Issue(s): Thor #221, Thor #222, Thor #223, Thor #224, Thor #225, Thor #226, Thor #227, Thor #228
Thor knows Hercules at this point and has even helped him fight against Pluto, so the whole thing seems extremely implausible but the Asgardians all swallow it as face value and don't make any diplomatic attempts to reacquire Krista. They just send Thor into Olympus, alone, to start a fight with Hercules.
The fight goes on for a while, with no clear winner, until Zeus shows up and says, "Uh, are you guys stupid or something? Don't you realize you've been tricked?"
The peace between Hercules and Thor lasts all the way until the beginning of the next issue when a friendly arm-wrestling match...
...devolves into another brawl...
...requiring Zeus to have to step in again.
Poor Zeus. You kind of get the sense that having to stop fights between pituitary man-children is a regular thing for him.
Anyway, Hercules and Thor eventually realize the best thing to do is probably get on with their quest, so Hercules takes Thor to a witch called Chaga, who will tell them what they want to know in return for information about the outside world. Which i think is pretty cool; a believable substitute for having to perform a subquest or give up an eye or a part of your soul or something. But i would have loved to hear what they talked about? Did they tell her about all the super-heroes that have popped up on Earth in recent years, and their times with the Avengers? Or keep to happenings on the higher planes?
With the information from Chaga, they fight Ares and then Pluto. Conway half-heartedly tries to keep us believing that Hercules really was behind Krista's kidnapping in some way, but that of course was going nowhere. Even Odin makes a big deal of pretending to believe that Hercules was the villain here...
...but quickly folds.
After spending a good portion of the introduction establishing Hercules as an equal to Thor, the rest of the story surprisingly has him in a secondary role. He sits out the fight with Ares (note that again it's said that Thor's hammer was made by King Geirrodur of the Trolls, not King Sidri of the Dwarves).
Then, in Hades, we learn that Hercules' power is halved there thanks to his previous battles with Pluto. This makes him a complete weakling who needs to be repeatedly rescued by Thor.
When they finally catch up with Pluto, on Earth, where Herc's powers wouldn't be halved, he's immediately rendered paralyzed so Thor can fight Pluto alone.
I get that this is Thor's book, but why introduce Hercules and have him hang around for several issues only to be completely useless. The Warriors Three typically have a better showing than this.
As it is, though, i have to admit that Thor really didn't need the help. Both the battles with Ares and Pluto are wrapped up very quickly and are purely contests of brute strength. Pluto is defeated by getting thrown off a building, which is hard to believe and not consistent with his past appearances, where he seemed more an equal to Odin or Zeus.
One thing i did kind of like about this story is how anti-climatic it was. Pluto admits that his big scheme was to get Asgard into a war with Olympus by tricking everyone into thinking that Hercules had kidnapped Krista.
And of course that plan was a big flop. You'd like to give Odin some credit for that but if you read his private comments to the Asgardian Vizier, there's no indication that he doesn't believe Hercules is responsible when he sends Thor off to Olympus. So Pluto's plot really fizzes out because Zeus was pretty good about mediating the fighting between Hercules and Thor and because deep down the god-princes are really friends.
That wraps up the Pluto plot, but Krista turns out to be injured in some mysterious way, so Thor needs to transform into Donald Blake and perform surgery on her. Thor reveals his secret ID to Hercules in the process.
It's not said exactly what is wrong with Krista. It's not likely that Pluto abused her physically, and there's nothing visibly wrong with her. So it's likely some mystical problem. This isn't the first time Donald Blake has performed mystical surgery, but i'd love to know what exactly he's doing and what the other people in the operating room think is going on.
While Blake is in surgery, Hercules gets to go out on the town...
...but unfortunately his fun time is cut short when a Professor Clement Holmes revives the Destroyer.
Note this footnote; obviously just a joke but possibly the decision to bring back the Destroyer was inspired by the return and interest in Drax.
Herc again needs rescuing...
...and is sent off to find Holmes' comatose body while Thor deals with the Destroyer.
After finishing up that fight...
...Thor and Hercules next get into a fight with Galactus' new herald, Firelord.
Firelord is probably my favorite herald after the Silver Surfer, thanks to his inclusion in a number of great stories and a simple motif and classic John Buscema look (despite that kinda goofy first panel above).
It turns out that the fight was all a misunderstanding though (of course), since Galactus actually sent Firelord to enlist Thor's aid against Ego the Living Planet.
Ego has gone mad since the removal of Ego Prime.
After a big fight with Ego and his anti-bodies, Thor delves into Ego's psyche and learns his origin. Sole survivor of his race, blah blah blah.
