With Marvel Generations nearing its halfway point of the ten issue limited series, there’s been a lot of buzz about how they’re going to tie in to the upcoming Legacy event, which many are still confused about. Yet, that’s a conversation for another time. For me personally only having read the Jean Grey/ Phoenix book other than the current Odinson/ Jane Foster one, it’s hard to truly judge the series as a whole. But for these two issues, my reception is mostly on the positive side.
The story itself was solid with some very well tied-in concepts to the current Mighty Thor run, taking in the challenges currently facing Jane Foster between her rapidly declining health and her relationship with Odinson. The ending held some truly questionable implications for Odin and a former “love” interest in the form of the Phoenix force; when I mean the Phoenix force, I don’t mean Jean Grey, I mean the force itself. Yeah it gets really weird.
For those who don’t follow what’s currently going on in the Asgardian Universe, there are a few pivotal things from these books that make some cameo appearances in this comic. For one, most people know that Jane Foster has breast cancer and that it is getting much worse the longer she becomes Thor. The fact that not only can she not give up holding Mjolnir to help those in need is bad enough; what is even worse is that she refuses Asgardian medicine. Being pro-human is one thing, but to refuse a cure so that your own race can propel themselves at the cost of your own life? Perhaps that’s what makes her worthy, but then again we know from the anti-climactic ending of the Unworthy Thor series that no Asgardian is truly worthy. Maybe it’s the fact that she’s human that makes her worthy?
A Young Odinson
The issue opens in the very distant past when Thor Odinson was young and not yet worthy of Mjolnir, though not for lack of trying. Odin is ever the All-Father of the year as he works to get his young and brash son to act more as his heir and a prince rather than spending time trying to be worthy of Mjolnir, plus his spending so much time in Midgard with his Vikings. Granted, Odin does have a point in the fact that Thor does need to take interest in what will one day be his own throne, but there are much better ways of going about it without crushing his sons dreams. Nor is it really helpful that he does nothing but hurl threats and insults.
Odin gives his son a chance at showing off his honor when told he must attend a delegation from Vanaheim, but of course upon his arrival he is miserable, with nothing on his mind but battle and glory. Odin is so distrusting of his son’s actions that he doesn’t even allow him mead during the ceremony. Yet with the coming company late, Thor takes this chance to answer a desperate prayer back on Midgard and without a thought he’s off on his giant goat to answer it for glory’s sake.
When he arrives a group of Vikings managed to take their plundering ways so far south of the Nile that they reached Egypt, the desperation of coursing being real in the form of heavy resistance from the Egyptian natives. At first it seems as if they’re not dealing with much more than some soldier resistance and a possible sea creature. This all changes when Odinson is shot off his ram by the ancient all-powerful mutant himself, Apocalypse. Granted that this comic does place early in Odinson’s history, I would have liked to see a more classic Thor villain like Lauffey or Mangog but I guess this fit the timeline. Interestingly enough though it is teased that Mangog will be the villain of the upcoming Death of Thor…of which I’m really upset about, only because I really love Jane Foster’s run as Mighty Thor.
Double The Lighting
Speaking of Jane Foster, Odinson realizes that he just might not be a match against this insanely powerful mutant, that is until his future love and replacement shows up to help him save the day. At first Odinson is appalled that not only is it someone else who is wielding Mjolnir, but also that it’s a woman. Horrors. Not long after, thanks to some common sense of their situation and some serious and deserved shade on Jane’s end, the two decide that two Thors will be more than a force to be reckoned with.
Throughout the fight we get to see an exciting sequence of events as Jane and Odinson take on the mighty mutant and equally we also get a lot of text boxes reciting ones used in earlier Mighty Thor issues that pertain to what it really means to be Thor for Jane Foster and how it will be the end of her. The state of her cancer brings up a philosophical ponder: she’s alive as long as she wields the hammer, but if the more she’s Thor the quicker Jane will die, then what’s her motive? Could it be she cares more about saving those in needs than her own life? Will it come to the point that if one day she puts down the hammer, her body will instantly succumb to the cancer?
I really hope this will be more brought up in her own comic, though that won’t make it sting any less when we finally get to The Death of Thor in October.
The true culprit of this transgression on Odinson’s part is revealed to be none other than Loki as we move forward in the book. Jane, of course, has a lot more of a reason to want to pummel him upon his sight, especially considering his near mass-genocide of the light elves while in the employ of Malekith in the first arc of her second run. It seems that Loki baited these Vikings to go somewhere they would be overwhelmed, knowing the almighty Odinson will ruin himself at a chance to help their glory. Other than thi,s he really doesn’t play much of a part in this story.
By the end of the fight we see what it truly means to inspire and to be inspired as the two take down the ancient mutant. After the ordeal there is celebrating and drinking as is the Viking fashion, and it seems that Jane learns not only about a man she once loved, but about herself and the true meaning of being Thor. What effect this will have on her as a person remains to be seen, and no doubt will be shown moving on towards the end of her run.
Now this was my real only issue with this book: we get it, the Phoenix force is destruction given form. It attracts, it seduces, and it corrupts; of all of the future power hungry characters of the Marvel Universe, Odin is one who we would not want to see harness its power. This would have been an interesting idea as I’m saying it, but to literally come out and say that Odin had a physical and sexual one night stand with the Phoenix force and to give it a female, sexualized form? Like what are you trying to pull off here Marvel?
Apparently this will be explained more once Marvel Legacy begins but I swear…if this comes around that somehow Odinson is actually the son of the Phoenix force, I can’t even to begin to explain how stupid of a move that will be.
While I’m more partial to Dauterman on art, this comic felt slightly lacking compared to what we see in Mighty Thor. Not to say it was bad, I enjoyed it but I feel like for this sort of one-time event they should have gone all out. The colors were great and the mix of magic, powers, and action scenes played out well with how it was done but the penciling was a not detailed enough to keep up.
This was a really good effort on Marvel’s end to try and revamp their popularity, considering more recent disasters in production. The story was really solid even considering that very questionable ending and kept those who truly care about Jane Fosters character invested while hopefully bringing in some new fans. Even if it is too late to really understand the impact the next few weeks will hold for her, I hope more new fans will go back and read her short but great time as Thor.
I would have liked to see a more Thor-oriented villain head this comic off, but I was satisfied with Apocalypse and Loki always lurking in the shadows. I’m just going to leave that ending alone for now: please Marvel don’t do anything stupid with it… Please!
Final Score: 8/10
Marvel Generations: The Thunder/Mighty Thor and Unworthy Thor
Story: Jason Aaron
Pencils & Inks: Mahmud Asrar
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Joe Sabino
All Images Courtesy of Marvel