Russell Dauterman is back on Thor with a new series, The Mighty Thor. Thor is still a woman, Thor is still the sick doctor Jane Foster – a former lover of the previous Thor known as Odinson – but times have changed.
Cancer has spread inside Jane’s body, and every time she changes as Thor it cancels the effect of the chemotherapy. After a first pretty depressing page depicting medical equipment and the treatment Jane has to go through, we see her wrapped in a blanket, sit in a chair enduring her chemo. She looks weaker than the last time we saw her – just after the great revelation of her secret identity as Thor. This isn’t the weepy representation of a sick person, but rather one of a courageous woman who, despite it nearly is useless, keeps going to the chemotherapy to keep is secret hidden. Jane Foster is a true hero: she’s ready to support a heavy medical treatment to keep up appearances, even if she knows that as long as she’s Thor it’s nearly pointless. Just like Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta are doing on The Vision, Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman are keeping up with Stan Lee‘s original idea to create mortal and fallible heroes. Their mighty Thor isn’t so mighty when she’s in her human form: she’s weak, she’s sick, but it doesn’t stop her to do the right thing.
The right thing this time was to interrupt her treatment and, under Thor’s disguise, to go helping the storm-tracking space station, property of Roxxon Industries, which was crashing towards Washington DC. Thor wasn’t alone on the job, some Avengers were ready to take action: Vision and Iron-Man, Captain Marvel and Dr. Strange who looks like the British actor Benedict Cumberbatch (Benedict Cumberbatch who’s playing Dr. Strange is the upcoming eponym movie in November 2016). The cutting of this double-page spread is irregular thus gives an idea of the violence of the entering into the atmosphere of the station, and the strength Thor had to deploy to stop it. It just missed the top of the obelisk and finished it flight right before the Lincoln Memorial – right where Cyclops did his speech about mutant revolution eight months ago (see Chris Bachalo – Uncanny X-Men #600). If you’d look closely to the water of the fourth panel, you’d see that the drops of water form onomatopeia depicting the sound of the space station crashing into the water.
As a member of the Congress of Worlds, Jane is allowed on Asgardia: she’s the senator of Midgard. This gives her certain privileges, like the possibility to visit the All-Mother Freyja in jail. She was put in jail but Odin himself for treason. She recognized the new Thor as the true god/goddess of thunder, worthy of the name and the powers (see Thor #5), against Odin’s will. Since that moment, Thor and Freyja have been allies against Malekith’s plots and Odin’s madness. If Freyja doesn’t officially knows that Jane is Thor, I think she has some doubts about it. Freyja is literally in a golden cage: her prison looks like a royal room, but it’s still a prison. The contrast between the two women is strong: Jane is pale, her face is thinned, while Freyja is majestic, even behind bars. She couldn’t hide her rank whereas Jane has become an expert in hiding her heroic identity.
Sick of seeing the signs plastered on every wall of Asgardia, Jane turned into Thor and went to Heimdall. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t open the Bifrost – order of Odin – and Cul Borson, aka the Serpent and his thunder guard, showed up before she could fly away. Cul Borson is a known enemy of Thor since the last volume of her adventures. While Odin is hiding behind the Destroyer, Cul is his armed wing, the one who does his dirty job. Thor gets ready for the fight, while Heimdall, as the Observer, doesn’t even turn around to face Thor’s enemies. He is no coward, but it’s simply not his job.
The Dark Council, the counterpart of the Congress of the Worlds, welcomes a new member, an Asgardian who for a long time has been on the side of the heroes: Loki. The last time we saw him, Loki was an agent of Asgard and he had trapped inside his scepter King Loki, an older version of himself who destroyed the Earth. Thus, the god of lies may be under the influence of King Loki, explaining why he’s back on the dark side. He may also be still an agent of Asgard, thus he’s spying on Malekith and his allies. If Loki is really a spy, I think he also defends his own interests, which may be to avenge Odinson (Malekith cut his arm on the first issue of Thor), or to find him since he’s missing. The last hypothesis, he wants Mjolnir for himself: since he was worthy of its powers during AXIS, maybe he wants to try again and steal it from Jane. Anyway, his appearance on the last page of the issue is a real surprise. He looks a little like Tom Hiddleston, especially with his smug smile. Thus for the second time, Russell Dauterman has used the features of the actor who plays the character to depict him.
What a delight to see the drawings of Russell Dauterman again. Since Thor ended I’ve been eager to find out what Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman have planned for Jane Foster and Odinson in the new version of The Mighty Thor. I haven’t been deceived: we find the same enemies Thor has fought against, but their plans have evolved. After all, eight months have passed. They are not the only ones who have changed: Odin, Freyja, and Odinson (who’s still missing) are different. How long before everything gets back to normal if it ever goes back? Will Thor find out what happened to Odinson? And what does Loki really want with the Dark Council?