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Saturday, October 04, 2014 

So Nick Fury is the reason Thor becomes "unworthy"?

The Washington Post did a fawning interview with Jason Aaron about replacing Thor with a woman in the role. Along the way, the discussion features items like this:
This new story has “grown out of everything that I’ve been doing on the character,” Aaron told Comic Riffs. “I’ve been writing Thor for a couple of years now, like 25 issues. So this is not me coming to a stopping point and throwing out everything I’ve been doing. I’ve been laying a lot of tracks for future stories over the course of those 25 issues.
Yeah, just like Dan Slott did with Spider-Man. That's the problem with today's mainstream comics - if they really are planning ahead, it's not for the better, and fails to inspire.
“I’ve introduced some new characters, brought back some old villains,” Aaron continued. “All of that really plays into the new series. This was always the plan: to get Thor to a point where he was unworthy and have someone else pick up that hammer.

“The question was always: Who was that someone going to be?”
A better question would be why he/they want Thor to be "unworthy" of lifting the Uru hammer? Is that really what they think even women who might take interest in their new direction want happening? Has it occurred to Aaron that male Thor has female fans too, who might be speechless at the notion Thor should be considered unworthy of the hammer?
That someone for the moment remains a mystery. The first issue of the new Thor series, which will hit comic book shops and digital devices Wednesday, does not let fans see the face of Mjolnir’s new owner; instead, it sets the tone for the multiple mysteries to be solved within its pages. Mysteries that the former Thor — a now hammer-less male — will be driven to solve.

“The Odinson, the previous version of Thor, he’s going to look at all the women around him and start to try to figure out which one of [them] is running around with [his] hammer,” Aaron told Comic Riffs. “It’s a suspect list that’s going to include his mother, Freyja, who plays a big role in [the first issue]; Roz Solomon, who is Thor’s new love interest and also a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent; [his] ex-girlfriend Jane Foster; and Sif [who is a big part of the movies].

“All those characters will have roles to play in the new book, and not just as red herrings,” Aaron continued. “A lot of them have been a big part of the book for the past couple of years, so those roles will continue on, and then one of them ultimately … has a very different story to tell.”

Aaron says this Thor won’t just be a book about secret identities, noting that the mystery of who lies underneath the new mask of Thor is something that won’t be stretched out for too long.
What's this? They're not going to let us know who the female Thor is all at once? Honestly, I've long been at a point where I find "mysteries" unappealing, especially when they're part of a publicity stunt? This really is beginning to sound less like a decent new direction and more like an attempt to keep the audience hanging for nothing, and does nothing to convince they really mean for people to invest in their new path.
And just as important to the title will be the emergence of Mjolnir, which has a few mysteries of its own.

“Odin [Thor’s father] was the one who put the enchantment on the hammer in the first place,” Aaron said. “He was the one who gave this hammer the power to determine worthiness. As we can see in the first issue, the enchantment has grown beyond even the enchanter. So I really like that idea that this hammer has taken that power onto itself. The hammer will decide who is worthy and nothing can change that.

“It’s really just the beginning of Mjolnir having a very different sort of role in this new Thor series,” Aaron added, “and becoming more of a character in and of itself.”
It's beginning to sound almost like what Geoff Johns did with Green Lantern, retconning the background so that the power ring supposedly chooses who should wear it on their hand. Something I find rather cheap.
As for what motivated Aaron to make the decision to debut the new Thor as a woman — once he decided that the original Thor would go on a journey that would expose him as not worthy of his hammer or the title of Thor — Aaron says looking back on the few who have held Mjolnir up to the sky revealed an elite few that, though different, were all still men.

“I knew pretty quickly that I wanted it to be a female character for a couple of different reasons,” Aaron said. “We haven’t seen very many female characters pick that hammer up over the years. We’ve seen lots of different people in the Marvel universe, from Captain America to horse-face alien guy Beta Ray Bill lift that hammer, but hardly any female characters. And if you look at Thor’s supporting cast these days, like the one he’s had in the book I’ve been doing, most of his supporting cast is female. So if it was going to be someone from Thor’s world that was going to pick this hammer up, then it made sense that it was going to be a woman.”
It's a fair argument, but by keeping the very masculine name in place to be carried by a woman, they're making themselves look silly. Besides, I don't think Beta Ray Bill ever usurped the name Thor for himself and went to an Interior Ministry to have his name legally changed. Nor did Captain America. And why doesn't he mention the What If? story reimagining Jane Foster as a female take on Thor?
For all the fan excitement about this new Thor era, some were not pleased with the announcement. There were fans who claimed that Marvel Comics was running out of ideas, and that yet another male superhero mantle being passed to a female character was something that had been seen too many times. Aaron begs to differ.

“Whenever there’s a big change like that with a character that’s been around for so long, there are going to be people who freak out,” Aaron told Comic Riffs. “I don’t think we would have gotten the same amount of backlash if we just announced that it was a different dude that was picking up the hammer. So that’s pretty disappointing.
Wrong. I would've felt worried or disappointed even if another man were picking up the hammer. Certainly if it were all just being done for publicity's sake, like DC replacing Ronnie Raymond as Firestorm with a black protagonist in a story connected with Identity Crisis and was rushed with little explanation how he got the power just like that. All just for the sake of pandering to minorities on the assumption they'll all be accepting no matter the story quality. As sales proved, however, that's not the case.

