The Messiah Story - Turned Upside-Down
The gods of Asgard have always been portrayed as mercurial and unpredictable, and Odin in particular has been characterized by wrath and pride. Aaron's scripts have seen Jane Foster's Thor confront Odin head-on, even battling him at times. With Asgard burning, Odin still finds time to snarl at Thor she is the "thief of hammers." His fury, in truth, is based on one simple fact; Mjolnir considered this woman to be worthy, but would not allow the All-Father to lift it again.
It's so very appropriate that the Mangog is the villain in this story. The creature is the physical manifestation of the rage and hatred of millions towards the gods; it is their frustration and disappointment given form, a being who exists purely to avenge itself upon the gods. Few humans have been wronged more by the gods than Jane Foster, who has found herself drawn into Asgardian affairs time and again. And yet she chooses to stand between the gods and their deserved judgment, insisting that they are worth saving. She even sacrifices herself on their behalf.
The Mangog, then, is an expression of human wrath towards the gods; Jane is a human who sacrifices herself to stay that wrath. It really is a perfect inversion of the Messianic tradition, right down to the fact that her sacrifice is not appreciated by those she is saving.
It Is The Gods Who Must Become Worthy
But Aaron has done more than just invert the Messianic tradition; the death of Jane Foster also continues the themes he's been developing through his entire run. Back in 2013, Aaron introduced the character of Gorr, the God-Butcher (Marvel Studios adapted elements of the character for Hela's powerset in Thor: Ragnarok). As a youth, Gorr had been brought up to believe in the gods - but they had never answered his prayers. Furious, he had launched a crusade against the gods, slaughtering them with the Necrosword. Even Thor was tempted to believe Gorr was right; "That gods were cruel and jealous creatures. That it was time for their age to pass."
In 2014, a single whispered sentence from Nick Fury - who possessed the all-seeing knowledge of the Watchers - was enough to render Thor unworthy. Finally, in The Unworthy Thor #5, Aaron revealed what that sentence was; "Gorr was right." That whispered truth seared itself into Thor's heart, as he realized the gods of Asgard are unworthy; indeed, all the gods are. Mjolnir, too, acknowledged the truth.
The gods are not worthy; and yet Jane Foster is still willing to die on their behalf. Jane's last words to Odin and Freyja are powerful, and imbued with meaning:
"The world needs more than just Thor! We need gods we can believe in! Tell them that! Tell all of Asgard! Tell them it's time to earn the gift they've all been given!"
Jane Foster's sacrifice gives the gods a gift - a chance to reinvent themselves, to learn what it means to be "worthy" of godhood. Her death is the next step in Aaron's ongoing arc, forcing the gods to confront the truth that Thor Odinson has already learned. It certainly seems appropriate that Thor #705 sees the destruction of Asgard, forcing the gods to once more return to Earth. As the War of Realms continues to rage, the Asgardians must learn what it is to be worthy of Jane Foster's sacrifice.
The Mighty Thor #705 is available now from Marvel Comics.