Will Thor's Real Mother Be Revealed in 'Love and Thunder?'

Will Thor's Real Mother Be Revealed in 'Love and Thunder?'

BY MATT TUCK, BLOGGER SUPREME

IG@matt.tuck.writer

FB@The Comic Blog

Thor: Love and Thunder could introduce a key figure from the X-Men’s history, and that is having a significant part in the collecting world.

To give credit where credit is due, much of today’s theory comes from one of my favorite YouTube channels, Film Theory. In the video, host Matthew Patrick, aka MatPat, breaks down the first trailer for the latest Thor movie, and he took specific note of the song choice, Gun ‘n’ Roses’ 1980s rock ballad, “Sweet Child o’ Mine.” While the song itself fits Taika Waititi’s retro theme that was introduced in Ragnarok, the Film Theory crew sees more to it than just a catchy love song with a timeless riff. 

While at first glance, the song appears to set the tone for the rekindled love story between Thor and the returning Jane Foster. However, Film Theory ponders if the song is giving away a much bigger spoiler, that being the Phoenix Force’s reveal as Thor’s actual mother. Sure, Frigga raised him, and she’s been the only mother he’s ever known as far as the audience knows, but the comics tell a different story.

In Ragnarok, Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” blasted through the trailers, and it was the theme of the entire movie. The song itself tells the tale of Vikings on their European conquests. Since Zeppelin hailed from Great Britain, we can assume the song is specifically about the Viking invasion of England. Instead of Vikings in Ragnarok, it was Hela and her forces invading Asgard. By the end of the movie, Surtur is allowed to conquer and destroy Asgard, leaving Thor and what remained of his people floating through space as immigrants looking for a new home.

Since it would seem that Waititi is a fan of symbolic songs that fit the themes of his movies, “Sweet Child o’ Mine” could be taken literally as a hint toward the film’s plot. With both Odin and Frigga out of the picture, that lends to the idea that the “sweet child” referenced in the trailer is none other than Thor Odinson. This would mean that along his Love and Thunder journey, he will discover that the Phoenix Force is his true mother, a concept established in the comics only last year. 

PHOENIX ORIGINS

Like so many cosmic entities in the Marvel-616, the Phoenix Force is an ancient and dangerous deity that is practically as old as the universe itself. Similar to Galactus, it’s neither good nor evil, but rather a force of nature. Basically, it is the embodiment of the Big Bang with name coming from the source of its power, the prime universal force of life. 

The story has been retconned many times over the years, and the Phoenix Force has been linked to most corners of Marvel’s sprawling chess board, including the X-Men, Excalibur, Iron Fist, Asgard, and the Avengers. Although it famously started with Jean Grey, the Phoenix has inhabited more than 30 different characters. 

Canonically, the earliest appearance happened in 1,000,000 BC when the Phoenix bonded with another red-haired mutant with untapped telepathic potential named Firehair. More on that encounter in a moment.

From there, the next time the Phoenix Force would appear, it inhabited a member of the Shi’ar Empire named Rook’shir. He was able to use his sword to control the entity’s power. As always, it was too much for him, and he was corrupted. That makes him the first Dark Phoenix, and he used the power to destroy entire planets. When the Imperial Guard killed Rook’shir, the Phoenix left, and the Shi’Ar did their part to keep it under control. That worked fine until the force discovered Jean Grey. 

THE COMICS

The Phoenix Force has been part of the Marvel Universe since the mid-1970s. Throughout much of that time, it has been closely associated with the X-Men, particularly Jean. In recent years, writer Jason Aaron has expanded that mythos to shift it away from the mutants and more toward Odin, Thor, and the Avengers. That means that you will have more than just Bronze Age X-Men keys to add to your shopping lists. 

X-MEN #101

When it comes to Phoenix keys, there’s no question where the starting point lies. In 1976, legendary writer Chris Claremont, only a year into his epic X-Men run, created the best version of Jean Grey. After a trip to space, because that’s just something superheroes do, the X-Men encountered the Phoenix Force. Drawn to Jean’s psychic powers, the Phoenix Force bonds with her, thus creating one of the Marvel-616’s most powerful characters. It also sets the stage for one of the X-Men’s most famous tropes, Jean’s many deaths and rebirths. 

As collectors and investors wonder if the Phoenix Force will be connected to Love and Thunder or perhaps we’ll see the third movie adaptation of the Dark Phoenix Saga, it is lifting X-Men #101’s values once again. In April, a 9.8 set a new record high when it sold for an astounding $9,600. That appears to be a suspicious outlier since no other copy has been close to that mark this year. In fact, the second-highest sale was $7k in May.

Everything from a 9.0 and beyond reaches at least $1k. Starting with the 8.5, those prices take a considerable dip, which is great for your budget. This month, one copy sold for $700.

UNCANNY X-MEN #105

This issue doesn’t compete with X-Men #101’s FMVs, but it has long been a popular collectible. Besides seeing Jean debut her Phoenix powers against Galactus’ herald, Firelord, this issue also marked the first appearance of Lilandra. Along with being the Shi’ar queen, Lilandra also is one of Charles Xavier’s former lovers. If the Phoenix Force is properly introduced to the MCU with a comics-inspired backstory, then we can assume Lilandra and the Shi’ar Empire will be included. 

Of course, the Shi’ar have been hotly rumored to appear in the MCU sans Phoenix Force. Many theorists had wondered if the Guardians of the Galaxy would come across the Starjammers in their next movie. It all adds up to an increase in popularity for the Shi’ar keys, and now may be a good time to invest while prices are down. Last year, the 9.8 averaged $908, and the 12-month FMV jumped to nearly $1k. Through March, it was earning four figures, but those prices were slashed to $650 and $734 with two sales on June 16. 

