Written by Jason Aaron, art by Olivier Coipel, with guest art in issue 4 by Kim Jacinto, Frazer Irving, Esad Ribic, and Russel Dauterman.
Many years ago, Thor helped his fellow Avengers to fight the insane Nick Fury. Things were going well, until Fury whispered a dire secret into Thor's ear. With this simple act, Fury felled the greatest god who had ever swung a hammer, and left the great Thor...
The Unworthy Thor chronicles the period of time between Thor's disappearance shortly after Thor (2014) and his somewhat triumphant return at the end of the Asgard Shi'ar War.
Turns out, he's had a rather rough old time of it...
After stomping some trolls on the moon, Odinson encounters a mysterious figure, calling himself "The Unseen". This cloaked wierdo informs Odinson that while he may no longer be worthy to carry his Mjolnir, there is another! Thrown through time and space, after the events of Secret Wars: Thors, Ultimate Mjolnir is now resting in Earth 616, in the ruins of old Asgard.
So, naturally, Odinson rushes off to reclaim this new hammer and become worthy, once more. Only one TINY problem. It seems Old Asgard has been taken by Tanaleer Tivan, better know as "The Collector", who wishes to possess the powers of this new Hammer. Thanos also wants the hammer, and thus sends two of his Black Order to retrieve it, with the assistance of a second mysterious cloaked figure. Because cloaks are cool, damnit.
Odinson's attempt to retrieve the new hammer goes, less than swimmingly. He ends up locked up in the Collector's vaults, where he spends an undisclosed amount of time repeatedly trying to break out, getting beaten up, and being returned to his cells.
But, all this time alone isn't all bad. The solitude helps him to work through some stuff, and with the aid of a few friends, both old and new, he's able to break free, force a final confrontation and maybe, just maybe, claim Mjolnir once more...
Why this book is SO FREAKIN GOOD:
Here's the thing; The Unworthy Thor was always going to be a divisive book. After the years of build up and all the mystery surrounding Thor becoming unworthy, there was no way that writer Jason Aaron was going to please everyone, when he revealed the reason behind Odinson's fall.
But, speaking as someone who got back into comics because of Aaron's God of Thunder, I have to say that I LOVE the way this book played out.
"Gorr was right."
Three simple words, that can fell a god. But why? A lot of people didn't like that it was something so simple, so referential.
Because here's the thing. The whisper was nothing to do with it.
I know, hot take alert! But it's true.
Look at this very book. In the opening scene, Odinson is talking about how bad he feels, after losing the hammer. He says he can no longer fly, and is even having trouble controlling thunder...
Mjolnir has nothing to do with his thunder powers!
The truth is there, for all to see. The biggest problem was never what Fury told Thor.
The biggest problem was that Odinson ALREADY BELIEVED THAT.
Gorr has been living, rent free, in Odinson's brain since the moment they first met. The reason Fury's words hit him so hard, is because they were confirmation of something that he had been feeling already for years.
Nothing hurts more, than hearing another person tell you what you've secretly believed about yourself for years, but have never wanted to admit.
So when he hears Nick Fury, who until that point was one of the most respected people on earth, tell him the exact same thing that had been eating away at his heart for so long, it was always going to have a serious impact.
A lot of people complained that Aaron made Thor too weak, and that taking away Mjolnir shouldn't have had anywhere near the effect that it did. I say to you now; those people missed the point.
Losing Mjolnir was only a small part of what made Thor so weak, during The Unworthy Thor and in the build up to War of the Realms.
The biggest problem was that Odinson had simply lost faith in himself, and all gods. He had convinced himself that he was weak, and unworthy, and because of this he had lost his power. People think of The Unworthy Thor as the end of the arc, but they're wrong. This is the "All is lost moment" of the movie. When everything seems bleak and hopeless, when the hero has lost all faith.
But the War of the Realms is coming. And the Odinson shall rise again!
Join me next week when The Mighty Thor and The Unworthy Thor are joined by a new ally, in The Mighty Thor Volume 4: The War Thor!
If you want to read along with me, you can find every issue of Aaron's Thor Saga on Comixology, Amazon, or better yet, at your local comic store!