Jason Aaron’s Thor run is one of those things I keep coming back to and generally enjoying. Why wouldn’t I? Aaron tapped into the idea that Thor would live a very long time, showing Thor in different time periods and with different attitudes based on how much experience he has in that given time. He also decided to let Jane Foster be Thor for a period, and that allowed for a lot of interesting insights into how Asgard works.
Aaron’s run took a brief break during the most recent Secret Wars, but the run continued with what was at the time a new series titled The Mighty Thor, and the first trade for that series, which I finally got to, is subtitled Thunder in her Veins.
The reveal that Jane Foster was the new, female Thor had a bit of a surprise attached to it beyond the simple fact that Thor’s sometime love interest was now the God(dess) of Thunder. But, Jane was also fighting cancer, and transforming into her Thor form had the unintended side effect of purging the chemo drugs from her system every time she changed. So, she would go for the treatments, and any hope that the chemo would work to kill her tumors would come to naught because they never got the chance to do anything. Becoming Thor is literally killing Jane. So, as she sits as Midgard’s representative in the Senate of Worlds, she can either not become Thor and maybe save her life or take on the power and save innocent lives.
It’s not much of a conflict.
That’s for the best in one key aspect: Malekith the Dark Elf is gathering allies to take over all of the Ten Realms, and it sure does look like many of the Odinson’s oldest foes are all there, alongside a couple new ones, all of whom are helping each other out. Besides, Malekith picks up a couple more, very recognizable allies this time around, and one of them is someone that no Thor can avoid eventual conflict with: Loki.
Loki here is an interesting figure in that it isn’t quite certain from the way the story is written whose side he’s really on. He may or may not be a true ally of Malekith, and the volume ends with that question rather open-ended. Loki isn’t really a physical threat, and treating him like one isn’t going to work out too well. He’s a known liar, but everyone seems to take him at his word from time to time, often at the worst possible moment. Jane has her own history with Loki, one that is colored by his more overtly villainous actions. That won’t help much if Loki is on the side of the good guys, and at this point in the story, that isn’t really known one way or the other.
But then there’s Jane’s other big antagonist: Odin. Odin is portrayed here as really leaning into more fascist tendencies, and the fact that an unknown woman holds his son’s power isn’t sitting well with him. The other good gods of Asgard seem to be siding with Jane at the moment, but Odin has recruited his dark brother Cul, God of Fear, to run Asgardian security. Odin wants Jane’s Thor arrested, and Cul is more than happy to lead such efforts.
Plus, the Odinson is missing.
That’s all the basic set-up for this volume and continuing series, and I will say that I like where it’s going. Making Odin out to be one of the big villains for the run is a nice change of pace from the character’s usual depiction as the wise if sometimes sleepy ruler of Asgard, and I like the way Aaron is using the conflict between modern and medieval politics to make points about the institutions that longtime Thor runs have held as sort of the default for the characters and the setting. That he accomplished this largely by just making a modern mortal woman the God of Thunder and seeing how that would play out has been what made the series as much fun as it has been.
Now, if only I could get back to it a little more often. I mean, Aaron ended this run a couple years ago, and I still have a ways to go.
9 out of 10 Loki forms.