One of the great joys of reading comics used to be the (often monthly) wait between issues. It gave you and your pals time to speculate on how the characters were going to escape the latest death-defying cliffhanger. In that spirit, here’s a guess at what might happen in a current ongoing comic.
This time: Thor.
We need to fly through some recent history before we get to Donald Trump.
Jason Aaron’s been writing Thor for a few years now. He took the reins with the heavy metal-toned (and really really good) God Butcher saga. He also introduced the new wielder of the magic hammer Mjolnir - cancer-ridden Jane Foster. He’s building toward a massive intergalactic War of the Realms. But he’s also working with key concepts introduced by two previous Thor writers, J. Michael Straczynski and Matt Fraction.
Asgard, the traditional home of the Norse gods is no more. Its entire plane of existence was laid waste when Marvel ‘rested’ Thor for a few years back in 2004.
When JMS resurrected Thor a few years later, he brought Asgard to Earth, where it floated above the skies outside Broxton, Oklahoma. And then that was destroyed too, in the events of the crossover event, Siege. The gods capital city was rebuilt as ‘Asgardia’ by Iron Man’s company, Stark Resilient.
Throughout Matt Fraction’s run on the book, Asgardia became more inclusive and open. In order to honour its role as the shining example of godhood among the mythological Nine Realms, its newly-established matriarch formed a Council of the Realms to govern the Norse cosmos.
Okay, we’re almost done with the recap - we need to quickly discuss Odin himself. He’s often portrayed as an overly-stern, overly-protective father - to the point that most people would consider him to be a dick. He’s been kept off the throne for most of the past decade - Thor didn’t resurrect his father for a long time, then once he was brought back to Earth, he almost immediately banished himself back to the ruined Asgard realm to guard his errant brother Cul, the god of fear. They’re both now alive again, and Odin poo-poo’d his way back onto the throne of Asgard with Cul as his minister of Justice. Odin does not like the new Thor, and tolerates his war-torn son who is now known as the Odinson.
Odin as Donald Trump
It seems as though Jason Aaron, the current Thor writer, could be playing with narrative themes based in the concept of American exceptionalism.
Asgard, the old glorious shining city lofted high in its own realm of existence, was supreme. Let’s think of it as the USA of the 1960s, under JFK and the Cold War.
Asgardia, and its fledgling quarrelous democratic governance and maternalistic care of the lesser realms, wants to earn its reputation for supremacy. It’s maybe more like the contemporary United Nations. It seeks glory through peace not dominance.
The Odinson, stripped of his hammer, arm, and shirt, seems to be portrayed as a well-intentioned but meddlesome war veteran. His past glories have earned him a degree of latitude with his father, but that’s wearing thin. Oh! As a bonus, I’ll reveal my take on the secret words which caused Odinson to lose his worthiness and therefore lose the hammer Mjolnir.
The new Thor’s relationships with other characters present her as a liberal (Democrats) social activist. Imagine Jon Stewart with a magic hammer and a pair of wings on his head. Imagine the rants; the glorious ranting rants. John Oliver can be his British Beta Ray Bill. Anyway, Odin’s relationship to her is openly hostile. Her presence endangers her allies in Asgardia to Odin’s wrath.
All-Father Odin is Donald Trump. He’s the cantankerous, spittle-spraying embodiment of the old world’s wealth and success. He can literally do anything, because he has the power and the resources. And it would be tempting to think that he’s been corrupted by the presence of his evil brother Cul.
Is Odin evil?
Odin has not been corrupted. Not by an external force, at least. Like Trump, he’s deeply frustrated at the decline of his beloved nation. He wants the best for his people because they are the best. And like Donald Trump, Odin can’t quite see that it’s his own habitual excesses which are emblematic in causing the mounting failures of his beloved nation.
Now Odin and Trump both want the use simple answers and brute force to reclaim their perceived entitlement of supremacy.
Could Jason Aaron have predicted how far Donald Trump would rise when he laid down the plans for his narrative arc?
Aaron now has an enviable platform on which to write an epic and contemporaneous tale of conservative values vs liberal values. Republicans vs Democrats. Baby Boomers vs Generation Y. It’s exciting to see where this will go.
The secret words
During the Original Sin storyline, an omnipotent and deranged Nick Fury halted the original Thor by whispering a mysterious sentence in his ear. Thor was instantly rendered unworthy. What secret deed could possibly neuter decades and centuries of heroic victories by Asgard’s greatest warrior?
Here’s a theory: An impatient young Thor did two things. He used magic to make himself worthy, and he made himself forget that his inner nature was augmented. Maybe Thor had young Loki’s assistance, maybe not. The point is that brash boyish Thor cheated on Asgard’s most discerning test.
Once you have the greatest weapon in the galaxy in your hand, it’s easy to continue being heroic.
There’s no doubt Aaron would have a redemptive story planned to restore the Odinson, should need ever arise. But let’s hope it doesn’t get used. A mortal Thor is a far more interesting premise and symbol for “worthiness” than hereditary entitlement. And that’s an incredibly fitting parable for the moden world, dontcha think?