For years, Jason Aaron’s stewardship of the Thor ongoing has built up to War of the Realms. It’s a delivery on not just endless teases about an all-out scrap even mightier than punching an alien made of hate specifically out to murder Asgardians, but the culmination of personal arcs across so many Thor characters, not just the Odinson.
With the release of War of the Realms Omega this week, the book has at last been closed on the months-long epic confrontation between Malekith the Accursed and Thor (plus a few dozen friends on Earth).
Working with everyone from Roxxon to the Frost Giants, Malekith had been pillaging his way across the Ten Realms pretty much since Jane Foster had become Thor, and had finally turned his eye to conquering Midgard once and for all.
Some of Marvel’s finest heroes temporarily became gods! Big battles were fought! A bunch of Thors showed up to punch Malekith in the face basically on a technicality! It was a whole dang lot.
But it happened to propel Thor, Jane, Loki, Odin and dozens of other characters who’ve been big players in War of the Realm’s wild journey onto some exciting new paths. Now that it’s all done and dusted, these are the most important things you need to take from it.
Thor is the All-Father now...
The War of the Realms came to an end pretty much thanks to a hostage deal between Malekith and Thor — with Odin and Freya captured by Malekith’s forces, Thor was to face the Accursed in mortal combat, or his parents would die.
And it would truly be fatal, even for gods, as the war had already claimed the lives of the Valkyries, meaning Valhalla as the Asgardians knew it is just... empty.
Long story that we’ll get to over the rest of this blog short, but Thor saved the day — of course he did — and Malekith got torn apart by the Wild Hunt after a last-ditch attempt to summon them to kill Thor and his folks.
In doing so, the War of the Realms was over, and all the realms from Midgard to Asgard could start to rebuild... but Asgard, at least, wouldn’t be doing it under the auspices of its All-Father. Because, after years of dismissing his son’s fall to unworthiness, Odin congratulated his son on a job well done.
And made him All-Father in the process. Hail to the king?
...And he’s wielding Mjolnir, reborn
The Odinson has been Thor for a while again, but he hasn’t been wielding Mjolnir.
Thor’s been unworthy of wielding his famous hammer since the Original Sin event in 2014, and has taken on multiple weapons in its stead, from the axe Jarnbjorn, to a series of disposable utility hammers (seriously, he had a bomb hammer at one point), to his current hammer — a svelter, gold weapon made with the tiniest sliver of Uru metal from the original Mjolnir.
But why, aside from the unworthiness, did Thor not wield his iconic weapon? Well, because, err, Jane Foster kinda chucked it into the heart of the Sun.
Jane’s valiant, seemingly fatal act (she got better, thanks comics) as Thor in her battle against the Mangog was to chain up the beast and attach it to Mjolnir, sending the weapon — the only thing keeping her alive as cancer ravaged her body — and Mangog hurtling into the Sun, melting the weapon in the process.
Except... Mjolnir didn’t exactly melt. Parts of its marvellous metal remained within the Sun, and when Thor threw himself into the Sun as his father once had in ancient mythology — what is it with Asgardians and flinging things into the Sun? — seeking the knowledge to locate and defeat Malekith, he not only encountered the ancient god-tempest Odin had bound within Mjolnir to create it, but fragments of the Uru metal too.
Using the sun’s intense heat and the powers of the mother of Thunder, Thor reforged the hammer himself, giving it a new handle made out of a branch from Yggdrasil.
Even better, he can wield it again because he’s finally taken in the original whispered secret from Gorr the God Butcher — it is the heroic struggle to strive to be worthy, despite knowing that true worthiness is impossible to attain, that in turn makes you able to wield the hammer.
It is, once again, hammer time.
Jane Foster, former Thor, was Thor again, and is now Valkyrie
Having been saved from certain death, Jane Foster’s spent the past few months back at her old job as a doctor.
But with the war of the realms turning Earth into a hellish battleground, she once again briefly took on the mantle of Thunder Goddess to help the Odinson out, wielding a familiar weapon: The Mjolnir of the Ultimate Marvel Universe, which had survived the destruction of that alternate reality during Secret Wars (it got better, thanks comics).
During Jane’s time as Thor, the hammer was wielded by Volstagg, transforming him from the roly-poly lighthearted member of the Warriors Three and into the mayhem-addicted War Thor. The bloodlust the transformation invoked meant he ultimately gave up the role, but Jane decided to briefly wield it in the face of the dire circumstances facing the realm.
She also... kinda destroyed it? Well, it was falling apart and about to violently explode, so during the final fight — as Malekith fought Thor at Stonehenge and Laufey’s frost giants pummelled New York — Jane flung Ultimate Mjolnir all the way over from England to the US, smashing Laufey in the face at a crucial moment (we’ll see why shortly).
But as Ultimate Mjolnir explosively smashed into Laufey’s face, a fragment of its remains found itself back to Jane, bonding to her wrist as a golden gauntlet: Undrjarn the All-Weapon, capable of transforming into whatever weapon its wielder desired it to be.
It’s a good thing, too, because with the Valkyries having perished — even the Valkyrie, Brunnhilde — during the war, Jane’s gonna need something like the Swiss Army knife of Uru weaponry.
The departing souls of the warriors have just made her the new Valkyrie, leaving so they could restore Valhalla and have Jane act in their place as the guardian between the realms of the living and the dead. Which she’ll do so in her very own comic book series!
