Let There Be Lighting
The Mighty Thor #5Now as you can tell from the title this is about religion which is always and will always be a touchy subject for many individuals but this is mostly just my personal opinion and I intend to be as respectful to peoples faiths as possible so here goes. I simply wanted to express a long standing curiosity at how religious figures are expressed in comics and other forms of fiction as well. One of the main subjects I will talk about will be Thor a personal favorite of mine. As many of us know Thor is the Norse Pagan god of Thunder, Lighting and Storms worshipped by ancient Germanic and Scandinavian peoples. In the comics the character of Thor is often classed as one of the most powerful beings in the universe and defiantly one of the most powerful super heroes of earth. However despite his title and the strength of his fandom which has more than likely not dwindled in many years in my opinion Thor is not represented in such a manner. I draw attention to many of Thor's battles over the years since his creation and the present. The god of Thunder has battled many of marvel's powerhouses such as Hulk, Gladiator, Hyperion, Wonder Man, Sentry(briefly) and even DC's Superman ( although this is often treated out of canon).
However despite these character's levels of power only one of them is truly classified as a god that being Thor. However despite being a god Thor has on many occasions either been beaten or gravely wounded by these individuals and other beings of the marvel universe. The main point I'm trying to reach at is if Thor is a god shouldn't he be able to easily best save those from his realm of equal or greater divinity? As mortal beings when people think of the word god the definition of powerful being worshipped by people comes into mind. Thor's battle record often makes me wonder do his writers truly respect him as a former god of man?
In modern times much of the world only uses the term to described one all powerful divine being. I asked myself the question that because Thor is no longer deemed a god by people do writers simply ignore his status and the great level of power he should possess as such. For instance despite being the god of thunder, lighting and storms Thor is also worshipped as the god of strength, healing and oak trees. Of course Thor has been known to have immense strength but little to often does Thor seem to attempt to heal anything let alone manipulate any form of plant life. Usually in comics when a being is referred to as a god if not a truly historically one or one worshipped by an alien species that individual usually has numerous powers, or simply the ability to bend reality to there whim. Still in stories these characters are often able to easily beat groups of superheroes even some of the strongest heroes known.
It begs the question of should Thor be depicted with greater numbers of powers and abilities tied to his godhood than he is often shown using. I remember seeing early scans of Thor using Mjolnir for tasks such as manipulating magnetic fields, transmuting elements, create anti-matter, paralyze individuals, etc. Yet as time moved on many of these feats where never repeated by writers and often times I see Thor only using his hammer as a striking weapon or summoner of lighting. Which in my personal opinion seems quite odd to me. In my opinion if one can be descried as a god of anything then said individual should possess almost total control and mastery of that action or object. They should be able to manipulate whatever force they control to the absolute minimum action said force can be used form. In my opinion this is not the case with Thor. When you take into account all the elements that make up a storm you have, wind, lighting, thunder, rain, cold and if Thor can summon storms than he should be able to win fights without having to use simple brute strength.
This whole idea came about after I was talking to my older cousin about Thor him being a Thor fan was displeased when I told him about certain fights Thor had in recent years such as his famous battle with Red Hulk, his inability to break Bastion's force field surrounding Utopia, his loss at the hands of Norman Osborn and his Initiative and even his far more recent defeat at the hands of the Deviant Tutinax. He told me that this doesn't sound like the Thor he knew. He remembers Thor battling Celestials and even though he lost these where still great accomplishments and he fought foes with the power to end reality as we know it and at least wound them yet he gain be beaten by a crazed fool in a suit of armor?
It makes me wonder why he loses any fights at all with some of the feats he has displayed or even feats that similairy powered individuals have used. Thor beat Hyperion once by shrinking him and trapping him in a glass ball. Superman once fought a group of crazed super heroes and beat one of them by creating a hurricane sucking out his air it made me wonder why hasn't Thor ever done anything like that to the Hulk? (I know there's a Hulk fan out there saying it wouldn't matter he'd just get so angry he wouldn't need to breath but as a Hulk fan myself please shut up lol). Why in his fight with Red Hulk didn't he simply create a mini lighting storm in Ross's brain lobotomizing him, why in his fight with the Silver Surfer didn't he simply drain the power cosmic out his body with Mjolnir?
All these events and potential feats make me wonder why Thor seems so weak in recent times. I remember seeing a scan that says Thor was bested by some super villains because he holds back his strength, but even if he holds back his strength shouldn't he still be able to knock enemies unconscious with a flick of his fingers? It easy to say that it's simply the lack of imagination of the writers, but that seems so very odd to me even to this day. Even if one writer can describe a being a possibly weaker that they should be it seems odd that they can lack so much imagination and still be allowed to write comics.
I now go to a different religious character more relevant to modern times Lucifer Morningstar another favorite of mine although. Lucifer being the Devil in modern Christian mythology is a much feared being. The character often displayed a level of power where he so rightfully should. Often outsmarting the Angels of Heaven, Beating his brother Michael and even his greatest feat creating his own Creation separate from our own. Such feats only increased my belief that if Thor was a being worshipped by people today he would also be able to perform feats of equal measure. But sadly he is not. He is a character who in my opinion continues to be greatly disrespecting by writers in resent years and will only continue to be so simply because he is of a different faith than the majority of his readers. Although writers can show an amount of respect for characters of different religions these are usually just the followers and not the divine beings worshipped themselves. I fear this is so simply because writers are afraid to display feats that may beg the question who's religion is right or wrong.
Touchy Subject I know Bare With Me
As I feel I'm getting to the touchy part of the subject I will explain that that is not the question I am asking. What I have been getting at is that despite not being the modern god of society I wish for Thor to be shown with a level of respect of a god once worshipped by mankind. It is not the writers duty to tell someone which god maybe be real and which is not but when you use a character and intend to use them to the best of your ability do not weaken them for the sake of the story express them in all their glory and might. When I picture Thor feats I hope to hear of things such as crushing mountains with his hammer, lifting whales and submarines with his bares hand like they where paper, resisting the force of a nuclear bomb not even getting so much as a sunburn, deflecting bullets with his hair, punching opponents with the speed of lighting, shouting loud enough to shatter a man's bones, hearing the prayers of one of his followers anywhere in the world, commanding entire forrest to grow out of a desert, get punched by a fully grown Hank Pym resulting in the bones in his arm shattering, healing an entire hospital of people by simply waving his hand, stopping the Hulk by turning him back into Bruce Banner by simply touching him, etc. When a fan asks who should win Thor or Hulk or Thor or Superman there should be no question it is Thor because Thor is a divine being and Hulk or Superman aren't not. Stan Lee himself even created Thor with the intention of having a being stronger than the Hulk.
In my mind every religious character to have the utter most respect that can be given to said character and that they instantly display knowledge and power far beyond anything that can be achieved by mortal means. This does not mean said character need be flawless. Even the original Pagans did not believe their God's to be 100% flawless. Thor was deceived by his brother Loki resulting in him lifting part of the Midgard Serpent, Odin needed to hang himself to gain the secrets of the universe. Zeus's lighting didn't come from him but Hephaestus blacksmith of the gods. Even God chose not simply stop Lucifer from rebelling when he simply could have made it so. The point is don't allow the fears of the masses to hinder creativity and show respect for all religions not just your own.