Is the New Thor A Woman?
The announcement was made first on The View (that’s right), then confirmed by Marvel Comics that there will be an ALL NEW THOR taking over for Thor Classic after he was deemed unworthy of wielding his hammer Mjolnir, only this Thor will have “super powered boobies” (way to keep it classy Jenny McCarthy). While Thor has dropped the hammer a few times over the years, and we’ve seen all manner of stand-ins, cohorts, Thunderstrikes, Beta Ray Bills, and Thor Girls, we’ve also seen stories where Thor’s very own Mjolnir wielded by Captain America, Storm, and even Wonder Woman and Superman.
As fun and confusing as all these Thors were, none of those iterations or ideas stuck around. Luckily, this ALL NEW THOR has something those other iterations didn’t – the full might of the Disney/Marvel machine behind her.
Written By All New All Awesome Winners!
Comic book history (much like wrestling history) is only as good as the current hyperbole. We comic book fans are used to seeing heroes change, grow, regress, die and come back to life like all that growth and change never happened. While gender flips are probably the most rare form of change and typically the domain of villains, announcements of this nature have been known to stimulate the part of the brain that controls “jaded” and “cynical.”
Major changes have trouble sticking. Captain America can’t stay dead. Doc Ock won’t keep Spider-Man’s body, and Batman will never just get over it. Retcon is always there to act as a giant eraser to ideas great, terrible, or unprofitable. An equivalent would be like LeBron having a terrible season in Cleveland, then halfway through, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver pulls strings and gets the Big Three back together to finish the year off in Miami because the NBA makes more money when they’re all there. “Sorry Cleveland. Sales were just too low to sustain this title.”
In corporate comics, since you can do anything you conceive, you do what you think will make the most money. So while it’s tough to say whether an All NEW ALL FEMALE THOR will make enough of an impact to stick for longer than a year or two, there are two major reasons I believe this time we’re in for the long haul.
Reason #1: They Announced This First on The View
Like Whoopi Goldberg, Sherri Shepherd, Jenny McCarthy and whoever that other lady is are talking about Marvel Comics at 10 am. I don’t even talk comics that early in the morning and comics are all I care about. In television, time is literally money. Every second is monetized and sold to advertisers. The fact that Disney who owns ABC who owns the View decided that what their comic book publishing arm had percolating was important enough to be featured on their hit daytime woman focused talk show is honestly the biggest part of this story.
If geeks and nerds were worried we hadn’t made it yet, we don’t have to worry anymore. The world wants what we love so badly, they’re trying to convert your moms and grandmothers too. There is no more overt way to say, “we care about women” than announcing something on The View. It’s practically ham-fisted and inelegant pandering, but I’m pretty sure my very own mother just saw it because Whoopi Goldberg is her Oprah now. Don’t be surprised, when your non-comic reading family and friends start asking you questions about Thor that have nothing to do with Chris Hemsworth’s workouts.
Reason #2: Warner Bros/DC Finally Announced A Live Action Wonder Woman Film
Marvel wants a Wonder Woman. DC Comics, or “The House that Batman Built, Owns, Leases Space Out Of, and Brings Dates Without Permission” has been working the press for a year about their Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice movie and recently added a slew of other superhero films they’ve added to their slate. Before they even had a title to this bloated, ill-conceived mess of a production, they had announced actress Gal Gadot was cast as Wonder Woman. Nerd rage ensued as it does about these things, though I’d never seen it over a woman not being muscular enough for something (but God bless you all!). This was DC flexing the biggest advantage it has over Marvel. The most recognizable, longest running, well loved, and arguably best dressed female superhero ever in Woman Woman.
While women seem to love Wonder Woman on a borderline irrational level; comic fans or not, both men and women seem to care about this character. They may not know her origin, her secret identity, her arch nemesis, or even her powers, but they know that outfit. They know that Lynda Carter was Wonder Woman in the 70’s and continues to hold down the sexy to this day. For 40 years that’s been enough. Wonder Woman has sold more cosmetics than comic books, but Wonder Woman endures. DC hasn’t been able to get another TV show off the ground, but Wonder Woman endures. Warner Bros. finally announced another Wonder Woman movie that somehow comes out after Shazam and Justice League, but Wonder Woman endures.
