Saturday, May 18, 2024

A Swansong for Jane Foster’s Thor

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Say what you will about some of the questionable stories that Marvel has been producing lately, but I’ll go ahead and say this as plainly as I can: making Jane Foster, Thor was one of the greatest decisions they could have made. It resulted in two of the greatest series I’ve ever had the pleasure to enjoy. Born from a time where half of the (male) fanbase were upset that their overly masculine God of Thunder was becoming a Goddess, it was such a good feeling to see them knocked on their backsides with how amazing this comic was. It’s full of drama, mystery, cunning sub-plots and schemes, love and war.

Yet, what I loved the most was the equality between Jane Foster and her new persona. Stricken with cancer, Jane is dying; she refuses any sort of Asgardian medicine that will quickly treat her in favor for chemotherapy and human medicine. She says it’s because she wants humanity to be able to cure this disease, but we can only half believe it. The issue told early on is that every time she picks up Mjolnir it negates the effect of her treatment. It is literally killing her faster to be Thor, but her heart is so set on being able to save people that she can’t give it up…and we can’t blame her.

Among being some of the best storytelling out there, her run makes us care about her character. New fans going into the series probably just picture Natalie Portman whenever someone mentions Jane Foster. Yet, what we get with this run is character development at its finest. We care about Jane Foster and the fact that she has to make a choice between being a hero and dying, we relate with Odinson and his inner battle between accepting a new Thor and his unworthiness, we are horrified with Malekith and his declaration of war on all the realms, and we despise Loki for all the horrible and treacherous things he has done and will do. Whether we love or hate these characters, we still care about them to keep reading adamantly every month hoping the next will come sooner than expected. That time may be coming to an end.

Late last summer Marvel teased the title of the arc that would draw Mighty Thor into the Marvel Legacy event. Along with a photo that was a replica of the death of Captain Mar-Vell that showed Thor in the arms of a statue of death, it was titled the Death of Mighty Thor. Now the implications for this were pretty obvious considering the decline in Jane’s health, it was only a matter of time before she would die, considering she refused to drop the hammer. Nevertheless, it was something that was always in the back of my mind even though I chose not to think about it. It seems that whether it is because the cancer or an enemy that will simply be too powerful for Jane to overcome, she will perish in the coming months and this makes me quite melancholy. Based on the previews, his mention of being unleashed by the Shi’ar, and the ending panel of the latest issue, the main enemy will be Mangog, who is literally the collective hatred of all those who have been killed by Asgard.

It is clear that doom has been set and there’s no going back now. If it’s Jane’s time to go, then I’ll take it remembering just how amazing her run was and how much it changed comic storytelling for years to come. Plus there’s always Marvel being Marvel, dead characters often come back to life. Yet, bringing her back would completely destroy the feeling of loss, writer Jason Aaron probably realizes this. Whatever end will come in the next months, we will take like the character in herself, mighty.

With that end looming around, I wanted to take a look back at what made her time as Thor so memorable. So here I’ll be listing the top five best moments from her time as Thor since 2014. Obviously this is my opinion, so if you feel I left anything out please let me know and we can discuss it in the comments.

  1. Loki and Malekith’s Victory by Treachery

Early in the second series of the Mighty Thor it is the height of Malekeith’s war on the realms in which he uses his legion of dark elves. I choose this as my first pick because of the significance in the story, the sheer debilitating consequences that occur because of it, and because it is one of the lowest points in the story for Jane Foster as Thor.

At this point, Malekith has already destroyed hundreds of light elf lives in his conquest of Alfheim. Not only is he meeting stiff resistance from the natives but also Asgard or rather those willing to help. Malekith uses the halt in Thor’s momentum due to her summons back to Asgard to take Alfheim in a very medieval. Using the Enchantress’ powers he convinces the Queen of Alfhiem to marry him, uniting the two peoples under his rule. It may not seem like a big issue but it gives him a foot hold more in his conquest and just demoralizes the hell out of the light elves considering how many people they lost, now only to be subjected to his rule via proxy.

Yet the real danger is what is happening back on Asgard. Thor returns because Freyja is put on trial by Odin for failing to follow his directive during her time as All-Mother. Lead under the influence of his brother Cul, the God of Fear, a new tyranny rises in Asgard and those who support Freyja rebel. The ensuing drama sees a fight between Jane and Odin that is quite the spectacle. The fight is drawn out as a plot device for the real crime about to occur. While the two take the fight deep into space, they are evenly matched as they bloody one another, yet back on Asgard Loki uses this moment to solidify his status among the frost giants and to Malekith’s cause. He stabs Freyja in the back, killing her.

The sad part is everyone is always rooting for Loki…

The emotional toll this takes on Jane, Odinson, and the rest of Asgard is obvious. It robs them of their proper leader but it also robs Odin of all his sense. He falls into a pit of despair in which he is unable to rule, giving the throne over to Cul. One one fell swoop Malekith lost one of his strongest enemies giving him free reign to make his next move as well as destabilizing Asgard and essentially leaving Jane as one of the only oppositions in this war. It’s a horrible sinking feeling to watch Loki kill a woman who took him in as a son, leaving us with the notion that there truly maybe not redemption for him.

