Thor Odinson, the original Thor, is off being The Dude with the Guardians of the Galaxy. He’s left Midgard unprotected, poor Mjolnir gathering dust (SHAME SHAME SHAME) and a vast Thor-shaped hole behind. Vaster, even, considering the 20+ pounds Bro Thor put on from his pizza and booze post-Snap depression binges. Welp.
THEN, the news struck white-hot. We found out at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con that Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster is taking up the God of Thunder mantle in the MCU.
Having already been The Mighty Thor in Marvel comics for five years in her solo series (nope, not She-Thor or Female Thor! The Mighty Thor.) Jane’s Goddess of Thunder act in the upcoming film Thor: Love and Thunder isn’t some random far out fanfic. It’s canon, y’ all. Canon!
So let’s take a beat (or should I say bolt) and get to know The Mighty Thor!
Image Source: The Mighty Thor #1, Cover Variant Art by Olivier Coipel, Marvel, 2015
1. She Was Around in the ‘60s
Created by the late Stan Lee, Jane Foster first appeared in Marvel comics in 1962’s Journey Into Mystery #84. The Mighty Thor went by Jane Nelson then and was merely a love interest *rolls eyes* for a surgeon, Dr. Donald Blake.
2. Odin Catfished Her
Crushing hard on both sweet Dr. Donald Blake, and swoony God of Thunder Thor Odinson put Jane into an epic love triangle. One made all the more epic when it comes to light that Odin is the one behind it all. Stick with me here.
Blake turns out to be a “mystic construct” created by Odin to house Thor Odinson. Worst. News. Ever. The whole schtick was Odin’s way of punishing Thor for his impulsive dudebro ways. He would be a mortal (an injured mortal at that*) dedicated to caring for the sick and dying. Thus, Thor would be forced to learn humility.
Jane was caught up in this Asgardian nonsense, and as a result of her feelings for Thor Odinson, became the object of Odin’s scorn. (See: She’s a Two-Time Goddess below.)
*Note: Dr. Donald Blake is depicted with a physical disability– a leg injury that requires him to use a cane to maneuver around. The cane, as we find out in the comics, is actually a “disguise” for Mjolnir.
Image Source: Journey Into Mystery #84, Penciling by Jack Kirby, Marvel, 1962
3. Paging Dr. Foster
Throughout the comics, Jane has a career in the medical field. Her first significant gig is as a nurse in a hospital with Mr. “Mystical Construct” Dr. Donald Blake. Talk about a Facebook “It’s Complicated” status update. Yeowch. Always one for self-improvement and helping others, in future comics, Jane works her way up to becoming an accomplished ER doctor.
Image Source: Thor, Marvel Studios, 2011 (courtesy of IMDB)
In one comic storyline, Jane Foster served as a doctor to the Avengers, the Heroes For Hire, and as a personal physician for both Captain America and Iron Man. During the first Civil War, she sided with Cap and was the on-call doctor for all of the superheroes on his anti-registration side.
4. She’s a Different Sort of Doctor in The MCU
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Jane Foster is an astrophysicist and astronomer– one of the most preeminent in the world. Low-key an expert on Asgard’s cosmology — the creation of its universe– Jane later partners up with S.H.I.E.L.D.
This is the very same organization that confiscated her tech in the first Thor film to develop a wormhole capable of transporting Midgardians to Asgard.
There’s a cheeky nod to Jane’s comic book origins in 2011’s Thor. Jane gives Thor a shirt with a “Donald Blake, M.D.” name tag, and an awkward confession about the good doctor, “My ex. Good with patients and bad with relationships.”
Later in the movie, Jane’s colleague Erik Selvig makes Thor a fake I.D. also using Donald Blake’s name.
5. And, Sometimes Not a Doctor At All
In the 2010 comic Thor: The Mighty Avenger, penned by Roger Langridge, Jane is a museum curator. On this Earth, 726633, she’s head of the Norse department at the Bergen War Memorial Museum and meets Thor when comes in search of Mjolnir. In this comic Jane becomes a kind of sidekick to Thor, and is brought into the fold of the superhero world as she meets characters like Ant-Man and the Wasp.
Image Source: The Mighty Thor #1, Art by Russell Dauterman, Marvel, 2016
6. She’s a Two-Time Goddess
Here’s the thing. Jane had already been a Goddess once before she became The Mighty Thor. During the Thor comics in the 1960’s Odin, peeved by his son’s human squeeze, transformed Jane in a goddess of flight. Then he concocted a series of redonkulous tasks for her to complete to earn her rightful place in Asgard and with Thor.
But Odin rigged the whole thing and Jane “failed” spectacularly. Odin erases her mind of the entire thing (and Thor Odinson) and zaps her back to Earth.
7. She Almost Won a Nobel Peace Prize
In the MCU, Jane’s extensive study of the once-every-5,000-years reality smashing cosmic event, The Convergence (Gravity shifts! Portals! Wormholes!) put her on the radar of the most renowned scientists on Earth-616. The Convergence only happens when all Nine Realms of Asgard came into alignment and is the major plot point of Thor: The Dark World.
