You’re A Hero or You’re Nothing in Mighty Thor 20

by Taylor Anderson

Mighty Thor 20

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The conflict between a superhero’s alter-ego and their heroic identity is well chronicled. For some, like Black Widow, balancing two identities is cakewalk. For others, like Batman, one identity takes over completely. However, even though the Dark Knight identifies more as Batman than Bruce Wayne, he can still vacillate between his two identities as he pleases. Jane Foster, on the other hand, doesn’t have this luxury. Soon the stage 4 breast cancer that is infecting her body will take her life. If she wants to live, she has only one choice – become Thor forever.

To us the choice between being Thor or being dead seems simple. After all, the choice between facing the void and being able to control lightening seems like an easy one. However, Jane doesn’t see the problem so clearly. As she sees it, should she become Thor full time, she’ll be in no danger of her cancer, but she’ll cease being Jane Foster as she knows her.

If she becomes Thor, Jane essentially dies since her life, as we and she knows it, will end. In introducing this conundrum, Jason Aaron has asked an essential question about superheroes. Alter-egos are part and parcel of the superhero mythology, yet it so infrequently plays a consequential role in their stories in modern storytelling. By forcing Jane to choose either her own identity or that of Thor, Aaron is essentially making the statement that someone is either their superhero identity or no one at all.

Aaron doubles down on this idea when everyone’s favorite glutton, Volstagg, becomes the War Thor.

As the War Thor, Volstagg is a hardened man of war ready to avenge the children killed by Muspelheim in a refugee camp. Before becoming the War Thor, Aaron shows us how Volstagg is a kind and caring man, willing to share his food with those who need it most. However, when he assumes he “heroic” Thor form all traces of that identity are extinguished. The message here, as with Jane’s dilemma, seems to be clear – you are either a hero, or you are nothing.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

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One comment on “You’re A Hero or You’re Nothing in Mighty Thor 20

  1. I called the identity of War Thor. Knew who it would be from the moment it was announced. Also, just want to praise the Volstagg sequences for Aaron’s always imaginative approach to fantasy elements

    I really wish we didn’t skip Jane actually telling Odinson that she’s THor, and jumped ahead to here. I always get annoyed when one character recaps key story points to an ignorant party. I understand why, because if you don’t need a recap, it takes a lot of space. But I’ve always wanted to see how the character reacts. And Odinson learning that Jane was Thor would have been a reaction for the ages.

    Still the fundamental shape of this storyline looks great. My one big criticism of Mighty THor has been the lack of time spent in Jane’s human form. Such an important part of who she is, ignored. And yet, Aaron has turned this weakness into a strength by making it a key point – Jane has been slowly getting disconnected from her human identity, and she’s getting worried. She has to fight not to be Thor, and it is a fight that she has been losing, each and every day. She’s lost her calling in life, as a doctor, and now she’s lost the one job she had left. But she’s always has the hammer.

    And yet… And yet, she is about to come face to face with what would happen if Jane does lose her humanity completely. If Jane does completely disconnect with her human form, this is what she’ll become. Now, Jane will have to finally reconcile that dual identity she has struggled with, even if it is a literal death sentence. And considering what the storyline after this is apprently about? The implications are enoromous.

    (And on that note, got to say I am really confused about Marvel Legacy so far, with what has been revealed. Very little clarity. My initial impressions from the marketing is that it may end up beign Rebirth’s exact opposite. Get wrong everyone Reborth got right, and get right everything Rebirth did wrong. Considering that one of Rebirth’s problems is that it is unreadably bad, at least Marvel Legacy will be readable. But still feels like it is going to be really disappointing, and leading me to have to cut a decent portion of my Marvel list. Really hope Marvel Legacy will be better than that, but I’m afraid that what I’ve just stated is the best case scenario. It is going to be impossible to enter Marvel legacy with anywhere near the level of optimism I had for DC Rebirth)

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