NOTE: This article contains SPOILERS for The Unworthy Thor #5
If you're a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you might be under the assumption that there's really only one true Thor. But in the world of the comics, the original superhero isn't even the version of Thor to currently wield Mjolnir... and if that wasn't enough, Marvel has just added a third god of thunder to their comic universe. At the time, the editorial decision to turn Jane Foster into the new Thor was controversial... but the third time may be the charm, if what's being teased about the latest Thor (pictured above) turns out to be true.
For those already confused by Marvel's love of heroes with the same name, Jane Foster remains the "true" Thor - wielder of Mjolnir, ruled to "be worthy" of possessing the power previously held by Thor Odinson. But that original Thor is alive and well, having has spent his time since giving up the mantle pursuing his own truth in the pages of The Unworthy Thor. It's in the latest issue of that comic series that another magical hammer of the gods has found its new master.
And the Marvel Universe is not ready for the birth of 'The War Thor.'
The Unworthy Thor Makes The Hard Choice
Jason Aaron and Olivier Coipel have been weaving an unforgettable epic from the beginning, with the titular, "unworthy" hero only finding his way back from brutality and booze with the promise of a new Mjolnir. Long story short on that one: the alternate universe home to Marvel's "Ultimate" heroes is no more, with some of the line folded into the main Marvel continuity. And due to its incredible power, the Ultimate Mjolnir, previously held by the Ultimate Thor - who's no more - found a way to hop into Marvel's main universe. And just that easily, Thor Odinson has a way to reclaim what was his without denying the worthy Jane Foster.
Thor's path to the Ultimate Mjolnir has been an incredible one for fans of the hero, reuniting him with Beta Ray Bill, and rubbing shoulders with Thanos and the Collector. But when he regained the upper hand on his enemies, and stepped up to claim Ultimate Mjolnir... he refused. It's not the first time that Thor has lost his hammer, but this story is different. It was the god's own doubts about the righteousness or corruption of the tricksters and power-hungry deities around him that rendered him unworthy, once he accepted that all gods are unworthy. And knowing that, claiming a hammer he has no claim to would be wrong. It never called to him, and while its power reminds him of the time he once wielded it, he knows it is not meant for him.
That being said, Thor concedes that the hammer will call to someone. Someone worthy of its power, chosen by the hammer itself. But he couldn't have predicted what the hammer does next.
The War Thor is Born
In refusing to claim Ultimate Mjolnir for himself, Thor also promised to protect it so that it could not fall into "the wrong hands" again. Maybe the ale being consumed by he and Beta Ray Bill is to blame for his almost immediate lapse in surveillance. Because as hopeful and soulful a conclusion to Thor's journey as Issue #5 may offer, it's final page is downright chilling - not to mention potentially world-shattering for the larger Marvel Universe )literally). Ultimate Mjolnir calls to its new master alright, but it's someone who isn't even sure that the hammer has chosen wisely. Approaching cloaked in shadow, and speaking of the horrors they've witnessed in "realms consumed with blood and fire," the figure vows that such horrors must be stopped.
More specifically, that only they can truly bring them to an end, and it is for that reason that Ultimate Mjolnir must have called to them. Not for a new champion, nor for a mighty god to safeguard the innocent and defender peace in the cosmos. No, it's time for, as the new wielder of Mjolnir puts it, "a new kind of Thor. A new breed of Thor." A War Thor.
And with that, the hammer is grasped, the lightning strikes, and the War Thor now claiming the Ultimate Mjolnir is born. For obvious reasons, the exact identity of the figure who claimed it is being kept a secret - but fans can take a look at their transformed style in the artwork released for Mighty Thor #20:
The issue will be the true beginning of "The Saga of The All-New Ultimate Thor" and is on its way for a June 21, 2017. It's a bit unusual for a superhero to be revealed in all their glory, and still have absolutely no idea who we're actually looking at. The power of Thor has had profound influence on the physical appearance of the one who wields Mjolnir, but fans have already put forward a few theories. Since this War Thor has a mind for power and instilling order through force, and has only one eye visible in the above artwork, Thor's own father Odin has been put forward as the simplest answer, if not the most profound.
What Odin would gain from the Ultimate Mjolnir is a hard question to answer, but that might make it one worth seeing explored, if that is Jason Aaron's ambition. Others have suggested Loki, or even Nick Fury, Sr. (currently operating as the new Watcher). Without knowing if the realms of fire and blood are literal, or figurative, neither human beings nor beings of Thor's rank can be ruled out.
While the introduction of "yet another Thor" is guaranteed to be viewed with some cynicism - not an invalid interpretation - it is Jason Aaron crafting the story. And having established himself as one of the best things to ever happen to Thor in the modern era of Marvel Comics... we would say he's earned the benefit of the doubt.
So who do you think is under the helmet of the new Ultimate Thor? Do you think a War Thor could be a genuinely new twist on a well-known character, or are you worried the result is more gimmick than groundbreaking?
The Unworthy Thor #5 is available now. Mighty Thor #20 arrives June 21, 2017.