So it turns out that Marvel is replacing Thor with a woman, and replacing Captain America with a Black man (the Falcon).
My response was a profound and introspective “Ehhhhhhhhhhhh.”
It’s Somewhat Interesting…
…but not interesting enough.
Bottom line, I really don’t care about this. I don’t buy Thor or Captain America. I’m not enough of a fan of either to really care what happens to them.
Heck, if I didn’t care about what happened to Spider-Man a couple of years back, then Thor and Cap can go kick rocks.
I’m not a big fan of the Thor of Captain America writers (Jason Aaron and Rick Remender, respectively), either, so there’s really not much that could be done to get me to buy these comics.
As far as I’m concerned, this is just more pandering on Marvel’s part, similar to what Fox has done with casting Black actor Michael B. Jordan in the Fantastic Four movie.
Although I must admit it is intelligent pandering. These guys are smart. Marvel sees there’s a market here. There are dollars to be gained from women and Black people who want to see themselves reflected in a positive way in the comics.
Of course, they could have created actual original characters and built them up into something great…but screw that, that could take years, and Marvel wants money NOW, dammit.
To me, this sort of thing is saying that for women and minorities to succeed, we have to take away from White men. Falcon can’t get up on that other level unless something happens to the White guy, then he takes what the White guy built up and wraps himself up in it. She-Thor is a similar situation. Whoever she is, she can’t be the heavy-hitter she is now without something bad having happened to the real Thor so she can now “wear” his power and wield his weapon.
Oh, well. Something’s better than nothing, I guess…or is it?
It is a mystery.
THOR…What A Mess.
Let’s start with the Thor situation.
Jason Aaron says, this IS Thor, it’s not “She-Thor” or “Lady Thor”. Well, you can repeat that mantra as much as you like, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept it. This character will be described as “Female Thor” at the very least by the fans.
“Thor” is that character’s given name, he’s a person, not just an alter ego, so no she definitely isn’t Thor, she’s just someone who is wearing his powers, as several have done before.
If you check the inscription on Thor’s hammer, it’s letting you know that any number of people could end up with Thor’s power.
Most people are getting hooked on the gender pronoun of “he”, but I always get stuck on the “worthy” part.
I mean, that’s pretty subjective, so what exactly does that mean?
Damn You, Odin.
To me, we need to go back to the source. Who put that inscription there? As the story goes, Dwarven blacksmiths actually physically created the hammer (Mjolnir), and Thor’s father Odin cast the enchantment on it so that no one except the “worthy” could lift it, among the many other enchantments such as the hammer returning to Thor’s hand, etc.
Since Odin is the one who put the spell on it, we can either assume he put in the engraving, or told the Dwarves to put that in there. Therefore, Odin himself must be the guiding judgement on who is considered “worthy”.
Now, we’re left with the elephant in the room…just what is Odin’s ideal of worthy?
Odin and the rest of the Asgardian Gods are warriors, and not particularly progressive ones, either. I’ve got to believe that being worthy has more to do with being a good warrior than being a good person.
Thor actually killed Loki before, and he also killed his own grandfather, but the hammer seemed to be OK with all that.
Odin was always suspiciously progressive when off-panel, but when he’s actually in the story he’s a real hard-ass who doesn’t understand anything that Thor does.
In fact, very few of the Asgardians understand why Thor chooses to spend time on Midgard (Earth) protecting the mortals (Humans). Almost everything that Thor does is in conflict with what the other Asgardians expect him to do and be. That’s part of his story and has been for a very long time. He’s always at odds with his Asgardian duty/heritage and his desire to come down to Earth and be beaten up by the Absorbing Man.
In this case, you’d think that Mjolnir would have flown the coop to someone else a long time ago.
Why, Odin, WHY?!?
For those of you who don’t really know the deal with Marvel’s Thor, it’s like this:
Thor is TOUGH. I mean really, really, REALLY REALLY TOUGH.
Even without the hammer this is a guy who can grapple with the Hulk and fight him to a standstill. Thor could flatten a skyscraper with his bare hands. He takes machine gun fire and walks it off. True, he doesn’t have Superman-level invulnerability (he routinely blocks heavier gunfire with his hammer), but it’s very difficult to hurt Thor.
Then with the hammer, he controls weather on a global scale, opens up dimensional portals, travels through time and all kinds of other mystical crap.
Thor is not like the other Asgardians. He’s much stronger, basically he’s stronger and more powerful than anyone but Odin. Essentially the best warrior they have.
Now get this: Odin obviously knows how powerful this thing is, how powerful his son is, and what the hammer can do…and yet he routinely gives all that power away.
Why the Hell would you put a spell on a powerful weapon like Mjolnir that would potentially enable other beings to use it?? Beings who don’t necessarily have Asgard’s best interests at heart?
And seriously Odin, it’s one thing to let someone use the hammer, but by the freakin’ Nine Realms why would you bestow your son’s own native strength on someone else?? Just because someone picks up the hammer doesn’t mean they necessarily have to be as strong as he is.
It boggles the mind. It truly does.
As mentioned earlier, the Asgardians have enough trouble getting the real Thor to be the Prince of Asgard. Leaving in a huge loophole like “you must be worthy” doesn’t make any sense at all. You really don’t know who that next person is going to be, or what requirement of “worthy” has to be met.
Why wouldn’t you put a spell on the hammer that only allows Thor himself to use it? To be fair, originally Thor was a loudmouth lout who lead with his fists, so Odin decided to pull this whole “gotta be worthy thing” (and also punish Thor by leaving him as a mortal with a bad leg for many years).
