SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for “Thor” #8, on sale now, including the identity of the new Thor.
Whoever wields the mystical hammer known as Mjolnir transforms that person into thor, one of the mightiest individuals in the Marvel Universe Beyond the power itself, what makes the character truly interesting is the inner strength required to lift the hammer and tap into that reservoir of physical power. Because of the chief enchantment placed upon the hammer, only those deemed “worthy” can lift it and use its power.
â€¨Thor Odinson, the Asgardin God, wielded the hammer tofr many years, but in the recent “Original Sin” crossover Nick Fury Sr. whispered something mysterious in his ear that made him no longer able to wield his hammer. The Earth wasn’t without a Thor for long, however. In the debut issue of the current volume of “Thor,” writer Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman introduced readers to a new female Thor whose identity was concealed by a helmet. The appearance of this new Thor shocked many of the Asgardian Gods, including the now unworthy Odinson who tried to uncover the identity of the new God of Thunder.
He was unsuccessful in his quest, but on the final page of today’s “Thor” #8, Aaron and Dauterman finally revealed the identity of the character underneath the new Thor’s helmet. CBR News spoke with Aaron about the reveal, its impact on the long form story he’s telling with Thor and the 10 Realms of Asgard, and the next chapter of that story, “Thors,” which takes place on Battleworld during “Secret Wars” and features a multitude of alternate reality incarnations of the title character.
CBR News: Jason, let’s kick off with the big reveal. Long time “Thor” character Jane Foster is the new God of Thunder. What inspired you to have Jane become the new God of Thunder?
Jason Aaron: Now that the secret is out you can look back over everything I’ve done going back through my original Thor stuff on “Thor: God of Thunder” and all the way back through Thor history and hopefully it will a kind of make sense. Jane has been a part of Thor’s mythology almost from the very beginning. Certainly her role and her character have changed and evolved over the years, but I like the fact of her finally getting her chance to carry the hammer around as Doctor Jane Foster now. I like that sort of comparison and contrast between that original Thor dynamic with Don Blake.
I’ve always talked about this being something that, to me, stays true to the original premise and the original promise of the inscription on the hammer; that anyone who was worthy could pick it up, be transformed, and get the power of Thor. So having that be Jane, to me, just puts a nice little bow on it.
Of course it’s not really as simple as all that. It’s not just about Jane Foster carrying the hammer around and being Thor. You can see from that last page that there’s a little more to her story and her challenge. As we know from her last few appearances, Jane has been dealing with breast cancer. When we last saw her in “Thor” #6 it was revealed that her cancer had taken a turn for the worse, which I thought at the time would be a big red flag. I thought that would be the point where everybody knew it was Jane.
Clearly, though, being Thor has a cost for Jane in some way or another. So going forward now that’s the story. Not just that Jane Foster is Thor, but what is it Jane Foster is enduring and suffering in order for the world to have a Thor?
Jane’s inner monologue in “Thor” #8 is about her dying mother, which makes it sound like being Thor is something very personal to her. Is being Thor and protecting the world sort of a dying wish for Jane? Has she given up hope of her cancer going into remission?
No, I don’t think she’s given up hope. She’s just talking about the reality that she’s facing.
Being Thor allows Jane to feel like she’s making a difference, but I’ve got to imagine it’s somewhat bittersweet since she’s seen the effect it had on Mjolnir’s former wielder, a man she clearly cares for. What kind of feelings does Jane have about the Odinson these days? How important is he to her?
I think based on the interactions we’ve seen with them and her thought balloons that it’s clear she still cares for him quite a lot. Her heart still goes out to him. She hates to see the way he suffered with everything that he’s going through.
â€¨At the same time though, like she said, she knows there needs to be a Thor. The hammer called to her and she’s shown just a little bit of what she can do with it. So yes, he’s still important to her, but what he’s been going through is not going to stop her from doing what she needs to do. Plus, even though she cares for him quite a lot she needs to keep him at arm’s length because she doesn’t want anyone to know her secret; not just that Jane Foster is Thor, but what being Thor is doing to her. As she says, it’s killing her.
So in her narration in issue #8 she says that she has to keep her secret, because if people knew they would try to stop her from what she’s doing. She’s making this sacrifice and taking this risk because she knows there needs to be a Thor and right now it’s her.
So going back to what you said earlier. It’s not that she’s given up hope of living. It’s that being Thor is a risk that she feels is worth taking?
The new Thor is also clearly important to the Odinson because in issue #8 he was willing to reveal to her what Nick Fury whispered to him that made him unworthy of wielding Mjolnir. That said, he didn’t, which leads me to believe you’re not ready to reveal the secrets of that particular mystery. Is that something you’ll get to further down the road?
Yeah, I didn’t want to pull the trigger on that mystery just yet. I think I said all along that you would find out who the new Thor was before you found out the Odinson’s little secret. So that’s something I’ll keep in my back pocket for now and we’ll get to eventually.
