This variant cover for Mighty Thor #706 features Laura Martin on colors!

The final issue of writer Jason Aaron, artist Russell Dauterman, and colorist Matt Wilson’s landmark MIGHTY THOR series is getting the send-off it deserves with a special variant cover for issue #706 by legendary creator Walter Simonson!

Colored by Laura Martin, the variant for THOR #706 depicts Jane Foster, engaged in battle with the walking hatred, the Mangog. For the first—and last—time, Walter Simonson lends a hand to the Mighty Thor.

 

“We’re honored to have legendary THOR writer and artist Walter Simonson provide this variant cover for the finale of ‘The Death Of The Mighty Thor,’” says series editor Wil Moss. “This is actually his first time drawing Jane Thor and the Mangog, a classic Thor villain from the Jack Kirby and Stan Lee era that he never go the chance to draw before.”

Say farewell to Jane Foster Thor with this special variant cover for MIGHTY THOR #706, by Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matt Wilson, on April 18!

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Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matt Wilson say farewell to The Mighty Thor.

Somewhere in Kansas, Jason Aaron sits alone in a room talking to action figures.

Jane Foster and the creature called Mangog, the central characters of the climax of his seminal series, MIGHTY THOR #705—out March 21—stand on opposing sides of his office. Jane says something inspirational and defiant; the Mangog spits and roars. Jason hears them, and writes.

“These characters speak to me; I’m just a vessel for them,” he explains. “This Jane Foster Thor statue just stands there looking at me as I write. And my Kirby-style Mangog statue as well. He’s been there for years.”

It’s something he’s been doing since childhood—talking to characters, making them clash, telling their stories. The only difference between the stories he imagined as a kid and the ones he dreams up today is that now thousands of people are watching what he does in the sandbox. And though the anticipation for the penultimate issue of Jane Foster’s story is at a fever pitch, he maintains a sense of youthful appreciation for the work: “Not only do I get to write these characters—not only do I get paid for it—but then I get to see them brought to life by some of the best artists working today.”

Common consensus has emerged that this run of MIGHTY THOR will go down as an all-time great. And forging the story alongside Aaron, since issue #1, has been artist Russell Dauterman and colorist Matt Wilson.

Since the series began, Dauterman’s dexterity has allowed readers to jump page-by-page between heartbreaking emotion and heart stopping action—between Jane’s solitary moments staring at a chemo drip and the War Thor defending Asgardia from a monster comprised of a billion angry souls. Those lines, combined with Wilson’s colors—from the anemic halogen lights of hospital waiting rooms to shimmering fragments of a shattered Rainbow Bridge—have matched Aaron’s poetry every step of the way.

“Jason’s scripts for this arc have been incredible. They’re big, bold, and really moving. I’m trying to capture all of that and have it seep into every bit of the art,” says Dauterman. “I drew my first Jane Foster Thor nearly four years ago, and I had no idea the impact the character would have. I think a lot about all the people who’ve written to say what Jane means to them. I really want to do right by those folks with the finale, and to do Jane justice.”

Via their seamless, stellar work, Aaron, Dauterman, and Wilson have formed their own Warriors Three (Jason would be Volstagg, because beard)—an inseparable force committed to Thor’s cause. “It’s not often that creators get to work on longer runs in super hero comics these days, or even stick together as a creative team,” Wilson says. “We’ve been very fortunate to have all this time together, to tell this story.”

Jason’s been in conversation with Jane Foster for years. And though she advises him on every panel and page, he’s been steering the series to a definitive point since the very beginning. “This is a story I’ve been waiting to write for literally years,” he says, “I’ve always known that this is where Jane ends up.” A worthy end awaits the Mighty Thor.

The final story arc, titled “The Death of The Mighty Thor,” began in the landmark issue #700. And the emotion present in all Jane Foster Thor stories extends beyond the page. “Saying goodbye is going to be rough. I did the layouts for issue #706 recently, and the finality of everything really hit me. I’ve never been so emotional when drawing layouts before,” recalls Dauterman.

And Aaron, the master of Jane’s fate, agrees. “This was the first time I ever cried as I was writing. I was surprised by it. And it happened again as I received the art for these issues.” Time is winding down for this unlikely hero. The creators, and Jane Foster herself, know what’s coming next.

In issue #703, Doctor Stephen Strange, standing beside the hero’s hospital bed, put the situation in plain terms: “If you change into Thor…Even one more time…There will be no coming back. Jane Foster will die.”

“It’s been spelled out to her,” says the scribe. “She can fight her cancer as Jane, or pick up the hammer one last time… To save the gods.”

And she does. At the conclusion of the latest issue, Jane Foster took hold of Mjolnir again. Just like the statue that observes Jason as he writes—with the ancient mallet in her right hand—there was no other way this story could end.

Since issue #1 in November 2015, Jane Foster has proven herself worthy. And she’ll prove it once more as she looks to save the gods from destruction; from the Mangog on the other side of Jason’s office. A battle for the ages arrives in issue #705, the penultimate story of a series already known as a modern classic.

