Thor WHO? It’s Beta Ray Bill! | PopMatters

“Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.” reads the inscription on Mjolnir, the hammer of, you guessed it, true believers, the Mighty Thor. The trick, as any Marvel fan can tell you, only Thor himself can pick said hammer up, no matter how strong they are. Or so we thought for the 21 years between Thor ’ randomness ( Marvel canon ) creation in 1962 and the year of 1983 when… well, person else held the hammer and immediately gained the power of Thor .
The key words there are “ whosoever ” and “ desirable ” ( otherwise Odin would have written “ Only Thor, all right ? Damn ! ” ). Of course, since 1983, respective other characters have picked up the old hunk hammer in direct continuity, other universes and even a few retcons ( it turns out that Thor ’ south dad, grandfather and great-granddad can all swing that thing like Mickey Mantle with a Louisville Slugger ). A few of these include erstwhile Thor surrogate Thunderstrike, Thor ’ south Avenger buddy Captain America, Conan the Barbarian ( for Crom ’ s sake ) and even the DC Comics characters Wonder Woman and Superman .
But the foremost one to hoist Mjolnir, a lot to everyone ’ s storm was an alien by the name of Beta Ray Bill who looks like a hybrid between an ( invincible ) dead cavalry and an austrian weightlift champion. The guise of Beta Ray Bill is nothing if not atrocious ( intentionally ) and the concept was in the first place to surprise the readers by revealing this quad devil to not only prove noble and desperate but the inaugural character besides Thor to be desirable of Mjolnir. Of naturally, the anticipation, along with likely spoilers, was amped up by the traverse of Thor #337 which displayed Bill in fully on Thor attire, complete with cape and winged helmet, smashing the hell out of the title ’ randomness “ The Mighty Thor ” logo with a blank-eyed entangle.

certain this revealed that person else had snagged the mallet of Thor, but the question was “ Who and how ? ” The answer came from the mind of the fabled and excellent writer and artist Walter Simonson who had fair been given virtual complete control over the Thor title. Simonson ’ s idea was to start fresh and with a shocker to the point that Bill ’ s shattering of Thor ’ south logo on the brood of Simonson ’ s first issue could easily be interpreted as an iconoclastic statement on the share of Walt himself .
Simonson intentionally designed Beta Ray Bill as a monster and gave him a backstory to prove this out. As an foreigner of the Korbinite species, Bill was cybernetically altered and reformed into a beastly, carnivorous knight with a skull-like appearance. The theme was to force the audience to assume this was a new bad ridicule and nemesis for Thor ( one who could do the impossible and steal Thor ’ s very powers ) .
however, there is a certain nobility to the front of a sawhorse ( and an natural sadness to the look of a skull ) and Bill ’ s backstory further revealed that he had been thus augmented to become the defender of the remains of his all-but-extinct Korbinite race. Of course, neither the consultation, nor Thor himself could see this at first gear. As Thor is dispatched into space by special request from none other than Nick Fury, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. to investigate an die alien fleet, the Norse deity comes across the sentient embark dubbed the Skuttlebutt ( yeah, I know ) and is immediately deemed a threat. therefore, the sleeping defender Beta Ray Bill is awakened from suspended animation and shouts the Korbinite-language translation of “ It ’ sulfur Clobberin ’ Time. ”

While Thor and Bill prove to be about evenly matched, as the Skuttlebutt approaches Earth and Mjolnir ’ s Earthly enchantments kick in ( sometimes Odin ’ randomness pranks can be equally bad as Loki ’ sulfur ), Thor turns into knit erstwhile “ Doctor Don Blake ” equally soon as his forge leaves his bridge player for more than a few seconds. Bad for Donnie, great for Bill who casually walks over and picks up the old Crusher for a closer look and is immediately detected to be that rare “ whosoever ” who proves “ worthy ” and is granted the powers ( and wardrobe ) of the Mighty Thor.

Realizing his mistake, noble Bill gives the hammer mighty back to its rightful owner, apologizes and catches some more omega, correctly ? not tied close, bud. After an introduction like that, a quick and easy resolution would be about ampere appropriate as a cellophane swimsuit at a church service lock-in. Bill ’ s beginning history arch lasted a broad four issues ( the longest discharge of Simonson ’ mho integral tenure on Thor ) with Bill realizing that Mjolnir might barely be the weapon he needs to protect the remaining survivors of his endanger race .
To make matters even stranger, Thor ’ s dad Odin actually mistakes Bill for Thor. distinctly he doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate look his child in the confront very much, or Chris Hemsworth ( barely horse-faced ) was dreadfully miscast. Once the confusion is resolved the interrogate of who gets the hammer ( particularly if both champions are worthy ) remains. Odin ’ s solution ? Wrestle for it. seriously. Your own son and an estrange cyborg beast are fighting over the keepsake you gave your son for Christmas and your solution is “ Let ’ s visit who wins in a fight ! ” ? The ridicule is intelligibly Asgard ’ s “ Father of the Year ”. And before you folks start thinking that Odin was just “ that certain ” his best son would win, Spoiler Warning… to Beta Ray Bill went the spoils .
Lucky for Thor ( if not the Korbinites ), Bill was both besides nice a guy to off Odin ’ s long-locked baby boy and he even felt bad adequate about taking Thor ’ s property that he gave Mjolnir back to him with a horselike sneer. Lucky for Bill ( and the Korbinites ), Odin thought that was merely about the neatest thing he ’ five hundred ever seen and so he had another mystic forge made just for the Beta Ray dandy and dubbed it “ Stormbreaker ” .
With Stormbreaker, Beta Ray Bill remains every bite arsenic mighty as Thor and now has the capability to become “ Beta Ray Thor ” ( as Simonson colloquially refers to him ) or revert back to his pre-alteration Korbinite shape ( in a go I colloquially refer to as “ The Korbinite Maneuver ” ). Bill continues to appear in the pages of Thor deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as other Marvel titles ( including his own casual mini-series and one-shots ) and remains a steadfast and trustworthy ally of Thor and Asgard. The character has besides appeared on trade cards, as an natural process digit, in video games and in Marvel animated television shows and DVDs .
And that ’ s the narrative of the hero who broke the Thor mold and changed everything we know about who can and can not wield Thor ’ s hammer. Although Beta Ray Bill turns 30 years old this month ( Thor #337 first hit stands in November of 1983 ) there is no “ Skuttlebutt ” around Hollywood yet that indicates that Beta Ray Bill might appear in the November 2013 film Thor: The Dark World or any early Thor or Avengers sequel. But what the hay ? Saddle up… this horse can fly !

NEXT TIME in the pages of “ To Be Continued… ” we return to pay a special visit to yet another of Marvel’s top brass. Who is it? I’m still ironing that out. “ To Be Continued… ” is back on PopMatters.com, coming soon!

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