While San Diego Comic-Con doesn’t start for a few days, Marvel Comics has been making a lot of waves this month by announcing a ton of new titles coming soon as part of the upcoming Avengers NOW! initiative. From Winter Soldier to Superior Iron Man to Sam Wilson’s new mantle as Captain America, there are some big changes coming to the Marvel Universe. However, no announcement has garnered more attention than the all-new Thor, who happens to be a woman.
After debuting on ‘The View’ last week, everybody has been talking about the new God(dess) of Thunder coming our way from writer Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman. While the majority of fans find this change to be a very welcome and exciting development, there are still those who are speaking out against it. Sure, there are some who are just spouting out misogynistic ramblings, but I feel like more people are just afraid of change. This fear is partially being perpetuated by the fact that this is the first time in history that the hammer is being held by a woman. Well, despite the fact that this information came from Whoopi Goldberg, this information is false. A few women have actually been deemed worthy to wield in the past. So, to set the record straight on this inaccurate idea, let’s talk about the women who have possessed the powers of Thor.
First up on the list is somewhat of a technicality, but it totally still counts. In ‘What If?’ Vol. 2 #66, Rogue joined the elite group of people worthy to harness the Thunder God’s might. She did so by absorbing Thor’s life force, which essentially means that she became Thor. As such, she was able to lift Mjolnir, control lightning bolts, and all that jazz.
Another one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to command the powerful hammer was the Black Widow. In ‘What If? Age of Ultron’ #3, Hank Pym’s crazed creation has managed to wipe out most of humanity. With only a handful of heroes left to defend the world, Colonel Nick Fury has a plan that assembles an unlikely bunch together to defend Castle Doom in one last stand against Ultron. However, this plan is actually a diversion for Natasha Romanoff to retrieve Mjolnir and turn the tide in the battle. After years of cleaning the red from her ledger, she is deemed worthy.
Before you jump down my throat about it, I know that those two books take place in alternate dimensions. That’s the whole point of the ‘What If?’ books. However, those women may still boast that they had the powers of Thor. But if you’re looking for examples in the mainstream Marvel continuity, then I have those too.
In the limited anthology series ‘X-Men: To Serve And Protect’, Chris Yost brings Thor to Wakanda to pay Queen Ororo a visit to deliver the weapon Stormcaster to her. But after Loki tried to manipulate the weather witch once again (since he tried it back in the Chris Claremont days) with god-like powers through the hammer, Storm borrowed Mjolnir to smash the enchanted item and its creator. Though only for a brief moment, the X-man was worthy.
Finally, thanks to the crossover of the Big Two in 1996, the heroes of DC Comics faced off against the heroes of Marvel Comics in the appropriately titled ‘Marvel Comics Vs. DC’. Written by Peter David and Ron Marz, this series lead to the birth of the Amalgam Universe, but first we saw eleven matches to determine which of the two was superior. One battle pitted Thor against Captain Marvel (or Shazam). The God of Thunder took the victory, however, his weapon of choice was transported elsewhere in the aftermath and was found by none other than Wonder Woman. The Amazonian warrior princess picked up the hammer and became stronger than ever prior to her fight with Storm. Although, so as to even the playing field, she did lay down Mjolnir and proceeded to get whooped by the only other woman in Earth-616 to possess that Asgardian power. And even if the New 52 erased this event from DC continuity, no such event has erased it from Marvel folklore, so it totally counts.
As you can see, this new female Thor is far from the first woman to become the God of Thunder. But even if she was, it’s not even a big deal. Comic book writers have been doing this sort of thing since comics were invented and it’s these changes that have cemented legacies. If Ed Brubaker hadn’t resurrected Bucky and turned him into the Winter Soldier, we wouldn’t have gotten what is widely considered as one of the best Marvel Studios films to date. If Chris Claremont hadn’t added new members to the X-Men during his legendary run, then we never would have gotten Nightcrawler, Gambit, and countless other fan favorite characters.
Change is inevitable in the world of comics, but you know what else is inevitable? Changing back. Batman, Superman, Captain America, Ant-Man, Spider-Man, Colossus, and so many more characters have died only to come back again somewhere down the line. If you’re not into the new Thor, take solace in the fact that the old one will be worthy again soon enough. And if that still doesn’t work for you, then read through the over seventy-five years worth of back issues and let the rest of us enjoy this unique new story with the added bonus of a new movement of diversity in our superheroes.