And Aaron, along with the paper, are taking things out of context: most detractors are let down by their inability to craft a character who can stand on her own without replacing the main hero in his own book. Sure, it's possible to have a woman become worthy of holding Thor's hammer, but they shouldn't be teetering on the absurd by having whomever the woman is take up his masculine name to boot. Thor's title hasn't been published uninterrupted since taking over the numbering from Journey Into Mystery in 1966, so it wouldn't be any big deal if they wanted to cancel his solo book for a time and replace it with say, a series titled "Sif, Goddess of Thunder".
“I think a lot of people who were taking that [view] on it, who claimed to be big-time Thor fans, they didn’t seem to know too much about what the character had been up to for the last several years. If they’re freaking out that much just because Thor is a woman, I think they’ve missed some of the lessons that maybe the character has been trying to teach them over the course of the last 600 issues.”
No, I think modern writers miss every lesson earlier ones with more rationale have been trying to teach. And I don't see why he thinks turning Thor unworthy of his own hammer is literally justified. I also think Aaron may have committed a continuity glitch on his own writing. One of the commentors asked:
When did Freya become Thor's mother? Was there a formal continuity wipe of Thor being the son of Odin and Gaea?
And another one replied:
Just back in February (Thor: God of Thunder #19), Thor was saying that his mother was Gaea, and this is why he was so interested in environmentalism and efforts to save the earth. This was an issue written by Jason Arron!
I think this is all we need to know Aaron is but one of many new, not so appealing writers who doesn't care for consistency, so why should we assume he cares for organic storytelling?

But now, let's move on to what may be the cause of Thor's losses. The Wall Street Journal also interviewed Aaron, and he gives more data to raise eyebrows:
Set the scene for our readers: How did Thor, the male superhero, lose his worthiness to wield the hammer Mjolnir?

I’ve been writing Thor for about two years now in the pages of a book called “Thor: God of Thunder.” One of the themes of that book was always worthiness. I always liked the idea that Thor was the god who’d wake up every day and look at that hammer and not know whether he was going to pick it up. Only the worthy can lift the hammer of Thor, and I love the idea of a god who was always questioning his own worthiness. This summer in a book I did called “Original Sin,” Nick Fury was empowered by all the insights of The Watcher, who’s an old school, Stan Lee-Jack Kirby character who’s the cosmic observer of the Marvel universe.

In the midst of the fight, Nick Fury whispered something to Thor, and suddenly Thor dropped his hammer and couldn’t pick it up. It was really just a whisper that made Thor unworthy. It wasn’t just something he did that we know, it was really just that whisper. It’s still a mystery as to exactly what Fury said to him, and that’s a mystery we tease a little bit more in Thor #1, and will continue to be a part of that version of the character’s story. I’ve always been building to this moment, towards Thor getting to the point where he can’t confirm his worthiness with his magic weapon. His mother tries to tell him in that first issue that worthiness should not be left to the whim of magic hammers, that he’s hero whether or not he can pick it up, so he continues on even without the hammer. With him not being able to pick it up, it opens the door for someone else to come along who can lift it.
Just like it's a mystery what Mary Jane Watson said to Mephisto as Peter Parker was making a faustian pact to have their marriage erased. So Thor's loss stems from a company-wide crossover, and not from an organic, stand-alone development? Say, I wonder if the new female Thor is working for Evil-Nick? Aaron's just confirmed he cannot craft an authentic plot on his own, and the only developments he can think of tie in with one of the cheapest methods in mainstream: the company wide crossover. I don't see what's so great about this guy then. For somebody talking about worthiness, has it occurred to him he's not worthy of writing mainstream superheroes?
When did you decide that Thor, in terms of who can pick up the hammer, would be a woman?

That was pretty much the only story. We plan all our stories out months, a couple years in advance sometimes. We have these creative retreats, where a bunch of writers sit in a room with all the Marvel editorial [staff], and we talk about all this stuff far in advance. I don’t know exactly how long we’ve been talking about this now.
While this may not be new for editors and writers to sit down for a panel discussion, I wouldn't be surprised if today's involve a lot of discussions for what they think would make the best publicity stunts that the mainstream press is willing to blabber about minus any notes on talent.
The first time I read through the new issue, I got the impression that Thor’s mother, Freyja, picked up the hammer. But the second time, it came across a little more ambiguous. Is it his mother or another character?

I’m not just going to tell you!
Just like he's not going to tell us about his puzzling glitch, ignoring an earlier issue he wrote!
So it’s not a mystery that’s going to be revealed in the first issue.

