Jason Aaron’s time writing Thor – from Thor: God of Thunder to Thor to The Mighty Thor to Thor (again) to War of the Realms to King Thor – produced the defining version of the character. No one, at least in my humble opinion, has ever done more with Thor nor understood the character, their world, and its theological fertility more than Jason Aaron. Jane Foster lifting Mjölnir to become Thor herself was the heart of Aaron’s run. But for that to happen, Thor Odinson had to find himself unable to lift the hammer. This idea – the idea of Thor being unworthy – ties together much of what Aaron did. Its seeds were sown in his very first arc, as Thor faced the brutality of Gorr the God Butcher. Its actualization would lead to Jane lifting Mjölnir and becoming the mightiest Thor and the greatest of all the gods. Its effects would culminate in Thor Odinson’s climactic battle with Malekith the Accursed during the War of the Realms and it would shape the sort of king Thor would become.
the mighty thor
“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 Battle with Gorr the God Butcher: A Question of Divine Implications
Jason Aaron began his run writing Thor: God Of Thunder by introducing the villainous Gorr the God Butcher. For millennia Gorr travelled the cosmos, killing all immortal beings he encountered in the most macabre fashions he could imagine. The story is obviously rich with theological implications, considering both the nature and purpose of our ideas of the divine as well as introducing the question that will form the core of Aaron’s run to date – what is a worthy god? In preparation for a paper I’ll be presenting on Jason Aaron’s use of the Divine Feminine in The Mighty Thor at the ACA/PCA Conference on Popular Culture next month, I’ve been reading all of Aaron’s work with Thor (both Odinson and Jane Foster). My research also led me to many articles interpreting Aaron’s work as a sort of atheistic manifesto, something I felt warranted further discussion. 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
Marvel’s First 500th Issue!
Comic series resetting to #1 about once every six months year eighteen months or so has become a normal part of the industry in the years since I gave up comic collecting. When I left, the issues of most major titles were still numbering in the hundreds from their original run. Now it seems surprising if we get two consecutive years of consistent numbering on any give title. But today is a magical day! It’s a Throwback Thursday! And that means we’re going to travel back to the mystical time of 1996. Oprah’s Book Club was born. Everyone was quoting Jerry Maguire. The Macarena was a thing. And, in July, Marvel had their first 500th issue with Thor #500! Continue reading
Top Five Wednesday – Settings
Admittedly, I’ve only been doing this Top Five Wednesday thing for three weeks now but this one proved a little bit challenging for me. The good folks who run the Official T5W Group over at Goodreads said we were to write about the top five settings we wanted to see more of. They could be time periods, places, real, fictitious, etc. What made this hard is, upon reflection, I learned that the setting is rarely what draws me to a story, let alone makes me fall in love with it. For example, I love New York City but I won’t read a book or see a film just because it’s set there. And few books or movies make the city as central a part of it as, say, Begin Again did (which, if you haven’t seen, you should check it out NOW – it’s beautiful). So it’s not the setting that I love but rather what the author does with the story and the characters they choose to place in that setting. But! I wasn’t going to throw in the towel! So, after some careful consideration, here are the five settings I’d like to see more of. 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
Profile of a Pull List
There were two powerful and seductive forces that pulled me back into the world of comic book collecting. Those forces are named Jeff and Kalie. As I discussed in my first post, I stopped collecting comic books around the time I turned sixteen, as comic money turned into gas money. For seventeen years I was only peripherally aware of what was happening in the lives of my favorite comic characters. But those seventeen years would fall away (with surprisingly little resistance) last fall. And again, all the credit (and/or blame) for my return to this wonderfully addicting and captivating world can be laid at the feet of Jeff and Kalie. Continue reading