Loki died (kinda sorta) but he’s fine (kinda sorta)
Loki wasn’t actually in War of the Realm all that much, mainly because he spent most of it... err, being digested by his dad?
Yeah, Laufey kinda ate Loki early on. It was gross. What was grosser is that Loki actually survived this!
In War of the Realm’s final issue, when Jane flung Ultimate Mjolnir into Laufey’s face, it gave Daredevil — wielding Heimdall’s magical, all-seeing sword Hofund as the God Without Fear — a chance to fling the blade right down Laufey’s throat... which a partially digested Loki then proceeded to use to carve his way out of his own father, killing Laufey in the process.
Anyway, Loki, thanks to some time-trickery, got better just in time for his own new ongoing series, starting next week — thanks comics! — and is now the King of the Frost Giants... although not every Frost Giant is exactly happy about that, judging by how we find Loki attempting to appease dissidents in the pages of War of the Realms Omega.
He’s trying at least to be a good leader, championing peace rather than warmongering like Laufey before him. We’ll have to wait for that new series to find out how successful he is.
There’s like, three Thors now?
So remember how I said Thor beat Malekith on a technicality? Malekith’s duel demand to Thor was that they face each other and only Thor could show up. Well, Thor decided that meant anyone he could find wielding the name Thor could come with.
One of them was Jane, as we’ve covered. But there were two more wrenched from across time and space: A younger version of himself that Jane had previously crossed paths with, before he’d ever raised Mjolnir aloft and become the God of Thunder. The second, was an older, wiser All-Father Thor from near the end of the universe.
Both were brought to the present by some time-travel courtesy of the Fantastic Four, and it hasn’t yet been shown if they’ve been sent back.
They’ll probably be sent back. Otherwise the timeline gets a bit too Jeremy Bearimy for everyone’s tastes. But still, worth mentioning for its gleeful silliness.
The Punisher’s gone monster huntin’
Earth has been ravaged by the invasion of Malekith and Laufey’s forces, requiring anyone and everyone capable to step up and fight back untold monstrosities from across the Ten Realms.
Your usual sorts, your Avengers, your Captains America and Marvel, your Spiders-Man, weighed in, but one of the War of the Realm’s most surprising combatants has been Frank Castle, the Punisher himself. And he’s still not done, despite said war being over.
Mainly because, as Omega reveals, Earth still has a huge road to recovery ahead of it to clean up the lingering monsters and destruction left in its wake. Frank being Frank, that means he’s out there not just blasting monsters, but making sure humankind doesn’t fall prey to its worst impulses, as its wont to do in the face of existential threat.
But Frank’s also made a personal oath to wreak his brand of punishment on the monsters that killed untold numbers of civilians during the attacks, and so he’s going across the realms to pick off any that escaped. He’ll be doing so in the pages of Punisher: Kill Krew, in which Frank wears what is basically the Dovahkiin helmet from Skyrim while shooting monsters to death.
It’s silly. But also? It’s incredible.
Daredevil’s having one hell of a crisis of faith (again)
Poor Matt Murdock. As if the crippling Catholic guilt wasn’t enough?
Anyway, as we mentioned before, during the War of the Realms several of Earth’s heroes were granted the boons of Asgard’s remaining gods to further enhance their powers in the fight against Malekith. Daredevil was one of them, wielding Heimdall’s abilities and the sword Hotun as the God Without Fear.
That meant, for the first time since he was blinded as a child, Matt could actually use Heimdall’s all-knowing powers to see everything across time and space. It shook him at first, but he got used to it — and when those powers left him at the end of the event, he suddenly found himself shaken again, having lost truly awe-inspiring powers.
This week, 55 years after the Man Without Fear first debuted, Matt Murdock is back in action after a little time spent away (everyone thought he was dead, but he wasn’t — and even if he was, this is comics, you know the drill!) with a relaunched Daredevil series. Which means, once more, it’s time for him to be Born Again.
Omega’s entire framing device revolves around this, as Heimdall visits a moping Daredevil, admitting that while he could never take the power permanently — the struggle to feel worthy of the power is too much for a man already wracked with at least one other pantheon’s worth of guilt — he’d like to see with it one last time.
Heimdall obliges, having found Matt more than worthy of his time as a god, letting him catch up with where everyone like Jane, Thor, Loki and Frank are. But that isn’t all Heimdall gifts Daredevil: He also gives him two, rune-etched billy clubs carved from more pieces of Yggdrasil, and forged by the same dwarves that forged Thor’s cavalcade of Mjolnirs.
Oh, and a seat in Valhalla when Daredevil’s fight finally ends. But Matt asked to give it to his dad instead, before promptly inviting Heimdall to help him test out his divine new weaponry on a really unlucky mugger at the issue’s end.
Venom is back together again, just in time for his own event
Did we mention Venom was crucial to this event? God, it’s been a lot. Anyway, the Venom symbiote has been messed up for a while — it had recently nearly died saving Eddie Brock’s life, rendering its sentience in a comatose state... allowing Malekith to subdue it with dark elf magics and bond with the symbiote without it even being able to protest.
But with Malekith defeated and the symbiote essentially punched clean off him by Thor during the process, it seems whatever Malekith’s magic did to enhance the symbiote during his time bonded to it also cured the trauma that had rendered Venom unable to speak or think for itself. Yay!
Except things are about to get worse for the poor symbiote in the upcoming Absolute Carnage event, which features, you guessed it, the return of Cletus Kassidy as Carnage. Boo!