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  1. #1
    Ultimate Member JKtheMac's Avatar
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    Default Unworthy Thor: The Logic of Aaron's Run

    In a recent discussion the logic of Aaron's Thor run was questioned. This keeps coming up in discussions about Odinson, Jane as Thor, Mjolnir, various appreciation threads etc. and I felt it might be sensible to have a convenient thread to discuss this without disrupting the other discussions. This way each time it comes up we can move those discussions here where the debate can be had in light of any new story, or insights.

    Although the underlying logic of Aaron's Thor run is not complex, it is very easy to miss some of the facts or to misrepresent them. Either by oversimplification, or by misremembering some of the details. It is probably worth starting with a paraphrase of Aaron on these issues:

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron on Off Panel #119
    I have always leaned into the idea of Thor as a god… To me they are gods because that is what makes thor different to all the other characters in the Marvel Universe… To me as an atheist how do I approach that? So I have always written Thor as the god I would like to believe in…


    [Gor] is a despicable character but he’s got a point of view I can relate to. I think you see that stuff through my whole run. Not me trying to preach about being an atheist because I think the book is very much a celebration of gods, and Thor as a god, but there are moments he points out gods are kind of terrible, ‘Maybe we would be better off without you?’ Thor has his own ideas about that - hearing the truth of that - because what Nick Fury was saying was truth, he can see the truth in all things, so him telling Thor Odinson that, confirming what he clearly already had doubts about, that made him unable to pick up the hammer.
    So here we have the core to the logic of his run. The challenge - maybe the MU would be better of without the gods – Fury’s objective knowledge – Odinson’s doubts confirmed.

    This needs a little unpacking because the actual comics are not quite this simple. The logic, can’t be oversimplified. This isn't:

    Thor did X + X is unworthy = Thor is unworthy.

    This is much more complex:

    Gor asserted X + X was objectively verified + X suggests all gods are unworthy + Thor is a god = Thor is unworthy.

    Lets break that down.

    Gor asserted X:

    Right at the death Gor said: “The Gods didn’t create Mankind. But someday if they are not stopped they will end it mark my words.” he said “It’s the gods who’ve ruined creation. We’ll all be better off without them.”
    But remember the lesson of Gor’s son. A son who wasn’t real. Gor’s son was a manifestation of Gor’s self doubt and contained in that doubt was the fact that Gor was “God of Hypocrisy” that he himself was a god who was making the world worse.
    So for Gor, X = The MU would be better off without the gods.

    X was objectively verified

    Fury in Original Sin who was empowered by the death of The Watcher. He knows the actual truth. He saw the history of Earth literally through The Watcher’s eyes. He then whispered ‘Gor was right’ to Odinson.
    The whisper isn't a matter of belief - it was factual. Gor's challenge to the gods was true.

    X suggests all gods are unworthy

    Thor put this part together in his own self reflection. He effectively concludes that he isn't worthy. This part is affected by his beliefs and opinions of himself, but, this is not a mere opinion, this is a serious challenge to his self image.

    Odinson formulates ‘X suggests all gods are unworthy’ while talking to Beta Ray Bill in Unworthy Thor:

    “Gods are vain and vengeful creatures. Always have been. The mortals who've worshipped us for centuries would be better off without us. We gods do not deserve their love. No matter how much we fight to fool ourselves. We are all unworthy."

    Thor is a god

    As we can see from Aaron’s statement he does indeed consider Thor a god. Gor’s challenge to the gods is not an assertion that the gods don’t exist. He just doesn’t believe they are who they say they are. He simply claims the Asgardians did not create mankind and that they make things worse.

    Thor is the God of Thunder regardless of his worthiness. In Unworthy Thor #1 he states that “Even the Thunder sometimes refuses my call” but notably he doesn’t say it always refuses him. In Might Thor #19 he combines his own Storm powers with Jane as Thor to battle the Phoenix.

    --

    There is a chink in this logic. Thor Odinson is Unworthy because of how the gods use their power. That isn’t a static thing. That is something that can change.

    Odinson can’t quite see that in Unworthy Thor, even when Beta-Ray Bill tells him to his face “you are no mere god my friend”. Beta-Ray holds the truth. His words hint that the gods could become a benevolent force, “Every day you give your blood, your tears, your immortal soul, to prove Gor wrong”.

    Thor could be an example through actions and deeds. He can both accept X and defy it. A figure that is worthy of mankind and the gods. Step up Thor God of Thunder, Champion of Yggdrasil, Defender of the realms, God of Worthiness.

    I have insisted all along that this would be a transformative story. That the circle would be squared. This is the formulation I now perceive as the outcome of the story:

    Gor was Right, but Thor can change the situation. The gods can change. The gods can become worthy but only through their actions. Through the living example of Thor Odinson.

  2. #2
    Astonishing Member Abe's Avatar
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    Tanks JK! It was a reading both interesting and... worthy.

    I've only read a small part of Aaron's Thor (Last days of Midgard - because of Ribic and Galactus, no surprise... - and the Unworthy mini) but you make me want to read the all run. When it will be finished and collected in Omnibus or fat tpb I'll probably invest in it and in Simpson's run too.

    ....

    Of course now I want you to start a thread to compare several visions of godhood in comic books : Aaron and Kirby. But Also the Wicked and the Divine... I'm pretty sure you have interesting things to say about that subject! (W&D is another book I plan to read in collected editions later. A few threads on the board encouraged me to do so... )

  3. #3
    Mighty Member Hizashi's Avatar
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    Great post JK, while I haven’t always liked everything during Aaron’s run, you’ve put together a pretty clear examination of the logic and themes of the book, and why it’s still considered a great book. I’m looking forward to the climax of the run.