  1. Thor v.s. Thor

This was one of the first most important and exciting events to happen in the Jane Foster run as Thor. It isn’t the longest, lasting only a few pages but it’s significance stretching far beyond the start of this comic and into the personal growth of Odinson. At the start of the run we see a broken and depressed Odinson who is just so desperate to lift Mjolnir again. The reason he doesn’t know who picked it up is because Malekith used this time to begin his alliance with the frost giants and the Roxxon company back on Midgard. Thor is still a hero and feels the need to stop whatever plan he is hatching. His ensuing fight cost’s Odinson his right arm which is eventually rebuilt for him with Uru, the material Mjolnir is forged of.

The way they speak though

Once Jane gets wind of the conspiracy on Midgard she goes herself as Thor to put a stop to it, and gets mixed into a fight between the frost giants, Malekith, and Dario Agger( the CEO of Roxxon…and a Minotaur). At first it seems like a stroke of luck when Malekith and Agger have a dominance battle among themselves since Jane will only have to deal with the giants…until Odinson with his hot head appears to take back what’s his, Mjolnir. The fight isn’t overly long and mixes with the several others that are going on, but it was pretty action packed for something so early in the series. Plus once Odinson realizes the worthiness of the new Thor, he backs off, reluctantly, but finally acting like the adult he is.

  1. Odinson Rescues Thor

This scene takes my top spot for the first series of Mighty Thor nearly only because of the sheer badassery that are the women of Marvel. In a stroke of genius captured in part by the previous entry, Odin has his brother Cul control the infamous Destroyer to bring the new Thor back to Asgard…dead or alive. Anyone who knows Odin for his severe overreaction of the situation, and Cul for using his brothers damaged mental state to further his own goals. However, what we did not expect was Odinson to come to his senses and swallow his pride. Just at the moment where Thor will have her premature end, Odin appears with his mother, Freyja at his back, and dozens of other Marvel ladies including Angela, Captain Marvel, Lady Sif, Scarlet Witch…etc.

No words for this panel, honestly

Words cannot express the sheer awesomeness of the one panel for not only do they come to the aid of Jane but also give Cul and Odin a swift kick to their masculinity. This victory however, isn’t completely hollow, but has its own implications. While Thor was busy fighting and Odinson leading an army of some of Asgard’s finest, Malekith uses the fact that no one is paying attention to him to finally begins his conquest of Alfheim. A bittersweet end to the first series.

2. The Birth of War Thor

Within Marvel comics in general, the Ultimate’s universe is a memory that people can’t seem to let go. Now of course in the Unworthy Thor mini series, Odinson did try to wield the hammer of the Ultimate universe but was unable to unlock its power. This was because it was meant for another. Issue #20 and 21 will be ones that tower above the rest for two moments. In these moments we learn war true sorrow is.

The first being of course the birth of the War Thor. Kind and over jolly Asgardian, Volstagg presides over giving a home and protection to the refugees of Malekith’s war. It is sweet to see him so caring, especially for the young light elves. All this turns into bitter tragedy when a host of fire demons from the realm of cinders decides hit their enemies where they are defenseless. Not even the mighty Asgardian is able to withstand their heat as the flames consume all… even the children.

In a cruel twist of fate, Volstagg is the only to survive the massacre, and is filled with such a burning hatred and anger for the unjust that he is called by the Mjolnir of a dead universe. As he wields the hammer, he becomes rage and vengeance itself, with a thirst enough to consume all. For the next few issue he wreaks death and destruction in his wake as not even the mighty Thor can match his anger.

Poor poor Volstagg

1. Jane Reveals Herself to Odinson

Even with that brutal attack, it is nothing compared to the personal pain we feel when Jane finally reveals to Odinson that she is Thor. We want to hit him for how stupidly he treats her, ignoring her please for understanding, her fears. Like I mentioned before, it was only a matter of time before the hammer would consume what health Jane had left to her. At some point, would putting the hammer down result in her instant death or should she forget Jane forever and never put the hammer down? This follows into the next issue when Jane herself collapses at the feeling of the tragedy that created the war, which honestly made me tear up. In that moment Odinson forgot all. He forgot the what he was just told, what it meant, what it cost him. All that mattered was Jane.

Yes…I have something in my eye

I know I included the last two moments from the two comics that ran side by side but they were just so damned good. The panel of Odinson carrying Jane’s body back to Asgard is one of the most eart wrenching scene I’ve ever seen in a comic. Even more, his attempt to keep Mjolnir away from her. The hammer that caused him so much anger to lose, so much resentment towards was instantly dashed away when the thing he wanted most was something he no longer wanted near him or near her for that matter.

As far as personal growth in concerned, Odinson is good in my books again. Like Jane, his has been a journey of learning the meaning between loss and sacrifice. Of what it truly means to be a hero and put all above yourself. Though this journey may soon be ending for Jane, we will never forget the power her story has been able to inspire.

So with this, I hope that if Jane is to meet her end soon, it will be for something we can not only remember her for, but hold in our hearts for years to come. Because that my friends, is what a good story does.

Images Courtesy Of Marvel

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