Of all the events to come out of Marvel’s Original Sin series, one of the most impactful took place in Original Sin #7 when Nick Fury leaned into the ear of Thor and whispered. With that small act, the power of Thor changed hands from Odinson into the hands of Jane Foster. While this can be seen as another of Marvel’s overt acts of political correctness and pandering to the current rages of social media by turning the Thunder God into a woman; and not just any woman but one who is dying of a terminal disease. It has, perhaps by accident, because I cannot in all good faith give Marvel’s current creative regime this much credit, given rise to one of the better comic books on the market. No, I am not talking about the new Thor with Jane Foster wielding Mjolnir, but of the displaced Thunder God, Odinson and the comic called The Unworthy Thor.
Odinson, the original Thor, Prince of Asgard and son of Odin, is having a tough time of it. When he is sober, because depression and mead are his best friends, is struggling with coming to grips with his loss. His loss of his identity, his loss of his hammer, and after joining a battle he was not equipped for, the loss of his arm. After he decides that the current Thor is indeed worthy of wielding the hammer, he must now come to terms with the truth that he is not and the words whispered by Fury are true.
Thus, begins the quest, but is it one? It doesn’t begin that way. It begins much more like Odinson is just running away. On his trusty flying goat, his axe that does not fly back when he throws it and a prosthetic arm that will outlive him, Odinson journeys. But you cannot have been the great Thunder God and not have pissed off some people along the way. People who now see Odinson as weakened and this as their opportunity to enact their revenge. But in all this there is the word of an all seeing creature that speaks of another hammer. Another Mjolnir, belonging to a dead Thor on a dead world. A hammer calling out for a new master.
With fan favorite, Beta Ray Bill, Odinson goes in search for this abandoned hammer. But first he must battle the Collector and all manner of dimensional creatures, even those sent by Thanos himself. But even more so, he must come to grips with the battle that rages within himself.
There is so much to this book that it is surprising that this is a Marvel comic. It is being written like an independent comic book that puts plot and story over flash and artwork. But don’t get that wrong, the artwork is awesome and ties so well with the journey of Odinson. This is a throwback to the old Thor comics before he got so involved with only Earth and the Avengers and buffing Tony Stark’s iron suit. This is the Thor that waged war with the galaxies worst villains and took part in bloody battles between the Gods. Battles that which, were not always a foregone conclusion that he would win.
It is also the mental and emotional story of a fallen God. A God who lived so far above the rest of the world that his mere presence should have nations bow. A God that has learned a dark and painful truth.
There are those who will see this book as another in Marvel’s attacks on the Christian Right and religion in general. Perhaps they are right. Which is why I don’t give Marvel too much credit here. In fact, I think they may have simply stumbled over creating a truly fine book and perhaps one of the few Thor storylines worth remembering. It is certainly much better than the Jane Foster Thor right now and that is no knock on a female Thor. It is just that much better. What they have done, something they have failed to do in the past, is bring about Thor’s humanity. In doing so, they have elevated this character in ways I’m sure they did not intend but am eager to see them explore.
Also it has Beta Ray Bill and the Marvel universe has been lacking in his absence. Kick in a harsh and tyrannical Collector, Thanos and some very dark and evil characters and you have what may be the best Marvel comic this year that no one is reading.