Friday, December 5, 2014

The Hammers Of Thor


This issue has to hold the record for the most usage of the word "Thor" on a single cover:



The Thor Corps, a thankfully unofficial name for this grouping of three versions of Thor--Beta Ray Bill, Eric Masterson, and Dargo Ktor, caught up in a scheme of the so-called Tomorrow Man, Zarrko. Eric has taken over for the real Thor, banished for slaying his half-brother, Loki--while Dargo, from the 26th century, encounters Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, embedded in stone and claims it to become the future's Thunder God.

Zarrko plans to use the enchanted energies from the two Mjolnirs to power his radical time stabilizer, which, when activated, will collapse all the infinite timelines into one, which Zarrko will rule. To that end, Zarrko has manipulated both Dargo and Eric into battling one another while he saps their hammers' energy--soon joined by Beta Ray Bill, who eventually puts an end to the hostilities and urges the other two to accompany him in seeking out Zarrko for a little payback:



When they confront Zarrko, he summons enemies of the Thunder God from the mists of time to deal with them. But when he summons one in particular, Zarrko discovers that this particular foe of Thor's isn't about to play anyone else's game, and his entire scheme backfires:




It's easy to assume that the "Thor Corps" got its gig because of the novelty of grouping all of the available Thors together--though, despite Bill's penchant for calling them "brothers," he's really proven to be the only novelty that actually works well in the book. Dargo's hook is his youth and his future-slang--while Eric's is his inexperience as well as seeing a mortal thrust into the role of a godlike hero. It's obvious that Eric is important to writer Tom DeFalco, who's taken the risk and gamble of substituting him for the book's main draw. But attempting to build Eric up to fill Thor's shoes means showing his vulnerabilities as a mortal, and that means subjecting your readers who are buying the book for "Thor" to wincing scenes like the following:



(It's never a good sign when your hero struggles painfully to reach for an enchanted hammer while forgetting he's already battling with one.)





The Thor Corps might have been interesting with the true Thor in Eric's place--but if Eric looks ineffectual even with two other Thors at his side, there aren't going to be many readers who are willing to wait however long it takes for DeFalco's plans for Eric to run their course.

A little over a year later, the Thor Corps was given its own four-issue mini-series, this time joined with the real Thor (Eric had since become Thunderstrike) against Dargo's enemy, Demonstaff, who kidnaps Dargo's wife as a means to reclaiming his own. To my knowledge, the Corps was never regrouped after that adventure's conclusion, whatever Thors besides the original were available.  Perhaps the concept proved that maybe you can have too many hammers striking for justice.

3 comments:

Colin Jones said...

CF, have you read any of the current Thor: God of Thunder because that also featured 3 Thors - Thor from around 900 AD, modern Thor and Thor from the distant future when he's King of Asgard.

The Prowler said...

The Thor Corps!!!! With that much Thor crammed into one single issue, imagine how Thor one would be after reading it!?! Ice bath anyone.....anyone? Bueller? Bueller?


(Cold as ice, cold as cold as ice, you know that you are).

Comicsfan said...

I'll definitely have to catch that story, Colin. I liked the "Lord of Asgard" series of issues very much, and I wouldn't mind seeing a little more of that Thor.

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