Back in September, Marvel decided to strip Thor of his hammer and give it to a currently unnamed female character. This is not the first time the God of Thunder was deemed unworthy of wielding Mjolnir. Beta Ray Bill, Thunderstrike, Throg, and even Wonder Woman have held the hammer for a period of time.
The difference this time is that not only was the hammer taken from Thor, but also his identity and name. Writer Jason Aaron stated in an interview that this new female replace is “not She-Thor or Lady Thor. She’s not Thorika. She is Thor. This is the new Thor.”
The problem is that Thor is not a mantle. It is not a title. It is the character’s given name.
To put this perspective, Spider-man is mantle. While one can argue that the mantle is defined by Peter Parker and that no one can truly replace him, it remains a title Parker applied to himself. In contrast, “Peter Parker” is his given name. No one can simply take his name and become “Peter Parker.”
However, this does not work with Thor since “Thor” is his given name. He is Thor Odinson, and simply swapping him out with a female character will not change that.
Yet what makes this particular situation so troubling is how Aaron handles the switch. Aaron does not simply deem Thor unworthy. He humiliates him. He turns Thor into a petulant child whining about his lost toy. He emasculates him. He allows the replacement to utterly defeat Thor in battle, with Thor admitting at the end he is not good enough.
He also panders to the left, turning the new “Thor” into a feminist sockpuppet and giving her enough straw men to beat up to pour salt in the wounds of fans angered by the change.
In Thor #5, Aaron has female Thor pummel Absorbing Man as the villain gives a straw man version of the arguments against the new replacement. Female Thor, obviously, has little problem fighting him, but she does so while monologuing about feminism. Yet she is not the one to dispatch him. Titania takes in out, and then promptly gives up to female Thor out of female solidarity.
When I saw the pages days ago, I assumed they were a feminist edit. However, they are not. These are the published pages:
This is nothing more than trolling in comics. I would think someone of Aaron’s caliber would have the maturity not to spit in the faces of Thor fans. Instead, he panders to a group of people who regularly mock male rape victims and tweet hashtags like “kill all men.”
This does not maintain sales, let alone boost them. Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos noted that sales for the book have dropped, but that is not entirely true. Solicitations have dropped, yet even that can be deceptive. Many books start with high numbers and fall 40% to 60% within the first five issues as the books find their readership. A better insight into how well this anti-male pandering turns profits would be to look at past attempts. When one does this, it becomes rather disconcerting for Marvel. Their three most recent attempts — Captain Marvel, Ms Marvel, and X-men — have seen significant drops in solicits since their debut.
Captain Marvel debuted at 24,800 books in September 2012. It was relaunched in March 2014, and solicited 44,200 books. As of January 2015, it sits at 19,500 books. The all-female X-men debuted in May 2013 at 178,000 books. It now sits at 29,650 books. Ms Marvel debuted at 50,300 books. It now sits at 30,300 books. (Ultimate Spider-man met a similar fate, with numbers dropping fairly quickly despite all the progressives’ claims about supporting the character.)
Pandering to the feminist demographic does not move books. It does, however, insult the existing fan base, engage in pandering and misandry, and fuels more antagonism between fans and feminists.
What makes the situation so ridiculous is that Aaron’s arc is so obviously a politically correct stunt that it is comical for him or anyone else to treat it seriously. Hiding the character’s identity is a fine example of that. The moment the reader knows who is behind the mask, the character stops being female “Thor” and becomes *insert name* wielding Mjolnir.
Had Aaron simply done the latter — replaced the character without calling her “Thor” — it would still be blatant pandering to a group of people who whine about sexism and “bad” costumes even when they get what they want, but the fan base might have reacted with less antipathy. Aaron would not have taken away the character they love, only sidelined him for a bit.
Instead, Aaron set about rubbing fans’ faces in his decision from the start. That is a poor way to begin a story arc, and it has only gotten worse since then. This would be a fine ploy if readers had no option. Yet they do: they can stop reading the book.
It also builds negativity between readers and the writer. One can ask Dan Slott about the amount of hate mail he received over turning Doctor Octopus into Spider-man and then rubbing Peter Parker fans’ faces in it when they complained.
I do not read Aaron’s work, and I have never been a fan of Thor, so this is less a personal issue for me than one of practicality. The industry needs more readers. That does not mean feminist-leaning, man-hating, race-baiting, “social justice warriors.” That means younger readers. Younger readers, like my godson and his friends, take one look at Aaron’s antics and go back to their better written, better paced, far more interesting, and already diverse manga and anime.
So perhaps Aaron should stop attacking straw man arguments, bashing Thor fans for liking Thor as he was, and pandering to a bunch of bigots. It is not like it brings in sales.
Likewise, it undermines the point of all this “diversity.” Instead of creating a female character who can stand on her own merit with her own identity, it co-ops a male character’s identity. From that point on, everyone looks at the character as the replacement, not the “real one.” Perhaps this character will get her own spin-off and become her own person. If so, this is a poor way to do it.
Worse, this move plays into the negative stereotypes people have about feminists. Many people think feminism is about taking away men’s power, masculinity, and identity and giving those to women. And what does Aaron do to disprove this? He takes away Thor’s power, masculinity, identity, and his very name and gives it to a woman who promptly wields them to humiliate Thor and show he was never worthy of any of them to begin with.
Thanks, Aaron, for proving the critics of feminism right.