Warning: SPOILERS for Thor #10
After all these years, Marvel Comics has finally revealed why Thor is really called 'The God of Thunder.' In Norse mythology, Thor is the son of Odin and the Giantess Fjörgy, and is associated with the power of thunder and lightning. He's the God of the Storm, a fierce force of nature who should never be underestimated.
Marvel's version of Thor is one of their mightiest heroes, wielding the power of Mjolnir the hammer of storms itself. Over on the big screen, Thor: Ragnarok saw the Odinson learn that his power doesn't truly lie with Mjolnir or any enchanted hammer or ax; it lies within him, the power to manifest devastating attacks that can even sweep Hela off her feet. But the comics have just revealed an even stranger truth to his famous moniker.
This week's Thor #10 finally reveals why Odin first called Thor the 'God of Thunder.' Odin isn't in a good mood; frankly, he's hit rock bottom and is drowning his sorrows in mead. When Thor arrives on the scene, Odin is unable to hold back from speaking words he'll forever regret. Making the confrontation even more heartbreaking, the All-Father's thoughts contrast perfectly with his words, but he's simply unable to work out how to say how much he truly loves his son, and it eventually ends in a brawl.
Yet amidst the tragedy and interpersonal drama, there's a touch of humor to balance it out as the All-Father remembers when Thor was a baby... and terrified of storms. Odin first called him the God of Thunder out of "mocking contempt," even if he is quite proud of the fact that his son has more than grown into the title.
On the face of it, this is just an amusing joke on the part of writer Jason Aaron. In reality, though, it carries far greater meaning. This revelation suggests that Thor wasn't born God of Thunder, but rather that he became it; that he refused to be mocked, and was stubborn and strong-willed enough to face his deepest fears and even claim them as an inextricable part of his very identity. Thor isn't God of Thunder because of the strength of his powers, but because of the strength of his character.
This subtly reworks the theme of "worthiness" in the comics. There's a sense in which Thor was proving himself worthy long before he ever managed to lift Mjolnir for the first time. Tragically, though, his father either couldn't see it, or was simply incapable of saying it. The issue features a number of flashback scenes in which Thor and Odin talk, including one in which Thor rushes to his father to tell him he has finally been able to pick up the hammer. Rather than express pride in his son's worthiness, all Odin manages to say is, "Where did you find that old thing?" The issue shows the broken relationship between Thor and his All-Father, and by the end of the issue they are more distant than ever before, even coming to blows. Making this all the more painful to read is the fact that Odin secretly is proud of his son, and really does know that Thor has triumphed over his every fear. But he's simply unable to say it.
Thor #10 is on sale now from Marvel Comics.