I’d like to cut some of you off at the pass right now, coming out with negative comments regarding such a headline. I’ll avoid many comments regarding the need for a greater presence of strong female characters in cape-comics, coz that’s an issue that needs way more than what this cursory post addresses. Rest assured, that is definitely an ongoing discussion worth having, and this news does tie into it.
For now, this is to quell any knee-jerk reactions to today’s little tidbit. Let’s get straight in there.
This has been done before
First and foremost, this ain’t the first time an Asgardian has been of another gender in recent memory. Let’s not forget Loki – y’know, that guy played by Tom Hiddleston that most of tumblr’s fanbase seems to think is the hottest thing since Texan steak sauce – was once a lady, and indeed remained as such for much of J. Michael Straczynski’s awesome Thor run. Yes, we should all admit that gave us the weirdest boners at the time.
Asgardian physiology and mythos is liquid enough that a character switching genders is not outside reality, narrative-wise. And hell, sometimes they can be prettier in the opposite. I mean, hell, doesn’t the idea of a statuesque blonde throwing a hammer around just sound hot?
This does not seem like a token effort
One thing the above Loki example was not, was token. Without getting into spoilers, the hop from balls to boobs had severe story ramifications and actually served a purpose rather than just acting as an attempt to mollify fans with a greater female presence. Something Straczynski is exceptionally good at is including story elements with reason, not just as a throwaway plot point used for shock value or différance.
By the sound of it, and from having read the earlier volumes of Jason Aaron’s run on Thor: God of Thunder, this does not sound like a play for points either. Aaron’s established himself as a credible, engaging and thoughtful writer with structure rather than shock value forming the basis for his narrative. I’d trust this development in his hands, not least of all because those earlier volumes are awesome. Plus, he has a habit of employing some fantastic artists, so it’ll look damn pretty into the bargain.
I know the level of weight and exposure Marvel are giving this plays it off a bit as a publicity stunt, and if it were almost any other author I’d agree with you. Aaron strikes me as the kinda guy not to include something for the sake of just including it, and I’m interested to see what he does with it.
This is not the craziest thing to happen
Thor was once a frog. He was also a horse guy. He was also dead. He was also another guy called Tartarus.
Let’s be honest, like the article at the top of this page is – this ain’t the weirdest thing to happen to Thor, or any superhero for that matter. If Batman can shoot a god and get sent back in time, if the Avengers can fight the Justice League in another universe, and if Scott Lobdell can continue acquiring writing work, then bloody anything is possible.
I’ve decided this is my new acronym for:
Shut Up, Wait And See
It applies to Batffleck, the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film, and anything to do with Mass Effect 4, Batman vs. Superman or the excision of the Fantastic Four from Marvel’s repertoire.
The issues haven’t even come out yet. Let’s hold off on the judging until the damn thing gets released, shall we?
I’d like to refer to my twin go-to examples for SUWAS – remember Ledger and Hathaway in Nolan’s Bat-films? Remember how we thought they’d suck? Remember how they did the exact opposite of that?
And, if all else fails…
This change won’t be around forever
Comic book continuity is so fluid it practically comes with its own margarita shaker. Almost nothing introduced in most cape comics is held onto once the author who gave it birth moves on to greener pastures. Just look at the mess Robert Venditti’s making in ripping up the Green Lantern carpet that Geoff Johns spent so much time laying down.
So if it does turn out that Thor with estrogen was a bad idea, it won’t last long. Hell, even if the reception ends up positive I only give it less than a year to stick before it gets retconned when Avengers: Age of Ultron hits screens. As Jonathan Hickman is keen on reminding us in his New Avengers run, “Everything Dies” – including gender-swaps.
With all that in mind, let’s SUWAS and come back here after October to talk about it. Until then, try keeping the expletives hurled at Marvel for ruining your favourite embodiment of hammer-tossing testosterone to a bare minimum. Or not at all. Whatever works.