“My name is Jane Foster,” the Mighty Thor concludes, “And if this is the story of how I die… Then know that it won’t end without one hell of a fight.”

Read MIGHTY THOR #705, by Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matt Wilson, on March 21.

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Jason Aaron signals the end for The Mighty Thor!

Jane Foster’s body decays. The War of the Realms rages. The Mangog roars. As these events culminate, a moment of reckoning arrives for The Mighty Thor.

With Asgardia on the brink of destruction—and the other realms soon to follow—the wielder of Mjolnir needs to make a choice: will she sacrifice her own life in exchange for those at risk on the other side of the universe? On February 21, witness the beginning of the end in writer Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman’s MIGHTY THOR #704!

We sat down with Aaron for a wide-ranging two-part interview about this modern classic. Read the first half of the conversation here before jumping into Part Two below.

Marvel.com: Jason, tell us about the wonderful artists you’ve worked with on this storyline.

Jason Aaron: I’m tremendously proud of what those guys have put on paper over the course of this run. What Russell Dauterman and [colorist] Matt Wilson are doing on this arc is so great. And, no hyperbole, I genuinely think Russell is doing his best work yet; he just raises the bar with every new storyline. It’s been great to have Russell come back for #702; to have Matt and Russell work together with this arc. I’ve been so blown away with what they’ve done on this series. I wanted to do this finale right and not screw the story up, so it felt good to really just sit down and write those issues all in a row, something I haven’t had the luxury of doing in eight or ten years.

[Artist] James Harren did such a great job on issue #701. I’ve been wanting to work with James for a long time on MIGHTY THOR, actually. That fight between the Mangog and the War Thor was originally going to take place at the end of #700, which would have been just a seven-page  brutal beat-down. But our scheduling changed around a little bit and then we thought, with the art being so evocative, why don’t we just make that fight an entire issue? Initially James had just signed up to draw those pages in #700 but thankfully he was able to do #701 as well and I think he’s the perfect guy to draw that fight. He loves the Mangog and I love his version of the Mangog, so that was a huge thrill.

Marvel.com: How does it feel to see this end on the horizon?

Jason Aaron: This arc is something I knew we’ve been heading towards for a long time, and something I’ve both been looking forward to and dreading. On the one hand it’s a total joy, but it’s also tinged with sadness. I mean, I’m pretty sure that this issue #705 was the first comic that ever made me cry while I was writing it.

Marvel.com: There are going to be a lot of tear-stained issues out there in a couple months.

Jason Aaron: [Laughs]

Marvel.com: As this story comes to a close, I wanted to see if you have any meditations on the concept of “worthiness.” Obviously, you’ve had years of in-depth philosophical examination on that idea in this book…

Jason Aaron: I think I still have lots of thoughts on that idea and you can still see them playing out in this storyline. This is not my last storyline on THOR, so I think you’ll continue to see those themes playing out in the comics for the foreseeable future as long as I’m on the book.

I can see where the end point is for me on this series and I’ve always known what those last few stories will be. Some of it should be obvious and some will be a bit of a surprise.

Marvel.com: Do you ever ponder the concept when thinking about yourself? (Not that you should!)

Jason Aaron: Well, I try not to think of it that way and would never presume to say I’m worthy to follow in the footsteps of people like Jack Kirby and Walt Simonson, but I think, as a creator, the worthiness of your writing is for other people to decide.

A few years ago I was the world’s biggest fan of [writer] Garth Ennis’ PUNISHER MAX run—one of my favorite comic runs of all time. And when Marvel announced that he was leaving, I thought, well, I want to be the next guy. Even though it’s incredibly intimidating to follow something that you have such tremendous respect for, I knew I could never do what Garth had done, but I wanted to carry it on and continue to tell the story of that character in my own way.

That’s how I approach every job. You can’t stop to wonder whether you’re good enough to do this. You can’t get intimidated by that prospect or let it stop you from telling your own story. I certainly don’t feel as good as those creators who I idolize, but…man, I can’t wait to throw my hat in the ring every time.

The finale nears in MIGHTY THOR #704, by Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman, on February 21!

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Jason Aaron sounds a death knell for The Mighty Thor!

As Mangog rampages through Asgardia, Thor—the last hope for the innocent lives at risk—lies dying from a cancer that has brought her body to the brink.

Jane Foster, faced with the responsibility of her heroic mantle and the sickness that it exacerbates, can see the end on the horizon. And as “The Death of the Mighty Thor” story arc continues, we can too. Today, issue #703 of writer Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman’s MIGHTY THOR sets a grave course of events in action—and on February 21, issue #704 escalates the situation entirely.

We caught up with Aaron for an expansive two-part interview about the climax of this iconic series.

Marvel.com: Now that “The Death of the Mighty Thor” arc has begun, what’s going on in Jane’s head?

Jason Aaron: Well, in issue #702, we saw Odinson confront her and point blank tell her that she’s got to stop. He’s one of the few people who knows her secret and knows what being Thor is doing to her, so he directly confronted her and she seemed to understand and relent. But by the end of the book she had collapsed, so…as to what she’s facing and where her mind’s at, I think you’ll have to see issue to issue.

