthy to wield the great hammer and it’s time for someone else to step up. The new Thor – despite one View host’s joking attempt to call her Thorette – will be taking over the title as the main character and taking up the name Thor. Jason Aaron – the writer behind the current Thor: God of Thunder book – will be continuing on, exploring this wholly new addition to the Marvel 616 comic universe.
Reception has been mixed.
Online forums are filled with people complaining that this is just another gimmick. And considering some of the other stuff going on right now – the replacement of Steve Rogers with a new Captain America for what feels like the hundredth time and rumors of the Fantastic Four being cut from the Marvel roster entirely among other things – that’s not an unfair assessment.
I’ll be honest, of all the superhero monikers out there that could be unisex and all the heroes whose mantles could have been picked up by female characters, Thor was not even on the list. But while it’s unexpected it’s certainly not an unwelcome twist. I just hope it’s more than just that – a short lived twist that will be ended or retconned within the year. Let Thor Odinson go figure out his shit. Let him live unworthy for an extended period of time and let’s see what this new, female Thor can do. If she’s going to be Thor then she needs to be Thor and stay Thor.
A lot of people disagree.
They have been questioning whether she really needed to be called Thor at all and many would have preferred that an all new character with the power of Thor but not called Thor had been created instead. I can’t deny that this is valid argument. It would be nice to see a new character whose superhero identity isn’t tied to someone else who came before them. And there are some pretty valid criticisms about having yet another female character whose identity relies entirely on being a subset of a pre-established male character. But, at the same time, it’s nice to see other people pick up classic titles and costumes because it reminds us that anyone can be a superhero. (Still, Thor isn’t some superhero name – it’s the guy’s real name so that’s a bit awkward.)
I, for one, am really excited about seeing what Marvel does with this female Thor. Will she join one of the half-a-dozen Avengers teams or will she stick it out mostly on her own? And who is she anyway? While we aren’t technically getting a new hero we are getting a new character it seems. And that is something to get excited about.
I think it’s honestly too early to decide whether or not this is a good move on Marvel’s part or not. I’m more than willing to give this a chance because, honestly, it’s exciting to think about how this could effect the comic book universe. (Plus Joss Whedon is already calling for a Thor film featuring Katee Sackhoff who has already prove she can own a previously male role.) And if nothing else it’s going to be great to have yet another female led book on the shelves. Will she be able to own it? That’s going to depend on how Jason Aaron handles things, I suppose. We will hopefully find out more at SDCC next week.
But you know what? I have faith. I think this could turn out to be great. Marvel had made a lot of crazy choices as of late and a lot of them have worked out. Besides, I can’t really fault Marvel for doing what other publishers aren’t. They are taking an active stance and recognizing that female and minority representation in comics is important. They are doing what they can and they are taking the chances others won’t and as a female comic book fan that means a lot.
As long as they stay true to their promise that this new Thor is Thor and so long as they do right by her in marketing and storytelling I think this is going to be awesome.
You can read the official Marvel press release here:
MARVEL PROUDLY PRESENTS THOR
New York, NY – July 15th, 2014 – Marvel is excited to announce an all-new era for the God of Thunder in brand new series, THOR, written by Jason Aaron (Thor: God of Thunder, Original Sin) complimented with art from Russell Dauterman (Cyclops).
This October, Marvel Comics evolves once again in one of the most shocking and exciting changes ever to shake one of Marvel’s “big three” – Captain American, Iron Man and Thor – Marvel Comics will be introducing an all-new THOR, GOD OF THUNDER. No longer is the classic male hero able to hold the mighty hammer, Mjölnir, a brand new female hero will emerge who will be worthy of the name THOR. Who is she? Where did she come from and what is her connection to Asgard and the Marvel Universe?
“The inscription on Thor’s hammer reads ‘Whosoever holds this hammer, if HE be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.’ Well it’s time to update that inscription,” says Marvel editor Wil Moss. “The new Thor continues Marvel’s proud tradition of strong female characters like Captain Marvel, Storm, Black Widow and more. And this new Thor isn’t a temporary female substitute – she’s now the one and only Thor, and she is worthy!”
Series writer Jason Aaron emphasizes, “This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR. This is theTHOR of the Marvel Universe. But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before.”
THOR is the latest in the ever-growing and long list of female-centric titles that continues to invite new readers into theMarvel Universe. This female THOR is the 8th title to feature a lead female protagonist and aims to speak directly to an audience that long was not the target for Super Hero comic books in America: women and girls.
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