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Comic Book / Thor (2020)

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Asgard’s New All-Father

Thor is an ongoing series launched in 2020 written by Donny Cates and artist Nic Klein, following Jason Aaron’s 7-year tenure with the character. In September 2022 it was announced that Donny Cates was leaving the creative team following the 28th issue, with Torunn Grønbekk taking over as the writer.

After the events of War of the Realms, Thor Odinson has become the next All-Father of Asgard and prepares for his new role. However he is filled with doubt, his hammer is getting heavier to wield, and he finds himself missing his days as a superhero. But the sudden threat of the Black Winter may force him into action once more.

Storylines and events that are part of this run

Thor (2020) provides examples of:

  • A Day in the Limelight: Issue #18 is this for Throg.
  • Adrenaline Makeover: When he lifts the hammer, Adam Aziz's random assortment of tacky tattoos are transformed into more cohesive and intricate nordic ones.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Donald Blake is easily able to defeat a Thor that no longer has the Power Cosmic and Blake later gives the entire Asgard military a Curbstomp Battle. Thor, now trapped in Donald's fake reality, learns from Jormungandr that Donald Blake has remnants of the Odinforce at a time when Thor had it and Blake got some of the Midgard Serpent's power as well. With these powers, Blake is able to absorb other enchantments by Odin, including the one that makes Beta Ray Bill the equal to Thor.
  • Alternate Timeline: In Galactus and Thor's encounter with the Black Winter, the Black Winter tells Thor that his fate to become the one-eyed, one-armed King Thor is broken. So that old Thor is going to be an alternate timeline. The one they're in now seems to be heading to bad places.
  • Always Someone Better: Even when Galactus has powered up from devouring all five planets and he gets assisted by a cosmically-powered Thor, they both get defeated by the Black Winter - who claims that Galactus is actually his herald.
  • An Arm and a Leg: In this case, it's Galactus who's short a limb - showing just how dangerous this Black Winter threat is. He also had some fingers and a kneecap blasted off by Mjolnir when Thor essentially draws a line in the sand on what he will or won't do for Galactus.
  • And I Must Scream: After Thor in the Destroyer armor, Beta Ray Bill and Dr. Strange defeat Donald Blake, Thor spares Blake and wonders what to do with him. Loki has an idea and takes Blake. From the myth of Loki's punishment for the murder of Balder, Loki has Blake chained up and a venomous giant serpent to dribble poison in his eyes for eternity.
  • Author Appeal: The Director's Cut for Issue #1 has Cates specify that he wanted the Power Cosmic-infused Thor to have long hair "like the nineties Thor that (he) love(s)."
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: A powered up Galactus along with All-Father Thor as his herald against the Black Winter (a being whose power still dwarfed theirs)? You'd be hard pressed to find a better example than that.
  • Bad Future: Thor foresees one when he sees his death. Thanos has combined the Infinity Stones and Mjolnir, and apparently commands the Marvel Zombies.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Galactus warns that he saw Thor bring about his end thanks to the Black Winter and blasts him, but instead of killing him like everyone expected he made Thor his new Herald to keep an eye on him until after the immediate threat is resolved. Unfortunately, he didn't stop to consider if this was exactly what would bring about his downfall.
  • Battle Trophy: After killing Galactus, Thor takes and incorporates Galactus's helmet as part of Asgard's castle.
  • Bishounen Line: After Thor and Galactus escape its interior by blowing it up from the inside, the Black Winter reforms into a facsimile of Thor to continue their fight.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: The Heralds of Galactus have united to protect the injured Galactus and Thor adds Asgardian forces to the bodyguard retinue.
  • Brick Joke: Thor gets revenge on Iron Man for writing on Mjolnir in Issue #1 by displaying his private home number on it when he sends it to Midgard again in Issue #7.
    Thor: Heh. Teach you to write on my hammer, you armored jackass.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": As shown in the promo art, Thor gains a Thurisaz rune design on his body armor when made a herald of Galactus.
  • Brought Down to Badass: With the death of Galactus and the defeat of the Black Winter, Thor loses his Cosmic powers. But he still has his normal power set as well as the Thor-Force.
  • Bystander Syndrome: The cover of Issue #8 has Thor enjoying a sandwich while the temporary wielder of Mjolnir, Adam Aziz is being brutally beaten by a monster outside of the restaurant.