I will say that issue #703, directly and specifically lays out what her situation is, what her health looks like, and what that means going forward. By the next issue, the decision she faces is very clear.

Marvel.com: As a quick catch-up, what events have been leading to this moment in MIGHTY THOR?

Jason Aaron: Well, Jane Foster’s been Thor for the last two years or so and that whole time she’s been fighting some of the biggest, craziest enemies from around the various realms—most importantly Malekith the Accursed, who’s at the center of a War of the Realms that’s created chaos across the landscape.

So at the same time Thor’s been dealing with all of that, she’s had cancer as Jane Foster and the two kind of spiral together; being Thor is making her condition worse. See, every time she transforms into Thor, it neutralizes the cancer treatments she’s been receiving. And when she goes back to being Jane she’s worse than before. Jane knows all this, but she continues to pick that hammer up because somebody’s got to. Somebody has to do that job and try to stop this War of the Realms from spreading to every realm.

So she’s been dealing with all that, and then in issue #700—the beginning of this whole arc—the Mangog showed up. Mangog is one of the original Stan Lee and Jack Kirby villains and one of my favorite Thor villains.

Marvel.com: And even War Thor couldn’t stop him.

Jason Aaron: Right, he beat the crap out of War Thor. He defeated War Thor and tore the hammer apart.

Marvel.com: So what does the Mangog want?

Jason Aaron: The Mangog hates the gods and wants vengeance against them because he was born when Odin slaughtered an entire alien race. The Mangog exists as sort of the combined rage and hate of all those billion, billion beings channeled into one monster, out for justice. It’s come for revenge many times over the years and gets defeated, but always somehow comes back stronger than he was before.

We talked in issue #701 a little bit about why that is, what fuels the Mangog, and how he’s become a bigger thing than just a means of vengeance against Odin for that original sin…he’s sort of become a bigger force of nature, a cosmic judgment against all the gods. It remains ambiguous whether he’s justified in that vengeance or not, though, and very much ties into the themes going back to my first arc on the book and that initial idea: “Are the gods really worthy?”

Marvel.com: It’s so amazing that the thematic seeds of this finale were planted so long ago. Did you have the big story events planned from the very beginning or did they evolve organically over time?

Jason Aaron: Oh, I’ve known for years that the Mangog was coming. I always had plans to use him from the get-go and, if you go back over the course of my whole run, you’ll see references and teases to the Mangog going back several years. I’ve always known we were building towards that and I’ve known from the beginning of the Jane Foster Thor story that her story was building towards this very specific moment.

Marvel.com: What inspired your choice to bring the book to this point?

Jason Aaron: I mean, when I first started working on MIGHTY THOR, the first thing I did was sit back down and read those first Lee and Kirby issues from the very beginning. I think a lot of what I’ve done—the toys I’ve played with—has come from those issues. You know, I’d never read a lot of those stories before and the Mangog was one of the first things to jump out to me.

I wasn’t a huge THOR fan at first, if you can believe it.

Marvel.com: Really?!

Jason Aaron: I mean, I knew the Walter Simonson stuff, but that was my only reference, really. But when I read all the way through, I realized that the character that I was drawn towards was Mangog. And the more I read, the more I could see stuff that I really wanted to sink my teeth into.

I think the job is that, no matter the character, you don’t ever want to go into it and just preach to the choir, assuming everybody already knows why this character is cool. You want to show why this character is different from any other character in the Marvel Universe; what makes their adventures so unusual and exciting. I do try to keep that up in every new issue.

Marvel.com: Of course, this is very much Jane’s story, but I’m curious about the Odinson’s emotional reaction to all of this. If Jane dies, might he get his identity as Thor back? Does he want it back? He must be feeling a lot of conflict.

Jason Aaron: Well, he’s got a very conflicted relationship with the hammer and that idea of worthiness. But as far as his relationship with Jane goes, I think he’s just worried about his friend. Regaining that hammer isn’t even part of that equation right now—he just wants to try to save her life.

The thought about the Thor identity is definitely one of the questions going into this story. I would say most all of them will be answered by the end of it. Maybe not all of them, but a lot of them…just perhaps not in the way that you’d expect.

The end begins in Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman’s MIGHTY THOR #703—available now! Then continue the tale in issue #704 on February 21!

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Russell Dauterman sinks his teeth into the Walking Hatred!

On January 17, the walking, talking manifestation of the combined hatred of a billion minds wages war on Asgardia.

One of Thor’s most powerful opponents rears its head in writer Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman’s MIGHTY THOR #703…and the beast’s name alone shakes the very firmament of the Nine Realms: Mangog.

Mangog’s strange stature as a vessel for alien consciousness elevated him to near godlike levels of power, making the creature nearly unstoppable. Having debuted in 1968’s THOR #154, each appearance of the Stan Lee and Jack Kirby creation has made for a true event in the history of the God of Thunder.

We checked in with Dauterman for a little insight into Mangog’s visuals before the stuff hits the fan.

Marvel.com: Russell, what do you love most about Jack Kirby’s original design for Mangog?

