Issue(s): Thor #214, Thor #215, Thor #216
One of Gerry Conway's worst traits seems to be not planning ahead, so he often introduces plot threads without knowing how they're going to resolve and then, when they've dangled long enough, grabbing a bunch of them and tying them up whether it makes any sense or not. The words "Mr. Kline" are probably proof enough of that, but we also saw it during the last Thor epic that ended in #205, where a bunch of random stuff turned out to be due to the machinations of Odin and even when that was revealed it all still seemed pretty random. And we're getting it again here.
Sif went off with Karnilla to help her find Balder back in issue #207. Even though that seemed like a perfectly reasonable use of her time to me, it resulted in Thor pining and questing for Sif ever since (questing on Earth, mind you). Meanwhile there was Mercurio the 4-D Man, who died before Thor even learned his story.
And then Balder showed up at Avengers Mansion, raving about the lizard people who enslaved the Asgardians. So now it all ties together into a great awful knot, with Sif and Karnilla turning out to be captives of a living gem called Xorr that Mercurio's people need to save their world.
Sif and Karnilla were sold to slavers before Thor rescued the other Asgardians. Why Sif and Karnilla were even in Asgard at the time, since they were supposed to be on Earth, isn't explained. But the whole subplot of Sif and Karnilla's quest for Balder just turns out to be completely moot. This arc just gets everyone back together and let's just drop all that other stuff. This also wraps up Thor's exile with an offhand remark.
Odin and Heimdall (Sif's his sister, although that isn't actually mentioned) join Thor's motley band on their quest for Sif in their Viking space boat.
All of the Asgardians (except Thor and Hildegarde) are still weak from the mush they ate in the previous arc.
Now, Xorr is pretty cool...
...and so is John Buscema...
...but the plot here is garbage.
I guess the thing to note, in the interest of Mercurio's future appearances, is that he and Thor learn to work together and that's how they ultimately defeat Xorr, get back the Asgardian ladies and save Mercurio's planet.
Which is good because Thor was having to fight Mercurio over and over again in this arc, and was getting sick of it.
A new subplot is introduced, with the Rigellians having to flee their planet.
If you're wondering how Vikings navigate in space, there's apparently a Galactic North.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Thor #209-228 take place during Avengers #109.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showBalder, Fandral, Grand Commissioner of Rigel, Heimdall, Hildegarde, Hogun, Karnilla, Mercurio the 4-D Man, Odin, Sif, Silas Grant, Tana Nile, Thor, Volstagg
Xorr claimed that the race which created it was the ancestor of all the humanoid races in the universe. The Handbooks noted that it was unclear if this claim was true and the readers just wanted to forget about it.
Posted by: Michael | March 31, 2013 4:35 PM
Heimdall was female? I know he became black in the movie, but...
This story was hyped by Marvel back then as a bit of a big epic. The plot doesn't really back that up, but maybe sales needed a push.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 31, 2013 5:15 PM
Fixed Heimdall's gender. ;-)
Posted by: fnord12 | March 31, 2013 5:41 PM
You are right on the money regarding the lame, haphazard nature of this and Conway's previous THOR "epic." In a glaring gaffe that seems strangely apt, exemplified in the footnote of your first scan, the villain's name is consistently misspelled as "Mecurio" throughout #214. Admittedly, it also appeared that way on the cover of his first appearance in #208, but inside it was "MeRcurio," which is clearly the correct spelling in light of the name's links to the words "mercury" and "mercurial."
Posted by: Matthew Bradley | November 8, 2013 9:38 AM
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