Even before his silver screen debut, Thor Odinson, aka The God of Thunder, was one of Marvel comics most popular characters. Wielding his signature hammer, Mjolnir, Thor Odinson brought the bit of mythology that Marvel readers in 1962 wanted. He went on to become an important member of the Avengers and an iconic hero. For decades, Thor was synonymous with the image of a muscular Nordic man throwing lightning bolts. And then, in 2014, Marvel did something big: They gave Thor’s longtime love interest, Jane Foster, Mjolnir. When Odinson’s Thor proved to be unworthy, Jane was forced to pick up the mantle (both literally and physically) and become the new Thor. For the next four years, Jane’s Thor starred in multiple series, including the very popular Mighty Thor series. She was even a member of the Avengers for a time, where she became a fan-favorite hero and a staple on the Marvel Comics scene.
Thor Odinson is the original version of Thor and we respect that. Still, there’s something to be said for Jane Foster’s Thor, who represents the revitalized version of the famous character. In order to get a more accurate look at these characters, CBR is going over the reasons why Odinson makes a better Thor and the reasons why Jane Foster makes a better Thor. By “better” we mean a variety of things. Level of power, personality, and individual history in the comics are a few of the many things we’re taking into account for our list. As always, if you don’t agree with our list, let us know! Tell us why you think Odinson or Jane Foster makes the better Thor.
20 JANE: LOKI-PROOF
One of Odinson’s biggest flaws as Thor was his persistent willingness to forgive his brother Loki. We get it: they’re family. It’s natural for Odinson to look past the many terrible things Loki has done. Still, because they’re family, Loki is frequently able to trick the unsuspecting Odinson. Loki wins all his battles via manipulation.
With Jane Foster as Thor, that manipulation falls flat. In the Mighty Thor series, Loki fooled Jane all of one time. After that, she never trusted him again. Loki is still a threat to Jane, but without the familial bond he shares with Odinson, the threat isn’t nearly as potent.
19 ODINSON: SLIGHTLY LESS IMPULSIVE
We made sure to put “slightly” here because, in all honesty, neither Jane Foster’s Thor nor Odinson’s Thor is apt to think things through by throwing a hammer. No Thor is known for their cautionary intelligence. However, compared to Jane Foster’s Thor, Odinson proves to have a slight edge over his mortal counterpart.
We definitely think Jane’s “caution to the wind” attitude is useful in some situations, but it can also be really dangerous. Since Jane always knew her time as Thor would eventually end, she frequently acted first and thought later. Since Odinson is immortal, he’s less prone to rashness.
18 JANE: DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE
In the beginning, a lot of fans didn’t like Jane Foster’s Thor. For readers who enjoyed the classic Odinson version of Thor, this “new” Thor was a huge change. Gone was the buff god and in his place was a cancer-riddled woman. It could have been terrible, but it wasn’t. Over time, even the most resilient haters came to realize how perfect Jane was for the role of Thor.
Yes, she’s different than the “typical” Thor image of a brawny guy. However, instead of that difference hurting her character, it helps it. Jane’s illness forces readers, and writers, to question what being Thor entails. It gives dimension to a superhero who’s lack depth for many years.
17 ODINSON: EXPERIENCE
Odinson has been Thor for hundreds of years. Yes, Jane handles Mjolnir better than he does but he still has a lot more experience than she does, but he’s gone up against tons of different villains and learned how to defeat them, which is something Jane never really got the opportunity to do since she wasn’t Thor for very long.
There are some things you are born with and there are some things you have to learn over time. Even though Jane proved to be a very successful version of Thor, she never had the same fighting skills or foe-know-how that Odinson had. She was a natural Thor, but Odinson will always have time on his side.
16 JANE: KNOWS BOTH MIDGARD AND ASGARD
Of course Odinson is familiar with Midgard, aka Earth, but he isn’t half as knowledgeable as Jane. Even though technically Thor’s duty extends only to protecting Asgard, everyone knows that with that much power, it’s only right to try and protect a few realms at once. Jane has lived on both Asgard and Midgard and has done extremely well in both environments.
As Thor, her intimate knowledge of both Earth customs and Asgardian traditions helps her tremendously. No matter where she is, she’s able to use her understanding of the different societies to aid her in battle. Odinson knows Midgard, but his knowledge of basic Earth customs is frequently mocked in the comics. As an Earthling, Jane Foster has Odinson beat in the Midgard department.
15 ODINSON: MORE KNOWLEDGE OF WEAPONS
Odinson doesn’t just know Mjolnir -- he’s familiar with hundreds of different Asgardian weapons and forges. After Jane threw Mjolnir into the sun, effectively ending it, Odinson took back up the mantle of Thor sans hammer. In Mjolnir's place, he had a long lineage of different hammers made. Though none truly measure up to Mjolnir, Odinson’s willingness to use different weapons shows a level of expertise we don’t see in Jane.
