**THE FOLLOWING POST CONTAINS MILD SPOILERS FOR THE MIGHTY THOR ISSUE #705. IF YOU WANT TO REMAIN SPOILER FREE, THEN STOP READING NOW.**
What an emotional week it’s been. On Thursday, after 25 years, I bid farewell to The X-Files when the series finale brought the adventures of Mulder & Scully to a close. Today, I now have to bid farewell to another great hero – Jane Foster aka The Mighty Thor.
If like me you’ve been reading the recent run of Thor comics, then you’ll know that this week’s edition of The Mighty Thor is a landmark issue, as it marks the passing of Jane Foster. This milestone will not come as a surprise, because not only is the current storyline titled The Death of The Mighty Thor, but as a reader you will have known for quite some time now that Foster’s life was coming to an end.
Prior to taking on the mantle of Thor, Jane Foster was fighting a battle with cancer – her head shaved, her body weak, she was doing her best to get from one day to the next. However, once she picked up Mjolnir – Thor’s mighty hammer – she was granted the power of a god, instantly transforming her into an all-powerful being and of course, a superhero.
The trade-off for the power trip was simple: Every time Foster transformed into Thor it weakened her real body. The transformation gave her the chance to experience wonders far beyond her mortal shell, yet at the same time it shortened her life span considerably.
When Foster’s life came to an end this week in the pages of The Mighty Thor issue #705, it was inevitable, yet it was still very emotional. Marvel Comics has lost a true hero and one of the best new super heroes to appear for years.
Outside of the movies, I’m not a massive fan of Thor. The comic book, with all it’s ‘verilys’, ‘doths’ and ‘thousts’ has never really appealed to me and neither has the fantasy element of gods, trolls, frost giants and the like. But when the Jane Foster version of Thor was introduced into the comics, my interest was piqued.
I decided, for the first time since I was a teenager, to dive into an issue of Thor. That issue led to another and another and soon I found myself following Jane Foster’s journey, as she battled god-like beings, while undertaking chemotherapy.
The juxtaposition of Foster’s superhero exploits, with her real-life battle against cancer was too compelling not to read. Here was a character who was fighting two different enemies, neither of which was ever going to go down easy.
Yes, I knew Marvel would have to see this journey out to the bitter end, but still it didn’t make it any easier when I read this month’s issue. Seeing a hero winning a battle against a huge super villain is fantastic; but seeing a hero taken down by an illness is very difficult to comprehend.
Marvel is known for giving its heroes a hard time, just check out any Spider-Man comic, but Foster’s situation overshadowed anything that Peter Parker has ever faced. And perhaps that’s why this book has been so interesting to read and why I am so sad it is almost over.
I say almost over, because while Jane Foster took her final breath this month, there is still one more chapter to come (next month’s issue #706). And if this month’s issue was heartbreaking, then the next is going to be even harder to deal with.
But then, perhaps the hardest part is already behind us. A couple of issues back Jane was presented with the truth – that if she had never become Thor, she would have beaten the cancer in her body.
The revelation about her cancer and how she could have overcome it was a hard pill to swallow and a real gut punch for the character. Foster became Thor because people needed her, so in her eyes there was never any choice – she made the right decision regardless of the outcome – but if she had been a little more selfish she would still be alive today.
When she knew that becoming Thor was killing her, not once did she flinch; not once did it stop her from picking up her hammer to rush back into battle; because Jane Foster was a hero. Jane Foster was an inspiration.
I truly hope that at some point, in the ongoing cycle of Marvel Studios movies, a Jane Foster Thor film becomes a reality. Not only would it give Natalie Portman something to do (other than be the love interest for Chris Hemsworth’s Thor) it would also give us potentially one of the best super hero movies of all-time.
Marvel has always excelled in ‘real’ heroes with ‘real’ problems. Jane Foster was the most ‘real’ hero of them all. She will be missed, but not forgotten.