Marvel’s New Thor Is A Woman, And I’m All For It


Yesterday, on The View of all places, Marvel announced that someone new will not only wield Thor’s famed hammer, Mjolnir, but that this new hero is a woman who will essentially be the new Thor. As writer Jason Aaron explained:

This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR. This is the THOR of the Marvel Universe. But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before.

Marvel hasn’t revealed the pre-Thor identity of the new heroine, though before the announcement the chief rumour was that Angela, recently introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy, would be the new god of thunder.

Certain male sections of fandom reacted like they always do and wailed about a female character replacing a male character, throwing around terms like “political correctness” and “feminist agenda” as if they were harmful, evil things. Other, more reasonable fans were intrigued, with reactions ranging from curiousity to outright enthusiasm. Personally, I think this could be a very fun comic, and that Marvel is going about it in a smart way.

First, the creative team is excellent. Jason Aaron’s run on Thor: God of Thunder has been great. He captures the epic awesomeness of the Norse gods well, and has a good handle on the mythological side of the Marvel universe. Aaron is a skilled writer, whose work ranges in tone from the light-hearted adventures of Wolverine and the X-Men to the dark Vertigo series Scalped. Russell Dauterman is an up and coming artist, currently doing solid work on Marvel’s Cyclops series, and he’s worked for several other comic publishers. From what I’ve seen of his art, he seems to be a cool mix of Olivier Coipel and Frank Quitely, while doing his own thing at the same time. Together, Aaron and Dauterman should make a great book.

Second, Marvel’s has an impressive track record with female characters as of late. Something seemed to change in Marvel’s thinking when they introduced the new Captain Marvel, and since then they’ve been focused on bringing strong, well-written female characters to the fore. Currently, Black Widow, Elektra, and She-Hulk are all getting rave reviews, while Ms. Marvel is arguably one of the best comics out there right now. I trust that if Marvel is introducing a new, female Thor that they’re going to do it right.

Speaking of doing it right, Marvel is smart to launch a new female character in a familiar role in an established title. Marvel’s recently taken a couple of stabs at books led by Norse women, and they didn’t pan out well despite decent critical acclaim. The Sif-starring Journey Into Mystery and the Valyrie-starring Fearless Defenders both barely lasted a year. This is less a problem of the characters, and more an issue of branding, and I think Marvel realizes this. Established entities sell better; that’s why so many DC books have “Batman” on them somewhere. Many fans wondered why Marvel didn’t just introduce a new female character with her own identity instead of giving her a male character’s title and role, which is a valid question. But in today’s comic market, most new, non-established characters aren’t long for the world. Introducing her as Thor is a smart way to ensure a built-in audience and establish a new female character in the Marvel universe.

Because let’s be frank here: As much as Marvel says she’s the new Thor from now on, she’s not. The old Thor will be back at some point. This is just how comics roll. But, if while she’s Thor she can get a foothold in the Marvel universe and build up a fanbase, when the old Thor inevitably returns and the female Thor gets a different identity, her time as Thor will have laid the groundwork for her continued existence in another book, or several. Being Thor is an excellent foot in the door for long term relevance.

Now, there are some fair concerns out there. Not from the aforementioned idiotic sub-section of fandom; Thor’s been a frog and a space horse before, so Thor can be a woman. Chill out, guys. But the costume has some silly bits. There’s a belly window, which is impractical and nonsensical, and some fans are displeased with the breast-conforming armour (“boob plate” armour is a non-starter for a lot of fans, which I can understand; in this case, I think the aesthetics work and it’s a lesser offender on that front, but that’s just me).

However, I think there’s far more to be excited for than to be worried about. We’re getting a female Thor from an excellent creative team with a massive PR push from the publisher! That’s cool in so many ways. It shows that Marvel is reaching out to female fans and trying to broaden their appeal, plus a female Thor is just going to be rad as hell. As a Wonder Woman enthusiast, I’m all about lady warriors, and I’m very pleased to see a new one take center stage. I’ll definitely be picking up the book when it launches this fall.


Published by Tim Hanley

Tim Hanley is a comic book historian and the author of Wonder Woman Unbound, Investigating Lois Lane, The Many Lives of Catwoman, and Betty and Veronica: The Leading Ladies of Riverdale.

