I don’t know about you, but I am psyched for the release of Thor: Love and Thunder this week. It’s the first time we’ve seen Chris Hemsworth’s God of Thunder or the Guardians of the Galaxy since the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame some three years ago, and the film will also introduce Christian Slater to the MCU as Gorr the Godbutcher. However, even with all these selling points, the real big deal is the return of Natalie Portman as Jane Foster to the MCU; this time, though, she’s carrying Mjolnir and is a Thor herself.
While we don’t know every beat that writer/director Taika Waititi and his co-writer Jennifer Kaytin Robinson are pulling from the Jason Aaron-era of Thor comics, I gurantee you much of it can be found in the recently released Jane Foster: The Saga of The Mighty Thor, a fantastic collection illustrated by Russell Dauterman that compiles a huge portion of her story, including Jane’s introduction as the titular character and how she came to be worthy to weild the hammer. Many consider Jason Aaron to be thee modern-era Thor writer, and considering how little time it took for me to actually finish this 400-page collection, I’d have to agree with that reputation. The various stories and characters that work with and against Jane Foster’s Thor are all entertaining, but the core of all these issues is Jane herself, and how she handles the mantle she has voluntarily taken up in the midst of her own personal battle against the cancer that is growing insider of her.
For comic book readers, you may or may not know that Jane’s run as The Mighty Thor was a limited time offer (or was it), but that doesn’t mean her superhero heroics are finished. These days she’s moved on from the God of Thunder to being a Valkyrie; how she came to that title is collected in Jane Foster: The Saga of Valkyrie, co-written by Jason Aaron and Al Ewing and that serves as a companion piece to Jane Foster: The Saga of The Mighty Thor. What I love about Jane’s story throughout both these books is the care that has gone into everything making sense, which in turn makes the reader care about Jane.
For years, I don’t think Jane was ever really viewed as anyone more than a side character to Thor; the love interest who it would never work out with. That standing was sadly obvious in the first two Thor movies, where even a powerful actor like Natalie Portman didn’t have much to do with the character. In Jason Aaron’s hands, though, she became a massive part of the last decade of Marvel Comics stories, and easily took on the role of Thor in her own book as well as standing tall as a member of the Avengers. The roots of who Jane Foster can be on on the big screen are all here in both Jane Foster: The Saga of The Mighty Thor and Jane Foster: The Saga of Valkyrie. Whether you can blitz through them before you see Thor: Love and Thunder or want to learn more about Jane after your big screen experience, these are two must-have books.