So it turns out that Marvel is replacing Thor with a woman, and replacing Captain America with a Black man (the Falcon).
My response was a profound and introspective “Ehhhhhhhhhhhh.”
It’s Somewhat Interesting…
…but not interesting enough.
Bottom line, I really don’t care about this. I don’t buy Thor or Captain America. I’m not enough of a fan of either to really care what happens to them.
Heck, if I didn’t care about what happened to Spider-Man a couple of years back, then Thor and Cap can go kick rocks.
I’m not a big fan of the Thor of Captain America writers (Jason Aaron and Rick Remender, respectively), either, so there’s really not much that could be done to get me to buy these comics.
As far as I’m concerned, this is just more pandering on Marvel’s part, similar to what Fox has done with casting Black actor Michael B. Jordan in the Fantastic Four movie.
Although I must admit it is intelligent pandering. These guys are smart. Marvel sees there’s a market here. There are dollars to be gained from women and Black people who want to see themselves reflected in a positive way in the comics.
Of course, they could have created actual original characters and built them up into something great…but screw that, that could take years, and Marvel wants money NOW, dammit.
To me, this sort of thing is saying that for women and minorities to succeed, we have to take away from White men. Falcon can’t get up on that other level unless something happens to the White guy, then he takes what the White guy built up and wraps himself up in it. She-Thor is a similar situation. Whoever she is, she can’t be the heavy-hitter she is now without something bad having happened to the real Thor so she can now “wear” his power and wield his weapon.
Oh, well. Something’s better than nothing, I guess…or is it?
It is a mystery.
THOR…What A Mess.
Let’s start with the Thor situation.
Jason Aaron says, this IS Thor, it’s not “She-Thor” or “Lady Thor”. Well, you can repeat that mantra as much as you like, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept it. This character will be described as “Female Thor” at the very least by the fans.
“Thor” is that character’s given name, he’s a person, not just an alter ego, so no she definitely isn’t Thor, she’s just someone who is wearing his powers, as several have done before.
If you check the inscription on Thor’s hammer, it’s letting you know that any number of people could end up with Thor’s power.
Most people are getting hooked on the gender pronoun of “he”, but I always get stuck on the “worthy” part.
I mean, that’s pretty subjective, so what exactly does that mean?
Damn You, Odin.
To me, we need to go back to the source. Who put that inscription there? As the story goes, Dwarven blacksmiths actually physically created the hammer (Mjolnir), and Thor’s father Odin cast the enchantment on it so that no one except the “worthy” could lift it, among the many other enchantments such as the hammer returning to Thor’s hand, etc.
Since Odin is the one who put the spell on it, we can either assume he put in the engraving, or told the Dwarves to put that in there. Therefore, Odin himself must be the guiding judgement on who is considered “worthy”.
Now, we’re left with the elephant in the room…just what is Odin’s ideal of worthy?
Odin and the rest of the Asgardian Gods are warriors, and not particularly progressive ones, either. I’ve got to believe that being worthy has more to do with being a good warrior than being a good person.
Thor actually killed Loki before, and he also killed his own grandfather, but the hammer seemed to be OK with all that.
Odin was always suspiciously progressive when off-panel, but when he’s actually in the story he’s a real hard-ass who doesn’t understand anything that Thor does.
In fact, very few of the Asgardians understand why Thor chooses to spend time on Midgard (Earth) protecting the mortals (Humans). Almost everything that Thor does is in conflict with what the other Asgardians expect him to do and be. That’s part of his story and has been for a very long time. He’s always at odds with his Asgardian duty/heritage and his desire to come down to Earth and be beaten up by the Absorbing Man.
In this case, you’d think that Mjolnir would have flown the coop to someone else a long time ago.
Why, Odin, WHY?!?
For those of you who don’t really know the deal with Marvel’s Thor, it’s like this:
Thor is TOUGH. I mean really, really, REALLY REALLY TOUGH.
Even without the hammer this is a guy who can grapple with the Hulk and fight him to a standstill. Thor could flatten a skyscraper with his bare hands. He takes machine gun fire and walks it off. True, he doesn’t have Superman-level invulnerability (he routinely blocks heavier gunfire with his hammer), but it’s very difficult to hurt Thor.
