See, I knew that Marvel was going to pull of something like this. I’ll admit I’m slightly annoyed. Death should never be used as a plot device unless you’re fully going to commit to the consequences both figuratively and practically within the realm of story and of emotional response from the reader. Not only do you risk losing the significance of said life ending, you also break the readers immersion into the fantasy the world that you’ve created. They will no longer fear the suffering or death of their favored characters if there are none.
On the other hand, I’m am so glad that Jane Foster is still with us. Only a writer like Jason Aaron could completely paralyze us with the fear of losing such an important and beloved hero and still fill us with a sense of satisfaction and pride when she returns.
So yes, after a long and enduring battle with the Mangog alongside her equally arduous struggle with cancer, Jane gave us a sacrifice that we would never forget. And she gave us a return that even though we should resent (because comics) it, we can’t help but shed tears of pure relief and joy that one of Marvel’s most well written characters will live on to fight another day…and fight she will.
With the series over and the future looking all the brighter for Jane, it’s important to remember our journey with her. We’ve seen her victorious and we’ve seen her defeated, yet never broken. The spirit she brought out in all of us is why her story will remain one of the timeless classics in comic book history. Yet thanks to these two final issues, we definitely know that this is not the last we’ve seen of Jane playing a hero. She may never be able to become Thor again, but we know thanks to the epilogue issue that things are far from over. The Mangog may be vanquished but threats are ever present.
At The Gates
Now we all knew that Jane’s death would be honored by Norse belief even though she herself wasn’t actually Asgardian. As such, the revered dead who died in battle go to Valhalla to live out the rest of their existence in glory. So it really wasn’t a surprise when she ended up before the gates. What was surprising however, was Odin’s appearance and subsequent reaction. Since the start of the series, Odin has been a constant thorn in Jane’s side. He was obviously not happy about his son’s birthright being taken by another and spent most of his time in the comic series foiling her every chance he got. They shouted and dueled at some point or another. Even when he was deep in mourning after Loki stabbed Freyja with a poisoned blade, Cul Borson did not make life any easier for her.
The true surprise was the fact that upon learning that Jane Foster had taken his son’s mantle, he showed nothing but respect and acceptance. Considering she had given her life so that his people and family could live, I would expect no less. Even from someone as thick headed as Odin. It’s a heart wrenching scene for sure, as we see Jane take in the finality of death. In the moment, she was ready to give her life to save others, but now that she really has a moment to look at it, she was not ready to die. Yet try as he might to convince her of her reward as an honored dead, she was not the only one who wasn’t ready to let go.
Back in the cosmos, Odinson and the rest of Asgard mourn Jane’s passing. Yet the anger, rage, and denial in Odinson only serves to pique the attraction of what lived inside Mjolnir. As you know, Mjolnir was destroyed along with the Mangog when they were thrown into the sun, leading to the ancient hammer releasing the mother storm. Odinson’s will alone is not enough to channel the mighty storm as is begins to break him down, even his mighty Uru arm melts at its power. I think it was safe to say we all cheered and cried when Odin shared the power of the storm, causing the great tempest to breathe life back into Jane.
The comic ends in such a promising way. Jane confirms that she will resume her treatment, as her rebirth has given her a new lease on life. Odinson also prepares himself for the challenges that will face him soon enough in order to reclaim his identity as worthy, as Thor. Our two Gods of Thunder depart as Odinson gives Jane a surviving piece of Mjolnir. Our spirits fly with hope as we get a deserved happy ending, and surely this hope will let Jane fly into our memories.
Jane The Remembered
Remember back in Mighty Thor 700 when he got a random glimpse of three very Thor like Asgardian women? Well, they get their own story in the first half of The Mighty Thor: Gates of Valhalla and it’s way more significant than we originally thought. They are the granddaughters of Thor Odinson some billion years after the present time. In this charming and beautiful story we see the three sisters—Frigg, Ellisiv, and Atli—battle across time to find the greatest Thor of all.
During their travels, we see a young Odinson struggle to lift Mjolnir for the first time. We also see all the silly variants of the God of Thunder over the years, yes, even the frog. The sisters also witness a fight between their grandfather and Loki far in the future, telling of possible stories to come. Yet, by the end, their search is complete and they come across Jane Foster, who in that time was struggling in fear to return to chemotherapy.