Russell Dauterman: I love how super weird it is! Kirby’s Mangog really looks monstrous and foreign and unlike anything you’d see in real life. The proportions also help make Mangog feel like an otherworldly creature. I especially love his mouth and his teeth. The proportions are so great.

Marvel.com: What did you want to bring to the design with this run in MIGHTY THOR?

Russell Dauterman: I wanted to keep that wonderful weirdness that the Kirby design has, but to update it with a more visceral feel. Mangog is a being born out of rage, and this fight is so emotion-filled. I made some elements of his design a little more organic to help convey that.

Marvel.com: What sorts of scenes do you love drawing for Mangog the most?

Russell Dauterman: Jason Aaron’s made a point to distinguish Mangog’s fight scenes from ones he’s written in other scripts—these feel particularly brutal. Since Mangog is a more monstrous villain than we’ve had before, I’m getting the opportunity to let loose and depict some more savage stuff.

Marvel.com: What else do you really dig about Jason’s take on the character?

Russell Dauterman: I really love the unbridled rage that Jason’s writing for Mangog. We’ve had serious threats for Thor over the past few years, but none where the villain was so bloodthirsty and brutal. Jason writes a truly terrifying Mangog, and I’m trying to bring that through in the art.

Read MIGHTY THOR #703, by writer Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman, on January 17!

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What price will Jane Foster pay in the penultimate showdown with Mangog?

The murderous Mangog has set himself on a collision course with the God of Thunder–could a story titled “The Death of the Mighty Thor” end any other way than in tragedy?

With the fate of Asgard in jeopardy, Jane Foster takes up the hammer against her formidable foe in MIGHTY THOR #705, available March 21 from the creative team of writer Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman. Thor has run the gamut of her predecessor’s greatest foes since the start of this ominous arc in MIGHTY THOR #700. By the time she gets to Mangog, our truly Worthy hero may be operating low on lightning and unable to fully bring the thunder.

“This is it folks,” teases series editor Wil Moss. “The big showdown between Thor and Mangog. The penultimate chapter of ‘The Death of the Mighty Thor.’ Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman have been building to this issue for over three years, and you absolutely do not want to miss this. You may think you know where things are going, but I promise you do not.”

Jane Foster faces her most devastating foe as Mangog comes calling and the Goddess of Thunder has no option but to answer. Find out what happens when the unyielding meets the unstoppable on March 21 in MIGHTY THOR #705–and take a sneak peek at  awesome Dauterman art from issues #703–out January 17–and #704–coming February 21–as well as the cover to #705 in the pages above!

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Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman reveal their plans for Jane Foster.

Jane Foster has wielded Mjolnir for three years now, and we’re reaching the moment that all those stories have led to. Just as Marvel Legacy gets underway, Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman kick off “The Death of the Mighty Thor” arc in THE MIGHTY THOR #700. What threats will Jane and the various Thors face in this new tale? We went straight to the source to find out.

Marvel.com: Thor is one of the oldest heroes in Marvel history, dating back 55 years. In the spirit of Marvel Legacy, what do you think that kind of history means for Thor and for the Marvel Universe?

Jason Aaron: Yeah, I mean to me, I just think about the legacy of the creators who worked on the book, or worked on the character over the course of all those years. You know, going back to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, up to Walt Simonson and, you know, [Tom] DeFalco and [Ron] Frenz, and [J. Michael] Straczynski, and, you know, Matt [Fraction] and Kieron [Gillen]. You know, creators who have all kind of added pieces to the mythology along the way. It’s a big thrill for me to be a part of doing issue #700 for THE MIGHTY THOR, and to be able to throw my own stuff into that mix, and to continue to build the idea of Thor and what a Thor story means. In a way that, to me, goes back to that original appearance of the character while also taking things forward and doing Thor stories we’ve never seen before.

Marvel.com: What has it been like to work with this character for as long as each of you have? How has your connection to the characters and Thor’s unique storytelling environment grown over the years?

Jason Aaron: You know, I think that has always kind of been an important part of what I’ve been trying to do with the character, that’s kind of what attracted me to the book in the first place: That you can do stories with Thor that you can’t really do with any other Marvel character. You know, that was kind of what made the character different from Spider-Man and the [Fantastic Four] and everybody else in the first place. Stan and Jack wanted to come up with a character who was a god, who was a part of this crazy pantheon of gods. So I’ve always leaned into that, and done stories that are very much about the God of Thunder, stories that stretch across eons.

We’ve gone into the distant past, into the far, far future, and yeah, I’ve made it a point to do a lot to try and explore and flesh out the very unique setting for Thor stories. There are these various realms, there used to be nine, now we’ve got ten of them. So there are very different, fantastic realms that we’ve continued to explore little by little over the course of my whole run.

Part of that is the War of the Realms. As the war continues to spread from one realm to the next, we get an idea of what each one of those realms is like and who lives there and are they friend or are they foe? That will continue on and we’ll continue to see each and every realm get affected by this war. I think that’s always been a big part of it – being able to do stories that are cosmic fantasy and that make use of this immense, unique timeline that the character has and the very unique setting.

