Fallen Odinson: JMS talks "Thor"

Three years ago, the mighty Thor was believed to have perished during Ragnarok as chronicled in "Thor Disassembled." But comics fans know the afterlife has a revolving door in comics and they've been clamoring for the Thunder God's return ever since. Teased during "Civil War" by a homicidal clone of Odinson (affectionately known as "Clor"), fans can now rest assured that the long wait is over: The one and only Thor returns later this year in a new ongoing Marvel Comics series by J. Michael Straczynski and the writer took a few minutes to chat with CBR News about the Thunder God's return to Earth and the rebuilding of Asgard.

Straczynski is no stranger to mythology and the author plans to draw heavily upon the original Norse myths for his run on the character. At the beginning of the series, Thor finds himself in something of a limbo between life and death, drawing upon "the classic mythological structure of the hero entering the underworld in order to learn something vital and emerge stronger," Straczynski told CBR News. "Thor does have some thinking to do about the relationship between gods and men, and about whether or not he's prepared to let the lives of the Asgardians go forever, or allow them a chance at a new kind of life now that he's broken the cycle of Ragnarok."

And upon retaking his mortal coil, the son of Odin chooses to rebuild Asgard in a rather unorthodox place: eight feet above Oklahoma. "I want to show the contrast of a god living among humans, as has traditionally been the case in myth, to get both the contrast and see how one complements the other," Straczynski said. "There's a Norse-related reason he's in Oklahoma, which is all I'll say right now, but history buffs might catch it.

"In traditional mythology, you could be crossing a field and run into Diana, or Thor, or Hercules," Straczynski continued. "They were not always removed to Olympus or Asgard, they were right there, and instead of detracting from their godhood, that added to it by emphasizing the contrast. So, I'm definitely going to be using the new digs in Oklahoma to give us this contrast."

Straczynski has been a fan of the character ever since he first appeared in "Journey Into Mystery" and when the new series found itself in need of a writer, the author jumped at the chance. "When Neil Gaiman and Mark Millar weren't able to do it, I made it really clear that I wanted to do this book," Straczynski said. "I've always been a big fan of the character and wanted to see what I could do with him."

And the first issue of the new series not only marks the return of Thor, but also that of his human alter ego, Donald Blake. "As something of an old-time Thor fan, I always liked Dr. Blake," Straczynski said. "I just thought he wasn't used as well as he might have been in later iterations, necessitating bringing in other shells. I want to make him a more interesting character. If Aunt May can become a dynamic character, sure as hell Donald Blake can become a lot more interesting."

As expected, the Thunder God will be none too happy to learn of the pro-registration side's genetic experiments with his DNA. "Tony and Thor are going to have a little chat about the former's extracurricular activities by issue three of the book and I'm very much looking forward to writing that particular throw-down," Straczynski said. "Thor is not going to want to get into the politics of our world, only in serving where needed." Straczynski didn't want to give away whether or not Thor would be forced to register, but he did go so far as to say that the Thunder God finds a solution to the problem that hasn't been used elsewhere.

Straczynski said that his Thor will be "a bit more aloof than usual, definitely back to his full power level." And with Asgard in Oklahoma, fans can expect to see Thor interacting with mere mortals on a regular basis.

Straczynski had nothing but praise for his artistic collaborator Olivier Coipel. "His art is just terrific," Straczynski said. "He's brought a very soulful look to Thor, and a power that we haven't seen in a while."

In addition to his various comics projects, Straczynski penned the script for the upcoming feature film "Changeling," with producer Ron Howard, director Clint Eastwood and starring Angelina Jolie. And look for "Thor" #1 to hit stands this July.

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