**Major spoilers ahead for the current run of Thor.**
Being an avid and not-so-very picky comic book reader for over forty years has granted me access to a vast amount of comic history. While I know that the value and veracity of that knowledge is relative as it has been revised and rewritten more times than I can count, I still like to think of myself as an informed authority. You can, of course, take my opinions with a grain of salt but I offer them nonetheless. This one is about the recent and multiple changes in Thor in the Marvel Universe, not the MCU.
If you have been following the Marvel Comics story of Thor over the past few years, you already know that Odin, the All-Father of the Norse faith has willingly abdicated the throne and bequeathed his godly power, the Odinforce, and his royal title to his son. King Thor is now the suitably empowered and rightful ruler of Asgard. This has increased his power level dramatically and granted him many additional new powers all of which have not yet been explored. More trivia about the Odinforce here if you are so inclined. This was a serious power-up as one would expect from the leader of an entire pantheon of deities. I accepted this as reasonable without reservation. Thor + Odinforce: We’ll call this power-up number one. By the way, Odin later proved to be still around, though existing at an understandably significantly reduced power level.
Then, in Thor v6 #1 (2020), Galactus came to Asgard asking for help. Now remember, Galactus is a planet eater (about one per month), has few rivals, and has spawned the likes of the Silver Surfer. Thor listened and agreed and was immediately empowered by Galactus with the power cosmic and made his herald. This is the similar empowerment granted to the normal being that ultimately became the Silver Surfer. Thor became, among other things, the Herald of Thunder. This is a ridiculous power-up on its own considering the Silver Surfer started from being basically a human to one of the most powerful cosmic characters in the Marvel Universe and Thor was already himself a god with the recently gained Odinforce. This was hard for me to get my head around but I was here for it. During this run, Thor actually displayed that the extent of his power was underestimated by destroying Galactus and absorbing his power. Thor + Odinforce + The Power Cosmic: This is power-up number two. It felt like two power-ups considering he basically ate Galactus but I’ll allow it.
In more recent Thor comics, Thor has lost control of his hammer, Mjölnir, but still appears to be undiminished in terms of power. Mjölnir has bonded with an evil enemy, become fully sentient, and later a god-level threat to even this newly empowered Thor having already violently murdered multiple powerful beings. In fact, it appeared that Thor might be next, having already lost any control over the hammer that he once had including, his ability to lift, let alone wield it, slowly over time. Thor was seemingly losing the battle against it even with his father, Odin, by his side. In Thor v6 #23 (2022), Odin admitted to Thor that he had not received the full Odinforce because Odin was in fact still alive. Then Odin made the ultimate sacrifice and Thor was flooded with the full might of the Odinforce and won the day. Thor + Odinforce (complete) + The Power Cosmic: This is power-up number three.
There is more. Are you surprised? Recently in the Marvel’s Avengers comics there was found to have existed a prehistoric set of Avengers which included Odin wielding the hammer Mjölnir. The story continued to ultimately reveal that what we know about Thor’s parentage is in fact incorrect and that his true mother is none other than the red-headed prehistoric Phoenix. This is a surprise to Thor himself as he was raised by Frigga, Odin’s wife, and thought her to be his Mother. Enraged and confused, Thor began working through this revelation but during a battle with an other-universe version of himself and a Phoenix, he was able to call upon some Phoenix power of his own for the first time in Avengers v8 #54 (2022). So now he also has some Phoenix power of his own in addition to all the others he has been amassing. Remember that the Phoenix is also a cosmic level being of nearly incalculable power on its own. Who knows how much of that currently resided in Thor. Thor + Odinforce (complete) + The Power Cosmic + the Phoenix Force: This is power-up number four. How can this level of power even be measured? Where does this new Thor stand in relation to the near-infinitely powerful beings of the 616 universe?
Let’s go back for a bit to when Thor had become unworthy to wield the Hammer and lost the extra powers it granted him. In The Unworthy Thor #1 (2017), (not long ago right?), he changed his name to Odinson. Odin was still the ruler of Asgard. Thor had also lost one of his arms and had some kind of magical Uru replacement. The series had Odinson set out to prove his worthiness, mostly to himself, and his power level, while still massive, was measurably lesser than it once was. He couldn’t even call down the lightning and got his ass handed to him regularly in this series. Let’s face it, without his hammer, he was basically just a durable strongman of godly lineage, albeit of warrior cunning and centuries of fighting experience, with a few god-tier accessories such as his magically flying goat and his older battleax weapon Jarnbjorn. He couldn’t fly and in fact, had no great ability to travel outside the use of such accessories and temporary blessings. It was quite humbling and I was here for that and his journey but in real time this was just a few short years ago. Now he can eat Galactus and wield the power of the Phoenix.
Any one of these upgrades to a normal human would have created a powerful being worthy of his own comic and subsequent movie. Thor, already having a godly powerset to begin with, has received four. Look, I love the character but he has never been especially smart, or physically fast and was basically born into royalty and power. I appreciate that we have been able to see him learn and work to become worthy but he is certainly not worthy of this much power. It’s too much. I like the idea of the change but shouldn’t it at least have been more gradual? I’m not a hater here and I don’t own the character but these multiple increases have taken him far from humanity. Maybe that’s the point but it still feels immeasurable and ridiculous. At least now, he can finally beat Superman in a fight. He certainly couldn’t while he was unworthy. What are your thoughts?