Image: Marvel
By Josh Dickey2014-09-29 13:02:07 UTC

LOS ANGELES — Thor is becoming a woman this week, and the comic book horde hath questions.

Like, how does that work? We thought “Thor” was a name — but is it just a title? What should we now call the guy played by Chris Hemsworth in the movies? And will the Odinson be around to witness it?

SEE ALSO: Nice Try, Hollywood, But a Female Superhero Won’t Solve Your Gender Problem

All are worthy queries. But the biggest mystery on any Marvel maven’s mind is: Who is the woman worthy to possess the power of Thor?

When Thor #1 is revealed on Wednesday, we’ll definitely see her pick up Mjolnir and — kraka-thoom! — become the Goddess of Thunder, or something like that. But that first look behind the mask will have to wait. In fact, a lot of answers will have to wait.

Mashable got an advanced look at Thor #1 and spoke with Jason Aaron, who has been writing Thor for Marvel for several years and will steward the story as the Son of Odin gives way to the, um, daughter of someone. Before we get into details, here’s a look at the cover, which will be available at comic book stores nationwide Wednesday, including Marvel’s own digital comic shop.


The main cover of Thor #1.

“It never started with the idea of, ‘Hey, let’s change Thor and we’ll figure out later who that is,'” Aaron told Mashable. “It all started with the idea of ‘Yes, let’s make the existing Thor unworthy, and go from there.'”

While we mere mortals twist ourselves in knots over the unveiling of Thor, Aaron says it’s the central story driving the change, not the other way around. Apparently, it’s a doozy: a high-concept idea that Marvel has been kicking around for some time now.

“That’s the part that I’m excited to get to,” Aaron said. “All this buzz about the change and the mysteries is all cool, but if I didn’t have the story, it would be a house of cards.”

Thor #1 opens deep beneath an Earth sea, where a corporate exploration is going swimmingly until a deadly foe — no spoilers here, true believers — shows up to wreak destruction on the operation. Thor (the original Odinson version) has a personal interest in stopping this attack, but he’s at a bit of a disadvantage, in that he’s not wielding his favorite tool.

That’s Mjolnir, of course, which is sitting on the Earth’s moon, the last place Thor dropped it before Nick Fury whispered something in his ear at the end of the summer event “Original Sin.” The Odinson is wallowing nearby, and hasn’t spoken since that moment; whatever Fury said, it’s shattered Thor and made him “unworthy” to wield Mjolnir.


A key panel from Thor #1.

Image: Marvel

Odin, returned from a long absence to deal with this crisis, attempts to solve it by bellowing at his son and belittling his wife Freyja, who has ruled over the realms as All-mother in his stead. No one is able to budge the hammer — not even Odin himself — but Freyja knows that someone out there must be worthy. It may even be her: Yes, Thor’s mom (she’s really more of a stepmom, though she raised him) is certainly a suspect here.

When the coast is clear, someone steps up to Mjolnir and does the deed, and that someone is most definitely a woman. Notice the hammer’s subtle inscription change in the bottom panel:


Thor’s hammer gets a new owner in a critical scene from Thor #1.

Image: Marvel

While Aaron isn’t divulging anything for now, he did say that the mystery of the female Thor will carry on for at least a small handful of issues, which Marvel aims to publish monthly.

“It’s somebody we know,” Aaron said. “It’s not going to be a ‘brand new’ character we’ve never seen before. It’ll be someone from Thor’s corner of the universe. If you look at the supporting cast that I’ve built up around him over the last 25 issues, a lot of those characters are female, and have been around for quite awhile. You’ve got a fair share of suspects.”

Marvel’s plan to make Thor a woman was hailed with everything from huzzas to raspberries, with most of the negativity centered around the inevitability that the son of Odin would someday regain his mantle. That may be true, but from the way Aaron talks about this character, this is no fleeting tokenism.

“This is Thor for the foreseeable future,” he said. “I want to have a nice, long run on this character.”

So what do we call the old Thor in the meantime?

“That question will be answered in the pages of the books, in terms of what he’s called what she’s called,” Aaron said. “She doesn’t just pick up the hammer up and say ‘Call me Thor.’ … I’ll answer that when the two of them come face-to-face.”

Sounds like a moment we’ll want to recap here. If it be worthy.

What do you think of Marvel’s plans for Thor? Should they spill into the cinematic universe? Tell us below.