15 thoughts on “Marvel’s New Thor Is A Woman, And I’m All For It

  1. Thor has been a woman before and women have been worthy of Mjolnir before (never in 616 for the former admittedly), the current Thor run was already successful, and (speaking as a minority):

    I don’t like New 52 Earth 2 Superman

    I’m not a fan of Miles Morales

    I don’t like the black human torch idea (unless Sue is black too).

    I’m weary of New 52 Wally West

    1. Entirely different situation. The ONLY time a woman has been Thor and used the name Thor was on Earth-X when it was actually.. Thor Odinson turned into a woman by Odin to learn a lesson (It turned out to be a trick by Loki, but it was designed to teach Thor a lesson). If they were going that route, then a woman having Thor’s name would be exactly the same as Thor when he was a Frog. It’s the same character, just different circumstances.
      Now in an AU, Jane Foster took up the mantle and wielded the power of Thor, but took the name Thordis to honor Thor and still be her own character.
      Also the Designate briefly had a stint where she used her cosmic powers to turn herself into an Asgardian Goddess name Tarene. DUring that time, she had powers that simulated Thor’s and went by the moniker Thor Girl (as well as several others). This of course was again to honor Thor but still remain distinct. 🙂

      1. I’m aware of those stories, including an alternate reality/Crossover where Wonder Woman was worthy. And a story where storm was given an equivalent hammer. I admitted, if you read my post, that this is the first time it’s happened in the Marvel 616 universe, but not the first time it’s happened in Marvel comics. Since she’s retaining Thor’s name without a female qualifier this is a totally different situation? News flash, she will always be remembered by her female qualifier just like: Miles Morales, John Stewart, Ultimate Wasp, etc. are remembered for their racial qualifiers. This isn’t new at all, just packaged differently.

  2. Thor has not been a Space horse before. Beta Ray bill has always been Beta Ray Bill. He wielded Thor’s powers, but not Thor’s name. It’s the guys NAME. It’s not a mantle. It’s his actual birth name that he was born with. When Thor was changed into a frog, he was a frog, but it was Thor. Same character. This is a new character taking his name. This would be like Artemis deciding when she became Wonder Woman, she’d also take Diana’s name, and Diana would have to find a new name. And yes, the guy Thor is going to have a new name so this lady Thor can have his old name. I don’t agree with that for a multitude of reasons.
    A) It’s his name. Like Namor, like Zatanna, Like Dr. Strange, like Hercules. Those are their names, not codenames, not mantles to be passed down. When a new character receives Dr. Strange’s legacy, they tank his mantle as Sorcerer Supreme, not his NAME. Doctor Voodoo became Sorcerer Supreme, not Dr. Strange. Same with Amadeus Cho took Hercule’s mantle, he became the new Prince of Power. Hercules (even while dead) remained Hercules.
    B) By going this route, it’s guaranteed to be temporary. Marvel ALWAYS makes the movies/comics match. They rushed out Superior Spider-Man to get Peter Parker back in time for Amazing Spider-Man 2. So, when Thor 3 hits the theaters, Lady Thor is out and the male Thor will be back
    C) By creating her own mantle/title, she has vastly more chance of surviving this and sticking around. It also reeks less of a gimmick to sell comics (which btw, Marvel admits it’s an attempt to boost sales). It feels more like the character will have some staying power and she’ll be around for the long haul, which I want. I don’t want this character to be temporary especially if she’s good and interesting.

    1. I understand your reasoning, but I disagree for a multitude of reasons 🙂
      A) “Thor” is weird in that it’s both his normal name and his superhero name, which “Diana” is not. I’m fairly confident there will be an in-story reason for why she gets his name, though. Jason Aaron is a clever writer.
      B) Of course it’s going to be temporary. It’s a comic book. Every change is temporary.
      C) This is where I disagree entirely. I think with a new mantle/title, she’d last for 8 or 9 issues and then her book would be cancelled and she’d be quickly forgotten; it just wouldn’t sell. Thor WILL sell, and allow her to get a foothold in the Marvel universe so that by the time the old Thor comes back, she’ll have the fanbase and recognition to transition into a new role. New characters are a tough sell, and new female characters even more so. If you can brand them with the legacy of an established hero, I think they’re more likely to catch on.
      In the end, I find a lot of the “but it’s his name!” stuff overly pedantic, and I say that as a dude who loves to be pedantic. There will be a reason why she takes his name, and I’m sure it will be a decent one. Plus, I think it’s a smarter move for introducing a new female character. But that’s just me.

