Ahead of her reintroduction on the big screen, a certain Valkyrie must prove her worth once more in Jane Foster & The Mighty Thor #1.
Several years after putting down Mjölnir for good and becoming a Valkyrie, a cosmic conspiracy forces Jane Foster into the role of the Mighty Thor once more. But this time around, she’s intent on not succumbing to the godly pull of the hammer, pledging to only use the powers of Thor when absolutely necessary. (Keen readers will remember that she technically died because of them, so naturally she’s a little wary of the mantle.) Once her mission is done—rescuing Thor Odinson from an unknown peril—then it’s back to the regular grind of escorting souls to the afterlife, which I’m sure we can all relate to.
There’s a very obvious reason why Marvel is reviving the idea of Jane as Thor, and its name is Thor: Love and Thunder. Natalie Portman’s much-heralded return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe—specifically as the Mighty Thor, no less—means Marvel editorial would have been dumb not to capitalize on cross-company synergy. They’re too canny at marketing to pass up a chance like this, for better or worse.
But even if the rationale for the move is admittedly flimsy and opportunistic, at least they delivered a handsome package like this one. The plot of the series seems to be a fairly standard rescue mission, with Thor being held hostage by a familiar recurring figure in the Thor mythos, so it really comes down to the approach taken by the creative team. On that level, Jane Foster & The Mighty Thor #1 is a pretty decent read that justifies its existence with strong character work from writer Torunn Grønbekk (who has penned various Jane-focused titles, including The Mighty Valkyries) and great art from Michael Dowling.
Grønbekk has a solid handle on Jane’s character, and my favorite parts of this issue aren’t the action but the smaller moments that reflect her essence of humanity and empathy. She takes her role as Valkyrie very seriously and knows she cannot save everyone from their fates but makes sure to comfort them in their final moments towards the afterlife. She also regards her time with Thor in mixed measure, not only regretting the experience and appreciating the inner strength it gave her but also knowing herself well enough to value her mortality more than the taste of godliness she felt as Thor. And to Grønbekk’s credit, Jane only actually appears as Thor in the issue once (twice, including the cover) which indicates an admirable level of restraint. It is her name before Thor’s in the title, after all, and Grønbekk’s focus is more on the human behind the hammer than the hammer attached to the human.
Downling’s art follows a similar note from predecessors Cafu and Mattia de Iulis with a style based in visual realism, which helps make the more fantastical elements of the story feel grander and more epic. Jesus Aburtov’s colors enhance the effect even further, delivering some truly beautiful shading that gives the lighting in various scenes an uncanny level of photographic verisimilitude. Jane Foster & The Mighty Thor #1 is altogether just a well-made comicbook that leaves the reader wanting more, which is all you can ask for from a new number one.
Jane Foster & The Mighty Thor #1
- Writer: Torunn Grønbekk
- Artist: Michael Dowling
- Color Artist: Jesus Aburtov
- Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
- Cover Artists: Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, Marte Gracia
- Editors: Wil Moss with Alanna Smith
- Publisher: Marvel Entertainment