Marvel Comics’ Immortal Thor#1 is taking the God of Thunder, the All-Father, Thor in a different direction. This happens from time to time and has led to outstanding stories as well as some questionable ones.

While Thor has been entertaining for the last few years, it has felt as if the writing was more interested in creating a new rogue’s gallery for Thor, and deconstructing the idea of Asgard, than in making stories which built upon what has gone before.

The Death of Odin, the loss of Asgard, the passing of the Crown, the multiple iterations of Loki, the secrets of the Infinity Stones, the revelation of Heven, all felt strange to me. The tales of Old Thor, the God Butcher, the Black Winter, and the Unworthy Thor Saga, all of these didn’t feel like Thor to me. I enjoyed Jane Foster’s run as the Lady Thor but that was probably because I am a fan of the Mangog and his appearance during that story was EPIC.

Immortal Thor was interesting even as it undoes some aspects of the previous stories (as is the wont of new writers on a series). It has a strangeness about it, especially if you have been following the comic over the last few years. The story reminds us all of the issues which plagued Asgard, the death of Odin and Heimdall, Sif as the Guardian of a broken Bifrost, (destroyed by the Mangog) and the mention of the Black Winter in passing implies this is the All-Father Thor, full in his powers and mostly recovered from the recent tribulations of the Asgardian people.

Something Old, Something New

The saga of the Utgardians, feels modern and yet nostalgic in equal measures.

  • It reintroduces Thor’s classic costume. Gone is the dark god Thor, slayer of Galactus, and wearer of a variation of the thurisaz rune woven into his appearance. He is wearing a slight variation of his classic costume which he has worn since his first appearance in Journey into Mystery #83 (1952).
  • Mjolnir is silent and obedient again. The Mjolnir which was crackling with weird energy, and the residence of Odin appears to have been resolved.
  • Odin is said to be in Valhalla and no longer offering advice to his son. (Though I did enjoy their banter.)
  • Thor is once again, the son of Odin and the Earth Mother, Gaea. There were confusing moments when Thor was supposedly the son of the Phoenix Force and I, for one, am happy this particular retcon, appears to have been retconned.

To be fair, this retcon may have been applied so the writers could revolve around the mythic nature of a time before time. The history of the Asgardians has been changed again and again, with the idea Ragnarok has come and gone several times, the Asgardians slain and reborn in a cycle of perpetual violence and renewal, in an effort led by Odin to free them from the tyranny of Those Who Sit Above in Shadow, cosmic entities who fed on the destruction and renewal of the Asgardians.

Immortal Thor hints at the Universe being larger and stranger than we know. It teases us with the idea that while the Asgardians sit above Midgard in a realm where their powers are the norm, where magic is real and their godhood is cemented in a mythic relationship to the Earth, there are other potential realities much like the relationship between Asgard and Midgard where forces exist whose power may dwarf the Asgardians as their abilities dwarf Midgard’s champions.

Those Who Sit Above in Shadow (Marvel Comics)
Those Who Sit Above in Shadow

We listen to a conversation where the primordial beings who may have been the proto-gods of Earth, imprisoned by Gaea in the distant past, appear to have found a way to escape their prison. Was this Loki’s doing? Was their remaking of the Bifrost with a magic unknown to Asgard, linking another realm, a place hidden from the Asgardians to the World Tree, Yggdrasil allowing these beings to plot their escape?

Something Borrowed, Something Blue

We know in previous studies of the Thor mythology, Gaea imprisoned the primal deities first formed on Earth from its creation energies because they battled and led to an imbalance which could have destroyed the Earth. These were the legends of the Demogorge, the God Eater when their battles would have destroyed primal Earth in the time before humanity’s rising and dominance of the planet.

This is not the first time Marvel has expanded their divine realms. In the Incredible Hercules saga in #118, we are introduced to the Dreamtime a parallel divine reality which all mythic beings from across the cosmos share, a realm of infinite alien consciousness, inaccessible to mere reason, of all the races of the Universe, where Hercules implied it was possible for even gods to be lost forever.

The Dreamtime from Incredible Hercules #118
The Dreamtime from Incredible Hercules #118

The first issue of Immortal Thor promises us new vistas and frankly, Thor works best when he is being a god and doing divine things. I dislike he is doing them on Earth, which can hardly stand the strain of such periodic and ceaseless destruction. How many statues of Liberty have there been? Surely this one was not the original…

Utgard-Loki? Not the first time we have heard this name, nor is Utgard-Thor’s alias, Toranos completely new to us. But these characters appear to be part of a new reweaving of the Primal stories of the Earth and I look forward to seeing if the release of the Utgard realm’s minions has a deeper meaning and path for the new All-Father and his Asgardians.

Once Upon a Primal Time Before Time …

The tales of Gaea’s imprisonment of the Primal Gods was first written about in Thor Annual (1982) when we learn of the secret origins of the legendary, primeval Earth and the energies which formed the gods, the Demiurge, described as: the sentient lifeforce of the Earth’s biosphere and was the origin of beings such as Chthon, Gaea, Set and many others, presumably the Utgardians as well. The legends say Atum was the first descendant of Gaea and the power of the Demiurge, and Atum would absorb the warring demons and gods from the Earth except for a few who escaped (Chthon, creator of the Darkhold being one of them) and they were released into the god dimensions parallel to the Earth, seeding the Twilight Dimensions or the Godrealms with energy waiting to be recognized by intelligent life, or so the legends go.

The legends of humanity are supposedly where the Godrealms inhabitants came from, formed from the dreams of primitive man, they took on a life of their own and it became impossible to distinguish what was once an idea of humanity and the form the gods took for themselves.

Immortal Thor Marries Old Stories with New Themes

This new direction for All-Father Thor is less whiny, more accepting of Thor’s new role and while they promise us Thor will lose something critical to himself, there is no hint of what this might be. Al Ewing is going backward to go forward and I am looking forward to his interpretation of the previously depicted stories in a new, perhaps less confusing light.

The Solicitation Notes

“In Norse myths, they called him Thunderer. Vuer has he been called, and Hloriddi. The Gods know him as Asgard’s King, keeper of Mjolnir, hero of the tales. When injustice grips the Earth and ancient powers bring down the sky, he fights for those who cannot — and when the tale is done, we will know what that cost him. This is the story of THE IMMORTAL THOR. PLUS: A bonus page written by Jonathan Hickman – WHO ARE THE G.O.D.S.?”


Thaddeus Howze
Thaddeus Howze

Thaddeus Howze is an award-winning writer, editor, podcaster and activist creating speculative fiction, scientific, political and cultural commentary from his office in Hayward, California.
Thaddeus’ speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals. He has published two books, ‘Hayward’s Reach’ (2011), a collection of short stories and ‘Broken Glass’ (2013) an urban fantasy novella starring his favorite paranormal investigator, Clifford Engram.