This right here was so important. Not only do we see a human Jane again, but we see the real fear that affects so many afflicted with this deadly illness each and every day. Not everyone wins the fight against cancer, but everyone who fights is a hero, just like Jane. The end of this made me feel a sense of peace and comfort knowing that even so far in the future Jane is remembered for the hero she was and that her story is not yet over. She will fly again and a war will wage, one that everyone seemed to forget about.
The War of the Realms is Coming to Midgard
One of the biggest plots of this comic series was not closed with the end of the series. The three sisters transition the tone of this comic from light hearted to dark as soon as they mention Jane’s role in the war of the realms. The last we saw of this war was during the War Thor arc, where Malekith had a firm grasp on many realms. In the second story of the issue we see him solidify his hold on nearly all of them. His alliance with Roxxon corp, a deal struck in the 2014 series, is virtually unopposed as the Asgardians regroup and resettle on old Asgard.
This story shows the malice and pure ruthlessness of his campaign against the entirety of all the realms within the world tree. Not only that, but he also emplores the angels of Heaven with news that their greatest enemy, Asgard, has fallen. Dark days are indeed coming as we are left with a vision of earth burning among the various armies under Malekiths influence.
I love this portion because it lets the reader know that this huge of a story wasn’t forgotten and eventually loose ends will be tied. I also love that it will be it’s own event, either within the main Thor series coming in June or as a standalone series. What I don’t like is that I have to wait until next year for it. Seriously, that’s way too long a wait. Yet, we can find solace that Jason Aaron will continue writing Thor in June and also his run on the Avengers, which is already promising, two issues in. I say all we can do is prepare ourselves for the eventuality that is the war of the realms and hope our favorite Goddess of Thunder will return in all her glory.
Images Courtesy of Marvel Comics
Fireside Fandomentals Discusses Comicsgate
The Wicked + The Divine: An Old Spanner in the Works
As we run out of issues to review, the big picture in WicDiv starts becoming clearer. It usually works that way with stories that work on basis of enigma. This tends to be rather bittersweet, and that’s just when the writers do it competently. So far, addressing Kieron Gillen’s writing as merely ‘competent’ is an understatement that could earn you a slap and a curse on your family. (Yeah, I introduced my beloved, though slightly wacky ex, into WicDiv — with lovely results). The only thing that could ruin the flow would be an ass-pull.
Anyway, this week we shall see the truth revealing a wee bit brighter to our enthralled, divinely besotted eyes. Will we see blood? Wil we see tears? Both, maybe? Spoilers ahead, loves.
“Of course they can’t resist it.”
We begin today with a little audience taking place in Devonshite, England in 1944, between poet Robert Graves and a lovely Miss Anna White – the same woman featured in this issue’s cover. Following a generous helping of whiskey, Anna White goes into detail about the Gods, especifically those famous foundational three, the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone. The writing to her lines is quite peculiar. Her words to Mr. Graves are fairly clear and revealing, but to us knowledgeable readers, they’re rather ambiguous and even kind of misleading. She identifies herself as the giver of godhood and inspirer of iconography, but she vaguely distances herself from too direct a role by speaking of the three women as her Sister’s Gods.
By her admitted aversion to the dark and our experience, we know that Anna White is Ananke. (I mean, the name and facial structure are kind of a giveaway) Or rather, Minerva on her way to becoming Ananke. Regardless, who we see here is essentially our Ananke when younger. It’s sometimes difficult or even off-putting to see our loathed villains exhibit a lighter facet to their characters. But I do quite enjoy whiskey-drinking Ananke, and I’d like to see more of her, please.
Anyway, this is the ‘fateful’ night that would inspire Robert Graves’ essay The White Goddess, published four years later. The event was referenced in an early issue. Several years later, during a colloquium in 1957, Robert Graves speaks of The White Goddess, falsely attributing his ‘enlightenment’ to a spontaneous obsession while also downplaying Ananke’s role, landing her in a mere, ethereal role of muse. Naturally, Anna White, who attended the event is not pleased about his betrayal for the sake of academic cred. She may be the baddie here, but I sympathise. Forgot that.