Then with the hammer, he controls weather on a global scale, opens up dimensional portals, travels through time and all kinds of other mystical crap.
Thor is not like the other Asgardians. He’s much stronger, basically he’s stronger and more powerful than anyone but Odin. Essentially the best warrior they have.
Now get this: Odin obviously knows how powerful this thing is, how powerful his son is, and what the hammer can do…and yet he routinely gives all that power away.
Why the Hell would you put a spell on a powerful weapon like Mjolnir that would potentially enable other beings to use it?? Beings who don’t necessarily have Asgard’s best interests at heart?
And seriously Odin, it’s one thing to let someone use the hammer, but by the freakin’ Nine Realms why would you bestow your son’s own native strength on someone else?? Just because someone picks up the hammer doesn’t mean they necessarily have to be as strong as he is.
It boggles the mind. It truly does.
As mentioned earlier, the Asgardians have enough trouble getting the real Thor to be the Prince of Asgard. Leaving in a huge loophole like “you must be worthy” doesn’t make any sense at all. You really don’t know who that next person is going to be, or what requirement of “worthy” has to be met.
Why wouldn’t you put a spell on the hammer that only allows Thor himself to use it? To be fair, originally Thor was a loudmouth lout who lead with his fists, so Odin decided to pull this whole “gotta be worthy thing” (and also punish Thor by leaving him as a mortal with a bad leg for many years).
But why not just put the hammer somewhere safe on a shelf in Asgard until Thor grew up? Odin had the damn hammer sitting in a cave disguised as a stick, waiting for anyone to pick it up (anyone who was worthy, and there obviously are a few of those folks around).
You leave one of Asgard’s greatest weapons lying around in a random cave on Earth?? Maaaaaaaan…
Odin, you so crazy.
I know we’re just reading a comic book here, but even within the logic of the comic book universe itself this makes no sense whatsoever. Like I said, luckily I’m not a real Thor fan, so I’ll never see how any of this works out. Good luck female Thor, hopefully you have some grand adventures. Real Thor will be back in two years time, tops. I guarantee it.
Black Captain America
Let’s bring things down to Earth now and talk about Steve Rogers being replaced as Captain America by none other than Sam Wilson, The Falcon.
It used to be that I didn’t have any regard for the Falcon, but I must admit that the Marvel writers seem to treat him with a lot of respect. In fact, I’d say he’s written to be a lot tougher than he probably should be.
However, I don’t really feel any pride at Sam being Captain America, because I probably have even less regard for Cap than I do for the Falcon. Besides, any old body can be Captain America.
The thing that really intrigues me about the situation is not the race issue, but the mechanism of how it happens.
Apparently one of Cap’s enemies manages to remove or otherwise negate the super-soldier serum inside of him.
For those that don’t know. That serum makes Steve Rogers the pinnacle of Human physical perfection. So he’s not superhuman, but as close as you can get with a lot of hard work.
He didn’t actually do that work, though, but whatever.
Suspended Animation/Frozen in Time/blahblahblah…
Basically, Marvel writer Rick Remender is saying that without the serum, Steve’s body starts reverting to the age he actually would be if not for his time spent frozen in the arctic, which would be around 90 years old.
Hrrrmmm. Something is not right here.
I can’t pinpoint the exact issue, but I swear Cap had that damn serum removed before, and he was just fine without it.
I certainly remember Marvel saying that the serum in his veins was what made it possible for him to go in to a cryogenic-like sleep for all those years, where a normal Human would have just frozen to death.
However, they didn’t say the serum was keeping him young. I distinctly remember seeing those awful Marvel future stories like Earth X, etc. where Cap appeared to have aged as normal.
Hell, I don’t know. The whole thing was a scam, anyway.
Yeah, about that Super Solider Serum…
Marvel always acted like the Super Soldier Serum process was so advanced that no one, even in the present day, could ever successfully replicate it. Remember, this was back in the 40’s!! So, I really don’t believe that.
But even if they couldn’t, so what? It’s not as special as they would have us believe. Especially when we have guys like the Power Broker out there giving people powers that actually are superhuman and just better than Captain America, anyway.