I would much rather that Ego was a planet that became sentient in the bioverse of the Dark Galaxy, as i think was the original Lee/Kirby intention, than have him be a man that was merged with his planet in a freak accident that caused him to consume all of his people and become wracked with guilt.
In any event Galactus sticks a jetpack on Ego's behind and sends him drifting into space.
Then Firelord asks to be free of his heraldship, and Galactus agrees if Thor can find him a replacement. Thor gives Galactus the empty husk of the Destroyer.
Most of this arc has typically nice art by John Buscema, although Thor #226 has a terrible cover. Then Rich Buckler comes in for #228 and it's also really good but in a fresh new way (although i don't love his depiction of Ego). It still looks kind of like classic Buscema art but there's slightly more character to it, in some way. Since originally reading these issues i've learned that Buckler did a lot of deliberate cribbing of Kirby art (at Marvel editorial's direction, by most accounts), and that may help explain what i like about it, although i can't pick out any specific things that were copied). Issue #228 had help from Arvell Jones and Keith Pollard but it's still consistent.
Odin, observing all these events, at one point says he must know more before making a decision "for it must never be said that All-Father Odin did act without knowing the consequences of his interference!". Yeah, sure, that sounds just like Odin.
When Herc is actually allowed to fight, he and Thor make a good team. There's some funny banter in the beginning of this arc regarding Thor's helmet.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Thor #209-228 take place during Avengers #109.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (17): show
Gerry Conway wasn't pleased over the way Firelord's staff came out; he said it looked like a flaming Q-Tip.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | November 12, 2012 4:07 PM
During his run on the FF John Byrne would present a different origin for Ego -- one in which he is indeed a planet that evolved sentience -- and in a subsequent letter column confirm that origin shown in these issues was a deception designed to get Thor's sympathy.
Posted by: Gary Himes | August 25, 2013 10:19 AM
Fnord, you "wonder how Odin felt about Thor handing [the Destroyer] over to Galactus." After reading the end of #228, I'd say he was tickled pink at Thor's ingenuity!
Posted by: Matthew Bradley | May 8, 2014 10:31 AM
Yeah, but i'm wondering how that fits with the not-yet published retcon that Odin created the Destroyer to defend Earth against the Celestials, since it can't do that if it's off being Galactus' herald in space. That revelation is from circa Thor #300, which i'm not sure you guys at the University will be covering?
Posted by: fnord12 | May 8, 2014 2:54 PM
Okay, gotcha. As with Hellstrom/Hellstorm, I'm trying to take this stuff in its then-current context, rather than anticipating what may lie ahead, and Odin certainly seems to approve as depicted here. Because our formal mandate ends in December 1979, we're not scheduled to cover THOR #300, though we're looking into some less systematic "pos-graduate" work that might include it. Thanks for the shout-out!
Posted by: Matthew Bradley | May 8, 2014 3:25 PM
I'm amused that Firelord is your second favorite herald. To me, he's the guy who manages to piss off every other character in the Marvel Universe. Is there anyone he hasn't made mad at some point or another?
Posted by: Erik Beck | February 12, 2015 6:56 PM
Gerry Conway stated in Comics Interview #75 that he designed Firelord's appearance.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 28, 2015 12:20 PM
I've been trying to piece together all of Galactus' heralds witout looking up an actual list bit by bit.
Original: Silver Surfer.
Y'know I kind of want a Marvel book where all of Galactus' former heralds team up.
Posted by: david banes | January 12, 2016 5:20 PM
Pick up the Annihilation omnibus, or the trades. All the heralds except the Destroyer and Nova are in it, I think. Plus it's a great story.
Posted by: Andrew | January 12, 2016 10:34 PM
There's an issue of FANTASTIC FOUR, I think #173, where Galactus says the robot was a replacement for the original Gabriel, who died in cosmic battle. In #211 he makes Terrax's powers earth-based to fit a water-air-fire-earth pattern.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | January 12, 2016 10:39 PM
I'd loved to see Thor suggesting Volstagg as herald.
Posted by: JTI88 | September 17, 2016 5:51 AM
You don't want a herald who'll eat the world before you get there.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | September 17, 2016 7:15 AM
Whenever Galactus makes Morg his herald don't the former heralds team up then?
Posted by: Bonez | September 20, 2016 11:17 PM
Yes, that was the Herald Ordeal in Silver Surfer fnord recently covered but there is also the Fallen who is supposed to be the first herald. I think he appears in Annihilation
Posted by: Grom | September 20, 2016 11:46 PM
I guess so, Omar Karindu
Posted by: JTI88 | October 2, 2016 6:20 AM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|