Russell Dauterman: When I first got the job, I wasn’t sure how long it would last, or if people would embrace the new Thor.  But I’ve been really surprised at the response, and really moved by all the people who’ve sent messages about how much Jane means to them.  That’s energized me and strengthened my connection to the book.

I love these characters, even more than I already did at the start.  This book has been an excellent fit for me, and to work with Jason, Matt, and everybody is wonderful.  I feel really lucky that we’re having such a (relatively) long run with this series.

Marvel.com: This issue kicks off the “The Death of The Mighty Thor” story arc. With Jane Foster staving off cancer throughout your run, it’s seemed inevitable that her story would reach this place. And it’s right there in the title: Should fans expect Jane’s story to come to an end soon?

Jason Aaron: I don’t know that I want to answer that question directly. [laughs]

From the get go, from the beginning of the “Jane as Thor” story, and even from before that, we’ve seen that Jane’s been battling cancer. That’s been a big part of why she became Thor in the first place and everything she’s had to deal with since then. I’ve enjoyed exploring that dynamic of these two different battles she’s fighting – she’s fighting this grand cosmic battle as Thor and also fighting this very personal, human battle. That’s something that has been very important and that has affected a lot of people, a lot of readers. And I’ve always said, “That’s not something that we’re just going to magic away.” You’re not going to pick up the next issue and Jane rubbed a magic lamp and her cancer is gone. That’s not the way it works. That story has always been moving forward and heading in a very specific direction. We’ll see how that develops, beginning in this “Death of Mighty Thor” arc.

At the same time, the Thor part of that story is that the Mangog has been unleashed. The Mangog is one of those crazy Kirby characters that I’ve literally been talking about using since I first started writing Thor. I’ve been building toward the coming of the Mangog for years now. It’s this being that was born when Odin wiped out a whole alien race. So, it has the power of a billion, billion beings, all of them enraged and hungry for revenge. We saw how the Mangog was released in the pages of Thor as part of the Challenge of the Gods that’s going on between Thor and the Shi’ar gods. So, Mangog is coming, that’s kind of all we know right now. It doesn’t matter if you know who it is or not – we’ll explain everything and try to shed a little more light on why the Mangog exists, what its purpose is, and all that sort of stuff. So, that’s the other big part of the Death of Mighty Thor arc: Mangog is finally on the scene and destruction follows.

So, those are the two big challenges that Jane is looking at, but, you know, issue 700 in particular is very much about the celebration of all things Thor. We’re going to see various versions of the character show up, pretty much every version of the character I’ve used over the course of my run, which is quite a few at this point. As well as touching base with everything else that’s going on in the various realms. It’s really a huge, oversized, wide-ranging story and just sort of a primer for everything that’s going on in the ten realms right now.

Marvel.com: You mentioned the challenges that Jane is facing: The cancer on one end and the Mangog on the other. You’ve been telling the story of Jane as Thor for about three years now. What have been your biggest personal challenges in putting together this storyline for Jane?

Jason Aaron: Certainly dealing with her cancer treatment and wanting to do right by that. And also to not overplay it and feel like we’re hitting that button too much, just not to make it too maudlin or tugging on the heartstrings too much. It’s still a story about a God of Thunder who flies through space with a hammer in her hand. But, again, I’ve liked that balance between the cosmic stuff and keeping it grounded in a very real, human and emotional story. So, I think that’s always the challenge with Thor stories. You can spend too much time flying through space or all fighting elves or dragons, and lose the human part of that. So, I’m always trying to find the humanity in Thor, no matter which version of Thor we’re talking about.

Marvel.com: Russell, you and Matt Wilson created a stunning wraparound cover for this issue, and there’s a lot going on there. I count at least 9 hammer-wielding heroes! Can you tell us how you came up with this cover concept and what it means for the new arc?

Russell Dauterman: Thanks – glad you like it! I was so thrilled that we got to do this. The cover’s definitely one of my favorite things we’ve done for the series. I’m always blown away by Matt’s colors, but I’m especially crazy about these.

This is our big anniversary issue, and I wanted something big to celebrate it. We did the wraparound-foldout cover for THE MIGHTY THOR #1, and I wanted to do something similar here. But, where the #1 cover had all sorts of Asgardian characters, this cover focuses more closely on the various Thors that Jason’s had in his run. I wanted Jane to be the most prominent, leading them into battle. The threat of Mangog has been looming over the book for a little while now, and that’s only going to intensify, so he’s literally looming over our heroes here.  And we had to get the Frog of Thunder in there!

Marvel.com: Outside of starting this new story arc, what makes THE MIGHTY THOR #700 special in your mind?

Jason Aaron: It’s not just the beginning of the Death of Mighty Thor arc, this is very much a celebration of 50+ years of Thor stories, and all the different variations of Thor we’ve seen over the years, including most recently in my run. So yeah, they’re all on that cover, they’re all in the book, all drawn by different artists – it’s a total murderer’s row of artists we’ve got. This is probably the greatest collection of artists on anything I’ve ever worked on. You know, led by Russell and Matt Wilson – Eisner Award-winning Matt Wilson now. Walt Simonson coming back to Thor, which is a huge thrill. It’s a huge, impression collection of artists – I don’t think we’ve even announced all of them yet. And again, it celebrates everything that has come before and also takes a big stride in forging ahead where everything goes from here.

