Issue(s): Thor #168, Thor #169, Thor #170
Unsatisfactory origin of Galactus, part two.
While Thor originally thought his search for Galactus might take centuries, Galactus brings Thor to him immediately because he's not interested in a chase and seems to actually want to talk. Galactus is angry and tired.
Galactus' disposition is possibly due to the coloring issues he's had throughout his early appearances. On the cover of Thor #168 he is wearing all pink and purple and short pants. Inside, he is covered in a strange blue, and his legs are covered up.
Galactus makes Thor go to sleep so he can communicate with him, since Thor just wants to fight. Here's the word/phrase "a'borning" again. This time it is galaxies that are still a'borning. A Watcher (actually right now it is "the" Watcher, but as ChrisKafka notes below, it's a Watcher named Ecce) sees a spaceship crash, and he goes to investigate, finding that the ship is full of victims of a space plague.
Galactus, then Galan, was the only individual from his planet of Taa to survive the plague. Somehow, absorbing all of the plague's radiation, caused Galactus to (again) come a'borning.
I honestly don't know what to make of the origin story. I feel like it should be more momentous, but it's just kind of blah. Which is worse than not having an origin at all. Luckily, in the early 80s, Marvel put out a Galactus: The Origin one shot that tried to make sense of the various Galactus origins that were published in Thor and make Galactus seem a bit more majestic.
Odin has been secretly eavesdropping on this conversation, and now that Galactus is finished spilling the beans on his origin, he teleports Thor back to Earth.
Meanwhile, Balder and the Warriors Three are messing about on Earth.
The Warriors Three are truly hilarious. There's a scene with Volstagg trying to get out of Don Blake's bed that is really, really funny.
I know it's basically just fat jokes, but there's something about Volstagg's bluster that makes me laugh.
They're on Earth to sort of cover for Thor in his absence, and they're getting ready to fight a robot called the Thermal Man.
Odin teleports Thor to Earth to help in the fight.
When things are looking bad, Karnilla teleports Balder and the Warriors Three to her for safety. Loki isn't happy about that.
Thor ultimately defeats the Thermal Man by summoning a massive storm that knocks the robot into the ocean and sweeps it up to the Arctic, where it can remain safely frozen.
It's a pretty awesome way to end a fight, but i could have done with a little more Origin of Galactus and a little less of this mindless brawl. It's almost as if Stan realized things were getting a little too talky and he had Kirby quickly shift gears.
The Thermal Man was a construct of Chinese Communists, and there are a number of letters in future issues complaining of a regression to Marvel's early days of the heroes fighting Commie bad guys.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP has Thor appearing in Avengers #66-68 after these issues.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (7): show
The original version of this story as drawn by Kirby showed Thor convincing Galactus to return to earth with him to fight the Thermal Man. Stan Lee decided this was not really Galactus activity and had the pages redrawn.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 9, 2011 5:32 PM
With this Thor in space arc, discovering Ego, talking with Galactus, fighting the Rigelians, and also the High Evolutionary stories, it's obvious something has changed greatly in Kirby's approach to Thor. Eventually this would play out in Kirby's New Gods mythos at DC and eventually the Eternals. Yet I think the seeds of it are here, and it poses interesting question on what exactly the Thor series is about in the way that ultimately the FF are explorers, the X-Men is about heroes that defend a world that hates and fears them, and Spider-Man is an outcast hero.
To me, the big hook to the character was that he was "last defender of Midgard" and continued to protect Earth even as all the other pagan gods abandoned it. The only other mythological character that did not was Hercules, and he of course began life as a mortal and only later became an Olympian. Big cosmic stories of Thor battling fearsome opponents - regardless of whether they are sci-fi based or fantasy or routine superheroics - for the sake of the planet is at the heart of the character. Yet it is a theme that never really took hold.
Posted by: Chris | January 9, 2013 12:34 AM
I agree to a large part, Chris. Unfortunately, you can say thesame about most Marvel characters, that what makes them distinctive gets lost.
Fnord-Loki and Karnilla are missing from characters appearing.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | May 10, 2014 12:58 AM
The Watcher in this story was later identified as Ecce. I know since he's only in a flashback that doesn't effect the entry. I'm just pointing it out.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | May 10, 2014 1:06 AM
For one brief second i thought ChrisKafka was saying there was a character called Fnord-Loki, like Utgard-Loki.
Added (plain) Loki and Karnilla and put in a note about Ecce. Thanks.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 10, 2014 8:49 AM
I think that Thor is just one of those heroes who had to find his way considering how hard it is for a god to exist without something suitable for him to fight. Most of the early heroes had their realm stand out from the beginning in some way or another (F4: the evolution of the "Challengers of the Unknown" concept Kirby had at DC, Spidey: an expression of Ditko having someone who is heroic but generally seen as sticking it to "the man", Dr. Strange: the strange world of the mystic arts, X-Men: minorities trying to fight for whether to live with or against their society, Iron Man: the rich man who is trying to use his wealth for good while protecting the assets and tech of his company from being used in a way he doesn't want it to, etc.) while Thor just stood out in the early JiM issues as just "a hero...whose also a god". It really took eventual guidance to define him as the one who dealt with the massive threats on a godly or cosmic level that can't be dealt with, considering...yeah as was said, he spent early issues fighting Cobra and Grey Gargoyle alongside, obviously, Loki. (not bringing up Mr. Hyde since at least he was made to be a major threat before we start getting into threats directly created by the gods such as Absorbing Man or the Wrecker)
I think in a similar way it was that reason why the Hulk took a while to be molded as the one who is sort of caught between man and monster and who really has the ability to traverse through all these worlds while really being between hero and villain.
Posted by: Ataru320 | May 10, 2014 9:57 AM
Ecce is Latin for "behold." Nifty name for a Watcher.
Posted by: Andrew | January 17, 2015 12:10 PM
I never thought I'd ever see a pouty Galactus.
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | August 3, 2016 7:54 AM
When Baldur and the Warriors Three read a newspaper about Chinese nuclear testing in an attempt to understand Earth's problems, I thought the story might be about how those problems couldn't be solved through acts of valor and yelling "For Asgard!" But nope, it's about an atomic robo-monster.
Posted by: Mortificator | November 5, 2016 3:46 PM
Bet Kirby was relieved to be spared Vince Colletta's omnipresent eraser for a few issues.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | June 30, 2017 10:41 PM
There's a breakdown in character continuity in #170 when Thor transforms into Blake who then lifts and carries an unconscious soldier out from the rubble. A lame physician like him shouldn't be able to carry anyone.
I don't like to imagine Kirby being that careless, but between this and the Human Torch flamed-on and flying in outer space in FF #93, it really looks like story-wise Jack was just doing whatever it took to get the jobs done in his final year at Marvel.
Posted by: Michael Grabowski | April 3, 2018 2:08 AM
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