Here Comes the Female Thunder


As a comics fan it’s sometimes strange when news reaches not just into the wider geek community but also popular culture as a whole. I don’t usually expect larger news websites and broadcasts to report on who killed The Watcher or Carol Danvers’ decision to chill in space for a while.

But that’s exactly what happened with Marvel’s latest announcement of introducing a female Thor. Since the reveal it’s been all anyone’s been talking about. Heck, even Wolverine’s death didn’t cause this much attention. Sadly though, I can’t help but feel suspicious that some of this attention has been brought about due to a misunderstanding, but let’s get to that in a moment.

The announcement was made on “The View”, America’s equivalent of “Loose Women” led by Whoopi Goldberg. “The View” airs on ABC, another Disney owned company. The platform had some of us believing we might get news relating to Marvel’s TV or movie properties, so to see comic updates on “The View” is quite unusual.

portrait_uncanny (1)The news was that this October we would get a new Thor series written by Jason Aaron with art by Russell Dauterman. A new character will emerge, one who will take on the title of Thor. We’ve been promised that this won’t be “lady Thor” or any sort of female side-kick. She will be Thor.

“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,” says Marvel editor Will Moss. “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!”

This is the passage that seemed to confuse people, so let’s clear something up. The Thor that we know is not changing gender. There will be no serum that turns the Avengers in to ladies and neither will the original Thor be dying or disappearing to another dimension.

The Thor that we know will, for some yet explained reason, become unworthy to wield Mjölnir. He will still exist within the Marvel Universe, just in a de-powered state, complete with battle axe and metal arm.

The character that we will meet is someone with a connection to Asgard, although whether she is actually an Asgardian is unconfirmed. She will prove herself worthy of Mjölnir and the title that goes with it, which just so happens to be Thor.

Some have complained about the fact they are changing an established character, but this is Marvel, they do nothing BUT change established characters. For months Spider-Man wasn’t even Spider-Man, he was Doc Ock in Peter Parker’s body. In fact, before now we’ve seen Mjölnir held by a frog and a horse-faced alien called Beta-Ray Bill. To steal a Movie Bob phrase, “COMICS ARE WEIRD” and they do crazy stuff all the time. So you have to wonder why it only becomes a controversy when a woman is involved.

portrait_uncannyAnother argument is “Why not introduce a new female hero?” Well, Marvel did that too. The current Ms Marvel is a great young character called Kamala Khan and she’s been a big hit in the comic community. Over the last few months we’ve seen her gain her powers and learn to use them, all while dodging strict parents, sneaking into parties and doing typical teenager things. And she didn’t exist a year ago (go check that out by the way, it’s a great series).

This also isn’t the first time a female character has taken over the title of a previous male character. Carol Danvers has been flying around as Captain Marvel for some time now. But strangely there was no big up-cry when that happened (most likely because Captain Marvel isn’t one of the current ‘big names’).

The major difference here is that they are making a woman part of the “big three” as they put it and that’s a pretty big statement. It’s understandable that some feel that giving a woman what has previously been a male title is a bit problematic. Sort of like saying a woman can only have power when she’s King rather than Queen. But it’s an argument I don’t wholly agree with in this case. A God is a God, man or woman.

I fully believe Marvel has the best of intentions with this series. The premise sounds interesting and it could lead to some dramatic scenes with the original Thor losing his usual powers. As a comics fan I’m just looking forward to seeing where the story goes. And having another female-led title is bad news only for my wallet.

Source: Marvel

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