Other than perhaps Iron Man, no Marvel cinematic superhero has seen their profile increase by greater leaps and bounds than Thor, the God of Thunder. Some of this can be attributed to Chris Hemsworth’s masterful Australian-Asgardian performance, but the character himself deserves plenty of credit. The spotlight brought on by the films has only brought attention to what comic book fans have known for awhile: Thor Odinson, wielder of Mjolnir and traveler of the Rainbow Bridge, is a true badass.
While Thor has had a steady presence in Marvel comics since the 1960s, that certainly doesn’t mean his life has always been stable. With a multi-millennia lifespan, there’s been plenty of time for Thor to find himself in some pretty messed up situations. His unique background as a warrior, royal, and space deity means that Thor goes on the sorts of adventures and experiences that would make the average superhero shrink in their spandex. It’s all in a day’s work for Thor Odinson, the God of Thunder and Beating People With a Hammer.
Sometimes, even an immortal god has to deal with some real down-to-Earth problems. Never was this more true than when Thor learned that Jane Foster, his long-time ally and love interest, had cancer. Real-life diseases aren’t the sort of thing an Asgardian deals with on a regular basis and Thor took the news hard. The mighty Avenger was flabbergasted as to what to do against a foe he couldn’t fry with lightning or beat with a hammer. Even more troubling for Thor was the fact that Foster rejected the aid of Asgardian medicine, preferring to stick to her human methods.
As an immortal god, Thor is generally thought of as relatively safe when heading into battle. It would take a lot to take down a god, but Gorr, the God Butcher, was up to the task. This was the first antagonist that Thor faced off against under the pen of Jason Aaron, and he made a lasting impression on the character. Gorr made a compelling argument for why the universe would be better off without gods, and a less-compelling one for why it was thus okay for him to bathe the starways in their blood. Thor managed to kill the God Butcher, but it wasn’t easy.
One of the coolest aspects of Jason Aaron’s early run on Thor was the multiple timeframes it took place in. The series simultaneously looked at Thor in the past, present, and future. While his brash, younger self was an entertaining diversion, the real value came from the look at future Thor: a one-eyed, one-armed King of Asgard. The highlight of this glimpse of the future was definitely seeing Old Man Thor take down a still spry-looking Galactus, using the weaponry of Gorr, the God Butcher.
Despite his massive powerset, Thor is generally thought of as a team player. He’s a founding member of the Avengers, and has been a mainstay on their roster pretty much ever since. However, that’s only his Earth-bound team. Thor felt the need to put together a team more prepared to take on the troubles of Asgard, Niflheim, and the other nine realms, and so he formed the League of Realms. This Ocean’s 11-style outfit included a gun-toting elf, a monosyllabic giant, a dwarven demolition expert, and even a troll! Good times were had by all.