Sunday, July 7, 2013

Turmoil in the Time-Stream

When we left Thor and his companions in Part 1 of the "Time-Twisters" crisis, Thor had just defeated the Servitor, the armored behemoth that journeyed from the future on the orders of his master, Zarrko the Tomorrow Man, in order to conscript Thor into Zarrko's service. Diplomacy wasn't exactly the Servitor's strong suit, and so he sought to compel the Asgardian's aid by taking Thor's love, Jane Foster, hostage and demanding Thor's compliance in exchange for her life. This, of course, earned the Servitor a few bruises from the outraged Thor and his friends, as well as an almost fatal blow from Mjolnir--until Zarrko appears to elaborate on why he needs Thor's help. And...

WAIT A MINUTE! Back it up a little! Aren't we jumping the gun here? Just why are Thor and the Warriors Three now on board with helping Zarrko, one of Thor's oldest foes? And what's so important that they can call bygones on the Servitor's behavior? Let's get some answers.

For one thing, seeing Thor declare allegiance to Zarrko is a little hard to swallow, given the events of their last meeting. In that encounter, Zarrko had again travelled to Thor's century to enlist his aid, albeit for far less noble reasons. He even brought along another giant servant--a mining robot he'd modified, a very early model of what would one day be the Servitor:

But in this earlier scheme, Zarrko had more sinister motives where Thor was concerned--to force Thor to accompany him back to the 23rd century in order to assist him in conquering it. Normally, Thor would tell Zarrko where he could shove that time cube of his--but as luck would have it, this took place while Thor was without half his power as a punishment from Odin. And Thor found that he was no match for Zarrko's giant robot:

As it turned out, Thor was able to turn the tables on Zarrko, and see to his arrest in the 23rd century. But, eventually, Zarrko took stock of his failures, and decided to modify another mining robot more extensively (our friend, the Servitor) and launch a daring plan, taking a shortcut of sorts to the rule of Earth:

But in the 50th century, Zarrko would learn of a fatal threat to Earth that would threaten his comfy rule--the Time-Twisters, enigmatic beings who would threaten not only Zarrko's time but 20th century Earth, as well:

And now we see why this time, Zarrko succeeds in gaining Thor's cooperation of his own free will. And along with the Warriors Three and Jane Foster, Thor boards Zarrko's time cube to return with him to the 50th century, where the Time-Twisters are due to arrive. You may be suspecting at this point that Zarrko may well have sold Thor and his party a bill of goods. His story on the threat of the Time-Twisters was long on desperate pleading yet short on details--and in Thor's experience with him, Zarrko hasn't exactly proven to be the trustworthy type. Is Thor's helmet on too tightly or something? Well, sometimes, maybe--but the truth is that Zarrko is on the level here, for the most part. The threat of the Time-Twisters is real enough. But Zarrko's reasons for saving Earth aren't as altruistic as he lets on.

But first, Thor and company have to get to the 50th century. Unfortunately, it turns out that in the time-stream, your transportation can come under assault by the kind of hitchhikers you'd expect to find there, thanks to the turmoil caused by the approach of the Time-Twisters:

And since the Thing doesn't have any difficulty clobbering a Tyrannosaurus Rex, you certainly wouldn't expect Thor to work up a sweat when he meets up with one in these time-mists. Yet writer Len Wein has that "battle" taking up over two pages, and culminating in this bizarre face-down that has Thor actually attempting to reason with this dinosaur:

Maybe that helmet is on too tightly. I'm no expert on dinosaur behavior--but I'm pretty sure that if a raging tyrannosaur is charging me, it's not going to be talked into backing off, even if I'm whirling something over my head and giving it "fair warning." And frankly, I refuse to spend valuable running time beseeching an attacking dinosaur.

Once the threats from the mists of time are dealt with, everyone returns to the time cube, where we find Thor and the Servitor doing some unexpected bonding:

Yet Thor may be getting his hopes up about this armored giant becoming more of an ally than a creature he has to watch his back around. We'll have to wait and see.

Once the cube arrives on 50th century Earth, a few of the pieces start to fall into place in regard to Zarrko's "the truth but not the whole truth" approach to enlisting the Asgardians in his plight. Because while this Earth may have been "clearly suited to [his] needs," it's far from the utopian world we were led to believe it was:

At least, outside of the comfort zone of Zarrko's plush palace. Thor learns that Zarrko may have more selfish reasons to save his Earth, if his dealings with his citizens--enforced by the brutish Servitor--are any indication:

But the Asgardians have no time to further ponder the fate of the human race under Zarrko's rule--because those who twist time have finally arrived, and their arrival signals the imminent end of even this less-than-ideal Earth:

Sure, Zarrko, we know what's really being doomed, as far as you're concerned--but I still have the feeling Thor isn't going to leave you to your just deserts.  Because the mortal lives of two Earths depend on what he does next.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think I had issue #244, which was the end of this saga...good story, but the Time Twisters look a lot like the aliens from that Star Trek episode "The Cage"...

Just sayin'