Tuesday, March 18, 2014

To Rise Again!

Things didn't look too good when we last left Thor, after his battle with the Destroyer.

Actually, things looked terrible. Thor was dead.

But while Thor was getting pummelled and charred to a cinder, there was a story within the story taking place--in the form of paramedic Jake Olson, who was in the war zone trying to save lives while the Avengers fought with Thor to end the Destroyer's threat. We'd already been given curious indications of a sort of connection Jake was experiencing with the Thunder God--circumstantial acts which seemed, at times, to give this mortal man just as much of a heroic bearing as Thor.

Tragically, Jake fared as badly as Thor during the battle--mortally wounded by shrapnel while trying to help a civilian, moments before Thor met his own end.

And the Avengers, mad as hell and ready to avenge their fallen comrade, may be on their way to being added to the body count.

While Captain America, Hawkeye, and Iron Man engage the Destroyer, the Scarlet Witch races to Thor's side, in an effort to seek out a spark of life in Thor and maintain it. But the Destroyer is well-named, and the spirit guiding the armored brute--Col. Preston Case, a U.S. Army lieutenant who has turned loose his rage at the service through the Destroyer--is going to make victims of all these so-called heroes.

But what of Thor? Well, we did say he was dead, and so he makes the final journey to the realm of Hela, Goddess of Death. Of course, this isn't the first time that Hela has had Thor in her cold clutches--and now, as then, Thor is defiant in his wish to stay alive.

This time, however, Thor has an unexpected and mysterious ally--Marnot, who seemingly has come to release Thor from Hela (and, needless to say, against her wishes):

Yet Marnot's motives go much deeper; in fact, while he may need Thor to live, he's really putting those wheels in motion in order to come to the aid of a mortal caught in Thor's crossfire.

Thor, aggrieved at the thought of not being able to save Jake, responds that he wishes to do all he can to help him. Hela, however, declares the matter moot, since she now has Thor and has no intention of releasing him. But, thanks to Marnot who prods her to give proof of her claim to Thor, she's in for a surprise:

And so Marnot makes ready to restore Thor to the land of the living--cryptically implying that, in some fashion, he means to do the same for Jake Olson:

Though if Marnot is sending Thor back into battle with the Destroyer, whatever he's planned for restoring the "cosmic balance" may not make it off the drawing board. After all, it looks like the Avengers, who were left holding the fort, didn't fare any better than Thor in Round Two against this bruiser (unless you count the fact that they're still alive, if barely):

Col. Case seems pretty comfortable with his new status, doesn't he. He may no longer have his old rank, but he's collected the spoils from Earth's mightiest heroes, and he's got a fearful populace trembling before him. And to top it off, he's about to add an enchanted hammer to his trophies.

Assuming he can, that is.

When Thor disposed of a nuclear threat by transporting it off-world, I think I said at the time that I was glad he didn't make a habit of doing things like that--making those kinds of shortcut saves. I mean, the Avengers stood their ground and duked it out with the Destroyer--would we expect Thor to do any less? On the other hand, I suppose it could be argued that he did try that, at first, and look what it got him--DEAD. I'm guessing an "out of sight, out of mind" approach looks pretty good to him right about now:

But, what of Marnot, and his intervention on Thor's behalf? Just what did he do, and how does it involve the deceased Jake Olson? I suppose it all depends on how you define "deceased":

It would seem that Jake now has a new lease on life--as well as a new vocabulary, from the sound of it. To get to the bottom of this new existence of Thor's, feel free to read further issues of Thor's rebooted comic from 1998. You'll also learn about the missing Asgardians, as well as the origin of the mysterious Marnot. (I know, I keep wanting to say "Merlot," too.)

Mighty Thor #2

Script: Dan Jurgens
Pencils: John Romita Jr.
Inks: Klaus Janson
Letterers: Richard Starkings and Dave Lanphear


Anonymous said...

This was the time when my comic book reading was hitting E and hitting it hard. I have the entire pocket run, the four part WW3 story line and when the Heroes Returned, I was right there for FF, IM, Cap, and the Avengers. Which for those who remember, I was not a big Cap fan. I even have all the Journey Into Mystery Lost Gods. But by time Thor came out, I was done.

Ooh, but CF, almost thou persuadest me. The art looks enticing.

Every time I think I'm out.....they pull me back in.

The Prowler (wondering if they still buy plasma).

Murray said...

I agree with you. Thank goodness writers never really overused the Send Things Away Power. Still, one can't help but wonder why he did not use such a power in some of his more desperate fights.

Then, Kurt Busiek in Avengers (v3) #40 answered it wonderfully. Captain America asks Thor if he can send a titan Hulk-creature to another dimension before it stomps southeastern Europe. Thor replies:

"The rifts my hammer creates depend on many factors. From the cycle of the seasons to the alignment of the stars...but I shall try."

Sounds thoroughly mythological and perfectly plausible and instantly answers the dozen times when Thor really could have used that power and didn't.

Comicsfan said...

Murray, I think Busiek's "quick fix" was laudable, but Thor often initiates these vortexes so casually and on the spur of the moment that they seem more the result of whim than alignment. :) I'd like to think, instead, that Thor, being a warrior of Asgard, prefers to choose might-vs.-might and flex his own battle skills before attempting other options such as storms or dimensional vortexes.

Murray said...

We are in accord there! And, I think, as are the writers. Without actually going back and conducting a rift-vortex count, I think Thor only ever uses that option when innocents are in danger. Nuclear overloads, unstoppable Destroyer with Avenger captives, titan Hulks...in fact, my memory suddenly offers perhaps the perfect example. When fighting Durok the Demolisher, (who made the Destroyer seem a bit soft) Thor used the hammer vortex and banished a huge segment of a New Orleans Mardi Gras crowd. Now that they were gone from underfoot and safe, he returned to fight the Demolisher. When it could have been vice versa.

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