Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Deadly Ambition of... Seidring, The Merciless!

Very often, an "aftermath" story in comics can be just as enjoyable to read as the calamitous events that preceded it, as it ties up any loose ends and/or deals with any emotional fallout that needs to be addressed. When it comes to Mighty Thor #127, we end up getting a little of both--as the Thunder God must deal with the repercussions of his shattering defeat at the hands of Hercules, while almighty Odin must face the consequences of his own role in his son's humiliation and vanquishment.

To briefly recap what's gone before, Thor had returned to Earth following an intense battle with Asgard's forces, under orders from Odin to bring down Thor due to his refusal to keep his distance from his mortal love, Jane Foster. Meanwhile, on Earth, Jane, at her wit's end from Thor's constant and lengthy absences, believed she'd spotted what appeared to be Thor in an altercation on the city streets, and rushed to see him--only to find that it was instead Hercules, who insisted that she accompany him to pass the time. It was a heck of a time for Thor to have fought his way to Earth, only to see the one he loved spending what looked to be quality time with Hercules--and when rebuffed by the Thunder God, Hercules felt slighted and landed a haymaker that sent Thor toppling to the floor. That led to the mother of all battles that carved a swath of destruction throughout New York City.

Unknown to Thor, Odin was fuming at Thor's defiance of his wishes--while at the same time taking pride in his son's prowess against Hercules. Yet his senior advisor, Seidring, reminded him of his duty to make an example of Thor--and Odin, striking a balance between his own feelings on the matter and his duty to punish those who disobey him, empowered Seidring to dispense the punishment he decreed for Thor.

(You begin to wonder here how a ruler who's known as "all-wise" can hand a virtual loaded gun to someone who's widely reputed to be merciless. And transferring to that person your supreme power only elevates rashness to stupidity.)

Once the deed is done, Hercules goes on to abruptly finish the fight with Thor by laying him out cold for all to see. And as we see from the following issue's dramatic splash page above, Thor must now face the aftermath of his defeat--bidding farewell to Jane, and removing himself from mortal affairs indefinitely, still shorn of half his godly power. But Thor's dejected state is shared by one other, whose second thoughts on this matter come too late--and due to his own short-sightedness, it may prove to be too late for all of Asgard, as well.

Understandably, Odin has misgivings about his harsh treatment of his son, punishment which need not have been issued at such a crucial time and with little to no regard for a warrior's pride. Odin's action was taken for all the wrong reasons, the least being the justice that he sought to dispense; in addition, he has been careless, neglecting to reclaim the power he transferred to Seidring, an opportunist who now moves to depose the one who trusted him implicitly.

Hearing the commotion, Balder and some guardsmen rush to Odin's aid--but we'll learn their fate shortly. As for Thor, he decides to return to Asgard and face whatever fate Odin has in store for him with dignity and honor. Ordinarily, we can't imagine Thor would give Odin the satisfaction of a face-to-face with his immortal tail tucked between his legs, since Thor has every right to assume that everything that has befallen him is a result of Odin's dogmatism toward his relationship with Jane--and technically, he's right, though he's as yet unaware of Seidring's influence on his father and what has taken place in his absence. Yet writer Stan Lee must take this approach at bringing Thor to Asgard--since the evil Seidring has made it otherwise impossible that the Thunder God would learn of the danger to the realm.

And so the stage is set for another formidable foe for Thor to pit his power against, though the stakes are much higher than battling a rival for a loved one. Thor faces the Odin power unleashed, while at only half his strength--and should Seidring prevail, the entire universe could be at risk.

And speaking of the universe, it's not a good sign for your chances when your foe can casually seize a group of planetoids to hurl against you in his opening salvo.

(I might have advised Thor to run toward Seidring and then drop, but Thor has enough on his mind without taking his cues from me.)

Fortunately, Thor seems to have a daring plan in mind--more of a bluff, actually, but still a notch in the "win" column if it works. That is, if Thor survives long enough to make his move.

With Seidring's threat ended, Odin is free to see to his injured son, who has finally collapsed from the rigors and wounds of his battle. It's difficult to find sympathy for Odin, since he has had both good and reprehensible moments in this comic and would go on to act rashly and exhibit poor judgment with Thor as well as in other matters. But the story's final panels by Lee and Jack Kirby abound with both sincerity and a true sense of family--and here and now, at least, it comes across quite well that Thor couldn't be in better hands.

You can run but you can't hide--The Fate of Seidring!
PLUS: For the God of Thunder, even bed rest can be perilous!

Mighty Thor #127

Script: Stan Lee
Pencils: Jack Kirby
Inks: Vince Colletta
Letterer: Sam Rosen


Anonymous said...

Verily, if thou doth hurl rogue planetoids at the noble Odinson and encase him in a, er, "globule" of, uh, "wolfbane", (I'm struggling here), thou doth be cruising for one cosmic bruising.
The All-father shall take mighty umbrage, and get around to smiting ye in his own good time.

Rick said...

I have to agree with your assessment of Odin as an "all-wise" ruler. As a kid reading these books, I was always amazed at how clueless Odin was when it came to Loki and his various plans against Thor. And the numerous times he punished Thor while looking at Loki with his hand in the cookie jar. But it was fun, nonetheless.

Comicsfan said...

Odin indeed seems to be fallible when it comes to his decisions regarding his children, Rick, but I suppose that holds true of parents in general, whether they're mortal or immortal. I wouldn't want Odin to be too wise, I suppose. (But maybe he could stop repeating a few of his mistakes!)

M.P., if Odin could glaze over his enemies' eyes with speech like that, he probably wouldn't even need the Odin-power. ;)

Anonymous said...

I admit I like to have a good time around here, C.F., probably eliciting many groans in the process, but I'm really knocked out by this art and just this comic in general. A real pleasure to see it here. The imagery is just fantastic.
Until Odin sells his hat collection, make mine Marvel!

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