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.
[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!