Greetings and salutations, comic book fans! This week it’s time for a Marvel Comics based RETRO REVIEW. And since Marvel fans are still talking about the introduction of a female Thor in today’s comic books, I thought I’d talk about What If # 10, where the idea first raised it’s head, or at least saw the light of day. The story was entitled: “What If Jane Foster had found the Hammer of Thor?” And it hit the stands in What If # 10, cover dated August 1978, so likely it showed up on the comic book spinner racks just as summer was beginning in June of ’78.
It’s got a nifty cover, both pencilled and inked by, “Big” John Buscema. Take a look at the female Thor, as drawn by John Buscema thirty-seven years ago:
The story is written by Don Glut, not very well known for writing comic book stories at Marvel Comics, and the interior artwork was done by Rick Hoberg (pencils) and Dave Hunt (inks). Glut does a nice job referencing past Thor storylines as deeds accomplished by the female Thor. And Hoberg and Hunt do a pretty nice job illustrating the story, as well.
If you remember the series, it had the Watcher narrating the stories in What If, and this one is no different. The first three pages recap the actual origin of Thor, then five pages tell the origin of Thoris, the female Thor. Both origins are tied to finding a wooden stick in a cave, which when struck changes into the Uru Hammer, Mojolnir, and the holder into Thor, or as Jane Foster renames herself, Thoris, on page nine (9).
Take a look at page eight (8), a very beautiful full page as drawn by Hoberg and Hunt:
So rather than the God of Thunder, Jane transforms into the Goddess of Thunder. Though it’s on page nine (9) that she names herself Thordis, remembering a fellow nursing student, from Norway, who had that name. Here is the top half of page nine.
The story then continues to cover the career of Thordis as she defeats the Lava Men from Saturn. Loki confronts her, but she fails to fall for his tricks and banishes him back to Asgard. Loki tricks Odin into summonsing Thor back to Asgard, but when it is reveals that it is not his son, Thor, but a female, mortal imposter, Odin bans her from Asgard and sends her quickly packing back to Midgard (Earth).
The reader gets to see Thordis battle the Radioactive Man, Cobra and Mister Hyde and even interact with the Avengers briefly. Then the Lady Sif decides to go to Midgard and find Thor, still in the body of Doctor Donald Blake. She is forbidden to reveal that he is Odin’s son Thor, but professes her love for him and stays with him on Earth. Soon Loki strikes and the Lady Sif is injured fighting off Loki.
Doctor Blake performs an operation and saves the life of Sif. Meanwhile Loki manages to bring upon Ragnarok, the end of all days, while Odin is sleeping the Odin sleep. Thoris reveals that she is really Jane Foster to Doctor Blake and Sif and the three of them hie to Asgard to stop Ragnarok! All is bleak until Thoris manages to wake Odin from his sleep and he banishes Mangog and Ragnarok is avoided. And Doctor Blake overcomes Loki!
Because Doctor Blake has risked fighting for Asgard as a mere mortal, Odin clears his memory and restores his power, returning Mjolnir to it’s rightful owner. Odin then rewards Jane Foster with Godhood, or in her case Goddesshood (?) and as Thor and Lady Sif are meant for each other, Odin proposes to Jane and they marry and Jane Foster, no longer Thoris, becomes the Queen of Asgard!
Quite a twist from the “normal” Marvel continuity, where Jane could not handle her goodhood and was returned to a mortal being and sent back to Earth, with her memories wiped, clearing the way for the Thor – Lady Sif relationship to continue.
Not a bad What If story at all. I suggest if you don’t already own this comic, that you seek it out and add it to your collection, especially if you’re enjoying the female Thor storyline in 2015. As you can see, it’s been done before and done here first!
That’s it for this week, please be sure to come by next week for a new Fabulous Find. Be seeing you …