Marvel had comics fans tongue-wagging way back when their solicitation for All-New, All Different Avengers #4 came with the gorgeous Alex Ross cover above, depicting Sam Wilson and Thor locked in a kiss. The issue is out today, and yes, the kiss is real—but it’s not really all that romantic. In fact, it’s all a bit tragic.
Spoilers ahead for All-New All Different Avengers #4, by Mark Waid, Mahmud Asrar, Dave McCaig, and Cory Petit.
The fourth issue of the All-New, All Different Avengers is all about the team settling in—they have a tatty new base, much to Jarvis’ dismay, and a new mission: take out hired gun/supervillain Cyclone, who’s busy tearing up Atlantic City.
The threat is easily dealt with, but it’s also preceded by a sort of relish for battle not yet seen in this series from Thor. She eagerly anticipates Tony’s rallying cry of “Avengers, Assemble!”, flying off ahead of the group, and happily celebrates Spider-Man, Nova, and Ms. Marvel taking Cyclone down.
It is, as other people begin to notice, strange for the usually stoic goddess of thunder. And how does Thor react to people noticing her jovial mood? By snogging the living daylights out of Captain America.
So what does a Captain America taste like? Freedom? Bald Eagle? Pancakes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
But the kiss, despite being the big front cover tease, isn’t the most important moment for Thor in All-New, All-Different Avengers #4. It’s what she says immediately after the kiss, and if you’ve been following along with Jane Foster’s journey, quite poignant too:
The real reason behind Thor’s sudden relish for life and superheroism is because Jane Foster has cancer. When she calls upon Mjolnir and becomes Thor, Jane is transformed into a mighty hero, free from the disease ravaging her body—but when she isn’t, she’s slowly degrading, fading away. How Jane deals with that, balancing her treatment with Asgardian heroics, has been the main driving factor behind her current ongoing series, and as it’s progressed, so has Jane’s disease (and not in a good way). This Thor lives in the moment, because she’s not entirely sure just how many moments she has left.
It’s a perfectly tragic motivation for the character—but also one that’s seemingly going to end with the discovery of this Thor’s identity in the Marvel universe for the first time. At the very end of the book, Tony starts pondering on Thor’s choice of words, and starts putting two and two together:
Time is slowly, sadly running out for Jane Foster. But time might be running out even more quickly for her secret life as Thor.