There's a 'ragnarok' going on for Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but back in his home realm of comic books something more deliberate and final is on the horizon: "The Death of the Mighty Thor."
That storyline kicked off recently with Mighty Thor #700, and with #701 due out on November 15 (and there being a Thor movie in theaters) Newsarama thought it apropos to catch up with series editor Wil Moss - who has been with the book since Jane Foster took on the mantle of Thor - to talk about the series so far, the future, and those teaser-y moments from #700.
Warning: Moss gets squirrel-y.
Nrama: Mighty Thor #700 is out now, and it's set up enough stories to go months, if not years. Wil, how long has this story been in the plans for you and Jason?
Wil Moss: We always were going to do something big to kick off the “Death of the Mighty Thor” story, but honestly it was when all of us at Marvel had the idea to switch to “Legacy” numbering on a lot of our titles (like Mighty Thor) and we realized that we could then have the kickoff to the “Death” story lineup with a big round number like #700 that the issue really developed into this 50-page artist-all-star epic.
Even at 50 pages, though, the story threads that Jason sets up here were ones that he was always going to be getting to – we just were able to do it with a lot more fanfare and special guests this way.
And I guess to answer the question maybe a little more directly, this “Death” story has been in the plans from the very start of Jane’s time as Thor, three years ago this month (October).
Nrama: Carnilla's future visions - including a gold hammer-wielding Odinson (possibly back as Thor) - have got people talking. What can you say about that double-page spread?
Moss: We did a similar double-page spread of glimpses of things to come in the last big artist-all-star anniversary issue of Jason’s run, Thor: God of Thunder #25. There we saw things like Gladiator, who we only just recently got to in the “Asgard/Shi’ar War” arc, and we also saw Mangog, who we’re of course only now getting to. Oh, and there was also the debut shot of Jane Thor.
So this one was built with similar goals - glimpses of things that are coming very soon, things that are coming in the near future, and things that are coming years down the road.
And by the way, the glimpses here go beyond just Mighty Thor - we’re seeing visions from several different Marvel series (both existing and yet-to-come). They’re not even all from series that Jason will be writing.
Also, can I just call attention to how amazing this spread looks? It easily takes a spot in the ‘Russell Dauterman & Matt Wilson Hall of Fame.’
Nrama: I need to get a press pass to that hall of fame.
Moss: Yeah! I mean, those two guys are incapable of producing bad work, but this is just on a whole other level.
Nrama: I have to ask about Loki wielding an Infinity Gauntlet - we saw a tease of this in the present-day in Marvel Legacy #1, and he's becoming sorcerer supreme over in Doctor Strange (which is edited by Nick Lowe). What's going on with Loki, and where will his story be told?
Moss: Loki’s definitely going to be a busy, busy God of Mischief over the next little while, it’s true. He’s the new Sorcerer Supreme in Doctor Strange, he’s clearly up to something involving the Infinity Stones, and he’s even popping up in an arc of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl! And hey, don’t miss Loki’s contribution to Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #26, our special “zine” issue. Has the Eisner for Best Short Story ever gone to something as short as two pages? ‘Cause it’s gonna.
Sorry, Chris. It was only a matter of time before I tried to turn this into an interview about Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. (And I can’t promise I’m not going to try again.)
Nrama: Come at me with it, Wil.
Moss: But I’ll just say that all Loki-roads lead back to Mighty Thor. (He’s on that spread twice, y’know.)
Nrama: Mighty Thor #700 is Jason Aaron's second 50+ page book in the past 30 days after Marvel Legacy #1. You're his editor - how does he do it?
Moss: Well Tom Brevoort was Jason’s editor on Marvel Legacy #1, and I think that might have been a more impressive feat on Jason’s part because that story covered soooo many different parts of the Marvel Universe, and Jason had to basically have all those characters sound and feel like themselves. But that’s Jason for you - the guy can literally write anything. And more impressively, he writes it all well.
As for how he wrote this Mighty Thor 50-pager, well, he’s talked before about how Mighty Thor is in some ways easier for him to write than most books, so I honestly doubt this was that much of a challenge for him, it just took a little longer than usual. Plus, there are some vignettes in here that I know he had been looking forward to writing for a while, like the fight with She-Hulk and the brawl between Galactus and Ego.
Nrama: #700 introduced a host of guest artists alongside Russell Dauterman, with James Harren continuing on to do November's #701. What was the process like in choosing who to ask and which pages they'd do of Jason's script?
Moss: We knew the various characters who would be featured in this issue, the kind of stories they’d be starring in, so then it was just a matter of us (me and Mighty Thor Associate Editor Sarah Brunstad) and Jason throwing out names for who we thought would be the best fit for each story. Jason would throw out a Walter Simonson or a Das Pastoras or a James Harren, and we’d throw out a Jill Thompson or an Andrew MacLean or a Becky Cloonan. I think Chris Burnham actually somehow threw out his own name?
Nrama: I could see that.
Moss: And while it took some wooing on my part and Jason’s to land Walter Simonson, it was pretty easy to get everybody else on board. I think I only got one “no,” and that was from Sophie Campbell, who has now turned me down on contributing to Mighty Thor twice! One of these days, Campbell - one of these days!!!
Nrama: Wow, making it public. The gauntlet is thrown.
By the way, beyond James Harren on #701, another of the artists who contributed to #700 will be back soon.
Nrama: Before we look too far ahead, let’s look back - you took over editing Thor in 2014 after Lauren Sankovitch, and have been here for almost all of Jason's run. How do you look back on it?
Moss: With gratitude.
I took over right at the tail end of God of Thunder, right before Jane became Thor. And just recently I realized that she’s now always going to be who I think of when I think of Thor. She’s the best!
My son was born a month after Thor #1 came out in 2014 - he’s never not known a female Thor! At home I’ve got a drinking glass I always use with Jane Thor on it, a Jane Thor mini-mate figure, and his mom wears a Jane Thor T-shirt every now and then. With a dad who works in comics, he’s of course a kid who by now knows all the big super heroes on sight - and for him, Thor is a woman.
And I’m grateful I get to be part of this story that Jason, Russell, Matt, and our letterer Joe Sabino – pound-for-pound the most talented creative team in comics - have been telling these last three years. It’s one of my top two comic series that I’ve ever worked on. (Look, I told you I was going to try to turn this into a Unbeatable Squirrel Girl interview again, okay?)
Nrama: I’ll take it… but what are you looking forward to with Mighty Thor?
Moss: Continuing to get new scripts from Jason, new layouts and inks from Russell, new colors from Matt, new lettering composites from Joe. And new character design sheets from Russell! (That’s actually probably the best part about working on Mighty Thor.)
I look forward to hearing from readers once they’ve witnessed the most brutal fight of all time in Mighty Thor #701, courtesy of guest art team James Harren and Dave Stewart!
And I look forward to Thor continuing to prove why she is worthy.