This is the third installment in my li’l series where I try to figure out where the Marvel Cinematic Universe should go after Thanos. As I know Kevin Feige and co. are regular readers of the blog, I like to help them out when I can. What can I say? I’m a giver. For ten years all the narratives across the MCU slowly converged, bringing all our heroes together to battle Thanos on his quest for the Infinity Stones. While Covid has delayed the beginning of the MCU’s Phase Four, we’ve still got a new overarching story about to unfold. So what has the gravitas to follow the MCU’s epic, medium-defining Infinity Saga? My first two ideas were character-centric, considering which villain could be intimidating and powerful enough to follow the Mad Titan. This time I’m focusing more on tonal issues. What type of story would be a worthy successor to the Infinity Saga? Turns out the best way to follow Thanos is with a Marvel Cinematic Universe rendition of the WAR OF THE REALMS. Huzzah!
Jane Foster: Valkyrie – Glimpsing Transcendence in Death
The centerpiece of Jason Aaron’s epic seven year run writing Thor: God of Thunder/The Mighty Thor/Thor was Jane Foster lifting Mjölnir when the Odinson found himself unworthy to do so. She became Thor, the Goddess of Thunder, and the stories that followed were the best Thor comics I’ve ever read. It may be the best executed single story arc I’ve ever ready in any comic ever. When the Odinson eventually reclaimed his title as the God of Thunder, Jane returned her focus to her civilian life, medical career, and – most importantly – fighting the cancer raging inside her. However, her superhero career was far from over and the stories Jane Foster now finds herself in (written first by Jason Aaron and Al Ewing and now by Jason Aaron and Torunn Grønbekk) dance along the mysterious, wonderous, frightening, sacred threshold that is the dividing line between life and death. Continue reading
NATALIE PORTMAN IS COMING BACK!!! JANE FOSTER IS BECOMING THOR IN THE MCU!!!
Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, OH MY GOSH PEOPLE!!!! I’m never one to get crazy excited about the San Diego Comic Con announcements (or any con for that matter). I read about ’em, sure. I get excited about what’s revealed, of course. But I’m not one to follow everything live on Twitter or YouTube or anything. I certainly don’t normally write about reveals and things like that. But Natalie Portman is returning and Jane Foster is becoming The Mighty Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder and this is a real thing that’s really happening. And I was just too darn excited so I had to write something! It is time to celebrate good times, c’mon! WOOO HOOO!!! Continue reading
“The Death of the Mighty Thor” – My Eulogy for the Best Comic I’ve Ever Read
This is a milestone for me :). This piece is my 300th post on My Comic Relief!! I’ve been trying to figure out which comic was worthy of such a tribute since about my 256th post. Then, like a blinding flash of lightening it hit me. I adored Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matthew Wilson’s work with Jane Foster in The Mighty Thor. She’s become my definitive Thor. I’ve written several pieces exploring the brilliance of this run but I’ve never written about the end of Jane’s time wielding Mjölnir. To do so, I wanted it to be special. Instead of another analysis, I aim to simply pay tribute, to eulogize in the wake of “The Death of the Mighty Thor,” to talk about why I fell in love with this character and this comic. In short I want to explain why Jane’s time as Thor became MY FAVORITE COMIC BOOK STORYLINE OF ALL TIME. In my heart, she’ll always be who I mean when I invoke the name “Thor.” Continue reading
Thor’s Day Salutes: “Whosoever Holds This Hammer…”
Legacy Characters have become a central (and vitally important) part of modern comic storytelling but Thor was doing it long before it was a trend. Many sets of hands have held Mjölnir over the years and this Thor’s Day (that’s right Thursday…we’re going back to your original purpose and honoring the Thunder God!) I thought it would be fun to look at some of my favorites and consider why they’ve resonated with me. (I also wanted to explore Mjölnir’s power set a bit, just for funzzies.) I returned to reading Thor comics when Jane Foster became the Goddess of Thunder but my original run with the title was from 1991 to 1997. Obviously there are more Thors than I’ll examine here, but these are my favorites :). Continue reading
The Mighty Thor and the Nature of God
Ever since Jane Foster picked up Mjölnir and became Thor, Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman have been delivering the most exciting, original, and thoughtful stories – all gorgeously rendered – I’ve ever found in the pages of The Mighty Thor. Sure, I loved Tom DeFalco’s Thunder God, my intro to the character. I’ve enjoyed the other versions I’ve read too. (And who doesn’t love Chris Hemsworth?) But Jane Foster’s the mightiest Thor for me. Their most recent arc, “The Asgard/Shi’ar War,” is a perfect example of why this has become my definitive take on Thor. It features what all the best Thor stories do – a wild cosmic landscape, universe-spanning clashes between celestial beings and alien forces, layered/interesting characters – while also offering an elegant theological commentary on the ontological nature of both humanity and divinity. Continue reading
Many Faces, One Symbol
On July 6th, Marvel announced that after the conclusion of Civil War II a young woman named Riri Williams will take over for Tony Stark as Iron Man. Fandom reacted as it always does. There was intrigue. There was optimism. There was excitement. Annnd there were the usual (tired) cries of it being a p.c.-driven agenda or proof that Marvel is out of ideas, echoed in the familiar refrain of, “I don’t mind a female/minority/etc. superhero…but why can’t they have their own identity??” But I’d like to argue if you think Spider-Man is simply Peter Parker, you’ve missed the entire point. Spider-Man represents so much more than Peter Parker. Spider-Man is a symbol, an ideal. The more people we see picking up that mantle, the more people we see embodying that symbol, the better. This is as true for Spider-Man as it is for Iron Man or any comic book superhero. Continue reading
The MIGHTIEST Thor and the Divine Feminine
It should’ve come as no surprise that I grew up to study (and now teach) theology. As a kid I was always fascinated by mythology. I had two gorgeous, hardcover collections of myths my parents gave me as presents. They were the Doubleday volumes D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths and D’Aulaires’ Norse Gods and Giants. I lived in those books, reading and rereading the legends – creating versions of these ancient deities out of my LEGOs to harass my other LEGO characters – and obsessing over the heroic tales and the trials of the gods. Exploring the spiritual stories we use to try and express our deepest truths has always been something I’ve loved. It should be easy to predict then that, growing up, Thor was my second favorite superhero (second only to Spider-Man). But even as a lifelong Thor fan, I couldn’t have predicted how quickly Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman ‘s current take on the character would become my all-time favorite. Continue reading