Marvel’s not one to play it safe with their comic book characters. After sticking Doc Ock into Peter Parker’s body in the Superior Spider-Man series, they’re making yet another stunning change to one of their central characters—Thor is now a woman.
Starting in October, a new Thor series will begin featuring a woman wielding Mjölnir. The story, penned by Jason Aaron with art from Russell Dauterman, will start with the current Thor’s fall from grace. The inscription on Mjölnir reads ‘Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor’—well, Thor must screw up pretty royally, because he somehow becomes unworthy of his own hammer. Fortunately, our new heroine (whose identity sure will be fun to speculate about) is worthy, allowing her to take up Mjölnir and hopefully etch an ‘s’ behind the ‘he’ in that inscription. I’m sure she can shimmy it in there.
Aaron is stressing that this is not an alternate Thor, like a Spider-Woman or a She-Hulk, saying, ‘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.’ She’s also not without precedent, exactly—Marvel toyed with the idea of a female Thor in the ’70s in their alternate reality What If? series. But, make no mistake—what we’re seeing here is no alternate reality Thor. She’s Thor.
The buzz will be palpable, but it’s a bit of what we should be used to from Marvel. Marvel superheroes rarely have the same person behind the mask all the time—Captain America hasn’t always been Steve Rogers, and we all saw what happened with Spider-Man. Having newcomers fill monumental shoes is a fun way to shake things up and flesh out a new character in the process. The old heroes always seem to come back at some point—losing hero status (or, you know, dying and coming back to life) does wonders for character development.
So, yeah, the dude Thor will probably come back at some point. But, something tells me the present Thor isn’t going to just hand him back the hammer. After all, she’s worthy.