Jason Aaron’s run on The Mighty Thor has been a masterclass in the subversion of the superheroic.
The Mighty Thor has been on a tear for its entire current run, extending into this most recent collected volume. Not only is the story something new, the art and color are exquisite. Jane Foster’s time may be coming to an end sooner rather than later, but her time carrying Mjolnir will be remembered as one of the best storylines ever to involve Asgard and its pantheon.
The consistency with which Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matthew Wilson create The Mighty Thor is almost unbelievable. Adding Valerio Schiti to the team in this volume has, rather than detracted, added to the team. While, generally, Jane Foster’s Thor is surrounded by bright colors and green expanses even when in the worst of times, The War Thor embraces the darkness that lies in Volstagg, the new War Thor.
After having a group of children burned to ashes in his hands during an attack by the forces of the Queen of Cinders, Volstagg suffers. It would be more typical to see his claiming of the Mjolnir warhammer from the Ultimate Universe as an extension of his anger alone. His anger was clearly on display, rage guiding his fists and his thunder. It wouldn’t be The Mighty Thor, however, if he were motivated purely by hatred. Thor has her place in this story, but the focus is on Volstagg and his dark vengeance for the needless deaths of children he had never before met.
There is always, always a dark side to war, no matter how righteous the anger, no matter how justified the cause. Thor sees it while she saves another innocent, one from Muspelheim, from The War Thor’s destruction. No matter how hard The War Thor strikes at the realms or The Odinson fights for what he believes to be right, nothing will be enough to save lives. Destruction is the only thing that comes from this war.
One of the key lessons that can be taken from Aaron’s run on The Mighty Thor is the subversion of the superheroic. Thor is not only a warrior who relies on physical strength. The reason she gives for why giving up her spot on the Congress of Worlds hurt so much is simply that it gave Jane Foster purpose. Without the purpose, why shouldn’t she just hold onto Mjolnir, give up the fight she is having with her own body, and become Thor forever? Why not let Jane Foster fade away? The struggle here cannot be solved with physical strength, much like the pain and sorrow that flow through Volstagg. Thor can’t punch her way out of this problem and she relied instead on the compassion of Jane Foster. By no means is the day saved, but, at least, The War Thor can be given respite from his pain by being allowed to feel it and share it. In the end, Volstagg wept, comforted by the diminutive Foster who is dying by inches while she holds the realms together.