  4. #4
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Interesting logic, though roundabouts it just seems to be leading to the idea of Thor acting like Thor again in a convoluted way and is not something I see many writers in the future paying attention too .

  5. #5
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    Eh.

    What's happening to Thor and being unworthy, is simply more of the deconstruction that's going on with heroes, because writers simply can't be bothered to develop their villains.

    Wonder Woman went through the same thing, in Amazons Attack and the Rebirth arc, wherein her people were revealed to be murderous (and sexist!)bastards.

    It's be nice if writers who didn't 'get' certain aspects of characters, simply didn't write them. Why is that too much to ask?

  6. #6
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    A very good summary

    My main contention with this entire run has been the reason for thors unworthiness of mjolnir

    Gods themselves have never, ever been worthy just because the were gods, imo there is no relationship there at all

    Thor seeing gor had a point concludes he isn't worthy of mjolnir - this is a confidence trick of himself - nothing more, since in mythos being a god does not dictate worthyness and never has

    in this aspect the writers logic does not work at all for me

    That aside I am interested in the mother storm idea - how is stormbreaker the equal of mjolnir if it doesn't have the storm trapped in it?

    When will thors mother link into this story? I'd be interested to see her and the storm mother have words!

    further I'd like to see an explanation of why odin hasn't removed the worthyness enchantment if it's such a bane that he or thor can't weild mjolnir any longer - he's not feeling he's unworthy (maybe it's culs influence? ) - maybe he can't but I would question that since its had enchantments removed before (its time powers for example)

    I would very much love to see thor pick up Mjölnir and then toss it away saying it's no longer worthy of him - buts that's a no chance idea

    I would like to see where jane ends if she does die - I'd like to see her continue in some way

    Maybe she could be gaies (sp) champion

  7. #7
    Better than YOU! Alan2099's Avatar
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    To me it feels like it all boils down to "other gods are bad and you're a god so you're not worthy," and that just seems like a real dumb thing to hang the entire storyline on.

    Also the idea that Odin and his bunch didn't create humans shouldn't be a major plot point either. Thor and even Odin have acknowledged that there are far older and far more powerful "gods" than themselves.

  8. #8
    Fantastic Member GodThor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kilderkin View Post
    When will thors mother link into this story? I'd be interested to see her and the storm mother have words!
    Gaea is forgotten.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by GodThor View Post
    Gaea is forgotten.

    Pity - throwing in the power of an elder god would be interesting to me

  10. #10
    Fantastic Member GodThor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kilderkin View Post
    Pity - throwing in the power of an elder god would be interesting to me
    true but sadly, we most likely won't see her.

  11. #11

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    " So to me, people are just caviler about ignoring the intentions of the original creators–ignoring the equity that was built up over the years. It’s, “I’m in charge now so I’ll do anything I damn well please,” and that’s almost always a mistake. When Walt did Thor, he didn’t reboot it or throw away the past. He just made it good."

    - Jim Shooter https://www.adventuresinpoortaste.co...ives-and-more/

    Summarizes my thoughts really well.

  12. #12
    Heavy Vinyl Dolores - The Worst Poster Ever's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rage.Of.Olympus View Post
    " So to me, people are just caviler about ignoring the intentions of the original creators–ignoring the equity that was built up over the years. It’s, “I’m in charge now so I’ll do anything I damn well please,” and that’s almost always a mistake. When Walt did Thor, he didn’t reboot it or throw away the past. He just made it good."

    - Jim Shooter https://www.adventuresinpoortaste.co...ives-and-more/

    Summarizes my thoughts really well.
    Funny, when Simonson was given Thor, Shooter asked him to destroy Asgard and kill off every character except for Thor Odinson, and do a soft reboot of the franchise.

    Besides that, it's also funny that Shooter picked Thor as an example to make that point, since if it had been up to Kirby, the story of Thor and Asgard would have come to an end with Ragnarok and would have led to the New Gods.
    Creativity without constraint comes with responsibility. We do not make art in a vacuum isolated from sociopolitical context - RG

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Cool Thatguy View Post
    Eh.

    What's happening to Thor and being unworthy, is simply more of the deconstruction that's going on with heroes, because writers simply can't be bothered to develop their villains.

    Wonder Woman went through the same thing, in Amazons Attack and the Rebirth arc, wherein her people were revealed to be murderous (and sexist!)bastards.

    It's be nice if writers who didn't 'get' certain aspects of characters, simply didn't write them. Why is that too much to ask?
    Funny how this was supposed to be a post specifically breaking down those tried misconceptions about Aaron's run just because they don't like what's happening to Odinson. But you're missing the point so hard it's almost comical.

  14. #14
    Concerned Citizen Citizen Kane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dolores - The Worst Poster Ever View Post
    Funny, when Simonson was given Thor, Shooter asked him to destroy Asgard and kill off every character except for Thor Odinson, and do a soft reboot of the franchise.

    Besides that, it's also funny that Shooter picked Thor as an example to make that point, since if it had been up to Kirby, the story of Thor and Asgard would have come to an end with Ragnarok and would have led to the New Gods.
    Except all of this would have happened at a time when Thor wasn't considered a "mainstay" of the Marvel universe; It's different now.
    Last edited by Citizen Kane; 11-25-2017 at 11:39 PM.

  15. #15
    Astonishing Member theoneandonly's Avatar
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    I wonder if the death of Thor is going to go deeper in the whole worthiness concept. Will Jane Thor be able to reach out to the gods and enable them to understand the divinity of their beings which will weaken and defeat mangog or are they all going to die or something. Anyway wonder if what is going to come after unworthy Thor assuming the golden armed Thor arc gets done with and arron concludes his run is that we will get a new 52 superman like Thor with the whole saga getting rebooted. Where Jane Thor will fit after Aaron is done is anybody's guess.
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