Monday, February 3, 2014

Beware The Bombardiers!


It's a transformation we've seen dozens of times. Only this time...


...it looks like Thor has a hitchhiker to deal with.



To understand how Thor and a housecat became so tight, we have to become involved in the case of the Bombardiers, a deadly group which levels low-lease hotels for unscrupulous landlords:




"Unscrupulous" meaning that the loss of life doesn't factor into the landlord's plans for profit. Max Yadow was only one of the victims in this hit on the Savoy Hotel--but the few survivors just happen to wind up at the same clinic where Dr. Donald Blake works:



As you can see, Max's cat, Amos, was more fortunate than his owner. And as Blake confers with the police lieutenant investigating the incident as a homicide, there's another attentive listener in the room:



Lieutenant Byrd ("Blackbyrd," informally) doesn't know it, but Thor has now taken an interest in this case. And when Blackbyrd informs Blake of another hotel that's likely to be hit soon, the God of Thunder prepares to intervene. And it looks like he's going to have company:



If you're a cat owner like me, you know darn well that they have ways of getting you to acquiesce to their wishes. How comforting to find out that even thunder gods recognize and bow to their wiles:



Fortunately, Thor arrives just in time, before the Bombardiers can destroy their last target for this particular landlord:




Normally, these flunkies and their hardware wouldn't present a challenge for Thor. But, aside from their armaments, the Bombardiers have good reason to be confident they can survive a battle with him:



No, I don't know how these guys laid their hands on adamantium alloy--but Thor obviously has his hands full. Still, he has writer Bill Mantlo in his corner, who gives Thor all the incentive he needs to overcome his restraints and fight on: the plight of the less fortunate, who are in danger of losing all they have.




And Thor has one other ally, of course, in the form of Max's loyal cat. And I can tell you from experience that when a cat "chooses" you, you're joined at the hip from that point on:




With the Bombardiers essentially defeated and in police custody, the only threat remaining is their deadly attack vehicle which is now airborne--loaded with explosives and out of control. Thor takes off in pursuit in order to assure its destruction, but finds he has an equally important task to secure:




Thor stories in the early '80s were rather hit-and-miss, with emphasis on the latter (anybody remember Zaniac? Megatak? Locus?)--a kind of holding pattern the book endured until Beta Ray Bill came on the scene in late 1983. So "Beware The Bombardiers!" at first glance didn't seem like it would be on par with the grand Thor stories we had come to expect, even those stories where the Thunder God was spending an extended amount of time on Earth. But I found this story surprisingly entertaining, while only taking real issue with its behind-the-scenes criminal--a landlord who's stupid enough to have his hit men target all of his properties in succession, and in so doing all but point the police (as well as Thor and his trusty feline) in his direction.

Mighty Thor # 309

Script: Bill Mantlo
Pencils: Rick Leonardi
Inks: Chic Stone
Letterer: Joe Rosen

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There was a period during the early 80's when Thor took some time off.
Yeah, he'd clock in, smack a few punks around, hang around the office for a while, tell a few jokes, head for home, maybe pick up a six-pack and watch HBO.
Then Simonson showed up and it was back to work.

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