The Mighty Thor #706 // Review
The Mighty Thor #706, by writer Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman, is a heartfelt conclusion to the epic run of Jane Foster as Thor and might be the feel-good comic of the year. The last issue ended with Jane stopping Mangog by chaining him to Mjolnir and throwing them both into the sun, therefore sacrificing her status as Thor and forfeiting her life. This book picks up moments after, and it is impossible to discuss its contents without MAJOR SPOILERS, so you have officially been warned.
The issue mainly focuses on Jane at the gates of Valhalla, having a touching moment with Odin, who literally followed her into the afterlife to have one last conversation with her. Aaron crafts a beautiful scene here, as Odin first screams at her for all of the trouble she has caused him, and then turns around and calls her a hero for sacrificing her life to save him and everyone he loves. With Odin welcoming her to Asgard, given the contentious relationship they had throughout her run as Thor, this truly would have been a worthy end for the character. However, Aaron stays true to Jane’s modus operandi and has her swerve at the last moment, confounding Odin one more time. She chooses life and the hard fight against her cancer instead of taking the easy way out in the luxury of Valhalla. If her sacrifice in the previous issue wasn’t enough, in this moment, she stops being a woman running away from her problems to live the fantasy life of a superhero, and proves herself to be one of the bravest Marvel heroes that ever existed.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, Aaron shows us that, even though Thor Odinson has been deemed “unworthy,” he is still a valiant hero. As the God Tempest, which was the heart of Mjolnir, rages overhead, a deeply upset Odinson wrestles it into submission and attempts to use it to bring Jane back to life. Even as the storm threatens to destroy him, and his uru metal arm melts away to nothing, he refuses to give up on Jane. This sequence also provides one of the best Odin moments in all of Marvel history, as Aaron has him show back up to help Thor control the storm and bring Jane back to life. As Odin has had his share of rough patches with both Thors, his softening in their time of need is particularly well-written and shows that he is a passionate father that would do anything for his son and the woman he owes everything to, even if they didn’t always get along.
Russell Dauterman’s art in this issue is stellar, with his talent for emotional storytelling on full display. Most of this issue was talking, but in the hands of Dauterman, every conversation still managed to seem cinematic, with each character giving an Academy Award-worthy performance. Matthew Wilson’s colors also lend a depth and excitement throughout the story, especially in the scenes where Odinson brings the God Tempest under his control, but, even in the quiet moments, something as simple as the color of the sky adds valuable extra dimensions to the already spectacular art.
In the end, this final chapter in Jane’s time as Thor could have been a downer, but Aaron chose to end on a hopeful note. It would have been easy for him to just kill Jane Foster, wrapping up her story in a neat bow and giving the readers the cheap, emotional one-two punch of her death, but he decided on a higher degree of difficulty in his storytelling. Jane does lose her title as the God of Thunder, but her story goes on. Odinson doesn’t get the grand moment of reclaiming Mjolnir, but he does still get to reclaim his name. It’s obvious there are great things ahead for both characters and hopefully Aaron will be sticking around a long time to tell their stories.