If you look at U.S.Agent, undoubtedly the most famous character to undergo the Power Broker process, you can see he’s stronger, faster and tougher than Captain America, and he actually was Captain America for a time (see, I told you anyone could be Captain America).
Yes, the character was kind of a jerk, but he was still a hero.
As it turns out, the Power Broker process was not completely safe. Many of the people who underwent the process came out monstrously deformed, but that’s still better than the 99.9% of people who came out dead from undergoing the Super Soldier process.
Stupid, stupid shield
Then, that shield of his. It’s an alloy of Adamantium and Vibranium that supposedly cannot be replicated.
Again, this was in the 40’s. They still can’t figure out how to duplicate this metal?
They sure can’t when it’s an editorial mandate that they can’t.
Because if any of the many, many super brains of the Marvel Universe replicate the serum or the shield, then Captain America is shown to be a whole lot less special than he’s made out to be.
I tell you, this character irks me. Irks, irks, irks me. This section has nothing to do with anything, but I’m including it because I just don’t like this mofo.
You know he’d be one of the first characters to get killed if anything really went down (along with Hawkeye and Black Widow), and yet Marvel acts like he’s the toughest guy they’ve got.
He routinely wins fights against opponents who outclass him in every way. On the one hand, that’s what super-hero comics are about, the hero may be physically outclassed, but they keep fighting until they win.
So it’s one thing for Cap to beat up on these villains, but sometimes he beats up other super-heroes who he just could not beat in a thousand years:
- Spider-Man. In the past, Captain America has defeated Spider-Man by using strategy to outflank him. I don’t buy it, because Spider-Man is just too fast. He’s stronger than Cap, too, and of course there’s the spider-sense. How do you beat that?
You’d have to be faster than Spidey, or overwhelm him with a spread of fire that he just can’t dodge. Captain America can’t do any of these things, yet he manages to land a few blows on him, from behind, no less. It’s just not possible.
At one point Spider-Man thought “Cap has forgotten more about hand-t0-hand combat than I’ll ever know”. No, he really hasn’t.
Captain America was active for less than 3 years during WWII. Then he went dormant for decades, and by the time he woke up, Spidey had been out there swinging around beating down bad guys left and right for a few years. So I’m pretty sure he’s not that far ahead of Spider-Man. Especially since Spidey has an inimitable fighting style that can’t really be predicted or analyzed. That’s exactly why he wins, he does’t stand there and trade punches with people.
All in all, I’m confident that Spider-Man would flatten Captain America in about 10 seconds (or less).
- Batman. There have been two fights between Batman and Captain America that I can remember. One was during that awful Marvel/DC crossover back in the mid 90’s where fans voted on the outcome of some of the battles. The other was from an Elseworlds one-shot starring Batman and Captain America set back in World War II.
So, in the official crossover, the fans got to vote on the Batman/Cap match up, and since Batman was way more popular, he got the votes. The rules of the fights stated that one opponent just had to be immobilized for the other to win. If I recall correctly, they were underground in a sewer perhaps, and the water interfered in the fight. Even when Batman wins, he’s thinking something to the effect of “I might not have beaten him if not for blah blah blah”
Then, in the Elseworlds unofficial crossover, Bruce Wayne faces off against Steve Rogers and thinks to himself “This man might actually have a slight edge on me!” The battle ends when Bruce deduces that Steve is, in fact, Captain America.
So yeah, Batman won one, and the other was a draw, but always with the acknowledgement that Cap was his superior. Again, I don’t buy it.
Yes technically, Captain America is stronger, faster and essentially tireless, but Bruce has trained since childhood to be almost as strong, fast and tireless, plus he’s smarter, a better tactician and more clever than Captain America. Cap is not an idiot, but his mind just doesn’t work on Batman’s level.
Captain America is a soldier who underwent a soldier’s training. Batman will know how to counter that, plus again, he’s been training since childhood. Cap only has a few years of wartime experience before he skips ahead to the modern era, so I’d say Batman has just as much, if not way more experience than him.
- Wolverine. There have been quite a few Captain America vs. Wolverine fights over the years, and usually Cap seems to win because Wolverine goes berserk or something.
