Embracing the Change: An Opinion on the New Thor
Every comic fan has their favorite character. Someone that they know everything about and have read everything they’ve ever been in. It’s no secret that my favorite comic book character is Marvel’s Nova. I’ve enjoyed reading the Richard Rider incarnation of Nova pretty much my whole life, and up until a few years ago, he’s been a B-character. Sure I liked him, but he wasn’t in the same league as Spider-Man or Batman as far as sales went. Marvel didn’t push Nova stories like they did Wolverine. That all changed after Marvel’s big Annihilation event back in 2006. Nova and the other cosmic heroes, like the Guardians of the Galaxy, exploded with newfound popularity. Well in 2010, Nova got permanently trapped in a horrible place called the Cancerverse. Shortly afterwards Marvel decided to re-launch the Nova character starring a new alter-ego, a teen named Sam Alexander.
So where am I going with this? Why tell you about the history of my favorite character? Because the Sam Alexander Nova has been hated on ever since his release, and it’s made me realize how much hate and disinformation people can spread when something they like changes. I’ve never seen so many Nova fans hate on the Nova character before. So I thought, what would happen if Marvel were to change an even bigger hero? Well yesterday on “The View” it was announced briefly that beginning in October, Marvel’s Thor would be a woman. This brought hundreds of thousands of uninformed self-proclaimed Thor fans out of the woodwork to protest and spread their outrage about this change. It’s time that we real comic book nerds stand up for the comic book industry for once, before these hate mongers drown out the true voice of real comic book readers.
I call these haters self-proclaimed Thor fans, because based on the comments I’ve read, they obviously know nothing about Thor in the comics, and this is a comics only change for now. Even if you have only seen the first Thor film, you’d remember the scene where Odin snatches Mjolnir back from Thor and whispers: “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.” The “he” there isn’t literal, as there have been plenty of women to wield Mjolnir in the past. Anyone who is worthy of Mjolnir can pick it up and become Thor. Also, Thor in the comics is quite far from the factual Norse god Thor, that there isn’t much point in using the old mythology to justify your points.
In the upcoming series (like in the movie), the Thor us fans all know and love is about to lose ownership of Mjolnir for the umpteenth time, and sorry He-Thor fans, but a woman is going to be the next one worthy of wielding Mjolnir. This isn’t the first time Mjolnir was wielded by another. There wasn’t as huge outcry back when “Horse-Thor” Beta Ray Bill wielded Mjolnir. Hell even Storm wielded Mjolnir once, became Thor briefly and people thought that scene was freaking awesome! Others like Captain America, Superman, Wonder Woman and Jane Foster have become Thor as well. In the What If… Jane was so good at being Thor(dis), Odin made her Queen of Asgard. So why can’t Jason Aaron, the one who has been giving us one of the absolute best series out of the whole Marvel Now line-up, shake up the formula a bit? Why not bring us a whole new fresh version of Thor?
Hell haters, the male Thor you love will still be in the books, but he’ll lose his title and will most likely be on a quest to earn Mjolnir back. I’d love to see the look on some of these naysayers face’s when you tell them Thor’s original (earth) name was Donald Blake*. While he won’t use that pretty lame name, but he’s going to still have a battle axe, so this is not a replacement. In the meantime, you have an already established character taking over, and boy does she look bad ass. Will it be Sif, Valkyrie, or Jane Foster who take the hammer? This is the fun we look forward to guessing about until October. The new Thor won’t be Lady Thor, Thorette, Thorina, Thordis or Thor-Woman, she is Thor, and she looks way cooler than the current Thor ever has. So all of you other Thor fans need to learn to embrace change and stop spreading hate in a community that’s built around common interests and fandom. Hell, where were you back when Thor was a frog eh?