No, no, no. You didn’t miss anything. We don’t see this new Thor until the very end [of the issue] when she’s wearing a mask, so that’ll be an ongoing mystery for a bit as to who she actually is. Yeah, there’ll be multiple “suspects.” Looking at Thor #1, the first one would seem to be Thor’s own mother. She’s got her own story beginning here, as well. Odin, who’s Thor’s father, has been away quite a while in the pages of the Marvel universe, so he only recently came back to Asgard. While he was gone, Freyja, his wife, was ruling in his place. She was the All-Mother, which is something we hadn’t really seen before in Thor comics.
I don't see why there has to be a mystery in a series he says is all about worthiness, which he lacks. Again, confusion reigns as to who Thor's mother is - Freyja or Gaea?
There’s been plenty skepticism about how dedicated you and Marvel are going to be to this female Thor? Do you expect to turn it back over to Thor Odinson?

Who knows what happens down the road? I’ve been writing the character for two years, and I don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon. Anyone who’s been reading my stuff can see that there’s a lot of tracks being laid for future stories. I’ve been writing for the long term this whole time. So this is not a short-term story for me. I initially had the same concerns when we started talking about this. This was my idea to do this change. I knew we were coming up on the big, new “Avengers” film next year, so I just wanted to make sure everybody realized we were on the same page, that we’d be going into that film with different versions of [Captain America] and Thor in our books than we see in the movies, and everybody was totally cool with that. I wouldn’t have wanted to do it otherwise. I wouldn’t have wanted to do it as a five-, six-issue story, and then she goes away and the regular guy is back. It’s not that kind of story. Once we get about four or five issues into the story, you’ll start to see what her story really is.
Just like we've seen what Dr. Octopus' story was at the time he hijacked Spider-Man's body. Yeah, I'm sure it'll be quite fascinating alright.
You said around issue four or five the new Thor character’s story would become clearer. Is that when you’ll reveal the character?

We’ll see. I don’t want to say exactly when we’re going to reveal it. We start weeding out suspects pretty quickly. So we’ll start compiling that list of suspects, and we’ll start marking names off it. Really, the first three issues are really about introducing this new version of Thor. We see her at the very end of issue one. Issue two is all hers. We get to see her in action for the very first time, and we see how she is different from the previous guy to wield this hammer.
He's already confirmed how different she is: about as different as Evil-Nick Fury enables. If they keep it a secret - even only for a few issues - that just speaks to their lack of confidence they can sell it without making it look more like they're trying to pull the readers' chains.
Does Marvel have plans for other classic characters along the lines of the changes in Captain America and Thor?

It begins with the kind of story the writers want to tell. We never sit around in those retreats and say, “We really need to make a change. Let’s change this character.” Or throw a dart at the wall and see what hits. It all begins with story. So, this change begins with the story I was telling and the new kind of story I wanted to tell, and Marvel embraced that. It coincided with the changes [Rick Remender] was making with Cap. It also gave Marvel a chance to put a branding on it and to get some publicity, but it still all started with story. That’s what it’s like in that room. Who knows? It’s always exciting when we do those retreats. Stories wither and die in that room sometimes. If your story can’t survive that gauntlet of writers and editors, then it’s not going to survive the gauntlet of fans, so stories disappear in that room. Some stories also come to life in that room, so you never know. The challenge of this job is that you’ve been writing characters who’ve been in publication for 60-plus years, so that’s a lot of stories that have been told with these characters. You’re always trying to do something that, on one hand, honors all those stories, that is still in some way the same character that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were doing back in the sixties. But, at the same time, you want to be able to tell new stories and not just rehash what’s come before. Sometimes that means tweaking things, or taking characters in a bit different direction than where they’ve been before. I think you can do that. I think you can do new and exciting and still honor the core of the characters that we grew up loving. That’s why you read Marvel Comics. Well, we write for Marvel Comics because we love these characters, too.
We've heard this all before. It's become a cliche for writers/editors to insist they're doing everything organically, when Aaron himself flip-flopped early in the interview with the word this stems from weird alterations by pseudo-Nick Fury. And ironically, there have been some very selfish, insular people out there in the remnants of the audience who don't read these books because they love or care about the characters. Some of them have even gone on to become writers themselves, like Aaron has, and even if they don't resort to the worst steps, it's not enough to say they "love" the characters. Otherwise, they'd never have gone along with ending the Spider-marriage, or their recent changes to Captain America and Iron Man.

I love the MCU, and care about their cast of characters. But that's why I don't read their modern output, because despite what Aaron and company say, they don't. That's why, for a decade now, I've only been reading the older, better stuff from the past century.

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I'm trying to wrap my head around this post. You accuse of Marvel of making decisions based on pandering to audience and at the same time criticize the storyline of Thor's unworthiness as "not something the fan's want to see."

The inherent contradiction aside, remember that these characters aren't real. These stories aren't history. The choices they make shouldn't be designed to make you feel comfortable.

How could any writer worth their slat have the idea that becomes unworthy with a whisper and NOT write it? It's that good of an idea.

It begs deep questions about what worthiness means and how we earn it. Is it a perception we have of ourselves? is there an objective measure?

It's one of the richest opportunities for conflict I've seen in a comic in year. True conflict. Inner conflict.

Wow... What A blog.....

toronto magician

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