Russell Dauterman: The issue, itself, is a celebration of all things Thor, as Jason said. It’s oversized, where Matt and I are joined by that murderer’s row of guest artists – Walter Simonson!! – who are all spotlighting different characters and parts of the Thor world.

The story I’m drawing deals with a favorite character of mine, and has a bit in there with major teases for what’s coming up.  I’m super excited for readers to see.

Marvel.com: What are the two of you most looking forward to about the tale you get to tell readers in “The Death of The Mighty Thor?”

Jason Aaron: I would say that this Legacy arc of Thor is one that I’ve been wanting to write for a long, long time. That’s what I’ve always said, when we started the Jane Foster as Thor story, it was never about “let’s just make that change and figure out where it goes.” I was always telling a very specific story. So, I always knew where that was headed and what was coming. I’ve certainly enjoyed the ride along the way, but I was always very excited to get to this part of the story. So, I’ve been looking forward to writing this for a long time.

I think we can say we get to see Jane Foster’s Thor in action against the Hulk. We get a very different Thor/Hulk confrontation than we’ve seen in the past. We get to see Odinson standing alone against some of the worst villains from across the ten realms. We get to see what War Thor is up to, you can expect him to be very angry and calling forth the Bloodstorm. We get to see Loki spend some quality time with his biological father. We get Young Thor, in the Viking age, we get King Thor in the far, far future – I’m picking up threads from that.

Last time we were in that future of King Thor, we saw how he had to use the Necrosword, the weapon of Gor the God Butcher, in order to defeat Galactus. A piece of that seemed to bond with Galactus, either being absorbing by him, or absorbing Galactus. We teased that we had a very, very different sort of Galactus in the far future, so we pick up with that thread. Again, you know, all the different versions of Thor that have been done over the years – we’ve always been telling very specific stories with them. So this moves all of those stories forward. And you also get Frog Thor, as if that wasn’t enough Thors.

Russell Dauterman: This is definitely the biggest story we’ve done with our run on Jane’s series. The arc builds on everything we’ve been doing for the past few years, with a lot of threads coming together. There are a few moments in particular that we’ve talked about that I’m really looking forward to drawing. Sorry for being so vague! I don’t want to spoil anything.  But really, I’m most excited for fans to read this arc. I hope it’s really satisfying.

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Writer Jason Aaron introduces two key new characters to his saga!

MIGHTY THOR boasts a story full of exciting twists and turns—from the reveal of Jane Foster as the new Goddess of Thunder to what exactly Nick Fury whispered to Odinson to make him unworthy of Mjolnir. We talked to series writer Jason Aaron about the thrilling reveals of two more mysteries, namely the new identity of Ultimate Thor as well as the volatile Queen of Cinders.

Marvel.com: First, I’ve got to ask about the recent reveal of the new Ultimate Thor in MIGHTY THOR #20—spoilers ahead—why Volstagg?

Jason Aaron: I kind of knew, when we started UNWORTHY THOR, the plan all along was that Odinson would not pick up the hammer at the end of it. Of course, that left it for someone else to come along. I always liked the idea of introducing a new Ultimate Thor and having someone distant and unexpected pick up that hammer! I didn’t want to do the same sort of drawn out mystery that we did with Jane Foster, so I knew I wanted to tell you who it was right out of the gate and why.

I picked Volstagg for a few reasons that I think will become more obvious as the story goes along. Volstagg has been a supporting character on pretty much my entire run of Thor. He came out of the Warriors Three and moved into a desk job, so to speak, for the Congress of Worlds. And [with that role] he’s kind of been at the center of everything that’s swirling around as Malekith continues to ramp things up with the war of the realms.

We wanted to give [readers] a grounds for what the stakes are like in this War of the Realms as it continues to spread from realm to realm, and to see the profound effect that [the War] has on someone like Volstagg who has so often been comic relief. [Tragically,] after issue #20 he’s not laughing anymore.

Marvel.com: The evolution of Volstagg has been handled with such complexity and nuance. Yours are very three-dimensional representations of the Thor cast of characters. I especially like the way Loki is portrayed, for instance…

Jason Aaron: Everything I’ve done [with Loki] has been a continuation of what [past writers] Kieron Gillen and Al Ewing did on that character in the last few years of making him a much more sympathetic character, though still very much a trickster. I’m trying to continue that on while also trying to push him towards the villain side of the fence which began in a big way when he stabbed his mother, Freyja, in the back. That is still something he’ll have to reckon with.

Marvel.com: It must such a delicate balance with him, because even though he’s been into some bad things this run, he is so sympathetic; one of my favorite scenes in the whole MIGHTY THOR run might just be when he visits Freyja as she is lying in bed after the stabbing. It’s all so Shakespearean! Will Loki get a chance for redemption?

