Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Shape Of Things To Kill!

It would be easy enough to boil Mighty Thor #302 down to "Thor vs. geometry," but that would make light of the issue when there's some serious villainy in play:

Yes. I lied. The concept of Thor going up against Locus, the Geometric Man is about as serious as the threat of Fabian Stankowicz. The difference is that Aaron Verne has an actual power to contend with. Also, like our friend the Crusader, he has this thing against banks that he thinks have wronged him. But before we get to Locus, we first have to deal with--and, I apologize in advance--the issue's splash page, and the rather phallic image of Thor it greets us with:

There. Over and done with. Once you've scrubbed that picture from your mind with nothing less than a Brillo pad, we can move on to the awesome wrath of Locus.

As you'll see, Locus' preoccupation with geometry has provided him with an interesting way of making a bank withdrawal:

So what's this guy's deal? Well, he's actually a former employee of this bank--and after being fired because his mind wandered too much, pondering mathematics (which I'm sure we can all relate to), Arthur was free to indulge in his geometry-based daydreaming full-time. But his origin story, such as it is, takes that a little further:

Fortunately, Don Blake is in the same bank, arranging a loan to start up his medical practice again (using Tony Stark as a reference--must be nice, Doc). So when Locus makes his appearance, it isn't long before we see this familiar "this is a job for..." switch:

And the battle is joined. Gosh, even that sounds serious--you'd think I was writing about Thor going up against Ulik, as much as I'm dramatizing here. But somehow, co-writers Mark Gruenwald and Ralph Macchio (yes, it took two writers to create this story) have to make Locus a threat to Thor, so let's see how he does. Given that Norse gods probably aren't mathematically-inclined, Locus does a pretty good job of daunting Thor at first. Whether it's with spheres:

Or with polyhedrons:

I'm ashamed to say I had to actually look up "polyhedron." Thank goodness that enchanted hammers can deal with them--otherwise it would be Don Blake facing Locus, and seeing a doctor face off against a mathematician isn't what I signed on for. (Nor was this battle, to be perfectly honest.) Once Thor frees himself, we see a little of that serious villainy come into play, when Locus moves up to taking a hostage in order to confiscate Thor's hammer:

But maybe Locus should have consulted with a physics wiz like Graviton, because it looks like weight proves to be his (heh) downfall:

Thor then slips off-panel to switch back to Blake, and returns to tend to Arthur--who's probably dreaming of geometric shapes as he's taken away on a stretcher. I'm afraid this issue begins a positively dreadful series of stories in the book (with some exceptions) that lasts over two years, until Walt Simonson would step aboard for his well-received run on Thor. And yes, we'll be touching on a few of those, I'm afraid. I find it's sort of like trying to avert your eyes from a highway pile-up as it happens--you just can't bring yourself to look away. But rest assured you'll be given fair warning--and I promise that Thor won't be greeting you quite so [INSERT LEWD WORDING HERE] on those splash pages. To be on the safe side, though, you might want to keep a few Brillo pads handy.

Mighty Thor #302

Script: Mark Gruenwald and Ralph Macchio
Pencils: Keith Pollard, Chic Stone and Al Milgrom
Inks: Chic Stone and Al Milgrom
Letterer: Joe Rosen


Anonymous said...

Not Thor's finest hour. He's kind of like that wrestler in that, uh, The Wrestler. (One of these days I really have to learn how to construct a sentence.) Anyway, Thor had to deal with a lotta ham n' eggers back then like Zaniac, Megatak and the Crusader, when he wasn't slapping the Bi-beast and Air-walker around.
A dismal period for the thunder god, to be sure. Big doings ahead, though. M.P.

Murray said...

A sad and harsh memory for me. After 120 consecutive issues of collecting The Mighty Thor, #302 convinced me my money and time could be much better spent.

Your scan images must be from a trade paperback or other printing. The art looks far more acceptable than it did in the original comic issue. Pollard's pencils under two different inkers looked dreary and tired. When I spotted at least three panels practically traced from panels done by John Buscema in earlier Thor stories, I walked away in disgust.