202

Meet Marvel’s Goddess of Thunder

WASHINGTON — For centuries, Thor has been depicted as tall, muscled and decidedly male. His blond, flowing locks are more a tribute to his Viking roots than a symbol of his gender.

But Marvel Comics is hammering away at the traditional Thor and reintroducing the holder of Mjolnir as a woman. Meet the Goddess of Thunder.

thor_640.jpg

Courtesy Marvel Comics

Those not up-to-date on the “Thor” comics might be surprised by the sudden gender shift. But writer Jason Aaron says this is the culmination of years of planning.

“Something dark has befallen the God of Thunder, leaving him weakened and for the first time in forever … unworthy to wield the might hammer that gives him power,” Marvel says.

With the superhero stricken by some evil-doing, Mjolnir is left unattended on the moon until a new, worthy hero lifts its handle. In Norse mythology, the wielder of that mighty hammer is Thor, Odin’s son. The hammer not only allows Thor to invoke thunder but makes him practically unbeatable. Mjolnir is capable of pulverizing even the scariest of Frost Giants.

But in the comics, Thor’s demise is inevitable because the power of Mjolnir can only be used by someone who is worthy. So if Thor has a bad day, he might not get to keep that special hammer. And with Asgard constantly battling the likes of Loki — Thor’s trickster brother — and other supernatural villains, Thor’s demise was all but assured.

“I’ve introduced some new characters, brought back some old villains,” Aaron tells The Washington Post.

“All of that really plays into the new series. This was always the plan: to get Thor to a point where he was unworthy and have someone else pick up that hammer.”

While the face of Mjolnir’s new owner will be shown when the first installment of “Thor” hits stands Wednesday, her identity will be unraveled slowly throughout the series. Could it be Thor’s mother, Freyja? Or his love interest Sif? Or maybe even scientist Jane Foster?

“All those characters will have roles to play in the new book, and not just as red herrings,” Aaron says.

“A lot of them have been a big part of the book for the past couple of years, so those roles will continue on, and then one of them ultimately