Apr 1, 2019

War of the Realms: 10 More Moments from Jason Aaron's Thor Run

So after last week's post, in which I outlined the 10 best moments in Jason Aaron's epic Thor run before War of the Realms, someone told me that I missed out on a lot of moments, and proceeded to name some. And you know what? I had no problem with the moments he named. That's how great this run has been for me, and it's definitely one of my favorite runs of all time.

And you know what else? War of the Realms is still upcoming — this Wednesday, to be exact. So that's an excuse for me to name ten more moments from Jason Aaron's Thor run, in case I hadn't convinced you yet.

Before I get into it, though, let's take a look at this variant cover by Walt Simonson.

Here's the thing: this was drawn in 1986, back when Walt Simonson was still on Thor, building up to a story called The Saga of the Vengeance of Thor, which would have focused on a God-Giant War.

It's a similar concept to War of the Realms, although obviously the latter is wider in scope and not relegated to gods and giants. (Why is the image flipped? Because Thor has to be on the actual cover — the right side for it to work as a cover.)

Now let's get to it.

Jane Meets the Thunder Goddesses

Soon after Jane Foster loses Mjolnir and the ability to become Thor, she gets visited by the Goddesses of Thunder — Atli, Ellisiv, and Frigg — the granddaughters of King Thor in the far future. They pay their respects, tell her she's awesome, and take her for a flight on Stormbreaker. Very touching, and the Goddesses of Thunder are awesome and should show up in War of the Realms.

Thor: At the Gates of Valhalla, 2018. Art by Jen Bartel

Thorlief dies

It's the linewide Secret Wars event, and the multiverse is dying. One universe, the Ultimate Universe, popular in the early 2000s, is about to end. The miniseries Thors stars various versions of Thor as space cops, and focuses on Thorlief, the Ultimate Thor. I've never been a fan of him — or this universe —until this series. After uncovering corruption and working with the Unworthy Thor Odinson and meeting Jane Foster Thor, Thorlief dies in battle, his universe with him, leaving behind only his version of Mjolnir...

Thors. Art by Chris Sprouse.

Thor Odinson finds Ultimate Mjolnir

So now you'd think, oh great, two hammers. That solves the problem of two Thors, right? Yeah, we all did. In a series called Unworthy Thor, we see Thor Odinson fight his way through the Black Order, Thanos, Hela, and the Collector to get to Ultimate Mjolnir. When he finally touches it, memories rush back, and we're treated to this beautiful splash page by Olivier Coipiel...

...and then Thor Odinson lets go of it, believing he still isn't worthy.

It's a textbook case of how to do an anticlimactic plot twist, and it works perfectly. You spent this much time building up the most obvious thing, and then you refuse to pull the trigger. Thor Odinson's doubt in himself will not be fixed by the finding of a new hammer with the same name. Lifting a new hammer will not cure that. Only he can fix that. And that's his journey.

War Thor

Meanwhile, that means Ultimate Mjolnir is available, and the Ultimate Universe being a more violent place than the regular Marvel Universe means that the person who picks this up is going to be a more violent kind of Thor! And ironically, it goes to the voluminous, vibrant Volstagg, whose time as Senator on The Congress of Worlds has severely jaded him and broken his spirit.

It leads into this wonderfully meta exchange between Amora the Enchantress and Ulik the Troll.

Volstagg ended up in a coma thanks to the Mangog, but who knows what condition he'll be in in War of the Realms?

Young Thor meets Gorr for the first time

When Young Thor first meets the God Butcher, he is severely outmatched, and comes close to dying, except for an ace up his sleeve. This scene would be directly referenced in Thor: Ragnarok.

Thor, God of Thunder #2, 2012. Art by Esad Ribic.
Cue Led Zeppelin.

King Thor vs. Galactus

In the far future, King Thor faces off against Galactus, Devourer of Worlds, who is still alive and is looking to devour the Earth one last time.

Thor, God of Thunder #22, 2014. Art by Esad Ribic.

As if that isn't epic enough, the All-Black Necrosword gets brought into the fray, and the stakes get even higher.

Thor vs. The Phoenix

Mighty Thor #19, 2017. Art by Russell Dauterman

Thor (Jane Foster) stuck in a war between Asgard and the Shi'ar, as if that isn't bad enough, all of a sudden has to deal with the Phoenix, that cosmic force that destroys stars.

Suddenly, a familiar face shows up to help her, coming off his Unworthy Thor series. And then she asks a very leading question.

Mighty Thor #19, 2017. Art by Russell Dauterman. 

Eventually, it's revealed that an Asgardian has in fact dated the Phoenix. it's just not Thor.

Generations: The Unworthy Thor and The MIghty Thor, 2017. Art by Mahmud Asrar.

Roz Solomon kills trolls

Roz Solomon, Agent of SHIELD, was introduced as an environmentalist, not a field agent. But in a battle against trolls in Broxton, she has no choice but to take matters into her own hands.

Thor, God of Thunder #23, 2014. Art by Esad Ribic.

And with that, Roz Solomon became a prime suspect in the mystery of who the woman holding Mjolnir is.

The Reveal

Thor Odinson compiles a list of virtually every woman he knows to figure out who the new Thor could be, and then uses that list to raise an army to help her against the Destroyer.  The army includes his mother Freyja, his sister Angela, the Lady Sif, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, and Captain Marvel.

He's sure it's not Jane Foster, because of the cancer, and the only person left on the list after crossing out everyone who showed up to help him is Roz Solomon. And then... this happens.

Thor #8, 2015. Art by Russell Dauterman.

Like Thor Odinson not getting Ultimate Mjolnir, this is an example of a very simple plot twist that Aaron just gets to work. And of course, the person it is is the most obvious person, the one it should have been in the first place: Jane Foster, who was always worthy.

Thor #8, 2015. Art by Russell Dauterman

You're Thor! You hit it with hammers!

And this moment, so primal, so powerful. Young Thor, King Thor, and Thor the Avenger have Gorr the God Butcher cornered. Thor the Avenger, our Thor, is at a loss as to what to do. King Thor has the solution.

Thor, God of Thunder #10, 2013. Art by Esad Ribic

"And for one moment that stretched across time, every god in the universe closed their eyes... and prayed to Thor."

Thor, God of Thunder #12. Art by Esad Ribic.

Damn, this run is so good, guys. Go read it.

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