Ultimate Thor made Thor relevant to me and the modern world in a way that captivated me. It wasn't until I read The Ultimates that I really felt any connection or understanding of Thor at all. But suddenly, there he was, trying to save the whales and the environment and the world, and it just RESONATED. Hippy, Tree-Hugging Thor. It made so much sense to high-school-me, and it was BECAUSE of this reinterpretation of Thor's character that I started looking for Thor's other incarnations, within Marvel and without. Ultimate Thor is the source of all my #ThorLove.
Because he is so much more complex than he at first appears. From his relationship with Loki, to his role as the god of the Everyman, the god of the Peasant, to his position as Guardian for the Aesir, Asgard, and humanity. He is fascinating, and the more I read of the myths and the sagas, the more I really appreciate why he was so beloved to the Norse.
When Thor's main title was relaunched in 2007, he was written by J. Michael Straczynski. The opening of that new series blew me away, when Thor, in the void of not-quite-death, is resurrected by his sometime-host, Donald Blake, who tells him, it is for MEN to decide when the gods are no longer needed. Thor comes back, and brings Asgard with him -- to Oklahoma. If you haven't read Volume One of JMS's run on Thor, I'm telling you right now you're missing out. And not just on Thor. There's also Lady Loki to consider.
Chris Hemsworth embodies Thor so perfectly it boggles the mind. And his gentle affection for Jane, his love of his friends, even at his most arrogant -- it's heart-melting. The shirtless Thor shot doesn't hurt either, if I'm being honest. When Hemsworth was first cast, I wasn't 100% sure of him -- I must have rewatched the first 15 minutes of New Trek a dozen times just to reassure myself that he had the POTENTIAL. He was so skinny! But I can't imagine anyone else cast in the role, now, and the first movie did a fantastic job of translating the comic and Thor to the live action screen. Thor: The Dark World doesn't disappoint, either!
Thor is absolutely my favorite character to write. I love how thick with honor he is, and the way he tortures himself with it. I love the relationships he forms, and his loyalty, so hardened, and ultimately, so brittle -- when it breaks, it shatters, and there is no piecing it back together again. I love his capacity for love, and the way he doesn't always make the right choices, even for the best reasons. Sometimes, he's selfish. Sometimes, he believes he's helping, but the result is just more pain for himself and the people he loves most. I love that he will never abandon his people, even when they abandon him. More than anything, I love the idea that Thor has a place in our world, a purpose beyond anyone's understanding. I loved fitting him and his myths into the big puzzle that is the theology and philosophy of our modern world. I loved finding a home for him here.
And I hope that you'll love him, too!
Some other Thor incarnations you might love, (just) outside of my top 5:
- Thor in Thor: The Mighty Avenger -- The art is so expressive it is ridiculously amazing. And it doesn’t hurt that the whole story has a romantic feel.
- Thor in Age of Odin by James Lovegrove (Norse gods, Ragnarok, and Sci Fi military battles of win!)
- Thor the bear in Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman (Odin and Loki are along for the ride, too.)
- Thor from Thor's Wedding Day by Bruce Coville (it's a chapter book for kids, told from the perspective of Thjalfi! What's not to love?!)
- Thor in Gods of Asgard by Erik Evensen (the art alone is worth it!)