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Wednesday, July 16, 2014 

Thor is getting a sex change operation

Seriously, that's what it sounds like here:
Forget David Cameron's much-heralded move to bring more women into the cabinet. Marvel Comics trumped No 10 on the same day by announcing that one of their most established male characters is changing sex.

[...] It's hard to imagine a more masculine character than Thor, who is based on the god of thunder of Norse myth: he's the strapping, hammer-wielding son of Odin who, more often than not, sports a beard and likes nothing better than smacking frost giants.

However, Marvel says that a new series written by Jason Aaron with art by Russell Dauterman will re-cast Thor as a female character. The comic, launching in October, is billed by Marvel as "one of the most shocking and exciting changes ever to shake one of the 'big three' of Captain America, Iron Man and Thor".
There they go with their long outdated obsession for boasting. How many times does one need to note that it stopped being exciting and shocking long ago? And their claim that Thor's "often" grown a beard is pretty weak; it was only in the mid-2000s when he really grew one, as Odin was shuffled out so he could be lord of Asgard.
Marvel editor Wil Moss said: "The inscription on Thor's hammer reads, 'Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.' Well, it's time to update that inscription. The new Thor continues Marvel's proud tradition of strong female characters like Captain Marvel, Storm, Black Widow and more. And this new Thor isn't a temporary female substitute – she's now the one and only Thor, and she is worthy!"

Jason Aaron said: "This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR. This is the THOR of the Marvel universe. But it's unlike any Thor we've ever seen before."

Marvel says that this, their eighth title to feature a lead female character, "aims to speak directly to an audience that long was not the target for superhero comic books in America – women and girls".
In that case, why don't they emphasize Sif, the goddess who's long been Thor's sweetheart since his childhood? Sure, she might actually be the character to take up his costume, but that's the problem; we could have another case of one character shoehorned into another's established role instead of being marketed in their own.

Moss says this she-Thor is "worthy", but what about the writing? Aaron is another modern writer whose talents are questionable at best, and if the son of Odin is getting his sex changed, then what they'll really be doing is asking a female audience to automatically buy into the notion that this man makes a great woman. It's as mind-boggling as it sounds.

And why would most women care to buy the works of a company they may remember as the same one who broke up the Spider-marriage and marginalized Mary Jane Watson? Judging by how low their books are selling already, it's clear not many women care. The editors say this isn't temporary, but unless they intend to remain adamant despite decreasing sales, chances are it won't be, as the changing of race and gender gimmick becomes a snoozer.

Update: over at Hot Air, they make an interesting point:
[...] a Twitter pal makes a good point: If you look closely, you’ll see that Thor’s iron breastplate inexplicably yet conveniently ends right below the bra-line, leaving some skin exposed squarely in the center of her midsection. Looks like Trans-Thor is less concerned with protecting her sternum than with giving her male opponents a peek. So much for female empowerment. It’s going to hurt when Loki calls her “Whor.”
And if Thor's really been given a sex change, that only makes it all the more mind-numbing.

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I've said this elsewhere, but it bears repeating: this storyline isn't even original. "Earth X" ran with this idea almost 20 years ago. There was an even older "What If?" issue that showed what would have happened had Jane Foster picked up the hammer instead of Donald Blake.

"this new Thor isn't a temporary female substitute – she's now the one and only Thor, and she is worthy"

I personally found this the most irritating quote in the whole story. Who is Marvel trying to fool? This change is absolutely temporary--same with Bucky being Captain America and Doc Ock being Spider-Man. Like with those examples, Marvel will switch back to coincide with the release of a new movie.

"Proud tradition of strong female characters"? Most female characters at Marvel have been sidekicks, flunkies, and foils for the male characters. Even super heroines like the Wasp, Scarlet Witch, and Invisible Girl often seemed more like helpless victims than helpful teammates. And more recent heroines (She-Hulk, Spider-Woman, Captain Marvel) were created just to establish a copyright or retain a trademark.

Instead of trying to shoehorn female characters into established characters' roles, Marvel and DC should both create new characters, or develop some of their established female characters.

Natasha now has some recognition because of the movies; now might be the time for a Black Widow solo series. The same goes for Sif. And Valkyrie might prove popular if well-written.

Actually, if Marvel (and DC) have a tradition re: female characters, it's a habit of killing off any women who are strong, intelligent, and reasonably realistic (e.g., Jean DeWolf).

And the hypocrites at Marvel are claiming that Lady Thor will promote diversity and appeal to women, but the character is obviously soft-core porn for adolescent male fans. Typical comic book heroine or villainess: her costume looks like it was designed for going to an S&M nightclub rather than for combat, and her breasts are about twice the size of her head.

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