Image Source: The Mighty Thor #8, Art by Russell Dauterman, Marvel, 2015
8. She Had Cancer
Wielding Mjolnir comes with a steep price, one that Jane wasn’t banking on when the mythical hammer deemed her worthy. In Jason Aaron’s comic The Mighty Thor, every time she smashes her enemies with the fearsome weapon, the resulting power from Mjolnir ravages her body.
The long term effects of this are so ferocious that Jane’s breast cancer** (diagnosed in her pre-goddess days) becomes worse with every strike of the hammer.
**Note: As The Mighty Thor, Jane’s cancer is suppressed entirely. As the thunder goddess, she has accelerated healing, invulnerability and is immune to all of Midgard’s illnesses, diseases, and infections. Conversely, her superhuman body actively purges the chemotherapy out of her. This makes her very human fight against breast cancer all the more damaging and dangerous when she transforms back to her mortal self.
9. She’s All About That Aether!
In the MCU’s Thor: The Dark World, Jane inadvertently comes into contact with Aether, and it merges with her body. Hosting the Aether, aka the liquified version of the Reality Stone, (Hey it beats hosting a Symbiote!) gives Jane tremendous, and nearly uncontrollable power.
We’re talking gravitational chaos, rips in reality, and pure energy that blasts out of her. (But still, no Symbiote!)
Thor Odinson flies Jane to Asgard to meet the parents figure out how to contain and extract the Aether but erm, ends up stirring up a whole mess of trouble. Dark Elves storming Asgard kind of trouble.
Image Source: What If? Vol.1 #10, Art by John Buscema and Gaspar Saladino, Marvel, 1978
10. She Was Worthy Since 1978
In a 1978 comic storyline What If? #10 (say it with me, 1978) Jane finds Mjolnir and the godly weapons finds her worthy of using it. In this issue, Jane transforms into the goddess of thunder. Deemed the most powerful member of the Avengers, Thordis, as she’s known then, defeats Mr. Hyde, the Radioactive Man, and King Cobra on Midgar.
Then, she defends Asgard from first, that darn Loki, and then later an alien invasion. Then, for some reason, she hands Mjolnir over to Donald Blake — this time, not all constructy and mythical– and, brace yourself, marries Odin.
Image Source: The Mighty Thor #4, Art by Russell Dauterman, Marvel, 2016
“If you’re a long-time Thor fan, you know there’s kind of a tradition from time to time of somebody else picking up that hammer. Beta Ray Bill was a horse-faced alien guy who picked up the hammer. At one point Thor was a frog. So I think if we can accept Thor as a frog and a horse-faced alien, we should be able to accept a woman being able to pick up that hammer and wield it for a while… The male Thor—he’s still going to be around. He’s still a character…
this is a continuation of…that. We’re not throwing out everything that’s come before [this comic].
Jason Aarons, The Express Tribune interview
11. She’s An Avenger
Part of the All New All Different Avengers, the Goddess of Thunder takes down evil-doers with her superpowered teammates. These are Kamala Khan’s Ms. Marvel, Sam Wilson’s Captain America, Miles Morales’s Spider-Man, Nadia Van Dyne’s The Wasp, and Vision, to name just a few.
The All New All Different Avengers assembled to battle the Chitauri alien Warbringer and, later, one of Marvel Studios’ most formidable supervillains– the time-traveling Kang the Conqueror.
Wielding Mjolnir as both part of the Avengers, and on her own in The Mighty Thor, she’s defeated frost giants, the Absorbing Man, the Destroyer, the Dark Elf sorcerer Malekith, and the Mangog.
Image Source: X-Men: To Serve and Protect #3, Art by Various, Marvel, 2011
12. She’s Not the Only Woman to Lift Mjolnir
Ororo Munroe, or Storm, one of the pivotal members of the X-Men has also handled the legendary hammer in X-Men: To Serve and Protect #3. The weather-manipulating mutant, who can trace her lineage back to African Priestesses (and a Princess) in Kenya, was able to snatch Mjolnir from Thor Odinson’s hand.
Storm wasn’t just messing around with the god of thunder. Having been duped by Loki, and nearly fooled into believing a mystical hammer he gifted her was Mjolnir — but was, in fact, a replica called Stormcaster– Storm used Mjolnir to smash the imitation and stick it to Loki.
13. She’s Not the Only Thor Either
In Jason Aaron’s The War of The Realms six-part comic series, Jane joins an army of past and future Thors to end Malekith the Accursed’s warmongering and assault on Earth. You can read more about the Dark Elf sorcerer’s extensive background on CBR.
Image Source: The War of The Realms #6, Art by Russell Dauterman, Marvel, 2019
14. Lady Sif Has Her Back
Introduced to Marvel comics in 1964’s Journey Into Mystery #102, the warrior goddess Lady Sif dated Thor and had an arranged marriage with the god of thunder. But, before she could say “I do” Ragnarok happened, bringing with it a mass extinction of the Norse gods– Sif included.
