Issue(s): Thor #136, Thor #137, Thor #138, Thor #139
Published Date: Jan-Apr 67
Title: "To become an immortal!" / "The thunder god and the troll!" / "The flames of battle!" / "To die like a god!"
Stan Lee - Writer
Jack Kirby - Penciler
Vincent Colletta - Inker
The first part of this arc starts with Thor professing, in no uncertain terms, his eternal love for Jane Foster: "Never again, my love, shalt thou have cause for fear! Never again shall the god of thunder forsake thee! My life shall be thine -- forevermore!" Now granted he's a viking god who's probably willing to say just about anything to get a girl's dress off, but he has been pining for her since his second appearance.
So he gets to Asgard (in the middle of an Asgardian/Troll war, but no one seems too concerned except Jane)...
...and Jane fails in her trials to become an immortal. Mind you, in issue #129 Thor was going to renounce his immortality in order to be with her. Instead he does nothing of the sort as Odin wipes her memory and sends her back to Earth, even setting her up with a new doctor (Keith Kincaid) to fall in love with.
Meanwhile Thor suspects that the whole thing was a set-up by his father.
But then a few pages later, Sif shows up and Thor's all like "Hey now!" with poor Jane completely forgotten.
Let me be clear: i hated the Jane Foster subplots and i definitely like Sif, a tough Asgardian warrior; i just think Jane is getting a raw deal here.
The creature Jane faces during her trial...
...will, years later, be named the Lurking Unknown, a minor Fear Lord (in the same category, but of lesser stature (heh: he grows the more you fear him) than Nightmare, Dweller In Darkness, and D'Spayre).
Meanwhile the trolls are getting pissed that the Asgardians are barely noticing that they are waging war against them. They attack Thor and Sif, capture Sif, and then lure Thor back to their caves where Ulik, the mightiest of all the rock trolls, lives.
Thor and Ulik have an inconclusive fight and then Geirrodur, king of the rock trolls, teleports Ulik and Sif to Earth. Thor follows, and the rest of the trolls launch a major offensive on Asgard.
Geirrodur's trap is based on the fact that he has learned that Thor has an alternate identity as Don Blake, so he lured him to Earth in order to trap him in that weaker form. It would have worked except his trolls weren't content with just killing Don; they also tried to force Don to teach them how to turn his cane back into Mjolnir, and in the resulting confusion Don turns back into Thor.
Back in Asgard the trolls are winning, despite Odin's direct involvement in the battle. The troll's advantage is a creature called Orikal, who looks vaguely like a Celestial.
He was captured by Geirrodur and is forced to provide prophesy-based guidance and advanced weaponry. On Earth, Thor beats Ulik, but another troll uses the Orb of Orikal to steal Thor's hammer.
Thor now has 60 seconds before reverting to Don Blake. He can either retrieve his hammer or return to Asgard. People wonder why characters in the Marvel Universe never age and it turns out one of the reasons is time moves a lot slower here. Here is all the dialogue that occurs in the next 60 seconds:
Troll: Thunder God - you are vanquished! A new and greater power now possesses your mightiest of weapons!
Thor: My hammer! It hath vanished! But it cannot be! None may seize that which Odin himself has created! Hear me, evil Ulik! Thou shalt pay a thousandfold for what thou hast perpetrated upon this day!
Ulik: Nay, god of thunder -- it was not the doing of Ulik! I need no wizardry to serve me in battle! Strength alone is Ulik's armor -- as you shall learn when next we meet again!
Troll: Quickly Ulik -- into the dimensional tunnel before he can be upon us! We have what we sought! Asgard is now doomed.
Thor: The tunnel wall hath turned solid once more! They are gone -- and with them my uru mallet!
Sif: The trolls are gone! The spell is ended! I am free! Yet, I sense 'tis not victory to which Sif owes her liberation -- but rather -- grim defeat! Thunder god! Why do you pound yon wal in such agonized despair?
Thor: Thor hath failed! We are undone! The trolls have escaped -- taking with them -- my hammer - the weapon supreme!
Sif: Then we must pursue them! They must not reach the gates of Asgard!
Thor: Thy words are fraught with truth -- yet, without my mallet, I am helplessly stranded upon the planet Earth! For, deprived of my hammer, the god of thunder must return to mortal form within a scant sixty seconds! My father needs me! Te domain is imperiled -- the crisis is at hand! But the fateful seconds tick mercilessly by -- each bringing us closer to deadly disaster!
Sif: You must not despair! You must find a way -- or else all is lost!
Thor: But, these empty hands shall soon be powerless! Yea, before this moment passes, I shall be Thor -- no longer! And if the thunder god fails then what shall befall Asgard -- and after that, the unsuspecting planet -- Earth??!
Sif: Do not despair, mighty one! We shall yet prevail! Know you that Sif will never leave thy side!
Thor: Now... with Asgard besieged by the deadliest of foes... with my power needed most... I am bereft of my hammer... reduced to impending helplessness! Odin, my imperial father, doth have direst need of me... ad yet, without my enchanted mallet, I am... now and forever... powerless to return to the golden realm of Asgard!
Sif: No, thunder god!! You must not give up! You are a warrior born... you are mightiest of the mightiest...!
Thor: But, of what avail is my might when I am trapped upon the planet Earth? 'Tis Asgard where the need is greatest! That roaring noise... growing ever louder! 'Tis a speeding underground train!! I shall revert to the mortal Dr. Blake within a matter of seconds... and remain on Earth forever... unless...
Sif: Thor! What are you saying? What do you plan?
Thor: Stand aside, female. Get thee to safety against yonder wall! The sixtieth second is almost upon me! The time is now!
Sif: But, if you change to your mortal form... the vehicle will slay you!!
Thor: Ay! That is my only hope! Though I shall die as the mortal Dr. Blake... mayhap I shall reach Valhalla as Thor, god of thunder. And, once there, amongst the gods... who knows what miracles may yet occur?!!
Sif: No! The odds against thee are too great! If thou hast guessed wrong... Odin loses thee forever... and so, alas, does Sif! There is another way... my way...! For am I not a goddess born??
And then, "exactly one-tenth of a microsecond before the thunder god is about to change", Sif teleports them back to Asgard. Some observations:
- Thor is a real drama queen.
- The level of repetition in comic books at this point is absolutely painful. They keep saying the same things over and over again. When people complain about 'decompressed' comic books, i don't think they realize what the older books were compressed with.
- Thor and Sif must talk faster than John Moschitta. (Yeah, 80s pop culture reference!)
- I didn't think the Valkyries accepted suicides.
- Is Sif stupid or just messing with Thor? Why does she wait until the very least second to reveal that she can also teleport to Asgard? (and how come she can do it without any special items, but Thor needs his hammer?)
So anyway they get back to Asgard and Thor gets his hammer back and beats Ulik again (this time with no trouble at all)...
...and frees Orikal and the Asgardians beat the trolls.
Despite some of the silliness, the troll story was a pretty good one. Ulik starts off pretty menacing and Kirby gets to go wild with all the troll war machines and other crazy Asgardian stuff.
Brian Cronin at CBR notes that issue #137 is the first time Thor's hammer is actually named in the comics.
Good epic battle but marred by some logic holes and the very jarring wrap up of the Jane Foster romance.
Quality Rating: C
Historical Significance Rating: 8 - first Sif, first Ulik, end of the Jane Foster romance. First Lurking Unknown.
Chronological Placement Considerations: This arc starts soon after the end of the last issue, with Jane and Thor still in the mountains of Europe.
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: Marvel Spectacular #7, Marvel Spectacular #8, Marvel Spectacular #9, Marvel Spectacular #10