You might have noticed that for the past few years, Thor has not been a title used by the man who’s been Thor since 1962. The role has been taken up by none other than Jane Foster, and she’s been doing a damn good job. But although her adventures are continuing, the Odinson is finally back with a comic of his own.
Ever since the events of Original Sin left Thor Odinson unworthy and unable to lift his hammer, Mjolnir, things have been rough for the former God of Thunder. Emotionally crippled by his fall from grace and isolated from Asgard, he’s been largely absent from Marvel’s “All-New, All-Different” comics — save for a few appearances in Jane’s ongoing series, The Mighty Thor, which revealed he’s been locked up by a mysterious force.
The unworthy Odinson in The Mighty Thor #1, art by Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson.
Coming this Fall, The Unworthy Thor, by Mighty Thor writer Jason Aaron and artist Olivier Coipel, will follow the god’s escape and captivity — revealed to be at the hands of none other than cosmic archiver the Collector — and his journey to becoming a hero once more. But he’s not taking Jane’s place: Unworthy Thor is expressly a companion series to Mighty Thor. The Odinson is forging his own path, and will even wield his own hammer… one that actually has some pretty huge connections to the Pre-Secret Wars Marvel universe.
We sat down with Jason Aaron to discuss why now is the right time to give Thor Odinson his own series, what his re-appearance means for the Marvel universe, and just how the hell he’ll figure out referring to double the Thors in his work on Unworthy and Mighty Thor.
Kotaku: It’s been a couple years since Jane Foster became Thor, and the book’s been a great success — great reviews, great sales — so what was behind the decision to create this sort of companion series in The Unworthy Thor?
Jason Aaron: Well, you know, I think we kind of did from the get-go, when we made the previous Thor unworthy while as is fit, you know, this wasn’t about casting him aside or giving up his story — it was giving him a very specific story of his own. So you saw that in the pages of the previous volume of Thor, then, of course, along came Thors, and it went away for a while, then came back, and four at a time — few months, it finally came back.
I decided to focus in on Jane in a big way and left it as a mystery. What had happened to him. Where he’d been, what he was up to — you know, it was only in issue five of The Mighty Thor that we got a tease of where he was. This was always kind of the next part of his story. I just like the mystery of leaving him off he table for a while. And we could bring him back in a very big way.
Kotaku: Silly question: at the moment we got Peter Parker as Spider-Man, Miles Morales as Spider-Man, and then we’ve got the situation between Sam Wilson and Steve Rogers where we’ve got two Captain Americas Running around. Now we’ve got Jane Foster and Thor Odinson. How are you actually going to refer to the character in the book? Will it just be calling him “The Odinson”?
Aaron: Well that’s a good question. Certainly, there’s a weird situation. We finally find ourselves in the Marvel Universe with so many different versions of all these characters, which kinda just all happened. There was no concerted effort among any of the books to do this. “Let’s all do multiple versions of the characters at the same time!”
How he will be referred to as far as we know right now, he's given up being Thor. He gave that to Jane. Doesn't want to be called that name. But we also know he's on a quest to figure out who he is, without Mjolnir. And striving to become worthy again. So, you know this book really kicks off by him finding out -- you know what, there's another hammer out there -- there's another Mjolnir. It sets him off on the thing, so... is this it? Is this how he becomes worthy? How he becomes Thor again? That's one of the big questions driving the book.
Art from The Mighty Thor #5, by Russell Dauterman.
Kotaku: For people who might not be all that caught up on Mighty Thor, please tell us a little about where the Odinson is now, going into the Unworthy Thor.
Aaron: Not in a good place! I've always written him as a guy who wakes up every morning, look at that hammer and know he would not know if was going to pick it up. It was always questioning his own worthiness, which is what made him such a great god the first time. So now he's at the point where that's been taken away. He failed for a reason we still don't quite understand. He dropped the hammer and hasn't been able to pick it up since. So then we go to a pretty dark place. A darker, more desperate, more driven version. The real fun of Thor is that he wields an axe now. He's still out trying to fight the fight, but first he's gotta be off on his own.
Kotaku: One of the things we can reveal is that the Collector is the person behind Thor's capture. Will the series itself delve into what he had planned for him, or even why he was holding an Asgardian like Thor captive in the first place?
Aaron: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, again, we just did the tease where the Odinson is a prisoner -- so, where's the prisoner? Why? What's going on? We flash back a little bit, with the first issue of the series and see what he was up to, post-Secret War. How he got pulled into this situation all begins with him finding out there's this other hammer out there. He just needs to find it.
Kotaku: Speaking of that hammer -- you've been playing a bit of a long game with it! It showed up in Thors, in the hands of Ultimate Thor. It's going to be playing a major role in the series, and Odinson will be wielding it. Tell us a little bit how it comes into the picture and where did the groundwork for this connection began.
