Friday, December 4, 2015

...And A God Shall Fall!

You know you're in for a rumble when you get an intro like this:

Wow! Thor taking on the Juggernaut for the first time! This one is bound to be a knock-down drag-out, no doubt about it. But this two-part story has other surprises waiting in the wings--and if we're to believe Juggernaut, Thor is going to be just the warm-up for him!

So why don't we tackle an equally irresistible

Marvel Trivia Question

What new super-group made its first appearance during this fight?

Unknown to Juggernaut, he's been whisked from his holding cell in prison and strategically positioned in the city as part of a greater scheme by another villain operating in the shadows--and as he THROD THROD THRODS through the streets, he's met by Thor, who naturally plans to halt his advance. Yet Thor is also an unknowing participant of our shadowy villain's scheme--as the target of this bruiser, who may prove to be more than a match for him.

Unfortunately, the story makes clear that Thor is at a disadvantage, due to strange seizures of weakness he's been experiencing since he returned to Earth following his war with Seth. We discover the cause later, which happens to be the same as the identity of our villain-in-shadows--Loki, who has launched his "Acts of Vengeance" war against Thor and the Avengers. As a result of Thor's affliction, this fight might not be all we'd hoped it would be--but it won't be because of a lack of effort on Thor's part.

Finally, Thor uncorks Mjolnir, his invincible hammer, for the moment we've been waiting for: Can the Juggernaut resist a direct hit from Thor's hammer? We may find that out some day, but not today; because even though the hammer's might isn't affected by whatever is weakening Thor, and even though it's smashed through any number of force fields in its day, apparently the Juggernaut's field proves to be more than it can handle. And the Juggernaut is a savvy-enough street fighter to take advantage of the situation, in a move that leads to Thor's undoing.

(Gee, wasn't it nice of Juggernaut to take the time to wrap the hammer's thong around Thor's wrist before he turned to pick up that train car?)

But Thor gets a reprieve when our mystery super-group arrives on the battlefield, melting the train car from Juggernaut's grasp and forming up to take him on.

Naturally, the debut of the New Warriors in a mag featuring the most powerful member of the Avengers is a prime opportunity to display the team's abilities and give them the exposure they need to help sell themselves to new readers. But as far as those abilities go... well.... not so impressive.

Granted that taking on the Juggernaut wasn't the best way for this new team to demonstrate its mettle, though the story seems to take the position that these kids the Warriors deserve points for trying--and they do give Thor the time he needs to recover. But, realistically speaking, all of these heroes have their work cut out for them with this foe.

Of course, there's nothing stopping Thor from using Mjolnir against Juggernaut at close quarters--nothing except writer Tom DeFalco, who probably realizes he'd have to cook up a new reason for Thor's hammer not being powerful enough against Juggernaut. (And when your first reason is lame, that doesn't leave you with much wiggle room.) And so, after no less than a lightning bolt fails, Thor resorts to using the full force of his powers against this enemy, which finally--er, staggers him.

Which leaves us with what seems an absolutely ridiculous conclusion: If the channeled power of Thor can drive off Galactus, yet is barely enough to hold the Juggernaut at bay, that would make the Juggernaut more powerful than Galactus. Don't you just want to throttle Mr. DeFalco right about now?

Fortunately, the New Warriors see an opportunity to pitch in to imprison Juggernaut--and Thor takes care of the rest.

No, I don't know why Thor didn't just banish Juggernaut to another dimension in the first place. Given the choice between that and endangering lives and wrecking the city in a drawn-out battle, it seems a pretty easy call to make.

At any rate, Thor gives his blessing to these new Marvel heroes before streaking off to confer with the Avengers on this "war" that's going on against them.

By the way, kids--thanks for ushering in Civil War on us and causing the deaths of over 600 innocent people, all for the sake of a close-up on live TV! You guys rock!


Anonymous said...

Boy, THOR sure was a fun comic to read back then.
When the writing and the art are both clicking like this, it's what makes us love comic books.

(although I would have preferred to see Thor crack Juggy's helmet open, and smack him right in the kisser. This ending was almost as good.)

Comicsfan said...

Well, you won't quite get your wish in that respect, m.p., but don't worry--Thor's going to pound some sense into Juggernaut in their bludgeoning rematch, coming up soon!