After being largely off the playing field for the past two years, the original Thor is returning for "Marvel NOW!" ongoing series titled The Unworthy Thor. According to io9, the series "will follow the god’s escape and captivity - revealed to be at the hands of none other than cosmic archiver the Collector - and his journey to becoming a hero once more." Long-time Thor writer Jason Aaron will be on The Unworthy Thor, joined by returning Thor artist Olivier Coipel.
"I’ve always written him as a guy who wakes up every morning, look [sic] at that hammer and know he would not know if was going to pick it up," said Aaron of the character once known as Thor. "It was always questioning his own worthiness, which is what made him such a great god the first time. So now he’s at the point where that’s been taken away. He failed for a reason we still don’t quite understand. He dropped the hammer and hasn’t been able to pick it up since. So then we go to a pretty dark place. A darker, more desperate, more driven version. The real fun of Thor is that he wields an axe now. He’s still out trying to fight the fight, but first he’s gotta be off on his own."
After being removed as Thor and possessor of Mjolnir in 2014's Original Sin, the man now referred to as Odinson has largely been absent from Marvel's comic books. The character appeared briefly in The Mighty Thor, shown imprisoned by by a then-unknown person, now known to be the Collector.
"I mean, again, we just did the tease where the Odinson is a prisoner - so, where’s the prisoner? Why? What’s going on?," said Aaron. "We flash back a little bit, with the first issue of the series and see what he was up to, post-Secret Wars. How he got pulled into this situation all begins with him finding out there’s this other hammer out there. He just needs to find it."
The artwork for The Unworthy Thor shows the hammer/axe most recently used by the Ultimate Thor. After the culmination of the Ultimate universe in the lead-up to Secret Wars, the Ultimate Thor - and that hammer - appeared in the Thors miniseries, also written by Aaron. How did it make its way to Marvel's one-time Thor?
"Well, you know, it was - by ending the Ultimate universe, we knew we were kind of given this lump sum of those characters. So, part of my goal with Thors was [to do] the final story for Ultimate Thor. We talked about wanting to make those Secret Wars miniseries mean something in terms of the bigger picture still unfolding, that they weren’t just four random issues you could forget about named Thors. I wanted something big to come out of Thors that would affect our characters going forward, so that turned out to be a hammer. This is just a great, great beast of metal," Aaron revealed.
"So to have that somehow fly through the events of Secret Wars and land in the normal Marvel Universe, which we saw at the end of Thors, at Old Asgard - of course it went back to Old Asgard, but the old Asgard, nobody lives there. So, it’s just been sitting there, all this time."
How can someone unworthy to wield one universe's Mjolnir be able to wield the hammer of a Thor from another universe? Good question, according to Aaron.
"Yeah, certainly the hammer is like the hammer we’ve already got, right? It came over from a completely different Thor, so yeah, that’s a very good question. Is that a part of the story? It can’t be the same as something we’ve already got, you know?" said Aaron. "This story, we don’t jump into this with the hammer in his hand, we very much begin it as a quest. And is he desperate to get his hands on it, to show that he can already pick it up and be Thor again? That’s really what’s striking."
Although The Unworthy Thor will come out alongside the already-running The Mighty Thor starring Jane Foster as the current Thor, Aaron said that the two series won't crossover immediately.
"I think the story of the Odinson searching for his hammer is very much his story. Jane is off dealing with her own stuff right now. But definitely you can expect to see each of the characters cross paths again."
That being said, Odinson's return to his absence will be a "big thing" for Foster.
"Well, yeah, I mean I think you can expect it to be a big thing. He’s been gone for months," said the writer. "To see him again is going to be a big thing. You know? This was always kind of the plan. These characters have been set on very specific paths. It will take them apart sometimes, other times, they will come smashing back together. Right now they’re dealing with their own stuff... but expect them to come smashing back together pretty soon."
The Unworthy Thor is scheduled to debut this fall.