Jane knows Mjolnir better than anyone, but her reliance on the famous hammer means she hasn’t been able to try different weapons. She also hasn’t received half the weapon training Odinson has, so we’re going to assume she doesn’t really know her way around an ax like Odinson does.
14 JANE: ALWAYS DEFIANT
Sometimes Jane’s defiant nature gets her in trouble, but it’s also something that makes her version of Thor so revolutionary. Odinson’s connection to his father and to other Asgardians sometimes comes before his duties as Thor, which is understandable. Asgard is his home and Asgardians are his people. Jane loves Asgard as well, but she doesn’t have the same connection to it as Odinson does.
Where Odinson may struggle to rebel against the ordinary order, Jane revels in it. During her spotlight series, Mighty Thor, Jane punches a wayward Odin and throws a moon-sized piece of rock on him. If she thinks something is wrong, she’s going to react, even if that means disrespecting gods.
13 ODINSON: UNBREAKABLE TIES TO ASGARD
Where you’re raised has a lot to do with who you become later in life. For most of her life, Jane lived on Earth before briefly moving to Asgard to act as a representative for Midgard. She knows Earth extremely well -- much better than Odinson. In turn, Odinson knows Asgard much better than Jane, since that’s where he was raised.
In some ways, Asgard is Odinson’s whole life. That’s where his family and friends are. As Thor, it’s the place he swore to protect. Jane also has a connection to Asgard thanks to her short time there but compared to Odinson, it’s paltry. Odinson will always know more about the mystical realm than Jane, which gives his version of Thor a slight edge over Jane’s Thor.
12 JANE: HUMANITY
Ordinarily in comics, being a “normal” human retracts from your superhero status. However, we think in Jane Foster’s case, her humanity gives her a slight edge over Odinson when it comes to taking the title of Thor.
See, for Jane, she knew (and the readers knew) that her time as Thor was limited. Unlike Odinson, her days were always numbered. Without Mjolnir and its transformative powers, she was a patient struggling with breast cancer. It was this knowledge of a foreseeable end that encouraged her to push herself especially hard. During her stint as Thor, you can tell that she’s really trying to accomplish as much as possible because, even in her ageless Thor body, she’s in tune with her own humanity.
11 ODINSON: IMMORTALITY
Odinson won’t live forever but he’ll live for a very, very long time. In Mighty Thor: At the Gates of Valhalla #1, we saw an aged Odinson who was facing the end of time. That means, for all those thousands of years in between now and then, Odinson was Thor.
He was the one fighting evil, protecting the Nine Realms, and fostering peace. His immortality gives the Thor title some consistency. He may lack the freshness that Jane offers, but there’s something to be said for an unwavering presence. There always needs to be a Thor, and Jane cannot always be there -- Odinson can.
10 JANE: SECRET IDENTITY
For years, Thor and Odinson were inseparable. Thor became a single person instead of a title bestowed on anyone proven to be worthy. It wasn’t until Jane Foster that things began to change.
Unlike Odinson, Jane Foster always wore a mask when in Thor mode. She kept her identity a secret from most everyone all the way up until the end. For other characters in the comics, Jane’s secret forced them to step back and consider what the title of Thor means. Before, it was so intrinsically linked to Odinson that it almost lost some of its meaning. By keeping her identity a secret to her fellow heroes, Jane made being Thor more about Mjolnir and less about herself.
9 ODINSON: WAS UNWORTHY
As counterintuitive as it may seem, we think Odinson’s time as “The Unworthy Thor” actually makes him a better worthy Thor. With Mjolnir gone, Odinson isn’t technically worthy again, but he has taken the title back from Jane, who is currently undergoing cancer treatment.
During that previous era, when Jane was Thor, Odinson had to come to terms with his own unworthiness, which, for someone who was worthy for hundreds of years, isn’t an easy task. He had to dig deep and think about what makes a good Thor. Now that he’s back as Thor, Odinson is definitely measuring his steps a little more carefully. Being Thor isn’t something to take lightly and we think Odinson finally understands that.
8 JANE: WILLING TO SACRIFICE
Every superhero knows what it means to sacrifice. They all make huge sacrifices, from forfeiting romances to giving up their restful eight hours each night. Sacrificing is a part of being a hero, but Jane Foster takes it a step further.