Aaron: Well, you know, it was -- by ending the Ultimate universe, we knew we were kind of given this lump sum of those characters. So, part of my goal with Thors was [to do] the final story for Ultimate Thor. We talked about wanting to make those Secret Wars miniseries mean something in terms of the bigger picture still unfolding, that they weren't just four random issues you could forget about named Thors. I wanted something big to come out of Thors that would affect our characters going forward, so that turned out to be a hammer. This is just a great, great beast of metal.
So to have that somehow fly through the events of Secret Wars and land in the normal Marvel Universe, which we saw at the end of Thors, at Old Asgard -- of course it went back to Old Asgard, but the old Asgard, nobody lives there. So, it's just been sitting there, all this time.
Ultimate Thor's hammer, from Thors #4. Art by Chris Sprouse.
Kotaku: The ability to wield Mjolnir itself has been a long debate in the comics. How much of that applies when a former wielder of the hammer is able to use the hammer of a Thor from another universe?
Aaron: Well it's a good question! Yeah, certainly the hammer is like the hammer we've already got, right? It came over from a completely different Thor, so yeah, that's a very good question.
Is that a part of the story? It can't be the same as something we've already got, you know? This story, we don't jump into this with the hammer in his hand, we very much begin it as a quest. And is he desperate to get his hands on it, to show that he can already pick it up and be Thor again? That's really what's striking.
Kotaku: Across all of Marvels All-New, All-Different books, there's been rumblings of these elements from the multiverse before Secret Wars starting to make their presence felt in this new version of the universe, like the hammer. Is there anything you can tease about the possibility of seeing more?
Aaron: Well I can't really speak to anybody else's book, but I think we've already seen a lot of that. A lot of elements from before Secret Wars went into the Marvel Universe. The only one I did was Thors. In terms of that. I mean, if you've read Thors, there's clearly teases and connections -- there's the Jane Foster story that came before, and maybe some teasers on where things are going from here. But you know, the hammer is the big piece of the pie.
The Jane Foster story, I mean, it continues on. Everything she's been dealing with, in terms of the expanding war of the realms, I can't wait to do villains for her, like the Exterminatrix and Silver Samurai, it's a really big story for her. She's got her own stuff to deal with. A lot that stretches back [before Secret Wars], too.
The Unworthy Thor #1 Cover art, by Olivier Coipel. Image provided exclusively by Marvel Comics.
Kotaku: You're working with Olivier Coipel here on this series. Was it important to get someone like Olivier, who has a history of drawing this version of the character to help tell the story?
Aaron: We took the Odinson off the table for a bit in Secret Wars, and when we revealed the mystery of where he'd been, we wanted to do that in as big a way as possible. Which was to get Olivier to draw it, of course. But make it bigger.
He's just one of the best artists working in comics today. I feel the wealth of riches I have getting to work with on the Thor books. It doesn't get much better than that. They're the best looking comics on the scene. Not just the best looking Thor books you've ever seen!
Kotaku: It's been stressed that this is a companion series to Mighty Thor. How much of a crossover between the two books can we expect? Will Jane appear?
Aaron: I think the story of the Odinson searching for his hammer is very much his story. Jane is off dealing with her own stuff right now. But definitely you can expect to see each of the characters cross paths again.
Kotaku: How is his re-emergence going to effect Jane?
Well, yeah, I mean I think you can expect it to be a big thing. He's been gone for months. To see him again is going to be a big thing. You know?
This was always kind of the plan. These characters have been set on very specific paths. It will take them apart sometimes, other times, they will come smashing back together. Right now they're dealing with their own stuff... but expect them to come smashing back together pretty soon.
Thor Odinson Concept art, by Olivier Coipel. Image provided exclusively by Marvel Comics.
Kotaku: You've mentioned this is clearly a major chapter in the Odinson's story that begins here. What's the one thing you want Thor fans to get excited about as the book progresses?
Aaron: I'm not sure how to answer that! It's the same big story I've been telling from the very first issue of Thor. I've been on Thor for four years, five years? At this point I forget. From God of Thunder to Thor, to Mighty Thor, Thors thrown in there... different books, all still one big story. But this is the same thing.
This is not about trying to do a different kind of story, or apart from what I've been doing, it's still the same thing. I love writing Thor. I've loved it from the very first page of God of Thunder. I love it just as much, if not more, now, as my Thor plans have grown, and gotten bigger... we've still got a long way to go, hopefully. Another year is supposed to be the end of my run on these characters. There's so much I want to do! This is all still the same story I set out to tell all those years ago. It's just the next step.
The Unworthy Thor #1 will hit shelves as part of Marvel's upcoming 'Marvel Now!' initiative this Fall.