But why not just put the hammer somewhere safe on a shelf in Asgard until Thor grew up? Odin had the damn hammer sitting in a cave disguised as a stick, waiting for anyone to pick it up (anyone who was worthy, and there obviously are a few of those folks around).
You leave one of Asgard’s greatest weapons lying around in a random cave on Earth?? Maaaaaaaan…
Odin, you so crazy.
I know we’re just reading a comic book here, but even within the logic of the comic book universe itself this makes no sense whatsoever. Like I said, luckily I’m not a real Thor fan, so I’ll never see how any of this works out. Good luck female Thor, hopefully you have some grand adventures. Real Thor will be back in two years time, tops. I guarantee it.
Black Captain America
Let’s bring things down to Earth now and talk about Steve Rogers being replaced as Captain America by none other than Sam Wilson, The Falcon.
It used to be that I didn’t have any regard for the Falcon, but I must admit that the Marvel writers seem to treat him with a lot of respect. In fact, I’d say he’s written to be a lot tougher than he probably should be.
However, I don’t really feel any pride at Sam being Captain America, because I probably have even less regard for Cap than I do for the Falcon. Besides, any old body can be Captain America.
The thing that really intrigues me about the situation is not the race issue, but the mechanism of how it happens.
Apparently one of Cap’s enemies manages to remove or otherwise negate the super-soldier serum inside of him.
For those that don’t know. That serum makes Steve Rogers the pinnacle of Human physical perfection. So he’s not superhuman, but as close as you can get with a lot of hard work.
He didn’t actually do that work, though, but whatever.
Suspended Animation/Frozen in Time/blahblahblah…
Basically, Marvel writer Rick Remender is saying that without the serum, Steve’s body starts reverting to the age he actually would be if not for his time spent frozen in the arctic, which would be around 90 years old.
Hrrrmmm. Something is not right here.
I can’t pinpoint the exact issue, but I swear Cap had that damn serum removed before, and he was just fine without it.
I certainly remember Marvel saying that the serum in his veins was what made it possible for him to go in to a cryogenic-like sleep for all those years, where a normal Human would have just frozen to death.
However, they didn’t say the serum was keeping him young. I distinctly remember seeing those awful Marvel future stories like Earth X, etc. where Cap appeared to have aged as normal.
Hell, I don’t know. The whole thing was a scam, anyway.
Yeah, about that Super Solider Serum…
Marvel always acted like the Super Soldier Serum process was so advanced that no one, even in the present day, could ever successfully replicate it. Remember, this was back in the 40’s!! So, I really don’t believe that.
But even if they couldn’t, so what? It’s not as special as they would have us believe. Especially when we have guys like the Power Broker out there giving people powers that actually are superhuman and just better than Captain America, anyway.
If you look at U.S.Agent, undoubtedly the most famous character to undergo the Power Broker process, you can see he’s stronger, faster and tougher than Captain America, and he actually was Captain America for a time (see, I told you anyone could be Captain America).
Yes, the character was kind of a jerk, but he was still a hero.
As it turns out, the Power Broker process was not completely safe. Many of the people who underwent the process came out monstrously deformed, but that’s still better than the 99.9% of people who came out dead from undergoing the Super Soldier process.
Stupid, stupid shield
Again, this was in the 40’s. They still can’t figure out how to duplicate this metal?
They sure can’t when it’s an editorial mandate that they can’t.
Because if any of the many, many super brains of the Marvel Universe replicate the serum or the shield, then Captain America is shown to be a whole lot less special than he’s made out to be.
I tell you, this character irks me. Irks, irks, irks me. This section has nothing to do with anything, but I’m including it because I just don’t like this mofo.
You know he’d be one of the first characters to get killed if anything really went down (along with Hawkeye and Black Widow), and yet Marvel acts like he’s the toughest guy they’ve got.
He routinely wins fights against opponents who outclass him in every way. On the one hand, that’s what super-hero comics are about, the hero may be physically outclassed, but they keep fighting until they win.
So it’s one thing for Cap to beat up on these villains, but sometimes he beats up other super-heroes who he just could not beat in a thousand years:
Oh, and Captain America seems to be one of the people who can be worthy to lift Thor’s hammer. Gah. I’m disgusted…
The Bottom Line/The Wrap Up
Well, back to what we were talking about before I went off on a tangent, namely the replacements.
It’s like this, Marvel is in this to make money, and they don’t care about any gender or racial equality. They just want the money. That means they have to make these comics interesting.
Marvel especially has realized that the way to do this is to “reset” things every few years, generate some kind of hype and issue a brand new #1 Collector’s Item First Issue!
This works remarkably well.
It turns out 70+ years of continuity is pretty heavy, it weighs down your characters and limits your options. That’s one of the many reasons cited for dwindling comics sales – namely that’s it’s too hard for people to jump on because they have no clue what’s happening without having read the last few decades of comics.
Restarting everything with a new #1 and new direction every few years solves that problem. This time it’s Marvel trying to appear to be progressive, but it just as easily could have been a different story altogether.
Eventually, She-Thor and Black Captain America will become the status quo, at which point Marvel will need to breathe some new life into it, which will mean upending the whole thing with a huge RETURN OF STEVE ROGERS or RETURN OF THE REAL THOR event. As I said above, two years, tops and they’ll both be back.
Again, I don’t even buy Thor or Captain America, so this doesn’t even affect me, but then again I’m hardly their target demographic. Being in my early 40’s, I’ve already been through quite a few different Thors and Captain Americas so this isn’t very exciting to me.
Although it was exciting enough for me to write this article about it, so they must have done something right.
See, I told you Marvel was smart.
And with all that said, I’m outta here, I’ll see you guys next time!