In 2012, Marvel writer Jason Aaron began his Thor saga in Thor: God of Thunder. Seven years later, he’s brought that epic tale to its climax in the War of the Realms event series. The miniseries includes the final battle fans have been waiting for between Thor and Malekith the Accursed. Its final issue and two related issues of Thor also provide the answer to the question that’s been at the heart of Aaron’s entire run: What makes one worthy? This article contains SPOILERS for War of the Realms #6 and Thor #14 and #14, as well as several plot points from Aaron’s entire Thor run.
The opening story of Aaron’s Thor run pit the God of Thunder against Gorr the God Butcher. Gorr lived on a barren, harsh planet where he lost everything he loved while his gods were either absent or apathetic. Gorr grew to hate deities of all kinds. Then he discovered All-Black the Necrosword, a weapon capable of killing gods. Gorr set about committing acts of deicide across the galaxy for eons. It took three Thors from across time — the Avenger, the young god of the Vikings, and the future All-Father — to stop Gorr’s attempts to wipe gods from existence.
In the Marvel event Original Sin, also written by Aaron, Gorr’s accusations against the gods returned to haunt Thor. Nick Fury — revealed to be the man who murdered Uatu the Watcher — whispered into Thor’s ear. That whisper made Thor unworthy of Mjolnir, and unable to lift the mighty hammer.
It would be months before Aaron revealed what Fury said to Thor that had such an impact. In the pages of The Unworthy Thor, the Odinson revealed the words ot be “Gorr was right.” As he explained, Gorr was right “About everything. Gods...are vain and vengeful creatures. Always have been. The mortals who’ve worshipped us for centuries...would all be better off without us. We gods do not deserve their love, no matter how much we fight to fool ourselves. We are all unworthy.”
Thor Odinson remained unworthy while Jane Foster took up Mjolnir’s hammer and became Thor. Then Jane sacrificed Mjolnir to stop the ferocious monster called the Mangog from destroying Asgard. Thor Odinson has been using replacement hammers since then but lacked a true Mjolnir.
To defeat Malekith, Thor once again had to call upon his past and future selves. In Thor #14, Aaron and artist Scott Hepburn show young Thor struggling with being the Thor who has never wielded Mjolnir. This Thor is vainglorious and believes worthiness is something earned with deeds and by winning battles. But he embarrasses himself during the battle against Malekith.
Things change for him when a symbiote monster attacks his mother, Freyja. Seeing his mother in danger, young Thor lets loose attacking the creature. He doesn't even realize that he picked up All-Father Thor’s Mjolnir along the way:
At this moment, young Thor realizes that becoming worthy stems from doing good for others, not seeking glory from oneself. In War of the Realms #6 by Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman, the modern Thor learns his own lesson about worthiness.
The presence of so many Thors summons an epic storm and draws out the Mother Storm that empowered Mjolnir before Jane flung the hammer into the sun. Thor uses the power of the storm and the fire from the sun to forge a new Mjolnir.
He has come to the realization that “It is only the struggle that counts.” Worthiness isn’t a destination, it’s a goal to achieve. It is constantly struggling to be worth all the faith others put in you. With that, Thor declares himself to be “the God of the Unworthy.”
In Thor #15, by Aaron and artist Mike Del Mundo, Thor reflects on this as he speaks to his new Mjolnir in the ruins of Asgard. He tells the hammer that “worthiness is a fragile thing.” Hearing a man he respected as much as he did Nick Fury confirm the doubts that Gorr already exposed in his mind caused Thor to lose faith in himself. It took a great struggle like the War of the Realms to remind Thor that the struggle was the point. “The day I stop struggling to be worth,” Thor says, “is the day I lose the storm for good. And the day...Gorr is proven right once and for all.”
What do you think of this revelation about what is at the core of Thor’s worthiness? Did you enjoy the climax to Aaron’s Thor run? Let us know in the comments. War of the Realms #6 and Thor #14 and #15 are on sale now. Aaron will tell his final Thor story in the King Thor miniseries beginning in September.