Marvel is keeping us on our toes! A few days ago we heard the male Thor we all know and love will be deemed unworthy to wield the Mjolnir and posses the power of Thor (and apparently retain the name of Thor), and a woman will be deemed worthy instead. We also got our first glance at this new, female Thor:
It seems the changes aren’t done yet. Last night on the Colbert Report, Marvel CCO Joe Quesada announced that Steve Rogers will no longer be Captain America come November. Instead, the new hero to stand for all things justice, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness will be The Falcon himself, Sam Wilson. Here’s a glimpse:
The reasoning behind Sam taking over for Steve is a bit less dramatic than male-Thor’s exit (I am STILL not sure how to refer to “old Thor”–I really thought Thor was a name, not a title, but I digress). Steve Rogers’ body will simply not be able to take the physical demands of being Cap, and so he will pass the torch on to Sam. It sounds like Steve will still be around in this new chapter of Captain America, and he’ll be a sort of tutor for Sam (even teaching him how to toss the shield in that classic Cap way). So even though Steve might be done protecting our streets as Cap, it sounds like he isn’t going to be going anywhere.
I’m also beginning to hear rumors that there is going to be a similar shake-up in the near future for Iron Man. I have absolutely nothing substantial to support that, but given Marvel’s changes to 2 out of the “Big Three”, it seems likely.
It’s hard to know what to think about these changes. Part of what makes comic book characters great is that they are sort of “timeless”. They seem to abide by a different law of aging and time (even the human superheroes), and that is what makes them great–they are always around. To be fair, we’re not seeing the end of Thor or Captain America, we’re just seeing the end of familiar faces in those roles. Still, it will feel very weird at first not having Steve Rogers as the perennial Cap (even though others have stepped in that role) and Thor as…um…Thor (honestly, what are they going to call him now???).
One thing I am proud of Marvel for doing is actively pursuing diversity in their superheroes. We have a female, Muslim superhero in Ms. Marvel, a woman in Captain Marvel and Black Widow (and now Thor), an African-American woman in Storm, and Captain America will now be an African-American man. I think that’s great, and really exciting. Comic book fans are incredibly diverse, and it will be really cool for a wider variety of readers to be able to look at Marvel superheroes and find one that looks like them.
My only trepidation is that this new move will be nothing more than pandering to racial minorities and women, and general headline-grabbing. If this is truly the new direction Captain America and Thor are moving (not a temporary news-maker), and they have interesting and compelling story lines to follow, I think this could be something really exciting. It feels a little weird to watch Marvel take some of the oldest, most beloved superheroes and change them, and I do kind of wonder why they didn’t just add characters to the Marvel Universe. However, I am really excited to see this evolution in the Marvel Universe. If they can make these changes with the love for the characters and the readers, and not something to pat female readers or readers of color, I think this will signal the start to a very exciting and interesting character in the Marvel Universe and comics in general.
Only time will tell! The new Thor comics will arrive in October, and the new Captain America comics will be dropping in November. Will you be picking up copies? What do you think about the changes Marvel is making? Tell me your opinion in the comments!