Thor is Now a Woman
Marvel created history on October 1st when they released the first issue of the Thor comic series in which Thor is a woman. For 52 years, when the character first appeared in the 1962 Journey into Mystery series, the lead role of Thor has always been portrayed as a man. The Marvel character of Thor is loosely based off the Norse god myth, and is known as “The God of Thunder.” Thor’s weapon of choice is Mjolnir (pronounced m-yol-neer), the character’s legendary hammer, referred to with female pronouns. Except Mjolnir has a mind of her own, and will only operate under the control of someone who is worthy.
In the first issue of the new Thor series, titled only “THOR,” we see male Thor unable to lift Mjolnir and control her. This signifies that male Thor is no longer worthy. Without Mjolnir, many of Thor’s powers, including the ability to fly through space and control weather, are weakened or taken from him. Not being able to use Mjolnir removes some of the main components of what makes him Thor.
But luckily, the universe does not have to survive without a Thor for long. The final pages of the first issue show that there is in fact someone who is worthy of wielding the power of Mjolnir. A woman effortlessly lifts Mjolnir from the ground, and as she does, the inscription on the hammer changes. In the hands of male Thor, the inscription read “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall posses, the power of THOR.” Now, the he has changed to she, and a woman is now Thor.
This change of genders of Thor holds enormous weight. Thor is one of the classic Marvel characters, and was co-created by the founders of Marvel Comics Group, Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby. Never before has one of the original male leads been replaced by a female. There have been other series featuring female protagonists, but a female has never taken over the role of such a beloved character. While male Thor did not die and (as it seems) will still be appearing in other issues, he is no longer the protagonist of what used to be his series.
Thor gained popularity by his appearances in the Thor movies (2011, 2013), as well as The Avengers (2012). It is expected than many viewers of the Thor movies will begin reading the new series. Chris Hemsworth, the actor who plays Thor in the movies, has publicly said he strongly supports a female taking over as Thor, and can’t wait to see what the new series holds. (It is undetermined if female Thor will ever be seen in a movie.)
While there are some comic readers who are angry over such a classic character being changed, many readers are excited for the new series. Thor will have to prove she is worthy of possessing the power of Thor, but many believe she will. Many readers look forward to seeing what changes a female brings to the character, and how she will differ from the male Thor. Female comic readers are also extremely excited that a female is getting the chance to show her abilities as Thor.
Equality groups are also praising this change of genders. The new Thor is not being called Thor-a or Thor-ella. She is Thor. The only change to accommodate her gender is the change of the pronoun on Mjolnir. Thor is still a god and she holds the strength and power of one. Thor’s abilities are not toned down or weakened in any way by her being a female. A female is as worthy of being Thor as a man is, as seen by her ability to control Mjolnir. Equality groups think this will be especially good for young comic readers, particularly girls who have been discouraged from reading comics as it is considered “for boys.”
This is a great series for new comic readers who are looking to get into comics for the first time, or for new readers of Thor. No prior knowledge is needed to understand the comics, as the beginning of the first issue gives a brief background of Thor. As the series will be following a new Thor, readers will be able to get attached to and learn about the new Thor as she starts being Thor. The first issue was published on Wednesday, October 1st, and the series will be published one issue per month. Issues are available at local comic shops.