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Wednesday, May 13, 2015 

Now Marvel tells us: Jane Foster is the female Thor

So now, several months after causing controversy for nothing, Marvel and Jason Aaron are revealing that veteran Thor co-star Jane Foster is the female Thor:
By Odin’s beard, the truth hath at last been revealed! Last July, Marvel Comics made waves by announcing that the classic Thor (y’know, the beefy white dude with the pretty hair) would be replaced by a brand-new Thor: one who was slimmer, less-bearded, and — most surprising— a woman. But Marvel, ever the tightly run ship, kept mum about who exactly that woman was. The mystery continued as Thor writer Jason Aaron wrote the first batch of issues of his story line about the new Thor: She talked about having an alternate identity, but was she Thor’s sister Angela? Fellow Asgardian Sif? S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Roz Solomon? None of the above! (Spoilers ahead, obviously.) The female Thor is …

Jane Foster! That’s right, as revealed in tomorrow's issue of Thor, it turns out Thor’s longtime companion (played somewhat memorably on the big screen by Natalie Portman in Thor and Thor: The Dark World) lifted the mystical hammer Mjolnir after a still-mysterious incident rendered Thor unworthy of wielding it. Since then, he’s been battling Frost Giants, Dark Elves, and international oil magnates. But there’s a catch: She’s also battling breast cancer. When she lifts the hammer, she becomes a superpowered god; when she’s not using it, she transforms back into her weakened mortal self. What’s more, it appears that the magic transitions are making her condition worse.
Now they tell us! First, if they really think their steps were justified, why keep it all a secret? Most likely because, if they hadn't, everyone would've still pointed out how ridiculous it was to have Nick Fury be the culprit in Thor's loss of the hammer. Speaking of which, I can't help but notice Vulture's reporter didn't even bother to research that.

And this doesn't excuse all the obvious insults Aaron wrote against Marvel fans, including an anti-GamerGate caption. If he really wanted to entertain, he would've avoided all that feminist muddle.
Thor is taking a little break and will be replaced by a miniseries called Thors (in which a squad of Thors from parallel universes become an interdimensional police force, because comics), but Jane-as-Thor will figure prominently there and still has many secrets to unveil. We caught up with Aaron to talk about Jane’s revelation and what it means.
Before we get to that, it doesn't look like Jane was intended to be femme-Thor for long if she has cancer, but it's already clear this was intended to cause controversy, though judging from how low the sales numbers are, it's clear it didn't have a long-term impact.
When did the decision happen to turn Jane Foster into Thor? Was there ever talk of someone else wielding the hammer?
No, I think we only ever really talked about Jane. It grew out of the idea of the previous Thor becoming unworthy, which was something I was always building toward. I liked the idea of dealing with his worthiness and the idea of what it means for a god to be worthy in the Marvel universe. You know, the god of thunder waking up every morning and looking at the hammer and not knowing if he’s gonna be worthy to lift it. Then, of course, one day he should wake up and not be able to lift it. That opened the door for someone else to pick up the hammer and carry it around in his place. Really, the only character that was discussed was Jane.
And it's not hard to guess why - because they never intended to write up something convincing with any of their female cast. Otherwise, we'd be seeing a Sif/Valkyrie series on the market. And maybe Aaron should ponder his own worthiness as a writer, because he's failed to impress upon me. He speaks of worthiness and then builds off a storyline where Nick Fury renders Thor unworthy with but a whisper, presumably saying he isn't?
You really didn’t consider anybody else?
Nah. I mean, it was never just about the surprise or the mystery. Clearly I’ve had fun playing with that part of it over the course of these eight issues [since we introduced the new Thor]. But that’s really all just setup for the real story. And Jane was the one I had a story with, whose story I wanted to tell.
Yep, the real story he wanted to tell was an artificial fabrication. If it really wasn't just about surprise and mystery, they wouldn't have kept it one to start with.
Thematically, what do you think is the significance of having Jane Foster be Thor?
Jane’s been a part of Thor’s universe going back almost to the very beginning. She was the initial love interest for Donald Blake, who was Thor’s alter-ego [in early Thor stories]. She was the nurse to his doctor. She’s grown and changed and evolved a lot over the years, become a doctor in her own right. So this to me is not just the next step for her character, but really the next evolution of the core promise that has always been at the heart of Thor’s mythology.

You go back to those very first issues [from the 1960s], and they’re about this disabled doctor, Donald Blake, finding a strange hammer, and when he picks it up, it transforms him into the mighty Thor. That promise of transformation has always been a part of that hammer. Even though we’ve changed the person who’s holding the hammer, it’s very much a Thor story, a story that begins the next step for that promise of transformation.

Interesting. The whole Donald Blake double-identity thing had really disappeared from the Thor mythos in recent years, so Jane is kind of bringing us back to the original concept.
Absolutely, yeah. Again, we haven’t been able to see that with these first eight issues, because I was kind of limited in what I could show you of a new Thor, in order to play with that mystery, so these first eight issues are really about everything that was swirling around her, and that’s sort of why I did thought balloons. [Note: Thought balloons are almost unheard of in modern comics, but Thor has lately featured Jane-as-Thor going through an internal monologue while in her Thor guise.]
Since we're on the topic of thought balloons, I'll give the reporter credit for acknowledging how they've all but disappeared from modern tales, but that's all. I think many modern writers are being silly to throw out a concept that helped readers connect with the characters better, including co-stars so you could know what they're thinking as much as the heroes. And by abandoning thought balloons, I'd say that hurt the medium considerably. And it doesn't help when the stories that do use them, like this mess, happen to be publicity stunts where thought balloons appear to only serve for placating. If Aaron really wanted to convince, he wouldn't have gone to such lengths to insult peoples' intellects with "mysteries" that only make this look more contrived. One of the commenters was also unimpressed:
Ugh, now I really, really hate that scene where Titania gives up, and Thor/Jane bashes her head in with Mjolnir anyway. Remember that time when Titania saved Jane's life, and in return, Jane helps treat Titania's cancer? I guess Jason Aaron doesn't.
I think that took place in Dan Jurgens' run on Thor circa 1998. And Aaron clearly doesn't care. And judging from diminishing returns on sales, nobody cares about Aaron's directions with this series. Aaron and his editors would do well to go back and look at the whole approach they took, which only did more harm than good.

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Interesting, yes; beneficial, unknown at this point in time.

Thor = guy. The end.

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