Fast forward to 2013. A child appears amidst a field of flowers in England. She resembles the same child who ‘lived’ through ninety years of darkness after a botched ritual back in Egypt, as seen in the previous issue. This appears to be our Minerva, who is well in collusion with Ananke even before her flashy ‘ascension’, after which she was adopted by her parents, and we just about know the rest on that. We also get a look into some behind-the-scenes scheming to tie loose ends. Therefore, we could never trust Minerva, not even from the beginning. Minnie and Annie, they were pulling the strings all along the way.
Another fast forward to the present day, we get another unpleasant alliance between the other baddies to the story. Woden meets up with Cass’s old crew, a bunch of nobodies whose names I already forgot, who use the magic of editing to further discredit Urdr. That’s right, there was tampering to paint her Cassandran Truths. Woden, joined by Minerva, go have a chat with the imprisoned Norns. Minerva plays the scared bargaining chip role to encourage Urdr’s cooperation. Woden requires her to divine the location of the remaining Gods. Loud swearing ensues — isn’t Cass just the best?
A bit later, Woden and Minerva “find” the Heads. Luci, Inanna, and Tara, still alive, with carvings on their faces and sewn lips. There’s also Sakhmet’s dead head. Creepy shit, that is, but Minerva’s evil grin takes the prize on that scale. Her expression hints that she wants Woden to try and touch any of that “gunk stuff”. Doing so would probably help her agenda… but are we not curious to see what indeed would happen? And if we wanted a suitable guinea pig for it, who better than asshole spurious God Woden?
Down in Highbury and Islington, Baphomet — who now decides to go by his original name, Nergal — mourns over The Morrigan’s body. Persephone urges Nergal to carry her body along if he must; they have to get moving further into the Underground. Despite the bitter, abusive tone of their relationship, Nergal’s grief strikes true. Even his motions seem to run on pure automatic response, as noted by Persephone’s inner monologue. Eventually, they reach depths Persy has never seen before: the humble abode of Nergal and The Morrigan. Well, if an underground cathedral can be called ‘humble’.
To their surprise, Marian’s body starts levitating, Next to her, we see her personae of Babd and Gentle Annie. Something is about to occur, and Nergal advises Persephone to leave, for her own sake. Before she complies, though, she reveals to him that she’s pregnant. Nergal’s response is committing enough. Whether as friend or as other half to this circumstance, he will do all he can. But at this moment, his decision takes priority: he will finish this temple to his dead girlfriend…whatever that actually means. Laura’s inner monologue, and her emotional response by extension, is vague.
Later, Minerva visits Baal in the burned ruins of Valhalla. The latter summoned a load of rain to put out the fire. It’s a dreary scene, much like the overall landscape of events. Judging by their dialogue, Baal thinks Minerva is innocent. Well, he was away for plenty of the events to this arc. In this obliviousness, he confesses that he could not bring himself to kill Laura, and that she’s pregnant. Now, this second thing is absolute news to Minerva. And judging by her freaked out expression (priceless), this is a big NO NO.
Back in the Underground, Persephone has a lonesome moment of reflection. She thinks on the things that have happened, all originated from their foolish desire to become Gods, despite knowing they were doomed. It’s a painful reflection, tragic even, since they chose to hold on to this poisoned chalice. And her expressions throughout flawlessly reflect her heartache. Laura’s cellphone is done for, so she wanders around the dark, arriving at her and Sakhmet’s old abode, where she finds a still functioning phone.
She sends Cass a text. It’s a well-wishing as well as a warning about Baal and Woden, the latter of whom reads the text out loud to Cass, since she’s his prisoner. The sum of it all sounds like a farewell, really. Suddenly, an alarmed Minerva runs in, urging Urdr to divine where Persephone is. At first, Urdr refuses to help Woden find Persephone. She won’t do it, not even when Woden puts a gun to her head – turn the gun to the other Norns, though… and Cass complies. The three Norns work their magic to look for Persephone, but despite their efforts, all they see is Persephone gone.
It’s not that she’s in the Underground and reception is rubbish down there. No. Persephone does not exist.