This isn’t the first time in the past year or two we’ve seen this “you’re changing my favorite character” problem. Remember back in 2013 when Superior Spider-Man debuted? Even before it debuted there were people just slamming Dan Slott for killing off Peter Parker and putting Otto Octavius in his body. You can go to the forums today and still find people complaining about that series. Especially those who hadn’t even read Superior Spider-Man just out of spite. We all knew, no matter what Marvel said, that Peter would eventually return, so I just enjoyed every single page of Superior Spider-Man while it lasted. I didn’t spend a year avoiding my one of my favorite books just because I didn’t like the story they were writing. Thor will be no different. Our current version of Thor will no doubt earn Mjolnir back at some point, possibly as Thor 3 comes out, and then we’ll have male Thor back. We’ll also have the character who had been the female Thor over the past series that Marvel will be able to use in their other comics. I’d kill for a team-up of Thor, Valkyrie, Lady Sif, Angela and Gamora (minus whichever becomes Thor of course).
There is no reason for such negativity, especially when Nova and Thor can and have been different people in the past. (Captain America has been BOTH Nova and Thor. Now I just need him to become Spider-Man and he’ll have my favorite hat trick!) Sam didn’t replace Richard as Nova, this new Thor won’t be replacing the Thor we all know today. She’ll take over for him, while he gets his head back on the right track. We all know how bad the world gets after reading Thor: God of Thunder, and I’m hoping after this new event in Thor’s life, it will cause that Galactus hungry future to be much different. I’d love for our Thor to have to re-think his place and re-earn Mjolnir so that when Midgard needs the old God of Thunder again, he’ll be that much stronger. He will also hopefully have a powerful ally in whoever will have been the female version of Thor. The more Thor’s the better (horse-Thor is best Thor).
True fans of a character can understand every facet of that character and can understand that any change will only keep the character going. Thor fans can cry all they want about how it’s dumb to “make Thor a girl just to get girl comic book readers” or that it’s a gimmick to cause controversy, but Marvel knows what they’re doing. Amazing Spider-Man #1 sold 300,000+ more copies of the comic than The Amazing Spider-Man #700 did back in 2012. The change to Otto and the return to Peter Parker reinvigorated Spider-Man fans and brought back 300,000 readers to the comic. Marvel’s strategy works, gimmick or not. People have been buzzing about the return of the Richard Rider Nova in Guardians of the Galaxy #18 this August, and I guarantee you that book will sell several thousand more copies than Guardians of the Galaxy #17. Marvel knows their business folks, so why not trust them for once? Especially when they have someone like Jason Aaron, who has been delivering the best Thor to date, leading the charge into change.
While Thor is having a fantastic series (story-wise) right now, last month it topped out at #55 on the comic sales charts with less than 37,000 comics sold. Where were all these screaming people supporting the current version of Thor then? Surely if all these fans would actually be buying comics, Thor: God of Thunder would be in the top 10. It’s ok to not be a comic book fan, and just love the characters because you’ve seen the movies. It’s ok to pick up a few books a month but not consider yourself a comic book nerd. I’m not angry at you guys. You don’t need to be a “know-it-all” about all the characters. I truly thank you all for your support of a business I love, but please don’t cause outrage about artistic changes if you aren’t someone who supports the comics. This female Thor change is comic book only until maybe post Phase 3 MCU.
For us fans who actually support comics and read comics regularly, it’s hard for Marvel to get the opinions from their actual fan base when there is so much negative crap blocking the way. Thor fans want their favorite character to keep having great stories for years and years to come. Marvel won’t publish a comic that doesn’t do well in sales, so stop saying they should have just made a new female hero. Thor will sell a hundred thousand more copies as a female than a brand new female hero. If it takes a few years of this newly imagined Thor to reignite the fan base, then I’m all for it. I’m excited that there could possibly be two Novas in the Marvel Universe after this fall. I was over the moon when I found out that we get a few more issues of Superior Spider-Man before Otto gets to live on only in our hearts. There will be more shake ups to more popular characters my friends. Falcon is taking over for Captain America while Steve is out of commission. Iron Man is becoming “Superior” which hopefully means he’ll be even cockier than before. Change is just a part of life, even for comic book characters. So learn to embrace changes, because more often than not, it leads to something good.
Please leave your opinions, thoughts or comments below. Would love to hear others opinions!