  • Canon Immigrant: Issue #18 introduces the 616 version of the Pet Avengers, but replaces Ms. Lion, Zabu and Redwing with Thor’s ravens and Dr. Strange’s ghost dog Bats.
  • Canon Character All Along: At first, the God of Hammers is believed to be a newly sentient Mjolnir, but during Thor’s first showdown with the beast, Odin notes that Mjolnir has always been alive and never done anything like this and notes that something must have gotten into it. That something turns out to be none other than Mangog.
  • Character Development: Thor is miffed that Mjolnir is acting up, and is looking into fixing it, but he's not as covetous of the weapon as he was in Aaron's run and knows that he is still himself without it.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Silver Surfer appears still in his darkened form as seen in Silver Surfer: Black. He drops the subject when Thor brings it up to focus on the threat at hand when they reunite.
    • When entering the Black Winter, the entity conjures up illusions of villains from across Jason Aaron's run, including Gorr and Mangog, to intimidate him. Thor is not amused.
  • Crossover:
    • The Fortnite event featuring Thor officially takes place during the "Herald of Thunder" storyline.
    • 2022's Banner Of War serves as one between Thor and Cates' concurrent run on Hulk (2021).
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: After learning of Galactus's deception, Thor decides to execute Galactus by channeling all of his power-cosmic to turn Galactus into a living bomb, not only destroying him but also the Black Winter.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Normally when Galactus feeds, the planet still remains physically albeit devoid of life. However, he's so badly injured and in need of sustenance that he drains the planet until it explodes into nothingness. This greatly upsets Thor as he promised the evacuated inhabitants that he'd return them to their planet when it eventually recovers.
  • Enemy Mine: Thor and Galactus.
  • Energy Weapon: Mjolnir becomes this after Galactus turns Thor into one of his heralds. In Cates' own words, "a solid Mjolnir-shaped bolt of lightning."
  • Face–Heel Turn: Donald Blake has gone nuts. He learned he's not a real person but an alter-ego of Thor that was created by Odin to teach the thunder god humility. Blake's so insane now that he murders everyone in that false reality he's been living in when Thor abandoned the Donald Blake persona.
  • Foreseeing My Death: One can see a vision of what will kill them within the Black Winter if it isn't already the last thing they see. Galactus saw Thor, and later Thor himself saw Thanos wielding an Infinity Gem-studded Mjolnir.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Beta Ray Bill does this to help battle Mjolnir. The Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the Ben Reiliy Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, the Pet Avengers, Angela, Freyja, Wolverine and Man-Thing heed the call.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Galactus's mutilated body parts are completely restored after devouring the first planet.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Galactus augments Thor with the Power Cosmic so that he'll be powerful enough to help him defeat the Black Winter. It worked too well... Thor was able to use his newly increased powers to steal every bit of power from the empowered Galactus, kills him with a thrown Mjolnir and then uses all that power to nuke the Black Winter into a bit of dust.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Odin sacrifices his life to allow Thor to obtain the full power of the Odinforce to fight back against the infected God Tempest.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: The first arc sets the Black Winter up as a grave, new threat that Thor must overcome, only to reveal in a prophetic vision that it is past Avengers foe Thanos who will be his ultimate challenge.
  • Jumped at the Call: Thor is willing to help Silver Surfer and Galactus travel the cosmos to combat the Black Winter.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The crossover with Al Ewing's Venom takes place after the events of the then-released Venom #17, in which Bedlam throws down with Darkoth and almost kills the cyborg demon, in the process revealing that Eddie returns to his original King in Black form rather than continuing his devolution into the other Kings in Black... though the following issue reveals that this is Meridius in disguise.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: The DC Universe is depicted as a victim of the Black Winter, with its Earth's resident heroes vaguely shown as streaks of color and described in narration. Darkseid is also given a mention, indirectly described as the vision of the end that everyone saw in the depths of the Black Winter.