The Wicked + The Divine Issue #38 Credits
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Art / Cover: Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson
Images courtesy of Image Comics
Extermination Sets Up The Best Mutant Event In Recent Memory
For over a year now the Mutant universe within Marvel has been going strong. It’s mostly separated from the going ons in the rest of the Marvel Universe, which, based on individual perspective, can be either a blessing or a hindrance. Either way, X fans have rejoiced in the multitude of titles out there catered to anything or anyone they’d want to read about. With over ten different series and mini series currently on shelves, there’s something for everyone…I feel like I’ve mentioned this somewhere before. Yet, all good things come to an end as we’re often told. In the next month, we will be seeing the end of the two series that launched this event: X-Men Blue and X-Men Gold.
However, their ends will not go quietly, as they are also released with a greatly hyped event: Extermination. Like many Mutant events, the stakes are always high and stories are also just as fantastic. With instant classics like House of M, Messiah Complex, Age of Apocalypse, and The Dark Phoenix, it’s only natural that we expect the best. Two issues in, Extermination certainly does not disappoint whatsoever. Beware, spoilers for Extermination #1  are ahead.
All Roads Lead to Extermination
Like the old Roman adage, the saying is true here. As with most of Marvel’s long standing series, the culmination of events leads up to something major. In this case, Blue and Gold have been hinting at this for quite sometime. The reemergence of Rachel Grey’s marks let us all know something was coming. Though I don’t read any of the side series, I’m sure all of them have at some point played a part in what’s to come with this mini series, especially considering everyone has come out for the party. In the second issue, we see a gathering of nearly everyone in the wake of Cable’s death: all of the main series colored teams, Domino, and the former X-Force.
Notably absent were all the villains who managed to get away time and time again in their respective main series. The young X-men have certainly not seen the last of Miss Sinister, Bastion, or their currently enraged mentor, Magneto. I digress, but if his current insanity makes it into this event I will literally explode from the fan service display…but back to the point. Neither have we seen an end to Cassandra Nova. What remains true is not all is what it seems in this comic, and I’m both excited and frightened to see what’s to come.
There’s Already a Body Count…
The first issue made an impression by hitting hard, and there’s no easy way to say it. Bloodstorm, a vampire version of Ororo Monroe, became a fan favorite when she was brought over from another Universe to join up with the young X-Men. While the early fight and severe heart rip revealed one of two major enemies in this event, we paid for it in tears. Not only had Scott told his feelings to Bloodstorm but he learned they were also requited. For me, this had two emotional impacts. For one, it showed that Scott was not going to allow himself to be a prisoner to fate. This was seen in their own series as well; the whole Scott and Jean romance was something of the past and showed that not only the characters, but also the writers were willing to usher in a new start. Even if it was at the cost of an amazing character.
The attack on Scott and Bloodstorm was orchestrated by Ahab from Rachel Grey’s time, and he was really only after Scott. Of course the implications here are clear, time travel is involved, which means there’s something in the future coming that the bad guys don’t like. Yet, it can’t really be all that simple can it? Ahab is shown to not be the only time traveling villain in this book, nor the only one after the Young X-Men.
The first issue begins with a cloaked figure in some distant future among rubble and dead X-Men. He mentions that an old bastard screwed it up. By the end of the first issue this mysterious cloaked figure actually manages to kill the almighty Cable and take the younger Bobby Drake, and is revealed to be a much younger Cable. Later in the second issue, he manages to strike again, this time incapacitating young Hank and disappearing away with Angel. His actions are clear but his motives are still quite unknown. He wants the young X-Men, but for what reason is still a mystery. In the final panels we see him with Bobby, Angel, and what looks like a bone saw, which can mean nothing good.
The rest of the mutants can’t catch a break either. After Angel is taken, the mansion is attacked not long after by Ahab and his hounds. The fight is action-packed but short and one sided as we almost see Rachel Grey herself fall. It is also revealed that Old Man Logan is a hound now? I didn’t really understand that part very well. Has Ahab found a way to brainwash people quickly? Has Logan been like this the whole time? I guess we’ll have to wait for issue three for that.
Extermination has not attempted to give us answers unless they’re the ones that are straight-forward, so essentially the who and and not the why. We all know that Ahab is bad news and the fact that he’s got Old Man Logan in his ranks now only increases his threat. But why now? Why appear in the midst of this chaos? It’s the same questions with young Cable. It’s obvious that older Cable screwed something up, but what was it? Why is he after the young X-Men? Is it because they’re not in their right time?
The questions are endless and I, for one, can’t wait to see them answered.