Wolverine has been kind of neutered in recent years, but I still think he would take Captain America every time. Considering Wolverine has lifetimes more fighting experience than Captain America, plus he has unbreakable bones and heals from injury almost instantly (actually at this particular time his healing factor is gone, but whatever…).
This means the two could fight for days, but eventually Cap will get tired, he’ll break his fists on Wolverine’s skull and will make a mistake. At that point, Wolverine will put him to the claw…and good riddance, I say!
Oh, and Captain America seems to be one of the people who can be worthy to lift Thor’s hammer. Gah. I’m disgusted…
The Bottom Line/The Wrap Up
Well, back to what we were talking about before I went off on a tangent, namely the replacements.
It’s like this, Marvel is in this to make money, and they don’t care about any gender or racial equality. They just want the money. That means they have to make these comics interesting.
Marvel especially has realized that the way to do this is to “reset” things every few years, generate some kind of hype and issue a brand new #1 Collector’s Item First Issue!
This works remarkably well.
It turns out 70+ years of continuity is pretty heavy, it weighs down your characters and limits your options. That’s one of the many reasons cited for dwindling comics sales – namely that’s it’s too hard for people to jump on because they have no clue what’s happening without having read the last few decades of comics.
Restarting everything with a new #1 and new direction every few years solves that problem. This time it’s Marvel trying to appear to be progressive, but it just as easily could have been a different story altogether.
Eventually, She-Thor and Black Captain America will become the status quo, at which point Marvel will need to breathe some new life into it, which will mean upending the whole thing with a huge RETURN OF STEVE ROGERS or RETURN OF THE REAL THOR event. As I said above, two years, tops and they’ll both be back.
Again, I don’t even buy Thor or Captain America, so this doesn’t even affect me, but then again I’m hardly their target demographic. Being in my early 40’s, I’ve already been through quite a few different Thors and Captain Americas so this isn’t very exciting to me.
Although it was exciting enough for me to write this article about it, so they must have done something right.
See, I told you Marvel was smart.
And with all that said, I’m outta here, I’ll see you guys next time!
12 thoughts on “Be Excellent She-Thor, And Party On Black Captain America”
Excellent article JG well timed.
Yeah I have to say making thor a women is like stubbing your toe walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
What’s next Wolverine’s a girl too? What about Magnito?
Where do you draw the line?
What ever happened to making awesome female versions of super hero’s like wonder women or just making awesome female super heros like Storm.
It’s very telling of the times we live in today, Idiots are ruining the fun everywhere you look with their obvious idiotic agendas it’s time to call em out like a fat kid trying to steal 2nd base.
Damn straight, Darnell!
I think they saw how much work goes into making a great new female character from scratch and they thought “Hellll no let’s just repurpose what we’ve got here.”
And then to show up on The View like they actually did something cracks me up.
But yeah, it’s too late in the day for the okey-doke so I’m with you. Call ’em!
Thanks for dropping in, man!
You make some great points as usual John. What would make Odin take away the power after everything he’s done? While I’m fine with the pandering as long as we get more ethnicity in the Marvel Universe I do think taking established characters and temporarily giving them a race change is lame. I’m guessing Thor will be back in a year at most. As for Captain America it’s not the first time Falcon has taken over for Cap but I guess this is supposed to be a big deal. I agree that his character gets more interesting by the day.
Yeah Maurice the best I can say is that it does put some color front and center, and if it helps break down some barriers somewhere that great. I just have to laugh at Marvel though, showing up on the View and Colbert acting like they’re this bastion of progressives.
Ok you’ve got a year on Thor, we’ll have to see. I suspect that character will not disappear once the real Thor returns, but will still need to maintain a high profile in order to keep up the whole racket.
I really hope that the Falcon-Cap sells well. I just can’t bring myself to buy it but it better not tank or it’ll be 10 years before we see another brotha at the forefront, lol!
I enjoyed your writing. You make some good points about Captain America that made me sit back and think, but I did like The Winter Soldier film. In fact, I’m going way out on a limb and saying it’s my favorite comic-book film at the moment.
