[Contains SPOILERS for The Unworthy Thor #5.]
Over the last few years, the man and the name Thor have been on a voyage of discovery. In the 2014 miniseries “Original Sin,” Nick Fury Sr. is converted into a moon-dwelling all-seeing entity known as the Unseen. He also whispered something to Thor in passing, causing him to become unworthy of his mighty hammer Mjolnir and lose his thunderous abilities. As a result, his one-time significant other Jane Foster wound up the hammer-bearer and was bestowed with the power of Thor.
The Odinson, however, was left as an unworthy Thor – which also happens to be the name of his recent miniseries. Noteworthy Asgardian scribe Jason Aaron kicked off the whole blood-soaked affair with yet another piece of covert info, as the Unseen tries to repair some of the damage he’s caused by tipping Odinson off about yet another Mjolnir floating around the Marvel Universe, one belonging to the now-deceased Ultimate Thor. As The Unworthy Thor #5 draws nearer its inevitable conclusion, Thor closes in on the only prize (hopefully) worthy of his esteem.
In addition to its intense action, Unworthy Thor also brings together some key characters from the forthcoming Thor: Ragnarok, acting as a primer for possible future events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as the comic book world.
The Prized Collection
Although the Grandmaster is the official Elder of the Universe for Thor: Ragnarok, his cosmic sibling The Collector takes the prize in Unworthy Thor. After the Unseen tips off Thor about Ultimate Mjolnir, he heads to its last known resting place, Old Asgard, only to discover the deserted Norse realm has disappeared. Once there, he stumbles across his old friend Beta Ray Bill, who reveals that Asgard isn’t just missing, it’s been stolen by the Collector.
Tracking down the hammer and Tanleer Tivan, he and Bill are separated and locked up with the rest of Tivan’s "unique items." The Collector may have the upper hand, but he grows continually more frustrated, because no matter how hard he tries, he just can’t pick up the hammer. On top of that, every day, Odinson breaks out and makes a mad dash for Mjolnir, before being recaptured by scores of Tivan’s guards. Eventually, word of the hammer’s existence reaches Thanos via a mysterious hooded figure that helps the Mad Titan break out of his jail cell on Earth (following his imprisonment during Civil War II).
In the final issue, all of the forces seeking the mighty mallet hasten to the Collector's lair, where they gather around, anxiously watching as Thor reaches the Ultimate Mjolnir.
Why Thor Became Unworthy
Thor clutches the mighty mallet in his mitts only to realize that it simply isn’t his to possess. It belongs to the deceased Ultimate Thor and simply doesn't feel right to the longtime thunder god. Even though he and the hammer aren’t a match made in Asgard, with their combined magic, they manage to expel Black Swan, Proxima Midnight, and Thanos’ mysterious, cloaked comrade all the way back to Black Order space. An enraged Collector also watches helplessly as Odinson’s new Hel-hound companion, Thori, frees his numerous caged creatures, before the fed-up Norse god finally flings Tivan into the abyss of space.
In the aftermath, Odinson, with the help of the Ultimate hammer, returns Old Asgard to its rightful place in the cosmos. Once re-situated, Beta Ray Bill asks his longtime friend and brother in arms what went wrong? Did he still feel unworthy of Mjolnir? It's then that Thor explains his cosmic situation, finally revealing what Nick Fury said to him roughly two years before: “Gorr was right.”
For fans unfamiliar with Gorr, his story arc began in Thor: The God Butcher back in 2013. Disillusioned with the universe after a life compounded by terrible tragedy after terrible tragedy, Gorr discovered that there were indeed gods in the Marvel Universe. Because none of them had ever answered his prayers, he set about destroying them by the dozen, with the help of a super-powered blade known as All-Black the Necrosword. Ultimately, he believed that all of the gods were petty and self-important, not worthy of his or anyone else's worship. The truth Fury revealed wasn't so much a vindication of Gorr's violent path, as much as a confirmation of the deities' small-mindedness, and a sad reality that made the Odinson “unworthy” by his own esteem.
It’s also a fact the Norse god still clings too, in spite of recent events. At the same time, Bill argues that his friend – in his selfless pursuit of justice and devotion to doing the right thing for all creatures – has proven his worthiness time and time again. Either way, the Odinson resigns himself to his current fate, remaining hammer-less for the time being but light years from toothless. He also decides to keep watch over the Ultimate hammer until its new owner hears its call.
It turns out Odinson won’t have long to wait, as the epilogue reveals a mysterious figure that answers its siren song. Even as the individual, cloaked in darkness, reaches for the hammer, they debate their own value (in word balloons with a decidedly Asgardian flourish). Feeling the charge of the alternative universe Mjolnir, they declaring themselves "War-Thor."
A New Order
After being shunted back to the realm of Thanos, his empty-handed forces grovel before the none-too-pleased master. In order to prove her superiority, the mysterious stranger kills Black Swan and Proxima Midnight, revealing herself as the deposed mistress of the dead, Hela, and she’s got a helluva proposition for the purple maniac: help her reclaim her throne, and she’ll offer him the one thing he most seeks, death. To seal the deal, they enjoy a long kiss, as Thanos ponders his potential mortality.
The Marvel Universe, much like its cinematic counterpart, is changing and rearranging in preparation for something big. In the MCU’s case, Thor: Ragnarok is on the way, promising world-rending intergalactic road trip picture that leads into the front door of Avengers: Infinity War. Meanwhile, the MU's own Ten Realms are gearing up for a similar realm-shaking battle, as Thanos teams up with Hela to make the worlds quake. It's bad enough that the kingdoms of Asgard have already been fighting among themselves and battling the Shi'ar, without any help from two of comic bookdom's most brutal adversaries.
And Hela's former realm, Niflheim, may be ripe for the re-plucking, since Angela (the sister of Thor and Loki), who earlier managed to kick out its queen, is back on Earth and seeking her lost love. With Thanos' help, the one-time ruler shouldn't have any trouble mounting an effective counterattack. It's also possible this death-dealing promise of hers may coincide with the Mad Titan's own ongoing series, where he actually faces his own theoretical demise.
With one Thor weakened, another partially depowered and suffering from low self-esteem (of the gods, anyway), and another, perchance more ruthless Ultimate Thor arriving, the stage is set for a truly intense struggle, one which threatens to tear Asgard apart, as well as a battle that could parallel its cinematic counterpart.
The Unworthy Thor #5 is currently available.