Old school comic book fans have been grieving for the god formerly known as Thor for sometime.
It was nearly three years ago that the Odinson was deemed unworthy by way of an as yet unrevealed secret whispered in his ear by Nick Fury in the Original Sin story arc. That secret was such that its revelation made Thor incapable of lifting his favorite hammer and weapon, mjolnir. From around that time, and unbeknownst to the Odinson, his former lover Jane Foster is now worthy and acts on Earth in much the same manner as he did, and she even battles many of Odinson’s former enemies and fights alongside his former allies.
Dang, that has to hit a brother hard, huh? Indeed it did. Ever one to fall into the throes of self pity and royal privilege even during his glory days, Thor has tried to move on but the mjolnir hammer has been his to wield for untold eons. Without it, Thor throws himself into all manner of debauchery to shield his conscience from prior visions of a golden-haired warrior hero that he once was.
He was once Marvel’s preeminent alpha male; a heavy drinker, womanizer and a bit of a brute.
The Collector captured the Odinson, as well as the goat Toothgnasher, and a hel-hound formerly owned by Loki, and it appeared that he intended to incorporate them into his Asgard collection like a superhero Playskool set.
Now, minus the hammer, minus the golden locks of hair and minus a great deal of self-respect, the Odinson finds himself embroiled in a plot enacted by The Collector, an ego driven Elder of the Universe. In prior issues, the Odinson became aware of a new mjolnir and is driven forward through countless obstacles by phantom memories of his beloved mother Frigga, father Odin, and memories of his love affair with Jane Foster, and he still is unaware that she has replaced him as Thor.
We also find that the new mjolnir, which was once wielded by a deceased Thor from the destroyed Marvel Ultimates Universe, has slipped though the barriers of reality and landed in the now derelict and abandoned city of Asgard. During the last issue, his “brother from another mother” Beta Ray Bill comes to break him out and they are actually assisted, though unintentionally, by scions of Thanos Black Swan and and Proxima Midnight, who have arrived at The Collector’s doorstep for their own purposes and with a shadowy figure in tow.
However, it is soon revealed that The Collector has brought the Odinson aboard his vessel in an attempt to get him to reveal the secrets of lifting the hammer. Though the fallen Asgardian tells him there is no secret other than simply being worthy, The Collector is crazed with the very thought of wielding that which is not meant to be wielded by just anyone.
After fighting through The Collector’s world-sized vessel for the umpteenth time, the Unworthy comes across the hammer and lifts it. A hooded figure foreshadows what is to come with the words, “What started with a whisper ends with thunder.”
Unworthy Thor is a very contemporary idea. Even though he was once the most handsome, the strongest, the most epic of all the Norse gods, the Odinson has been humbled beyond measure at his current station. He had long since given up on the idea of taking his old hammer from Jane Foster and had resigned himself to his fate. But hope and fire returned to him with the idea of gripping an enchanted hammer once again. Will he once again be worthy?
There are many societal themes within this offering. In my mind, primary among them is the idea that men who once enjoyed a position of default legitimacy and importance in society now must reprove their worthiness in light of a playing field that has been somewhat leveled.
Written by Jason Aaron with art by Olivier Coipel, The Unworthy Thor shows this hero in an unflattering, worrisome, lowly light, but also leaves room for that old confident, boastful Thor to reemerge at any moment. It’s a very interesting take on manhood, legacy and redemption. A very good read and a beautiful artwork to boot, it is a dope miniseries thus far.