WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for War of the Realms #5 by Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, Matthew Wilson and VC's Joe Sabino, on sale now.
Writer Jason Aaron's tenure on Marvel's Thor has rocked the status quo, leaving the god of thunder unworthy to lift the enchanted hammer Mjolnir, and replacing him with supporting character Jane Foster. Her time as the Mighty Thor came to an end before the start of War of the Realms, but she still has a presence in the series as the new All-Mother of Asgard.
Fans also learned Jane will assume the role of Valkyrie once War of the Realms concludes, in a new series written by Aaron and Al Ewing, and illustrated by Cafu. The previous Valkyrie starred in Asgardians of the Galaxy and fought valiantly in War of the Realms #2, but ultimately lost her life in a battle against Malekith the Accursed. The entire army of Valkyrior perished in the issue as well, leaving a void that Jane will begin to fill when her series launches in July.
However, War of the Realms #5 teased another transformation for Jane Foster, with the change tied to another Asgardian hammer. When Jane learns Thor has gone to the center of the sun to finders answers to defeating Malekith, she swears he won't have to search alone. When Heimdall pleads for her to reconsider stepping into the fray, Jane name-drops Valkyrie and the Valkyrior as an example of place your life on the line for what's right. Although Jane is recovering from cancer, she is still willing to risk her life.
Jane may no longer have Mjolnir, but there is another mighty weapon she can summon to give her the strength to fight back.
The Ultimate War Hammer
During Jane's time as the god of thunder, Volstagg of the Warriors Three also took up the mantle of the War Thor, thanks to the hammer from the Ultimate Universe. The magical hammer fed off of Volstagg's anger over the innocent deaths in the lead-up to War of the Realms, and nearly drove him mad in the process.
The only being that could put an end to Volstagg's mean streak was the Mangog, and the war hammer left shattered on the ruins of Asgard. The weapon has pretty much been forgotten about, with all eyes on War of the Realms, but Jane is very aware of the whereabouts of its remains.
Meanwhile, Thor literally pins himself to the sun in search of an answer on how to defeat Malekith, his costume -- and presumably himself -- burning away in the process. With that as the backdrop, Jane declares there must always be a Thor, even if it means she has to pick up a shattered hammer herself.
Although it may not look like it on the surface, what happens on the final page of War of the Realms #5 may provide the perfect lead-in to Jane's debut as Valkyrie.
Can't Keep A Good Hammer Down
When speaking about War of the Realms #5's final page, Marvel Editor Wil Moss said, “I'll just say this: I think the last page of War of the Realms #5 is going to put a big smile on the faces of a lot of Thor fans -- just in time for Jason, Russell and Matt to melt those faces off with the craziest final battle you've ever seen in War of the Realms #6,”
We can surmise the reason Thor fans would be happy is Jane Foster appears to transform back into the Mighty Thor after picking up the remains of the war hammer. The small pieces of the hammer are lifted into the air as lightning crackles around Jane's body. You can also see the bright red cape she used to wear as Thor begin to return to her as well.
It's certainly possible we're witnessing Jane's return as Thor, but nothing in the war hammer's history says it has the ability to reform itself. However, Jane's new weapon as the Valkyrie can change its shape to be whatever weapon Jane needs, according to Valkyrie co-writer Al Ewing. He adds that Undrjarn the All-Weapon is "forged in the fires of the Realm-War," which is a fancy way of saying Jane's Valkyrie weapon comes from the War of the Realms.
It will take some explaining from Jason Aaron on how a shattered hammer can be turned into a shape-changing all-weapon, but with War of the Realms coming to an end with issue #6 and Valkyrie launching the following month, Jane's big moment is the perfect transition to get from Point A to Point B. Readers who have followed her journey will want to pick up War of the Realms #6 to see how it all plays out.