  • Logical Weakness: Gazing into the Black Winter causes the viewer to become paralyzed with fright as they see a vision of their "true death". Thor gets around with a simple blindfold.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Whenever Thor and Donald Blake would trade places, Blake would be transported to an idyllic, infinite, sunny suburbia paradise where he can enjoy himself while Thor is doing his thing.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: Subverted. A newfound defect in the reconstructed Mjolnir causes it to measure everyone except Thor as worthy of wielding it.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: When Loki snidely points out how Thor struggles to lift Mjolnir, Thor reminds him with a sour expression that it's customary manners for visiting kings to bow. Loki begrudgingly complies.
  • Power Makes Your Hair Grow: Being infused with the Power Cosmic in the first arc gives Thor waist-length platinum-blond hair to go with his new outfit.
  • Power-Up Food: For a planet eater; the macguffins of the story arc are five planets Silver Surfer discovered capable of empowering Galactus to unheard of levels. This has been kept secret from him until the threat of the Black Winter forces Norrin to reveal them.
  • Reluctant Ruler: Thor has been showing signs of this ever since he became the All-Father.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Thor, being a former prince and now All-Father.
  • Secret-Keeper: So far Loki seems to be the only one aware that Thor is struggling to lift Mjolnir.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Galactus brought Thor along as he saw him as the bringer of his death. As it turns out, it was this exact act that brought about his end, when Thor, disgusted with Galactus's deceptions, uses him as a living bomb to destroy the Black Winter.
  • Sentient Cosmic Force: The Black Winter, which is a cosmic entity that devours universes in much the same way Galactus devours planets.
  • Shout-Out: In Thor #27 — a crossover with Al Ewing's Venom — Odin paraphrases the SSU Venom's "That... is a red one!" line from Venom: Let There Be Carnage in response to the symbiote-controlled Darkoth creating a Promethium replica of Mjolnir.
  • Sigil Spam: Thor has taken to putting up the Thurisaz rune everywhere as the symbol of his reign.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: Thor gets his new look when Galactus makes him his new Herald, and keeps it even after being divested of the Power Cosmic. He later adds his old helmet to the ensemble.
  • Subspace Ansible: In almost an instant, Thor's "ravens" Hugin and Munin allow Thor to talk and listen to people many star systems away. This allows him to command Sif and Volstagg to rescue and care for the natives of the first planet to feed Galactus.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: When Thor explains to Beta Ray Bill that he is aiding Galactus for the greater good, Bill retorts by pointing out that Thor has allies across the cosmos he could have called upon to tackle the danger, himself included.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: In issue #27, Thor notices that Darkoth has been taken over by a red-and-black symbiote and grimly recalls that he's heard that Carnage has been rampaging through Svartalfhem and Hel, surmising that it's responsible. As pieces of the symbiote ooze begin to form into a humanoid avatar, Thor braces himself for combat with the Bleeding King... only to see Eddie Brock as the King in Black instead.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • The already mighty Thor has been given the Power Cosmic and he's had his lost arm and eye regenerated (though losing the Destroyer's arm might be something of a downgrade).
    • Thor getting caught at ground zero of a Hulk-powered nuclear explosion causes him to mutate into a Hulk himself. In response, the Hulk takes up Mjolnir and gains Thor's powers.
  • Translator Microbes: Thor uses the All-Tongue to try and speak to the natives of the first planet, unfortunately they're too enraged and frightened to listen to him
  • Villains Never Lie: The Black Winter outright invokes this. It is usually the same case for Galactus; everything he said about the Black Winter is true with the glaring exception of the reason why it came in first place.
  • Wham Line: At the end of Issue #5, the Black Winter claims it has not come to destroy the universe. Thor then demands to know why it is there:
    Black Winter: For Galactus. My herald.
  • Wham Shot:
    • The first issue ends with Thor revealed to have become the Herald of Thunder thanks to Galactus. The second issue ends with Galactus getting blasted in the back and it turns out the attacker is Beta Ray Bill with his warship, the Scuttlebutt.
    • Near the beginning of the fourth issue, Sif sends Mjolnir to Jotunheim where no one can lift it. When Loki tries to lift it, he does so without effort.
    • Issue #6 has a massive one when the Black Winter shows Thor what will be his end: A resurrected Thanos, wielding Mjolnir and the Infinity Stones, with the Marvel Zombies at his back.

Alternative Title(s): Donny Cates Thor