Way back in 2014, Jason Aaron set about dramatically changing Thor's status quo. The comic book event "Original Sin" featured a shadowy adversary learning the secrets of the universe when he plucked out the Watcher's eyes. Able to see all time a space, this foe — ultimately revealed to be Nick Fury — launched a thousand plots, as he revealed the mysteries of the Marvel Universe. Incredibly, as part of the final battle, Nick Fury whispered just a few words to Thor, which instantly rendered the Thunder God unworthy, and no longer able to wield Mjolnir.
Now, finally, in The Unworthy Thor #5, we've learned the truth. Just what did Nick Fury whisper?
Three Words That Made Thor Unworthy
"Gorr was right."
For many readers, no doubt, those three words will be meaningless; long-term readers of Jason Aaron's comics will understand them, though, and Aaron has Thor explain the meaning.
"Gods... are vain and vengeful creatures. Always have been. The mortals who've worshipped us for centuries... would all be better off without us. We gods do not deserve their love. No matter how much we fight to fool ourselves. We are all unworthy."
Gorr, you see, was a powerful being known as the God-Butcher. He believed that the worlds would be better off without the gods, and he wandered the world killing gods wherever he met them. It all led to a head-spinning, temporally-confusing arc in which the Thors of three different time-periods united against him.
But according to Nick Fury, who has seen the secrets of the cosmos and knows the mysteries of the universe thanks to the Watcher's eyes, Gorr was right. The gods are unworthy. Thor, by his very nature, is unworthy of Mjolnir. Realizing the truth of Fury's words, Thor lost the right to bear Mjolnir.
How Does this Play Out?
I freely admit that, for me, this is something of an anticlimax. All the other secrets of "Original Sin" were powerful ones that rewrote a character's entire history; they introduced new characters such as Silk, they wove secret misdeeds into the past of the Fantastic Four, and they added whole new Realms to the Marvel Universe. This, though, is more of a philosophical point on the nature of religions based on pantheons of gods; can a god from this kind of religion ever be worthy?
It's also worth noting that this adds an even greater sense of ambiguity to the idea of 'worthiness'. If the gods were definitively 'unworthy', then Thor would never have been able to wield Mjolnir. Instead, this suggests that it is only when Thor realizes his innate unworthiness that he finds he cannot bear the hammer. There's a subtle distinction between 'worthiness' and a 'sense of self-worth'. As Beta Ray Bill observes in The Unworthy Thor #5:
"Even without a hammer, you still fight. Every day, you give your blood, your tears, your immortal soul... to prove Gorr wrong. The gods may not be worthy, but you are no mere god, my friend."
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Now that the whisper has finally been revealed, Thor's arc is pretty clear; he must learn to believe in his own worthiness once again. He must learn why he is, in Beta Ray Bill's words, "no mere god" — and in doing so, he will regain the right to bear Mjolnir. It's a logical arc, but at the same time I confess that it feels somewhat unsatisfying. That said, Jason Aaron is a master at weaving a plot in an unexpected direction — hopefully there are yet more surprises along the way.
Do you think Thor is worthy of Mjolnir?
(Poll Image Credit: Marvel Studios)