      1. A) Thor is his real name. he has no superhero name. Just like Namor, Zatanna, Constantine, Dr. Strange, Hercules, and countless othersothers.
        B) It’s telegraphed as temporary and that bothers me. It doesn’t bother you, that’s cool. I’d rather have a new hammer wielder stay around for a good long while, not be a cheap attempt to sell comics.
        C) Yes it is hard for a new character to sell, but it’s worse to say that we’re not even going to try because the ONLY WAY she can succeed, no matter how well she’s written, no matter how great the stories are is for her to just assume Thor’s name and title and say, “well yeah.. in a few years this will be long gone and people will talk about it every once around, but she’s gone”. And yeah there may be a huge swell for her like Spoiler, but it’s even more unlikely. In a few years, this will just be another thing that happened that nobody will remember like Thunderstrike or Lissa Strauss’s time as Dr. Fate. It won’t be mentioned again and she’ll be gone. This has been done countless times and it rarely works and very rarely ends up with a character people are willing to fight for. This may be one of the few instances, but I doubt it.

        you can find his name stuff pedantic. But I think it’s a lame attempt to create buzz/controversy and make a huge gimmick of a character that could be great and fun and a much needed new direction and will ultimately feel like a big cheap gimmick that it is. No matter how well it’s written, no matter if this is the greatest story of all time (highly unlikely), it’ll ultimately feel like a cheap gimmick to sell comics when she’s removed and forgotten so that marvel can align Thor comic with Thor 3. I’d prefer a lasting character, not a gimmick.

      2. It doesn’t strike me as a gimmick so much as savvy business strategy that should well-position the character, but agree to disagree.

  3. I honestly do not understand why people are in an uproar. This is NOT going to be a permanent change. Sooner or later the original Thor will return. After all, Beta Ray Bill became Thor. That guy Dargo from the future became Thor. Captain America became Thor in 2099: Manifest Destiny. Red Norvell became Thor for a short while. Eric Masterson became Thor for a few years. Most of those changes led to what were, in my opinion, interesting stories. And, you know what? Eventually the original Thor came back, each and every time.

    Situations like this remind me of when Captain America “died” in 2007. I remember other comic book fans, my girlfriend, and even a few of my co-workers, asking me what I thought of that. Every single time I responded, “He’ll be back. Sooner or later, he will be back. Count on it.” We got a few years of interesting stories starring Bucky as the new Cap. But eventually Steve Rogers returned and, though not immediately, became Cap again.

    And, y’know, maybe there might be some interesting stories to tell with the new female Thor. People should just wait and see.

    1. I don’t understand the uproar either. The old Thor will be back at some point, and in the mean time we could get some very cool stories. Plus he’s not dead or anything! He’ll still be around.

  4. I do recall a Marvel/DC crossover a few years back when Wonder Woman was able to take up the hammer,so there is a precedent in place here, and while I’m not a reader of the Thor comics, I think what a lot of people who are objecting to this are not seeing is that it’s the hammer more than the person who wields the power.

    The whole Excalibur trope is fairly common but the best example that comes to mind for me is from Thundercats(the old school animated version)- at one point, the villain Mumm-Ra took control of the Swords of Omens but was not able to use it, due to his evil nature.

    Instead, he persuaded Willa, one of the warrior women on Third Earth, to take it up instead and the sword worked instantly for her, proving that one must be “worthy”, as it is inscribed on the hammer. I think this could be a good story line for the series to follow and kudos to Marvel for being bold once again. Between this and Archie’s death, comics are proving to be much more than child’s play these days.

    1. I’m really liking Marvel’s bold moves as of late, and I’m excited to see what else is coming up. I’m sure there will be several more big announcements before Comic-Con is over.

  5. I just saw the news by TV and the newspaper.
    This is amazing. Stunning, to be honest, and is a little chilling for many of Thor`s fans, but I`m a Thor fan and I always hoped Thor to be a woman! Not to have a twin sister, not a sidekick nor a girlfriend dressed as him: that there will be a female Thor.
    Also, I suspect that Marvel turned him into a woman (a WOMAN WARRIOR ), because of the New 52 Wonder Woman`s sucess (having her woman warrior/mythic Amazon origin very present in her series).
    But, as you say, this will not last forever, the male Thor will return–but let enjoy a female Thor in the meanwhile!
    NOTE: I`m a fan of Miles Morales, too. 🙂

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