20 times Thor was the best Marvel superhero

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5. When he put his own face onto Mount Rushmore

Well, okay, it’s not quite that simple. There’s a lot more going on in Thor: Gods and Men rather than a relatively simple act of vandalism (well, for an Asgardian, anyway). Besides, the head of Thor that’s carved into the side of Mount Rushmore in South Dakota’s Black Hills isn’t that big. At least, not compared to the absolutely humongous head of Odin that towers over it all.

Released in 1998, Thor: Gods and Men hails from a difficult time in comics history. Marvel, along with other comics companies, were looking for nearly anything that could boost sales and gain new readers. One such effort involved a sort of quasi-reboot, in which the founders of Image comics, Jim Lee and the infamous Rob Liefeld, helped reinvent various Marvel characters.

This basically meant that the Thor comics were thrown into something of an upheaval, where Thor became little more than a supporting character for a while. Eventually, he came back with his own title, written by Dan Jurgens. A lot happens in that series, but the important thing here is that Odin eventually dies, Thor becomes the All-Father, and relocates Asgard to the skies above New York City. Thor then begins to become a kind of worldwide dictator.

Gods and Men starts about a decade into Thor’s reign. Though this future seems utopian, with advanced Asgardian healthcare and lots of Ye Olde Norse-style housing, all is not well. The humans still feel threatened and work against their Asgardian overlords. Loki somehow has Doctor Strange’s signature red cloak and a ruined Captain America shield. Thor, meanwhile, soon begins to doubt the wisdom of his time ruling Earth. Overall, it’s a surprisingly compelling and thoughtful story.