At the end of her Mighty Thor series, Jane throws Mjolnir into the sun in order to rid Asgard of the tyrannical Mangog. The destruction of Mjolnir also meant the loss of her powers. At the time, Odinson didn’t understand how she could throw away both the title of Thor and her own life just to save Asgard. He slowly came to terms with her decision, but for Jane, it hardly even was a decision. She knew it was the only way to save people so she did it.
7 ODINSON: A TRUE GOD
If you’ve watched Thor: Ragnarok, you’re already well-acquainted with Odinson’s god potential. After he loses Mjolnir, Odinson must learn to channel his lightning powers sans hammer. Eventually, he becomes even stronger than he was before and it’s all thanks to his royal blood.
As the son of Odin and Jord (both gods themselves), Odinson was always destined to be extremely powerful -- whether he picked up Mjolnir or not. He has the abilities of a god, which help make his Mjolnir-powered form stronger than Jane’s. Without his trusty hammer, Odinson can still control the weather -- but with notably less control. Still, compared to Jane who has zero powers were hammer-less, that’s pretty impressive.
6 JANE: FAITH
Being Thor is no small thing. It’s a huge job that requires someone who’s completely dedicated to using their immense power for the betterment of society. When Odinson proved unworthy, Jane picked up Mjolnir not because she simply wanted to, but because she knew the world needed a Thor. She has immense faith in the title of Thor.
We’re pretty sure after a few hundred years of working the rounds on Asgard and Earth, Jane wouldn’t have near the faith she had at the beginning of her time as Thor. The job wears on people. Just look at Odinson if you want an example of this. Still, for the time we saw her as Thor, Jane always proved how beneficial a strong belief in the importance of Thor can be.
5 ODINSON: CONNECTIONS
In the superhero business, it helps to have friends. After all, you can’t fight every battle solo. Odinson has a long list of superpowered allies, including Iron Man, Captain America, Bruce Banner, and Lady Sif. He’s served as an Avenger for a long time and has earned his place among the Earth’s most noteworthy heroes. If he ever needs help, there’s always someone who can be there at a moment’s notice.
During her time as Thor, Jane also racked up a few superhero friends, including Ms. Marvel and Falcon. Still, she can’t really compete with Odinson because of the difference in time. Jane was an Avenger for a few years, while Odinson was an Avenger for decades. In modern terms, Odinson has a much bigger network and a more impressive Linkedin.
4 JANE: STRONGER CONNECTION TO MJOLNIR
This one might seem a little controversial, but we promise you it’s canon. Even the unworthy Odinson commented on Jane’s handling of Mjolnir, saying her connection to the famous hammer was even stronger than his own. Whether you like it or not, Jane Foster knew Mjolnir better than anyone.
We see this firsthand in the numerous unknown abilities Jane discovers while Thor. She perfects Mjolnir flight and finds out that the hammer is actually sentient and can do things like impersonate people and communicate with Jane. As Thor, a strong bond with Mjolnir is required. In terms of Mjolnir handling, Jane beats Odinson.
3 ODINSON: FUTURE LINEAGE
In Mighty Thor: At the Gates of Valhalla #1, we got to see Odinson’s future lineage firsthand. The Goddesses of Thunder, as they call themselves, are Odinson’s future granddaughters. Like their grandfather, this trio of sisters can control the weather -- with or without their fancy weapons.
Future timelines aren’t set in stone, but the Goddesses of Thunder give us a realistic prediction of the future of Thor. As Odinson eventually ages and weakens, he’ll be able to give the mantle of Thor to his family. His divine blood ensure that his successors don’t necessarily need a magical hammer to gain electrifying powers -- something that Jane Foster couldn’t guarantee.
2 JANE: LOVE OF LIFE
After living for a really, really long time, life becomes a little lackluster, to say the least. Odinson is pretty much immortal and has been Thor for an incredibly long time. Jane, on the other hand, was only Thor for a few years (so a few months in comics). As a moral with a life-threatening disease, she appreciates every second she has.
Unlike Odinson, Jane approaches her time as Thor with intense energy and will. She refuses to leave any mission half finished or any person unsaved. When life is put on a timer, it becomes something precious that needs to be enjoyed.
1 ODINSON: MINUS MJOLNIR
This one is probably the thing that gives Odinson his biggest advantage over Jane Foster. Without Mjolnir, Jane has no powers. Once she sacrificed the hammer, she became an ordinary mortal again. Without Mjolnir, Odinson is still a god with the ability to control the weather. Is he a lot more powerful with Mjolnir? Of course -- everyone who’s ever held Mjolnir becomes more powerful than they were before. Still, sans hammer, Odinson’s abilities far outpace Jane’s.
While Jane had Mjolnir, she was undoubtedly an amazing Thor. But, for Odinson, even when he doesn’t have Mjolnir, he’s still Thor.