UNCANNY X-MEN #134

You can’t talk about Phoenix keys without taking a closer look at the debut of the Dark Phoenix. Like Rook’shir before her, the power of the Phoenix corrupted Jean. As often immortalized on the big and small screens, this is one of the best versions of Jean as she tears through basically everyone in the X-Men. That makes this one of the most popular Phoenix keys to own.

A year ago, the 9.8 was averaging nearly $800. In 2022, the prices have hovered in the $600-$700 range, and the most recent sale was for $675 earlier this month.

MARVEL LEGACY #1

In 2017, writer Jason Aaron concocted a tale that would have widespread consequences. 

Marvel Legacy #1 took place during the Stone Age. After bonding with the Jean-like Firehair, the Phoenix Force became aware of a crazed Celestial that was threatening Earth. Despite all her powers, Firehair couldn’t contend with a full-strength Celestial, not alone, anyway. She recruited some famous faces to help in her battle - Odin, Agamotto, and Stone Age versions of Ghost Rider, Iron Fist, Black Panther, and Starbrand. Thus, Phoenix/Firehair assembled the first Avengers in 1,000,000 BC. 

Prices for the standard edition have been gradually increasing, but they’re not too steep, at least not yet. If the Odin/Firehair connection is made in Love and Thunder, those values are going to spike. While the latest graded 9.8 sold for just $37 earlier this month, it has averaged $64 for the past 90 days thanks to a $90 sale on May 28. That’s just $4 shy of the record high from 2020. The issues to watch are some of the variants. There’s a convention edition that sold for $100 last year, but the Deodato sketch cover sold for $500 in April. 

GENERATIONS: UNWORTHY THOR AND MIGHTY THOR #1

As part of Aaron’s interwoven Thor stories, the broader implications for the Stone Age Avengers would begin to be felt in 2017’s Generations. This particular issue focused on Thor Odinson and Jane Foster’s Goddess of Thunder. More important for collectors, and possibly Love and Thunder, was the big reveal that Odin had a romantic relationship with the Phoenix-powered Firehair. That could very well be the reason behind April’s record $129. 

 

 

 

AVENGERS #42 (2021)

Up to this point, Thor had been Gaia’s son. After the Thors’ Generation comic, things got complicated. Four years later, Jason Aaron brought it all together with a big change to both the Thor and Phoenix mythos. That Odin fling from 1,000,000 BC? It resulted in a bouncing baby boy named Thor Odinson. In a case of pure comic book science, somehow the Phoenix Force was retconned as Thor’s mom. This could be where Love and Thunder is headed, and that is why you will want this issue.

To this point, Avengers #42 has been generally underappreciated. There are no records for sales of the standard cover, at least not in the slabbed variety. There haven’t been many standard covers sent to the grading companies, so that leaves the raw copies at around $5 or less. 

Where you find the higher prices lies in the numerous variants. At the top of the heap are the Alex Ross covers. Around this time, he did a series of Timeless variants with different classic Marvel heroes in their Silver and Bronze Age attires. Avengers #42 featured Hawkeye. The graded 9.8 had been selling for $50 in 2021, but the most recent sale fell to $37. On the other hand, there is Ross’ sketch cover. These are more rare, and they automatically bring a much larger price tag. The last two sales have been for $225, including one from Sunday. There’s also the Souza variant that sold for $52 in May if you’re looking for something more affordable.

AVENGERS #44 (2021)

This could be a future key issue, but at the moment, it’s widely overlooked. It was here that Maya Lopez was chosen as the current host of the Phoenix Force. Don’t forget that Maya made her MCU debut in last year’s Hawkeye, and she is confirmed to get her own streaming series. Considering the timing of the Phoenix Force picking Echo out of all the Avengers, the implication is that we’ll see a version of this story reach either the big or small screen. 

Although Hawkeye got a little cartoony with its action scenes, it’s meant to be a more grounded, street-level series compared to the adventures of superpowered heroes and villains. Since Echo appears to be a direct spinoff of Hawkeye, we can expect it to be more street level as well. However, that doesn’t mean we won’t see Maya gain superpowers in the future. Kevin Feige has been teasing the next Thanos-level threat, and it could be an opportunity to elevate Echo to Omega-level superhero stardom. While Echo could be used to explore the character and help establish her as a hero before she gets to save the Multiverse with help from the Phoenix Force. 

You can have a standard cover Avengers #44 for as little as $0.99. The better investment is in the variant editions, and they are fairly cheap at the moment. Most 9.8s stay in the $50-$60 range, but the Peach Momoko virgin variant sold for as much as $341 in 2021. Although the most recent sale was for $84 on May 31, January saw a copy hit $238.

THE REVOLVING DOOR

As an X-Men purist, I bristle over the idea that the Phoenix Force is part of the Avengers history more so than the X-Men. For me and many fans of the Claremont era, there will only be one true Phoenix host, Jean Grey. 

That being said, I’m more open to adding the Phoenix to the Thor mythos in the MCU. The Dark Phoenix Saga has been repeated in two very bad movies. When Jean and the X-Men finally arrive in the MCU, I am all for not revisiting that concept, and Marvel Studios likely will aim to make something original for its franchise. The Phoenix Force is too interesting a concept to leave on the shelf, and introducing it through Thor sticks to the comics, which I always applaud. 

Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and the Blogger Supreme. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.


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