One of the greatest modern heroic stories ever told.
Now in paperback, let’s revisit the three big reasons why Jason Aaron, Matthew Wilson, and Russel Dauterman’s finale for Jane Foster’s Thor story is worth reading by everyone.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Marvel Legacy hits Asgard with a bang – the death of the Mighty Thor! The final judgment comes as the Mangog arrives. The War Thor meets the beast head-on, but even the bloodthirst of this Ultimate hammer-wielder may pale in comparison to the Mangog’s might! The battle rages as Jane Foster’s cancer takes a turn for the worse, and she might not have to wait for the final judgment at all. The clock is ticking, the War of the Realms is spreading, and Mjolnir cannot save her this time. Can even the legendary Hercules help avert disaster? It’s the beginning of the end – one that will lead to the most dramatic finale in the Marvel Universe. The tragic and heroic story of Jane Foster finally reaches its heart-rending zenith!
Can I jump in easily?
Interestingly, yes and no. Jason Aaron has been developing Thor’s story for years now, so reading this collection is more like reading the chapter before the climactic finale to the finale. Jane Foster as Thor has been excellent but like all good things, it had to come to an end. This finishes that story off for her so that Aaron can give Thor his redemption (he’s being without Mjolnir for ages) and carry his narrative forward.
Reason 1: Fans of the Excalibur series will love this.
I’d like to think this collection was written and drawn while listening to a lot of heavy metal music. I certainly was humming some face melting music while reading it. There are a few deaths here, but also a lot of doom and no hope at all for survival. That’s thanks to Mangog, a villain who was prophesied to kill Asgaard. He’s brutish, huge, and unstoppable. It’s fun to see him tear through characters like Odin who we know are powerful. The fact that Thor shows up with lightning crashing down and a fight he did not see coming is all the more better. This is a fantastic climactic end to Mangog’s reign and there are some exceptional plot choices to finish him off. Jane Foster as Thor will go down as one of the coolest flips on the main character ever and it’s good till the very end here.
Reason 2: A death of a hero in a way that matters.
There is no doubt Aaron’s writing has inspired many to keep fighting when they’ve learned they have cancer. Jane Foster has been dealing with terminal cancer for ages, and yet she persists and keeps on fighting. Her story here is particularly fascinating because she learns if she continues to wield Mjolnir and turn into Thor she will die because the radiation treatment is nullified when she turns. And yet she persists. Heroes doing whatever it takes to do the right thing is something we see often, but to do the same when it literally kills yourself as it does to Jane here is inspiring. She’s a completely selfless hero and that is exceptionally displayed here.
Reason 3: The art is out of this world and cinematic.
I can’t say when motion blur and other camera effects entered the comics realm, but it’s ever-present in this collection. Dauterman uses it quite a bit to help focus the reader on a subject, but also give us the feeling that things are moving very fast. His use of blur is also used as a camera lens focusing on a subject giving the reader an unconscious note to keep their eyes in the right place just as films do. Paired with Wilson, the colors pop and suit the cosmic aspects of this universe. There is plenty of blood too. I can only imagine a movie director picking this collection up, instantly calling Marvel and pitching the idea for a feature film. If we don’t see the story collected here on the big screen someday I’ll be shocked.
Reasons to be wary?
There are bits and bobs that seem to be going off track from the main story here. Things like Ego’s battle (which does show up in the current books), Loki’s choice, and She-Hulk popping up. Aaron is playing the long game with this series though–he has been since taking on Thor–so it’s not surprising. That said, it does take away from the singular story of Jane Foster in some ways. But then again, that’s serial storytelling in a nutshell.
Is there a rationale to the reasons?
An exceptional ending to Jane Foster’s struggle that will go down as one of the greatest heroic arcs ever. She’s an inspiration, much like the creators who gave us the gift of this story.