Jason Aaron: I’ll just say we’ll be seeing a lot of Loki, not just connected with Thor but also across the Marvel Universe in the coming months. He’s a big part of the MARVEL LEGACY one-shot that I’m doing this fall and that will set up even more stuff that he’s involved in. He’ll very much be at the center of the Marvel Universe as a major player but that will not take away from his role in the pages of [MIGHTY THOR] and the events of the war of the realms.

Mighty Thor #21 cover by Russell Dauterman

[As for Loki in MIGHTY THOR], he seems to be allied with Malekith and his cabal. He has [also] been hanging out with his biological dad who is the king of the Frost Giants. But Loki is always a guy who’s playing by his own rules and has his own plan so…you never quite know what he’s up to.

Marvel.com: Can you tell us a little but about the mysterious Queen of Cinders, who will feature heavily in the upcoming MIGHTY THOR issue #21?

Jason Aaron: Well, a big part of The War of Realms has been about taking readers from one realm to the next and doing a lot of world building in terms of all those different realms. That’s the [exciting thing] in these Thor stories—we have all these wondrous realms. The War continues from one to the other and [the realms] either get conquered or join Malekith. Muspelheim is the land of fire, where flame was born, and we’ve glimpsed that a little. As a part of this War Thor arc we go to Muspelheim in a big way and for the first time we’re introduced to the leader of Muspelheim, which is the Queen of Cinders. [The Queen of Cinders] is the daughter of Surtur, who’s one of Thor’s classic villains. He died and now his daughter has taken the burning throne for herself. This is the first time we’ve seen her and we’re trying to figure out who she is and what her role in this war of the realms is. This is very much about bringing her on stage and bringing Muspelheim into the midst of this conflict and also just exploring that realm. [We wanted to go] a little bit beyond it just being a place where everything’s on fire; we show what they fight for and how they live.

Marvel.com: The realms Thor can navigate must be hard to balance as a creator. What’s it like writing for such a vast, versatile series?

Jason Aaron: [With Thor] you can do stories on a different scale than you do with some other characters. Thor as a god has been around for thousands and thousands of years, and so the first story I did with Thor spanned over eons. You can also go into the far reaches of space and to all these crazy fantasy realms. Then, of course, you also get stories set on a street corner in midtown Manhattan. I think that’s one of the things that’s different about Thor, and what’s so fun about it.

Unlock new mysteries with Jason Aaron’s MIGHTY THOR #21, coming out July 19!

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A new player with a familiar hammer makes their way into Jason Aaron’s epic!

Observers of all things Asgard know that we have a new player in town: the new Ultimate Thor! This God of Thunder seems ready for battle and has a hammer all his own. But who will we find behind the armor?

We asked UNWORTHY THOR and MIGHTY THOR writer Jason Aaron to weigh in on our top five best guesses—without spoilers, of course!

Steve Rogers

Marvel.com: He did wield Mjolnir in the Free Comic Book Day issue of SECRET EMPIRE. Maybe he can wield the hammer of the Ultimate Thor, too? Also, it would make sense with the tone of the end of UNWORTHY THOR #5, where it looks like this new breed of Thor has more war-like tendencies. Given where Cap stands with Hydra right now, it wouldn’t require too much of a leap.

Jason Aaron: That’s a good guess. I’ll just say, what’s going on with Steve right now is very much [SECRET EMPIRE writer] Nick Spencer’s story. I’m kept in the loop in terms of how it involves the hammer, which I was very interested in, and the Odinson will also be a part of that story. But that’s pretty much a story for SECRET EMPIRE and the books that are dealing with Secret Empire. So we won’t really see the MIGHTY THOR series dealing directly with those events.


Odin

Marvel.com: When we see the new Ultimate Thor, we can only see one eye as a shadow covers the other. And as mentioned, this Thor seems pretty war-minded, which would fit with Odin’s personality and history.

Jason Aaron: Yeah, it certainly does look like he only has one eye. Last we saw of Odin—well we haven’t seen him for a while. He’s been [holed] up inside his hall in Asgardia, dealing with the All-Mother Freya, who was poisoned by Loki. But I think it’s safe to say we haven’t seen the last of Odin in the book.

Nick Fury (senior)

Marvel.com: The one eye thing again! Also, we haven’t seen a lot of him since he became The Unseen. Giving him the role of the new Ultimate Thor would bring him back into the fold in a pretty dramatic fashion.

Jason Aaron: But he’s dead! He’d have to come back from the dead. Fury did die and kind of was reborn as something different, as The Unseen, whom we saw in UNWORTHY THOR. He was the first person to kind of realize that the hammer of the Ultimate Thor existed, that it had crossed over into our universe. The events of UNWORTHY THOR were really set into motion by him, by The Unseen. So certainly he has a connection to the hammer.


Maria Hill

Marvel.com: Highly unlikely, of course. But we can see from her dealings in JESSICA JONES, for example, that even though she has taken a hit, she won’t go down easily. She has had plenty of shady dealings that at first you might think would disqualify her from worthiness, but as noted, we’re faced now with a new breed of Thor. And yes, the new Ultimate Thor appears to be a man, but we’ve seen how Mjolnir transforms Jane Foster, so maybe not so far fetched? As the new Ultimate Thor, Maria could definitely stick it to everyone who forced her out of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Jason Aaron: That would be an interesting direction for me to take Maria Hill in! I don’t know if Brian Michael Bendis would be ok with me giving her a beard.

