Marvel made headlines earlier this year when they announced that a new Thor comic series would see the Norse superhero’s mantle taken on by someone else – and by a woman, no less.
It was a smart move. Sure, there are those who decreed it as bowing to “political correctness,” and there was plenty of lip-service from online Thor fans saying they would cancel their subscriptions. But, with representation in comics a hot topic at the moment, this change of direction for Thor shows that Marvel is committed to making a difference – while at the same time, drawing attention to the series and spurning a great deal of word-of-mouth advertising.
Though this is a new Thor series, starting again from issue #1, this 2014 Thor continues right from the end of Thor: God of Thunder, with Jason Aaron once again on writing duties. That said, you don’t need to have read God of Thunder beforehand, and the first issue is mainly focused on bridging the two series and setting the stage for a new-look Thor.
The end of God of Thunder saw Thor Odinson deemed no longer worthy to wield Mjolnir, the hammer that gives him his powers, and the bulk of Thor #1 covers the aftermath of that. While Thor himself continues failing to lift Mjolnir from its final resting place on the moon, the goddess Freyja and her husband Odin (Thor’s parents) argue over what to do – Freyja’s progressive outlook clashing with Odin’s more traditional bent.
Meanwhile, a new threat emerges from the depths of the depths of the ocean, putting the people of Earth at risk and giving Thor the chance to prove that even without Mjolnir, he’s still a force to be reckoned with. But who will take up the hammer in his place? That’s a question that this issue doesn’t actually answer, instead leaving you with a cliffhanger: a gorgeous, full-page spread of a mysterious woman holding Mjolnir above her head.
Although not a lot actually happens in this issue, Thor #1 does an excellent job of setting up the series. Not only do we have the mystery of who exactly this new Thor is, but the seeds are sown for a fascinating subplot with Freyja and Odin. Together, these elements foreshadow a theme of tradition vs. progression, which strikes a parallel to Marvel’s newfound philosophy of diversity among its superheroes. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next.