Here are a few random points that floated up while reading your post:
1) Steve Rogers did lose the serum. It happened sometime in the 90’s (I think) under Mark Gruenwald’s run (I think). But he’s also died and been resurrected at least twice since (I think), so the serum might have returned with the resurrections (I think). Eh, who knows?
2) Captain America has fought Batman at least once more since DC vs. Marvel/Marvel vs. DC and the John Byrne 1940’s thing. It was during JLA/Avengers. The two silently studied one another’s combat stances and tested one another’s strength after tossing a few mock punches and decided not to fight. And, yep, Batman remarks something along the lines of, “Okay, I confess you can beat me, but it would be a long fight and not worth our time.” Words to that effect. I guess you’d have to call it a draw. It was written by Kurt Busiek, by the way.
By the way, I think The Falcon was one of the best parts of Winter Soldier and am excited about his becoming Captain America. Admittedly, yes, anyone can be Captain America (and a lot have).
Hey Andrew thanks for dropping in and commenting, man.
1. yeah you just can’t beat those resurrections for resetting the status quo, can you? lol
2. I forgot about that JLA/Avengers thing! And I actually have those issues laying around here somewhere, I’m glad you brought that one up. I enjoyed that story but again it was kind of a cop out so neither company had to have their egos bruised.
Actually, I must admit Winter Soldier was one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. I really enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. Falcon held his own in there, so I couldn’t be mad at him. Movie Cap isn’t anywhere near as infuriating as comic book Cap…
The Falcon taking on Cap reigns is logical. As one of the longest running Cap partners it stands to reason that he would. As for the girl who would be Thor, it’s a bit more problematical. Initially anyone deemed worthy could wield the hammer but in one of the story lines it was established that the hammer was for made for Thor and that it was sent to earth to punish him for his arrogance. He had to prove ‘his’ worth to wield it again and did. The hammer was never intended (again, except as it was first introduced) for anyone but Thor. Even the Don Blake identity was proven not to be true. He wasn’t Don Blake, who found a hammer and was worthy enough to become Thor. He was always Thor and sent to earth, stricken with a forgetfulness of who he was and then found the hammer which returned him to his rightful stature. A girl just finding the hammer wouldn’t become Thor, just another person with Thor’s power. That in and of itself wouldn’t make her THOR.
I have no particular interest Thor male or female. So I am interested in Sam Wilson and I must say I am sick to my stomach that Rick Remender is writing the character. The guy is terrible and he has a history or ruining years worth of character development, personality, and status because he wants to play OOC with everything Marvel has instead of just making his own comics!. And from what previews I’ve seen on comicbookmovie.
Remender is just a hairs width from Englehart when it comes to written for minority (POC/Female). Already Sam has this attitude that his character isn’t known for! He would certainly never disrespect Steve Rogers in passing or actions; they’re friend! But these two ‘writers’ can’t seem to grasp this at all. I am all for Falcon holding the Captain American title for as long as need be but knowing the legacy of Remender is a turn off.
The comic debut officially is titled “All-New Captain America: Fear Him”. Really? After all the crap that is in the news about Black men, Marvel lets this pass!?
Even if this is some weird alternative version, this is just terrible writing.
Checking out some more sites, thank goodness the titling is just an unfortunate over-site and that there are some co-writers.
Finally, after months of fuming, over-thinking, and letting my online reactions get the better of me; some fellow comicbook fans convinced me that Remender isn’t the boogieman of comicbook industry… though I still think his writing is wonky and much prefer his original works to his assigned ones. Anyway, someone showed me the page where Englehart’s retcon of Sam Wilson was retconned again by Remender (of all people). I am so relieved to have been proven wrong! Because I don’t mind being challenged or debated, it helps me grow.
So I would like to say sorry for my outburst. The All-New Cap has my support… I am still so-so about Sam not getting the upper hand as often, but I am glad he is getting quite a lot of attention.
The claw was never supposed (again, except since it was introduced) for anybody but Thor. Even the Don Blake identification was proven not to be true. He wasn’t Don Blake, who discovered a sort and was worthwhile enough to become Thor. He was generally Thor and provided for planet, stricken with a forgetfulness of who he was and then discovered the claw which delivered him to his rightful stature.
I’ve always enjoyed reading these superheroes’ comics. Brings me back memories from my childhood.
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