The Life of Jane Foster
Doctor. The Mighty Thor. Valkyrie. Grab a recap of Jane Foster’s complete Super Hero journey.
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Dr. Jane Foster has had quite the journey in the Marvel Universe. Her early life was marred with great tragedy. She lost her mother to cancer, and her father would raise her by himself. Later, after finishing medical training and becoming a nurse, her father would die of a heart attack. But tragedy did not stop Jane from aiding others. And then, something…mysterious happened, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
In her sixty years in Marvel comics, Jane has of course encountered strange occurrences, and, in some cases, has been pulled towards them. She has loved, fought, persevered, and picked up some things—knowledge of other realms, mythical hammers, etc. Not familiar with the doctor’s history? Well, you’re in luck! We’re taking a deep dive into Dr. Jane Foster’s comics history to show you her evolution from Thor’s love interest to becoming the Mighty Thor.
THE NURSE AND THE THUNDER GOD
Jane’s first appearance was in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY (1952) #84 as a nurse for Dr. Donald Blake, the human host to Thor. She had feelings for both Blake and the God of Thunder, not realizing that they were one in the same. Eventually, Blake revealed his secret to her in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY (1952) #124 because Jane was tortured by his continuous and sudden disappearances. (Thor’s reveal greatly displeased his dad Odin!) Jane would later visit Asgard in THOR (1966) #136, as Thor wanted to marry her. Odin granted her immortality, but she doesn’t keep it for long. After failing a test created by Odin, she lost her immortality and all her memories of Thor and Asgard. Rough. She was then sent back to Earth, where she met Dr. Keith Kincaid.
JANE FOSTER, M. D.
If you thought Jane’s life became simple after being ejected from Asgard, you’d be extremely wrong. She was on the edge of death in THOR (1966) #231, merged with Lady Sif, and regained her lost memories in the following issue in THOR (1966) #236. She then married Kincaid, who she would later have a son with, in THOR (1966) #336. And last but not least, she achieved her medical doctorate, and started going by Dr. Jane Foster in THOR (1998) #1. She’s been busy! The doctor worked with Jake Olson, a paramedic and holder of the God of Thunder mantle at that time. How she missed that Jake was the new Thor is anybody’s guess. It was also during this era that Jane was a consulting physician to Tony Stark while he recovered from his injuries in IRON MAN (1998) #11-12.
In life, there’s good and bad moments, and unfortunately, Dr. Foster’s life took a turn for the worse. She lost custody of her child after divorcing Kincaid, and then tragically lost her ex-husband and son in a car accident. In THOR: GOD OF THUNDER (2012) #12, Jane Foster revealed to Thor that she has breast cancer. Shocked at the news, the thunder god offered to find an elixir or any magical solution to eradicate the disease, but Jane declined, as magic always comes with a price. Instead, Thor treated Jane with a trip to the moon.
Later, Jane was invited to the Congress of the Worlds in issue #24; Thor believed that she would make a great representative for Midgard. Jane was hesitant at first, but he reassured her that she was more than qualified and could use the Bifrost to get to her treatments at any time. So, she left Earth to join the Asgardians.
GODDESS OF THUNDER
Long ago, in WHAT IF? (1977) #10, Jane transformed from a normal, human woman into Thordis, the Goddess of Thunder. Even though this was a “What If” story from a slice of the Marvel Multiverse, the issue predicted what would later come to pass. Jane, her identity unknown at the time, was introduced as the all-new Thor in THOR (2014) #1 after Thor was deemed unworthy after the event ORIGINAL SIN.
How did Jane become the new Thor? As shown in flashback in MIGHTY THOR (2015) #705, Jane was telepathically called by Mjolnir to the moon, and she picked up the magical hammer. (OG Thor would go by his last name “Odinson” as a result.) Mjolnir imbued her with great power, however, there was a catch. Every time she changed into Thor, it purged from her all toxins and chemotherapy, inadvertently weakening her and accelerating her cancer from stage one to stage four.
THE FINAL BATTLE?
At this point, Jane had survived SECRET WARS (2015) and SECRET EMPIRE, but she couldn’t survive her greatest looming challenge: death. Warned by Doctor Strange that summoning Mjolnir one more time would kill her, Jane picked up Mjolnir to save the Asgardians from Mangog in MIGHTY THOR (2015) #705. The monster didn’t make it easy for Thor, but she wouldn’t let the beast continue to destroy Asgardia. Wrapping him in chains forged to “bind the monster-wolf Fenris,” she attached a chain to Mjolnir and flung it into the sun. The plan worked, but it cost the destruction of the hammer and Thor’s own life. Thor would share one last kiss with Odinson before she reverted to her mortal form and died in his arms.
Jane’s soul was transported to Valhalla, the highest honor for any Asgardian warrior to achieve, in MIGHTY THOR (2015) #706. Although not technically an Asgardian, she fought on their behalf and sacrificed her life to ensure their survival, hence the open invite to paradise. But Jane wasn’t ready to enter Valhalla. She believed that her story wasn’t over, and among the living, Odinson agreed. He called upon the God Tempest, and tried to use its powers to resurrect his former love but failed. However, with the combined powers of the Odinson and Odin, Jane was mystically revived.
(BRIEF) RETURN OF MIGHTY THOR
WAR OF THE REALMS (2019) struck Earth with Malekith’s supernatural invasion, and it required all hands on deck! As her cancer was in remission, Jane joined the war to do whatever she could to help. When she learned that Thor was trying to rescue his parents from Malekith the Accursed, she believed that he shouldn’t have to search and suffer alone. Jane sprang into action in WAR OF THE REALMS #5 and retrieved the remains of Ultimate Universe’s Mjolnir, stating “there must always be a Thor. And sometimes…there must be more than one.” Transformed into Mighty Thor once again in issue #6, Jane would join past and future iterations of Thor to save Odin and Freyja as the “Storm of Thors.”
After fighting Malekith, Jane’s hammer altered into a vambrace on her left arm…A good omen or a bad one?
Unfortunately, not everyone survived the WAR OF THE REALMS. The Valkyries were massacred in WAR OF THE REALMS (2019) #2. With no Valkyries, the way to Valhalla was sealed shut. While observing the bodies of the fallen Valkyries in a morgue in WAR OF THE REALMS OMEGA (2019) #1, the spirits of Brunnhilde and the rest of the Valkyrior appeared in reaction to the vambrace and Jane’s wish. Brunnhilde asked Jane if she wanted to become a Valkyrie, and she agreed. So, Jane was upgraded to Valkyrie status and gifted Undrjarn the All-Weapon.
Since becoming a Valkyrie, Jane has had a full plate. She fought Bullseye in VALKYRIE: JANE FOSTER (2019) #2, the Grim Reaper a few issues later, and three different versions of Mephisto. (Way too much Mephisto.) On the other end, Jane teamed up with Marvel’s Mightiest Medics such as Doctor Strange and the Night Nurse. She also discovered Rūna, one of the original nine Valkyries, in KING OF BLACK: RETURN OF THE VALKYRIES (2021) #1. Another Valkyrie! They would later team up in THE MIGHTY VAKYRIES (2021) limited series.
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But Dr. Jane Foster’s story is definitely not over…
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