Issue(s): Thor #357, Thor #358, Thor #359
Loki and Lorelei continue their schemes. Loki gives Lorelei a love potion to use on Thor.
It eventually (seemingly) works, and she's able to convince Thor that Loki should be on the throne.
Meanwhile, Loki grabs Odin's Scepter of Power, but the Enchantress gets their first, and she's still upset about her sister not joining in during the Surtur War, so she leaves a little trap for Loki.
The Enchantress' spell causes Lorelei to fall in love with Loki.
But these issues largely focus on what's going on in Midgard*. The Asgardians are still trapped there (Simonson manages to get some Shakespeare, a There Might Be Giants reference, and a Power Pack cameo all on one page).
The US soldiers introduce the Asgardians to modern weapons.
Sif and Beta Ray Bill continue to get close...
...but their downtime is interrupted by a group of soldiers in power suits. The group is called the Green Liberation Front (GLF) (Green as in cash money), and they're a bunch of disgruntled Vietnam Veterans. In addition to the body armor, they have the ability to teleport in and out of an area via small cards that are dropped in advance by a man named Sergei.
They also have the ability to call up the Marvel Handbook in their HUDs, but it's an older version that doesn't have an entry for Beta Ray yet. The recommended strategy is still operative, however.
Sif gets into the fight as well.
It turns out that the GLF are unknowingly working for the Titanium Man, and when Sergei finds out that his parents, previously thought held hostage by the Soviets, are actually dead, he makes sure they find out about it.
The GLF are thieves but still patriots, and they have no interest in working for a "commie".
Titanium Man isn't aware that Sergei turns against him, so rather than face the GLF, he transforms back into "card" form (like we saw with the GLF earlier). But when Sergei retrieves him, he destroys the card, seemingly killing the Titanium Man.
There's also a Scourge appearance in issue #358. He kills Megatak (who appeared only once before, in Thor #328).
The action scenes, humor with the GLF, and the schemes and counter-schemes are all very well done, but Simonson's writing is so incredibly human, the book is elevated beyond just an adventure story. Thor and the kids, Frigga returning to a ravaged Asgard and accepting Heimdall's condolences over the death of her husband, Bill and Sif; it's all very special stuff, with amazing art that can handle epic battles and subtle facial expressions equally well.
Issue #359 picks up with Thor still yelling about how Loki should be king.
It's possible he's been yelling for quite some time but i've decided to include that issue in this entry as a direct continuation of #358. This issue is pure comedy. Thor is smitten with Lorelei, and she's convinced him that Loki should be king. Lorelei, however, is smitten with Loki due to the Enchantress' spell. Not even the Enchantress' kiss can neutralize Lorelei's potion, but the Enchantress figures out that if she gets Thor to show up while Lorelei is with Loki, sparks will fly.
And they do.
Lorelei is able to seduce Thor into submission again, but she pushes her luck by making out with Loki right in front of him.
This gets Thor enraged enough to force Loki to reverse the spell (by throwing his hammer way up into the sky and saying he'd better reverse the spell before it returns). Of course, the Enchantress' spell is still in effect.
The other awesome thing in issue #359 is Lorelei's bird.
The one not so awesome thing is that while he's under Lorelei's spell, he hits Sif.
She's not so forgiving when he returns after the spell is broken, and it'll be a continuing concern for future issues. But she does tell Thor the reason she's returned to Asgard. She has an idea to get the Asgardian warriors home. Thor swings his hammer at one end, Beta Ray Bill at the other, and a portal between dimensions is opened.
The very end of issue #359 shows what i'm pretty sure are Walt and Louise Simonson (and/or as Michael notes below, it's probably Jim and Margaret Power with Margaret's hair miscolored). As S notes in the comments, the other two are from the Manhunter series that was published in Detective Comics (and which Walt Simonson did with Archie Goodwin).
Issue #359 is a different type of story than the previous two, but it's still quite good.
Quality Rating: A-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Power Pack's appearance in #357 is context free. But at the end of issue #359 the portal to Asgard is opened, and that ties in with Power Pack #15. There are a lot of Asgardians and it will take a while for all of them to get through, but Power Pack #15 shouldn't take place too far after this arc.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (8): show
One thing that you didn't mention in your review is that the Titanium Man is seemingly killed in this story and stays dead until 1992. This is important because in the interim, the Gremlin assumes the identity of the Titanium Man and gets killed by Tony Stark.
Posted by: Michael | May 28, 2012 9:56 AM
I've added a scan of the death scene.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 28, 2012 11:39 AM
I'm not sure how the GLF database would know about the Tomorrow Man, considering he was a time traveller from the future who had only appeared a handful of times and was unknown to the general public.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 2, 2012 7:07 PM
The real answer is probably that the names are taken from an upcoming issue of the Official Handbook.
A No-Prize style answer is that the Avengers database would have these, which meant the US government would have them, which meant the Soviets likely also had them, and the Soviets were the ones who built the Credit Card Soldier armor.
Posted by: Chris | June 3, 2012 12:01 PM
At the MCP, we assumed that the couple you refer to as "Walt and Louise Simonson" are meant to be Jim and Margaret Power. Hence, the "some of them might grow up to be superheroes themselves" line. No clue on the dedication or the fat guy and his kid.
Posted by: Michael | June 24, 2012 12:52 PM
The fat guy and the kid are characters from Simonson's "Manhunter" serial back in Detective Comics. One story takes place in the background while that family is touring some monastery. Here's a link to one of the pages from it where you can see them - http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/tec441.jpg
Posted by: S | August 1, 2012 12:48 AM
And the "Archie" in the dedication might be Archie Goodwin, the writer of that Manhunter serial, but that's just a wild guess.
Posted by: S | August 1, 2012 12:50 AM
Cool info, S. Thanks.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 1, 2012 9:12 AM
S is correct. Anne T. Murphy was Archie Goodwin's wife.
Posted by: Joseph Tages | September 29, 2013 8:12 AM
I wish the Titanium Man and Bill got to fight for longer than a page. There is a slight fridge logic issue I realized a while ago ith the Asgardians getting human weapons combining awesome warriors with modern technology. I remembered that classic Asgardians also used lasers and cannons. Unless they were implying human technology is somehow more effective against Hela's minions.
Posted by: david banes | April 5, 2014 11:06 PM
Jim and Margaret Power's appearances were blatantly based on Walt and Weezie in the first place...
Posted by: BU | July 25, 2014 7:27 PM
Great issues, with some very good humor. TAKE COVER is indeed the best bet when faced with Thor (or Beta Ray Bill, who is basically Thor). But my favorite bit might be the expression on Loki's face at the end.
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 30, 2015 12:19 PM
FYI, it's "They Might Be Giants", not "There Might Be Giants."
Posted by: Andrew | February 10, 2017 10:09 PM
Another argument that the bearded guy is Simonson is that he's wearing a Star Slammers t-shirt, the story that helped Simonson break into comics.
Posted by: Andrew | October 22, 2017 12:10 PM
The kid at the end of #359 says he sees Tyr and Hermod in the Asgardian crowd. They aren't shown, but it makes sense for them to be with everyone else anyway, so maybe they should be tagged?
Posted by: Nth Wolf | July 11, 2018 5:09 PM
I've added them, thanks Nth Wolf.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 16, 2018 4:27 PM
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