Spoilers for Civil War, Original Sin
“I am Thor Odinson of the Vikings, Giant. I am not the god of reason and understanding. I am the god of THUNDER AND LIGHTNING!” Hulk #26
An army of monsters is attacking New York. People hide, praying that a hero will save them. Their prayers are answered as a bolt of lightning strikes a monster. The people see a man with a hammer floating in the air above them. Thor flies at the monsters, screaming a warcry and calling down thunder.
Thor is one of the most powerful Avengers. Which makes sense because he’s, y’know, a god. But that raises the question, why is a Norse god a superhero? How did that happen? And what do you mean he’s a woman now?! Let’s find out.
Prince of Asgard: Thor’s Backstory
Norman Osborn: “Who the hell is Doctor Donald Blake?!” – Dark Reign
Thor is the Norse god of thunder. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were inspired by the old legends to create a Thor comic book.
Odin, King of Asgard and the ruler of the Norse pantheon, banished his son to Midgard (Earth) because he thought Thor was arrogant. To keep him there, Odin placed his powers in Mjolnir, the famous hammer Thor wields. A medical student named Donald Blake* picked up the hammer and ended up possessed by Thor.
After he was released, Thor searched for a way home to Asgard. Along the way he fought numerous villains and became a hero.
Thor’s adventures drew the attention of his wicked brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston in the Marvel Cinematic Universe). Loki hatched many schemes to defeat his brother, but always failed. One of his plots even backfired and brought Thor new allies, The Avengers.
Odin eventually decided his son had learned his lesson and summoned him to Asgard. Thor refused to return, having found friends, allies, and even a lover named Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). Odin was furious, but offered Jane a place in Asgard if she could complete a physical challenge. Unfortunately, Jane failed and was sent back to Earth, separating the lovers.
Twilight of the Gods: Thor’s History
“Give your orders and ultimatums to those who choose to obey, or are too cowardly to fight, NOT to me. Or learn again the difference between a God of Thunder and a mortal man in a metal suit.”- Thor #3
When Odin died in battle with the demon Surtur, Thor became King of Asgard. He soon discovered that Ragnarok, the Norse Apocalypse, was about to begin again**. He managed to break the cycle of Ragnarok by destroying Asgard. He was trapped in another dimension during the superhero Civil War. Iron Man used Thor’s DNA to create a robot clone called Ragnarok and claimed it was the real god. Ragnarok injured many heroes and even killed a hero called Goliath.
Donald Blake rescued Thor from the other dimension. He began rebuilding Asgard in the United States. Iron Man attempted to make him register with the U.S. government, but after some reasoned discourse decided to leave him alone. By which I mean Thor got pissed at his betrayal, beat the crap out of him, and kicked him out of Asgard.
During the event Original Sin, Thor learned that he had a long lost sister named Angela.*** She had been seemingly killed during a war between Asgard and a previously unknown realm called Heven. Real subtle, writers. He also learned a secret that readers don’t see, causing Mjolnir to instantly deem him unworthy of wielding it. Mjolnir is eventually wielded by a female version of Thor, who is revealed to be Jane Foster.
Power of the Storm: Thor’s Powers and Personality
Spider-Man: “Let me give you some advice. There is an astonishing amount of powerful people in this world, and a lot of them are flat-out crazy. So…trust me…you will always be in over your head. Always. (Thor flies past) Unless you’re Thor.”
Spider-Girl: “Sweet hammer.” – Spider-Man
Thor is the son of Odin and Gaea, the personification of the planet Earth. He is the strongest Asgardian and one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe. He’s super fast, virtually invulnerable, and once fought an army of Frost Giants for nine months without needing to rest. If he gets angry enough, he can enter a berserk fury called The Warrior’s Madness, which makes him ten times stronger. It also makes him attack anything he sees, but eh, what can you do?
Thor’s enchanted hammer is named Mjolnir and was forged from the remnants of a dying star. Unfortunately, the forging process accidentally killed the dinosaurs. But it’s a good hammer. He uses Mjolnir to help control his power over the weather. He can summon lightning, wind, rain, and even tornadoes and hurricanes. He just can’t summon dinosaurs because, well, now they’re all gone. Thor does have some power over Earth and earthquakes due to his connection with Gaea.
He was an arrogant god who learned humility during his banishment. He likes fighting, but usually fights only to protect others or punish the wicked. He is loyal to his friends, once even fighting the entirety of Tartarus to save Hercules’ soul.
The Actors who played Thor
Thor’s television debut was The Marvel Super Heroes, where he was voiced by Chris Wiggins. He appeared in Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends where he was voiced by Jack Angel. Both Thor and Donald Blake appeared in the made for TV movie The Incredible Hulk Returns. They were played by Eric Allan Kramer and Steve Levitt respectively. Travis Willingham has voiced him in numerous animated shows. Finally, Thor appeared in the anime Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers where he was voiced by Yasuyuki Kase.
Thor got his own movie in 2011 and was played by Chris Hemsworth. He has since appeared in Thor 2: the Dark World, both Avengers movies, and the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok.
The two live action Thors couldn’t be more different. Eric Allan Kramer is a character actor who has been in many shows as recently as December 2016. Contrary to some Internet rumors, including at least one YouTube video, Kramer is still alive at the end of 2016. In character, his costume and physique were much different from Hemsworth’s iconic appearance. Kramer’s role isn’t helped by the advances in CGI and costuming that happened in the larger-budget Avengers movies.
Didya Get All That?
A Viking god who became one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
* It was later retconned that Donald Blake was just an amnesic Thor. Then it was revealed that he actually existed and had been sent to another dimension. I don’t get it either. He’s like Schrodinger’s zombie cat; he exists when he needs to.
** Ragnarok is a cyclical event. It’s happened before and will keep repeating itself for eternity.
*** She was originally a character from Image comics who was brought into the Marvel Universe for some reason. Fans of the series Spawn will recognize her.
Jared Bounacos has written for Movie Rewind since 2017.