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Comics for Noobs: Thor

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Variant cover to Thor (v3) #1

Of all the characters to ever grace the pages of a comic book, Thor is by FAR my favorite. No character is more true to his ideals, more heroic than Thor.

Thor made his Marvel premiere in Journey into Mystery #83 in 1962. I'm going to dispense the usual character backstory on this one. If you want to know more, go read a freaking book. That's right. Marvel's Thor is not a hero with mystic powers or a guy pretending to be Thor. He is the ACTUAL freaking Norse God of Thunder.

Thor stays relatively true to the mythological roots. Odin, Loki, Balder and the rest are all there and intact. The only place where Marvel really deviates is Thor's "alter ego." While it would be funny to have an ancient God roaming the modern world, that would get a little old after a while. So, they took a bit of liberty with the story. Odin, wishing to teach his son humility, trapped Thor in the body of a mortal, Donald Blake. This dual-personality gives Thor a connection to the mortal world. Otherwise, what reason is there for a God to take notice of human problems? It's worked for almost 40 years, so I guess it's a good call.

Much of Thor's power is derived from his hammer, Mjolnir. Forged from an unbreakable metal and enchanted with magic from Odin himself, Mjolnir is one of the most powerful weapons in the universe, capable of controlling the very forces of nature. Mjolnir bears an inscription: Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of ... Thor Very few people other than Thor have been able to even LIFT the hammer, much less USE it. Some, such as the always-awesome Beta Ray Bill, even proving to be Thor's equal.

The Norse myths center around the battle of Ragnarok, in which the Gods and heroes battle the forces of evil at the end of the world. The world is reborn and everything starts over again. In the comic continuity, Thor managed to stop the Ragnarok Cycle. None of the Gods would be reborn, but being Gods, they weren't really dead, either. Their spirits wandered the void, eventually attaching themselves to human hosts. Thor, used to this as Donald Blake, set out to free the Aesir and rebuild Asgard, free from the threat of Ragnarok.

This is where J. Michael Straczynski started his 2007 relaunch of Thor.

And that, Comic Noobs, is where you should start, too. Thor, Vol. 1 Yep, no fancy subtitle, just freaking THOR. Though, be sure to read Civil War first if you want to avoid some spoilers.

Questions? Comics can be very confusing to new readers. Feel free to email me at samodeanhc(at)gmail(dot)com. If I can collect enough questions, I would love to publish them in a Q&A Session post! Please specify if you would like the question answered publicly or privately.


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