Friday, February 8, 2013

The Flashiest Tailor in Asgard

Oooooo--can I have one of these?

I'm not talking about that imposing headgear, though it's not like Odin doesn't have a tempting collection. But I'm really hoping he'll hand over his power scepter, that cool-looking device that he often uses to channel his power. I think Loki wants it just as much as I do:

Good grief, Thor, what are you whining about? Don't tell me you're feeling left out--you got a frickin' enchanted hammer from your father, remember? Anyway, I really can't blame Loki for whooping it up, if you can use the scepter to command the universe. After all, Odin makes use of it often enough to give the impression that it's the scepter that holds all the awesome power it dispenses (calling it a "power" scepter doesn't hurt, either). But this royal scepter is merely an object used by Odin to channel his own natural power--and he's about to give Loki (and the Absorbing Man) a little demonstration that will clear up any misunderstanding:

So I suppose Odin could use, say, a sword or a spear or even an ash tray to do the same things he does with the scepter, whenever he deigns to use an object at all to implement his power. But he seems to enjoy the use of the scepter, since it adds a bit of ceremonial flourish that reflects his majesty. After all, when one man can awe an invading army by waving his scepter, chances are their morale is also going to take a hit:

Though in the following panels, it's unclear whether it was writer Stan Lee or artist Jack Kirby who took the name of "power scepter" too literally, when an alien weapon succeeds in draining the power it never actually possessed:

Still, the power scepter wasn't retired--on the contrary, Odin continued to make use of it in a variety of situations. It seemed Lee and/or Kirby perhaps wanted to avoid having Odin appear as just another common comic book figure with awesome power. The power scepter, combined with Lee's dialog, gave Odin a great deal of flair and pomp in implementing his decisions, as if he was enacting some royal edict. That proved most effective, of course, when he needed to humble his enemies:

But there were times when he could just use it to impress upon others the fact that he was, well, Odin, whose power could be dispensed in any number of ways. And even the most trivial things could be given a sense of awesomeness when accomplished by Odin's ceremonial scepter. For instance, just to show the All-Father isn't such a bad tailor:

Come on, Jane--haven't you ever seen a power scepter used before?? No wonder you didn't work out as a goddess.

The scepter could also be used in one heck of a power point presentation:

And if you've used it to kill even a death goddess, you can bring her back to life with it:

There were also the times when, if Odin whipped out his power scepter, you knew you were going somewhere:

And haven't you always wanted to leave behind this kind of effect when leaving a room?

"Odin-thoughts."  Jeez, the ego on this guy.

Like Odin's spear, Gungnir, the power scepter apparently also had a name--"Thrudstok," though I can't seem to find where it was used anywhere. And I'm not surprised, since it gives even more of an impression that it's the device which holds the power and not Odin, which I doubt is something Odin would want. And I can see a warrior naming their sword, or their spear, or their hammer, but probably not a non-weapon like their scepter. "I use my scepter, Thrudstok, to welcome thee!" doesn't really fly, unless you want your visitor to embarrass you by snickering. After which they'd probably find themself catching up to Loki and the Absorbing Man.

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