A thunder goddess clings to life.
Marvel rarely buries the lede or plays it coy when they’re planning to kill off a major character anymore. Everything the publisher has revealed so far suggests that Jane Foster is dying in The Mighty Thor #705. Hence the “Death of the Mighty Thor” name. You might think that knowledge of what’s coming would diminish the impact of this storyline, but that’s been anything but the case. The Mighty Thor #703 is another riveting chapter of Marvel’s finest ongoing series.
Even in a series that’s seen villains like Gorr the God-Butcher and Galactus wander through, the stakes feel very dire and immediate in this issue. The Mangog is busy cutting a bloody swath of destruction through Asgardia, leaving even mighty gods like Cul and Odin himself quaking and helpless. Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman continuously reinforce the epic scope of this conflict through great character moments and bold imagery, Multiple brave gods make their valiant stand against Mangog, but none can withstand his full might. It seems fitting that Aaron’s run began with one villain driven by a hatred of gods, and now this phase ends with another god-loathing powerhouse on the warpath.
As always, Aaron is able to balance out the godly spectacle and carnage with ample focus on the grounded struggle faced by a dying Jane Foster. Jane is rapidly reaching the point of no return where her cancer is concerned, and this issue sees Aaron bring together a number of friendly faces and helpful allies, all of whom hope to force her to put her personal health over the fate of the world for a change. That dilemma adds a nicely personal touch to such a dark and violent conflict. Aaron ensures that we feel Thor’s rage as he sees his old friend and lover tempted by Mjolnir and experience Jane’s struggle as she weighs the needs of the ten Realms against her own desire to live another day.
Through it all, Dauterman and colorist Matthew Wilson capture every bit of the massive spectacle and intimate human drama. Honestly, Mangog is kind of a stupid-looking character, but he still oozes strength, menace and rage aplenty here. The devastation in Asgardia is palpable, as is the suffering of its residents. Jane’s personal torment is even more keenly felt. Dauterman’s art never impresses more than when he renders her weariness, desperation and fading hope that there’s actually a light at the end of this long, terrible tunnel. Wilson’s vivid colors are also a real treat, particularly during the Asgardia scenes where cosmic energies are flying left and right.