Marvel Announces That Thor Is Now A Woman

Posted by Bob Muir on Jul 16, 2014 in Comic Books |


Due to story events, Thor is no longer worthy to wield Mjolnir, so a new character is taking over the mantle and wielding the mighty hammer in the comics. But for the first time, that character will be female. It’s easy for sexists to complain about this, but I think there are other reasons this is a poor decision. Let me try to unpack why Marvel’s good intentions aren’t necessarily right.

First, let me clarify that I don’t read Thor’s comics, so on some level, my opinion doesn’t matter. But speaking as an outsider, all this seems like is a publicity stunt. Yes, other people have held the mantle of Thor over the years, and it was silly then too. But what’s weird is that Marvel is insisting that this new Thor is “the” Thor. As writer Jason Aaron says, “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.”

On some level, I like that commitment. This isn’t some spin-off, or a fem version of a character. This is the main Thor. They sound committed to this new Thor, and that’s more than some female comic book characters get. But what about the other guy? Even without Mjolnir, he’s still Thor. Sure, someone else may be Thor, but that doesn’t mean his name is no longer Thor or that he stops being a hero. This is likely setting up some storyline for the male Thor where he seeks redemption and eventually becomes worthy to wield Mjolnir again.

And that’s what bugs me about this new female Thor. After years of superhero comic books, we know how these things work. Something will change to spice up the comic, maybe boost sales, and then after the novelty wears off, Marvel will bring back Thor Classic, the taste you love, now in a new can. Superman died, four people claimed to be Superman, then Superman came back. Batman broke his back, Azrael became Batman, then Batman took back the cowl. Captain America “dies,” Bucky Barnes becomes Captain America, then eventually Steve Rogers becomes Captain America again after he returns.

So where does that leave this new character? Because it’s great that Marvel would want to diversify its line-up with more female characters (even if her armor leaves the area under her boobs unguarded). But we all know she’s not the “real” Thor, even if Marvel is confirming she is. Chris Hemsworth is still playing male Thor on the big screen, and that’s the version everyone knows; so when sales need to be boosted, the first thing that will happen is the original Thor will return. The female Thor will then need to have her own identity that has a low chance of becoming as popular. Far from just being a progressive way to introduce more female comic book characters, it already has the telltale signs of an upcoming reversal that will only marginalize another female character out of the limelight.

A better solution would be to just introduce a new female superhero and give her top billing, but I feel like that will just not sell, even as comic book aficionados are increasingly demanding better female characters. Hell, for that matter, it’s tough to introduce any new headlining character these days. Our superhero icons are generally all from the distant past. So while I appreciate that Marvel is trying something new, and while I appreciate seeing more women in comics, I’m not sure this is the best way to go about it. It’s not that the mantle of Thor is sacred and shouldn’t be worn by a woman, it’s that it trivializes whoever this woman is.

Source: io9

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