Marvel wants a Wonder Woman.
We Try… Oh My God Do We Try
Everyone who likes money understands the importance of diversity. Marvel’s put out 9 movies, and they’ve all been about white, male characters created in the 1960s. They added Black Widow to the Avengers roster and she doesn’t have any superpowers other than stylishly murdering people and being untrustworthy. She’s a cool character that can lead a cool movie, but it’d be better if the movie was rated R for “red in her ledger” and that’s just not Wonder Womanly enough. Not to mention that “black cat suit” is kind of an oddly suggestive costume for a little girl.
In comics, Marvel has continued to push the profile of their female characters in solo and team books. They promoted Ms. Marvel to Captain Marvel, Storm has a solo book, She-Hulk is a lawyer that has a solo book written by an actual lawyer, Spectrum is calling the shots over in Mighty Avengers. Marvel is always trying, but gender flipping Thor could be just the break they might need.
The Surtur is in the Details
I have a super power of my own. My ability is reading between the lines of press releases. May not make me an Avenger but I could totally work as an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. You can read Marvel’s press released at The Mary Sue, but here’s my version to give you a little more context:
“This ALL NEW THOR will be the BEST THOR. Shaking up MARVEL’S BIG THREE of Captain America, Iron Man and Thor, by virtue of possessing worthy, properly anatomical “super powered boobies,” ALL NEW THOR’S awesome mythical powers are WAY BETTER than Wonder Woman!
THOR will continue blazing the proud tradition of other strong female superheroes like Captain Marvel (who flat out isn’t cutting it as our Wonder Woman), Storm (who Bryan Singer actively wants to ruin – not our fault!), and Black Widow (who absolutely has to murder things to be interesting). This NEW THOR isn’t a temporary female substitute – she’s now the ONE AND ONLY THOR unless sales get so low we have to retcon the hell out of this!
This ALL NEW ALL FEMALE THOR is worthy! However, we’ll keep Thor Classic around in this and give him a badass new axe so you’ll keep buying this book. Please keep buying this book. We need you to buy the book so we can point at this when we make THOR a woman in Phase 5 of our Marvel Cinematic Universe. We’ll even use Gina Carano if you just BUY THIS BOOK!
ALL NEW THOR is the 8th title to feature a lead female protagonist. We know this is kind of like when you call someone racist and then they go “No I’m not! I have 2 black friends!” and then you know that person is totally racist because they have to count all their minority friends. We know this is totally that. We’re insecure about it, but at least we’re working on it by making this book for women and girls to hopefully buy then dress up like and remember forever! That’s why we made her breastplate totally realistic! We’re feminists! Buy ALL NEW THOR!“
Whoever Holds This Hammer, If She Be Worthy
When it’s all said and done, I hope this sticks. I love writer Jason Aaron, and it’s fantastic to see one of the Big Two comic publishers behind something this progressive. Replacing Thor with a woman more worthy than he allows them to take advantage of 60 years of history rather than trying to convince us elderly comic book readers to get behind something new. Comic fans are Linus. Nostalgia is our blanket.
I want this to stick. I want Marvel to find its Wonder Woman – a mythical hero of awesome power that becomes a mainstay in the Marvel Universe, comics, film, animated, and television worlds for years to come. I want a top tier female superhero that I can give books away as gifts because they’re awesome. I want ALL NEW THOR to stick so hard, my little cousins call me in 15 years and tell me how ridiculous it is that Marvel is making Thor a man, because they have no idea of a world with a male Thor. I want Chris Hemsworth to wish he was born Christina Hemsworth so he could have had a shot at playing the best version of Thor ever created. I’m expecting a lot, Marvel. Don’t play with our emotions and expectations. This time…..Be worthy.