The issue wasn’t just about mysteries and secrets. It also had a lot of big action and turmoil in Asgard. In the big action we got to see what I believe was your first use of an Asgardian character that you haven’t written before, the Norn Queen, Karnilla.
Yes, Karnilla was one of the names on the list we put together of possible suspects for Thor. That list was not just a list of random characters. A lot of the characters on that list are ones I had my eye on in terms of moving forward. So Karnilla was on there for a reason and she was in this issue for a reason.
Russell Dauterman especially loves drawing Karnilla. So we’ll definitely be seeing her again.
Speaking of Russell, he did an extraordinary job with the action, emotion, and the very large cast he was drawing in this issue. What was it like seeing Russell bring this big story to life, and building a collaboration with him over the course of this series?
It’s been awesome. I think Russell has been the biggest, coolest, most exciting part of this whole run for me. I got to watch him become a superstar over the course of these seven issues that he did.
I think he and [colorist] Matt Wilson have been an incredible team. They’ve had a lot to tackle over the course of this arc, especially in this last issue where there were so many characters and so much was going on. We had big epic fight scenes, and tender emotional moments, but I think Russell has shown that he can do all of that.
He’s been so excited by and so in love with these characters, the direction we’re headed, and the worlds were playing with. So I’ve been honored and excited to work with Russell on this and I’m excited to see where we go from here.
You’re moving from Russell to the great Chris Sprouse for your next project involving hammer wielders, the “Secret Wars” series “Thors.” How does it feel to be working with Chris? Seems like his diverse and some times weird body of work would make him perfect for a series that stars a whole host of alternate reality Thors.
Absolutely. I think when we first started talking about the premise of “Thors” and Chris’ name was mentioned I could already see those images of the various Thor Cops in the Thor Corps in action. So yes, Chris was an inspired choice for this and of course he’s a guy who I’ve been a tremendous fan of for years. So it’s a huge thrill to finally be working with him.
You and Chris are clearly taking some elements of your “God Butcher” arc of “Thor: God of Thunder” and pushing them even further in “Thors.” The series seems to be a de facto police procedural in which multiple Mjolnir wielders serve as law enforcement officers and detectives on Battleworld. Will readers follow different Thors on new cases each issue or one where we’ll spend time with a few on a complex investigation that spans multiple issues?
It’s a bit of both. We’ll certainly see a lot of Thors over the course of the series, but we’ll focus mostly on a couple. The main character is the Thor of the Ultimate Universe. He’s our lead detective. So we’ll see him pair up and partner up with different characters over the course of the series, but it’s mostly him trying to figure out a series of murders that have very specific connections to Thor’s mythology.
How much fun are you having fleshing out and creating the detectives on this Thor police force?
It’s pretty fun. Again, like you said, with the “God Butcher” arc I had a lot of fun writing three different Thors bouncing off of each other. So to do this takes it to the next level where I have a whole police station full of Thors. Some of them will be Thors we’ve seen before and some we’re making up as we go.
So it’s a blast and really the most fun is I’m writing this almost as a straight police drama. So this is me kind of doing my episode of “Homicide: Life on the Street” that I’ve always wanted to do. It’s just instead of guns and cops it’s hammers and Thors.
Will the detectives in “Thors” have a captain or authority figure that they answer to? And if so, is that figure a Thor as well?
Yes, because any cop drama has to have the surly police captain who screams at everybody, right? So of course we’ll have that and given the work I’ve done you can probably figure out which Thor that would be.
[Laughs] I’m hoping it’s King Thor.
Chances of that are good.
Finally, how important is “Thors” to the long form story you’re telling about Asgard, it’s hammer wielders and the 10 Realms? Will there be some questions answered here? Will we see some seeds for future Thor stories planted?
Probably yes to all of that. This is not just a detour from the story I’m telling. This is an integral part of it. There’s only so much I can say in terms of where we’re headed and what’s to come, but I’ll just say, as I’ve said for a long time now, that I’m having as much fun on Thor as anything I’ve ever done in comics. I’ve laid down a lot of big tracks and it should be clear that I’m building toward big, big stories to come. I’m not planning on going anywhere. I still have a lot more Thor stories left to tell.
Right, you may be heading off to Battleworld for a while, but it did feel like “Thor” #8 was a season finale, not a series finale.
Yes, and I kind of said all along that the story that ends in “Thor” #8 was not the meat of the story. That was really the prologue. I liked playing with the mystery of who’s underneath the helmet and playing with the drama of all this stuff swirling around Thor. We’re building this tension in Asgard. We’re building Malekith’s dark plans for all the realms. So I was playing with all that stuff at once and kind of setting it up.
So, as I’ve said all along, once we get to the point where we find out who the new Thor is under the mask that’s not the ending. That’s just the beginning. With where she goes from here you’re looking at a very different kind of story.
That’s the story that I’ve been wanting to tell. It’s what I’ve been trying to get to.
â€¨So we had a lot of fun with you setting the table and now the feast is about to begin?
Exactly! That’s a good way to put it.
“Thor” #8 is on sale now.