Grounded: Dear Fanboys, Chill Out. Why and How to Read Jane Foster

 

Comic-Con is the time where all the rumors come to life and all the nerds in us all can go crazy without feeling bad. This year, the Marvel Panel did not disappoint when a new Thor: Love and Thunder movie was announced. But there was more to it then the fans were ready for when Writer/Director Taika Waititi brought out Natalie Portman to the stage. Portman, who fans know in the Marvel Movie Universe as playing Jane Foster, Thor’s on-again/off-again love interest, was then handed Thor’s Hammer Mjolnir which prompted the Marvel Universe to FLIP OUT. Waititi had hinted that he was a fan of Jason Aaron’s The Mighty Thor run which stared Jane Foster as a new “Lady” Thor and the run was well-received by fans (that actually read through it) so it was a small dream come true at Comic-Con when the Hammer was passed down to Portman’s Character.

First of all, chill out. This ISN’T the first time Jane has wielded the Hammer. Marvel is known for putting out a series called WHAT IF…? Which is something they ALSO announced at Comic-Con to be coming. In one of the Issues, they ask the question “What if Jane Foster had found the Hammer of Thor?” and it’s fabulous. If you can find it, grab it. But that was years ago. .

Now, when Aaron first introduced this “lady Thor” many fans were actually turned off by the idea. Even I was a little hesitant, especially since we are all so used to Chris Hemsworth’s dreamy portrayal of the God of Thunder. Some were flat out disgusted by the idea and refused to even acknowledge her existence. The thought that anyone else could be worthy of the title was downright disgusting to some. The MCU was coming off some really great stuff in 2015 when the first issue dropped, and the odds were immediately stacked against it. The series was a complete opposite of every Thor comic that came before that and because of that, MIGHTY THOR should have struggled and been canceled after a few issues…

But when people ACTUALLY read the comic, fans fell in love with Jane Foster’s portrayal of Thor, including Aaron himself, she was not the normal Thor and had to prove to fans and friends in the Marvel Universe that this was a good thing. This Thor fought for things beyond nationalism and titles and really big Monsters. But thankfully, Foster lived to see another day and recently, another battle. Her main focus was to protect, and she knew “There must always be a Thor.” In July, Marvel is giving the heroine her own comic as Jane Foster VALKYRIE.

Now, many of my comic friends know that I ADORE Jane Foster Thor and have been trying to get them to jump on the bandwagon since I picked up issue #1. Then War of the Realms came out and when friends asked again what they should read to prep them, I immediately said “Mighty Thor”. Now that Marvel has confirmed she will be appearing in upcoming movies, they come to me AGAIN asking what to read. Well, I’m here to tell them AND you that it isn’t too late to get involved in this amazing story. Before you do, here are a few things you need to know and then HOW to read Jane Foster Mighty Thor:

First, you need to know the Villain, Malekith the Accursed. Ruler of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim. You might recognize him from Thor: The Dark World played by Christopher Eccleston, where he led his people in a War against the Asgardians using an ancient weapon known as the Aether. When the Aether was absorbed by Jane Foster he reclaimed it and tried to use it once again against Asgard but was defeated by Thor. End of Movie on to the next Marvel franchise.

Buuuuuttt that isn’t REALLY who Malekith is…his character is far more complex and WAY more sinister then the movie made him out to be. Not that domination over all the Realms isn’t evil, I just think they toned it down in the movies. Malekith grew up during a time of war in Svartalfheim. Twelve of his older brothers died during a war with the trolls. His mother eventually sold him for two sacks of snake livers and half a barrel of pickled toads. He worked as a body burner, who cremated bodies after a battle until he was captured by trolls. In his prison, he met a wizard, who helped him escape and took him as an apprentice. Eventually, the Wizard wanted to combine their powers for peace, but Malekith refused because he felt that any peace would mean that the war which forged him would have been pointless, making his existence something which wasn’t meant to be. He then killed the wizard, who before dying scarred his face, and then his mother, taking the dogs of the Wild Hunt. Growing up he faced Thor, Loki and many others of Thor’s family with evil schemes and dark intentions. Aaron resurfaced him in 2013 when he escaped his prison in Thor: God of Thunder #13 to hint he was coming for good this time.

During 2012 to 2014, Aaron wrote a 25-issue series called Thor: God of Thunder where Thor has his own adventure against the God Butcher! It starts to set up for future events and while I would be a terrible person to say you don’t NEED to read it. . . I’m also not going to say you SHOULDN’T read it. . .. cause reading is fun kids! Why this series IS important though is that at the end, Nick Fury whispers something to Thor that hits him so hard, he is unable to lift his beloved hammer. Which NOW sets up for. . .