Gorr

Marvel.com: When Nick Fury whispered to the Odinson that “Gorr was right,” it led to his unworthiness. The God Butcher would certainly qualify as a new kind of Thor, and we’d get to see a nice symmetry in bringing this full circle.

Jason Aaron: I do like the sound of “Gorr the War Thor.” It’s got a nice ring to it. Certainly, even though Gorr died in [THOR: GOD OF THUNDER #11], when I was just starting on Thor, he continues to be a presence in the book. It should be obvious now that we’ve found out the secret of what Fury whispered. And that won’t change. In my mind, he has always been a presence in the book, and those questions that he raised and the effect he had on Thor Odinson has continued to have ripple effects through my whole run on the book. And that’s not going to change, we’ll definitely even go a step further and, I think, begin to see more of an effect and more of the impact of Gorr’s legacy and what he set in motion. And it will all kind of come back to haunt the characters in our book in a very real way.

The War Thor makes their presence felt in MIGHTY THOR #20, available from Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman on June 21!

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Finally find out what felled the Odinson with writer Jason Aaron!

WARNING: This article contained SPOILERS for UNWORTHY THOR #5, available now!

As Thor fans know, the Odinson has had a pretty difficult go of it lately. With the loss of his worthiness, he has found himself on a bit of a journey of self-discovery. As UNWORTHY THOR wraps up, we’ll see what this arc means both for his role in the larger Marvel Universe, and his place in the MIGHTY THOR series moving forward.

We chatted with writer Jason Aaron about what lies ahead for the Odinson.

Marvel.com: UNWORTHY THOR has forced the Odinson to figure out who he is without his worthiness. Can you give us your take on the journey he has gone through?

Jason Aaron: Everything I’ve done over the last few years with making Thor Odinson unworthy and bringing Jane Foster in was about telling a very specific story with her and with a different sort of Thor. But I also wanted to give Thor Odinson his own journey, so I wouldn’t just push him aside. I like the idea of watching him wrestle with his unworthiness and seeing how that changes him, how it makes him a very different sort of character. I think this [limited series] gave us the biggest version of that kind of story that we’ve done. We’ve seen a darker, angrier, very different kind of Thor Odinson.

Marvel.com: Can you tell us a little about your experience writing both UNWORTHY THOR and MIGHTY THOR simultaneously?

Jason Aaron: I love writing Thor. I’ve been doing it for several years now and I have a big pile of Thor stories I’ve wanted to get to. It felt great to have the chance to write two Thor books at once. And to get to work with artists Russell Dauterman and Olivier Coipel at the same time felt like an extravagance of riches. Olivier is already established as one of the best Thor artists ever, and I see Russell rising up the ranks, as well. His art just gets better and better with every arc. And I’ve enjoyed doing these two very different Thor stories at the same time; now we’ll see the two characters collide, and the Odinson’s story will get wrapped up again with Jane Foster’s.

Marvel.com: This is the last issue of the UNWORTHY THOR series; could you tell us a little about what’s next for the Odinson?

Jason Aaron: You can expect to see him pop up in the pages of MIGHTY THOR very soon. He has missed a lot in the time he has been away, so he’ll have a lot to catch up on. And as you can see from the tease at the end of the UNWORTHY THOR #5, we still have more story to tell with the hammer of the Ultimate Thor. After the current MIGHTY THOR arc wraps up, we’ll dive into the story of a brand new Ultimate Thor—yet another very different sort of Thor added to the mix.

Marvel.com: You mentioned the hammer of the Ultimate Thor, which the Odinson encounters in UNWORTHY THOR. What role will it play in his story moving forward?

Jason Aaron: It will have its own big arc, when someone else comes along and picks up the hammer, and gets transformed by it in a different way. This hammer is a little different in that it’s a relic from a dead universe, a holdover from the Ultimate Universe that somehow survived through the events of Secret Wars. The exact nature of that hammer, how it differs from the hammer of Thor in the mainstream Marvel Universe, how it affects someone who wields it, we’ll answer those questions in the pages of MIGHTY THOR.

Marvel.com: In this issue, we finally learn what Nick Fury whispered to the Odinson in Original Sin that made him unworthy. He said, “Gorr was right.” What kind of impact did you hope this reveal would have on the Odinson’s story?

Jason Aaron: The idea with this mystery stretches back to the beginning of my run on Thor. We still see the effects that Thor’s battle with Gorr the God Butcher had on him, and the overall meaning of what Gorr did and why. I think as long as I’m guiding Thor’s ship, that idea of worthiness and what it means to be a god in the Marvel Universe will remain prominent themes. And I think this reveal shows that these questions still plague Thor Odinson, and I don’t expect that to go away anytime soon.

Follow the fate of the Odinson yourself in UNWORTHY THOR #5, on sale now, and in future issues of MIGHTY THOR!

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