The Thor The Merrier: Marvel Teases Tanarus as the New God of Thunder
If you've been keeping up with Marvel's Fear Itself, you're already aware that Thor has been having a pretty rough time lately. Arguments with his dad (who happens to be the omnipotent Allfather of Asgard), the looming threat of Galactus and a battle against the hammer-wielding Worthy who threaten to destroy the world -- it's safe to say that the dude has a lot of problems right now.
And if those weren't enough, it looks like he's now faced with being replaced: a teaser released today by Marvel has announced a new character called Tanarus as "The New God of Thunder" in this November's The Mighty Thor #8.
As you might expect from the word "teaser," details about just who Tanarus is and how he came to be have yet to be revealed, but if I had to make a guess, I'd say this might have something to do with Thor defying his father and Odin's edict that Asgard should withdraw from the mortal plane in the pages of Fear Itself, also written by Matt Fraction.
Fortunately for Thor, he has a bit of experience with this sort of thing. Tanarus won't be the first character to make a run at usurping Thor's position in the Marvel Universe -- in fact, there were once enough of them to form an actual super-team called the Thor Corps that headlined their own comic.
First, of course, was Beta Ray Bill:
Created by Walter Simonson in his legendary run on the title, Bill was a noble soul in the body of a genetically perfected horse-man from outer space who proved his worthiness when he lifted Thor's hammer and gained his power, along with a costume that looks even more like Jack Kirby designed it than the actual costume Jack Kirby designed for Thor. Bill never actually replaced the Odinson as the God of Thunder, though. After an awesome fight in the fire-pits of Skartalfheim, he was granted his own hammer and a share of Odin's power.
The guy who did replace Thor, though, was Eric Masterson, who would go on to become Thunderstrike and feature in one of my all-time favorite over-the-top covers:
Masterson had a brief tenure as the real Thor (he's the one in Infinity Gauntlet), after which he received a magic mace from Odin who was apparently in one of his more generous moods and operating solo. During his super-heroic career, he sported a trendy cargo vest and fought a villain named Bloodaxe, because, as the cover above says, it's the nineties.
It's also worth noting that in the alternate future MC2 universe -- also created by Thunderstrike's creators, Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz -- Thunderstrike's son, Thunderstrike, is filling Thor's spot in the Avengers.
That's right, everybody: As shocking as it might seem, there is actually a Thunderstrike legacy.
Rounding out the Thor Corps was... well, Thor, but not the Thor we're familiar with. This was Dargo Ktor, the Thor of... the Future!
Specifically, he's from the year 2587, a time in which the world apparently looks a lot like a WASP video. He defends that grim era much the same way as Thor does in our time, with the exception being that no helmet, no matter how exquisitely crafted by the dwarves of Niflheim, can contain the fury of his power mullet.
Together, those dudes fought space crime in what I'm going to guess was the most metal comic book of all time (non-Danzig division):
As for where Tanarus fits in, and whether he'll be friend or foe, that all remains to be seen. I will say, though, with Thor enjoying a surge in popularity and a successful movie franchise, the concept of the Thor Corps is ready for a comeback.
If nothing else, it'll finally give Thor Girl something to do.