Yup. Thor: The Goddess of Thunder and Thor: Who Holds the Hammer? These two stories are the main set up for who this new Thor is, what she’s all about and what she’s in for. We know that it was Jane Foster, now ridden with Cancer that is eating her alive but also acting as a Council Member representing Midgard. The thing is, no matter how much Chemo Jane does or how much better she starts to get, the minute she picks up that Hammer, the effects disappear, and the cancer eats at her more. THIS is what makes Jane Foster as Thor so different. She loves life as she is losing hers KNOWINGLY every time she picks up Mjolnir and become The Mighty Thor.

Now, at the time, Marvel was putting its books on hiatus for the super event Secret Wars. You remember right? That was when Captain America was all “Hail Hydra” and even Chris Evan’s flipped out. It was basically to explode continuity and then glue it back together again. Once it was over they went back to concentrating on the Marvel Universe including:

 

The Mighty Thor #1-23. Right now, you can get them in Volumes 1-4 in the order of: Thunder in Her Veins, Lords of Midgard, The Asgard/Shi’ar War and The War Thor. These volumes revolve around her fight against Malekith as he attempts to conquer the 10 Realms with his armies. She fights other gods, friends, and at one point The Phoenix Force. Aaron also manages to throw in little short stories that while they don’t seem significant at the time of reading, down the line you realize they had big meanings to them.

In between these Volumes, she also takes roles in Civil War 2 (yes there is another Civil War that happens in comics and this time it’s Captain Marvel VS. Iron Man) and she has cameo’s in The All-New All-Different Avengers. Now in the Avengers, she’s more there to be Falcon’s girlfriend (relax again fanboys) but if you just need to have every issue she is in then I recommend these.

Meanwhile, as her story is going, Thor Odinson, now just Odinson is having his own battles and Comics in The Unworthy Thor. Once again, it doesn’t NEED to be read but. . . I will say that if you want to know what Nick Fury whispered to Thor without cheating and using Google.

To end Jane’s run, you NEED to read The Mighty Thor: The Death of The Mighty Thoris Issues #700-706 with the added Mighty Thor: At the Gates of Valhalla is a Masterpiece. It’s the conclusion to Aaron’s epic tale of Thor as well as the mighty hammer Mjolnir. The art and writing are absolutely NOT something you want to miss as its probably my favorite of the Jane storyline. As I said, this was where Aaron was “supposed” to kill Jane off, but he loved her so much and her fight to live that he just couldn’t do it. Which turned out to be very good. . .

 

Now This is where Jane takes a break and concentrates on just getting better and the after-effects of what she has done while being Thor. But that doesn’t mean that the story is over yet, after all, Odinson still has to deal with Malekith and his upcoming War that he was working on while Jane was trying to kick his Elf-butt. It may not concentrate of Jane herself and concentrates more on Odinson’s struggles to reclaim his worth, but I believe that it’s still an important read since the next chapter of Aaron’s tale is one that he has been setting up since 2014…

War of The Realmsis the 6-issue event that looks like “Dungeons and Dragons Exploded in the Marvel Universe”. And DANG if it isn’t amazing. With Aaron at the helm and other Marvel writers setting the side stories, this is what Jane was fighting for. And turns out, she isn’t done fighting yet as The Might Thor. At the end of the main 6-part series, its concluded that Jane’s time as Thor is in fact over even though seeing her back in the armor holding the War Thor Hammer was a bit of a geek out… but that doesn’t mean her battle is over either. During War of the Realms: Omega, Jane has a new realization after all the Valkyries have been slaughtered during the war. While it’s not the SAME realization as she had in Thor, it’s pretty close…

“There must always Be a Valkyrie”. And that’s where we are now with Jane, taking up the Mantle of the Valkyrie as the last of them. Aaron is once again at the helm of her story which means it’s going to be a heck of a time for Jane. Maybe even harder for her then when she was Thor.

Jane Foster isn’t just a woman — she’s a woman who has taken 2 powerful titles, one that usurping the man who once held it and the other walks a fine line between life and death. The fact that Thor is a woman is important. However, I think it’s even more important that people oppose her not only because she is a woman, but because she is a person willing to take something that others don’t think should be hers. Jane is different in so many ways: she’s a human from Earth, she’s sick, she’s a woman, take your pick. All of these things together are able to dismantle the original meaning of the word “Thor.” The things that make her different are the things that make her worthy of the hammer. As a cancer survivor, her new role is the perfect evolution for her. With Jason Aaron and now Waititi’s love for the character, the future for Jane looks bright for all of us.

 

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Joanna Robinson

Joanna Robinson

I’m 34 years old, attending school for Graphic Arts and Illustration. I started reading comics in the 90’s and have continued on till now adding Manga to the mix. I sing and work at Indy Wrestling shows, love going to Con’s and Cosplaying. Big movie buff and toy collector. Moose.
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I’m 34 years old, attending school for Graphic Arts and Illustration. I started reading comics in the 90’s and have continued on till now adding Manga to the mix. I sing and work at Indy Wrestling shows, love going to Con’s and Cosplaying. Big movie buff and toy collector. Moose.

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