She was revived in later comics by Thor Odinson. Even though her betrothal to the brawny blond god didn’t work out, Sif had no hard feelings about his most recent ex, Jane.
Sif quickly rushed to Jane’s side when she took on the Thor mantle. She defended Jane from the fear-eating god Cul Borson (clad in Destroyer armor) who Odin sic’d on Jane to get Mjolnir back and, well, to end her.
Image Source: Thor #231, Art by Gil Kane, Marvel, 1966
15. … And Her Body
In 1966, in Thor #231, Lady Sif and Jane inhabited the same body! When Jane was close to death, having attempted suicide multiple times over the loss of Thor Odinson, Lady Sif sprung into action and fused her body and soul with Jane’s.
Lady Sif’s selfless and #platonic act of love brought Jane back to life and reunited her with Thor Odinson. For several issues, Sif and Jane were “roomies” until the storyline was brought to an abrupt end years later.
Image Source: Thor #236, Art by Gil Kane, Marvel, 1966
16. She Has a High Flying Friend
When The Mighty Thor gets her #squadgoals on with The All-New All-Different Avengers, Jane strikes up a close friendship (and then just straight-up ‘ship!) with Sam Wilson. He is fighting crime as Steve Rogers’s successor–the new Captain America!
The former Falcon and Jane hit it off so well that Sam is one of the select few that Jane trusts to know her real identity. That is, when she’s not The Mighty Thor, obvi.
Image Source: Doctor Strange: Damnation #2, Cover Variant by Ema Lupacchino, Marvel, 2018
17. She Defeated One of the Most Powerful Beings In The Marvel Universe
The Mangog, an alien creature with super strength, energy projection, and the ability to shapeshift has been the bane of Asgard since well, pretty much, its existence. He’s a physical manifestation of pure hatred– the hatred of a billion beings.
In The Mighty Thor #705, Jane was able to halt his rampage on Asgard but to her own detriment. Jane’s transformation into the Mighty Thor took such a toll on her cancer-ridden body (it blasted the chemotherapy drugs inside her to nothingness) that as a consequence of defeating the Mangog***, Jane died.
***Note: The Mangog’s defeat is destined to always be temporary, however. While hatred continues to exist, so too does the Mangog.
18. She Kicks Ass At Politics Too
In 2012’s Thor: God of Thunder #24, Thor Odinson offered Jane the opportunity of a lifetime– to serve as an intergalactic senator for Midgard in the Congress of Worlds. This is no small peanuts.
The Congress of Worlds is an assembly of representatives from all Nine Realms! Jane took the gig and began to advocate for Earth while also continuing aggressive rounds of chemo to treat her breast cancer!
Image Source: The War of The Realms #2, Art by Russell Dauterman, Marvel, 2019
19. She Was Once the All-Mother
In The War of The Realms #2, Jane is crowned Queen of Asgard by Freyja*. With Odin K.O.’ ed and Thor in the clutches of the frost giants on Jotunheim, Freyja entrusts the entire realm to Jane, appointing her interim All-Mother.
*Note: Hailing from real Norse mythology, Freyja is also known as Frigga, Freya, and Frigg.
Image Source: Valkyrie: Jane Foster #1, Cover Art Variant by Terry Dodson, Marvel, 2019
20. She’s A Valkyrior
Jane’s otherworldly pursuits don’t end when she (eventually) stops being The Mighty Thor, either. In comic book writers Jason Aaron and Al Ewing’s newest ongoing series, Valkyrie: Jane Foster, Jane is no longer The Mighty Thor in the wake of The War of The Realms comic arc.
In issue #1, which just launched on July 24th, Jane is transformed into Valkyrie– leader of the Asgardian warrior women, and escort to the “worthy” dead defeated in battle to the heavenly realm Valhalla.
Goddess of Thunder, Asgardian Queen, Intergalactic Senator, Avenger, and Cancer Survivor
Image Source: The Mighty Thor #1, Art by Russell Dauterman, Marvel, 2016
Whatever word you use to describe this heroic warrior, one thing is for sure– she’s worthy. Extraordinarily so.
Waging her own private battle against breast cancer isn’t enough to deter Jane from devoting herself to transforming into The Mighty Thor.
Whether she’s advocating for the rights and needs of Midgard amongst a council of the most World of Warcraft-ish beings (hello, fire demons, dark elves, and dwarves!), squeezing in her chemotherapy appointments in between defeating baddies with Mjolnir, or unraveling the cosmology of Asgard in the MCU, Jane has proven herself as being willing to, as the quote from Avengers Endgame goes, do “whatever it takes” to defend the vulnerable and non-super powered people around her.
Hiya, my name is Vicky and I’m your friendly neighborhood Marvel-loving, Studio Ghibli-obsessed, Queer Potterhead.
I may be in my mid-twenties but I’ve been an enthusiastic Potterhead for over a decade. I can’t go a day without firing off at least half a dozen Harry Potter references and have a small museum of Potter and Wizarding World merch… one with FAR too many Funkos.
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