Characters Appearing: Andrew 'Jock' Jackson, Balder, Bulldozer, Caber, Earth-Lord, Fandral, Fireworks Fielstein, Heimdall, Hercules, Hogun, Leir, Loki, Mad Dog Rassitano, Marcus Stone, Mother Majowski, Odin, Piledriver, Rigger Ruiz, Shelly Conklin, Sif, Thor, Thunderball, Ulik, Vizier, Volstagg, Wrecker
Issue(s): Thor #426
The first is that old man Odin is tired, and he needs some Odinsleep. So he needs someone else to take charge of the kingdom for a while. I love Thor's gleeful expression as he pushes Balder in front of him.
But Odin has someone else in mind this time. He'd like Heimdall to grasp his sacred scepter so that the Odin-power can flow into him.
Heimdall's first official act is to restore the Rainbow Bridge. The Warriors Three get Heimdall's old job of guarding it.
The next godly order of business is the fact that Sif pledged herself to the Celtic god Leir if he helped her leave Asgard to get Thor, which he did. So now she gets to pick a champion to fight Leir, and if the champion loses, she has to marry him. Leir and Thor both assume that Thor is the champion, but Sif isn't so old fashioned; she chooses herself.
She kicks Leir's butt.
There is also stuff going on back on Earth. Namely, the Wrecking Crew is on another rampage.
But a new police unit, Code Blue, is called in to deal with them.
Code Blue is specifically designed to deal with super-powered criminals that regular police or SWAT teams aren't equipped for. It's a very logical concept. It's also a good move to keep them grounded so they do basically look like an unorthodox SWAT team as opposed to, say, a bunch of people in Guardsman armor. The goal is to not turn them into a de facto super-hero team. There's a necessary balancing act between showing a realistic response amongst the police to the constant threat of super-villains and retaining Marvel's the "world outside your window" concept. It's handled very well here.
If Code Blue had actually managed to defeat and capture the Wrecking Crew on their own, i'd probably have some complaints (and it does sort of bring into question the fact that it's in Thor's book, of all places, that this concept is introduced). But they manage to rescue the hostage and drive the Wrecking Crew away, and the story is presented as if just surviving is a big accomplishment. That's the right attitude; keep your goals realistic.
The Wrecking Crew are really just interested in tracking down Ulik anyway. He's with the mysterious crimelord that we saw police Lt. Marcus Stone, who now leads Code Blue, talking to a few issues back.
I mentioned in the previous Thor entry that the Tales of Asgard back-ups were going on hiatus. But before that, there's one final back-up, with art by Herb Trimpe. It's not a Tale of Asgard; instead, surprisingly, it's a solo story about Earth-Lord of Earth Force. There's not much to the story. In his civilian identity, Earth-Lord is a police officer. He isn't sure if he even still has his powers, but when his partner is shot by a drug gang, he transforms into Earth-Lord and lectures them about video game violence.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Thor has been in Asgard between last issue and this one.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Ouch. This Code Blue rollcall scene is... awful. :) I know this book is Silver Age homage, but that scene reads like something out of Marvel's Transformers comics (the TF readers will know what I'm talking about :))
Posted by: Piotr W | June 15, 2015 4:12 PM
I don't mind Code Blue being introduced in Thor, but their first appearance should have been against villains less powerful than the Wrecking Crew. If they can handle the Wrecking Crew, then are they really Thor level villains? It would have been better if they went after villains more in Spider-Man's range in one issue to establish credibility, and then came against the Crew and lost to set up their fight with Thor later.
DeFalco is competent, if lacklaster. He has some good ideas, but can't elevate them. A notch above Bill Mantlo who does journeyman work, but that's all.
Posted by: Chris | June 15, 2015 11:18 PM
'Ouch. This Code Blue rollcall scene is... awful. :) I know this book is Silver Age homage, but that scene reads like something out of Marvel's Transformers comics (the TF readers will know what I'm talking about :))'
I was an avid reader of the Marvel TF comic back in the 80s, and yes, it is very, very like the sort of blatant exposition that Bob Budiansky had to resort to when a whole bunch of new toys were foisted on him by Hasbro mandates. Though it must be said that the original 4 issue mini-series had a similar infodump. And I mean that as no disrespect to 'Uncle Bob', as his early stuff with the defeated Autobots, Shockwave taking command of the Decepticons, the Smelting Pool stuff and so on were good stories, though, as I read the Marvel UK TF comic, I must admit a bias towards Simon Furman's own UK-originated storylines from at least 'The Wrath of Grimlock' onwards. 'Dinobot Hunt', 'Target: 2006' and such are still vivid in my memory.
Posted by: Harry | June 16, 2015 2:15 PM
Actually, at least Budiansky had an excuse. Nobody made DeFalco introduce these new characters, so one would imagine he could have done so more organically within the ongoing storyline?
Posted by: Harry | June 16, 2015 2:17 PM
Oh, I absolutely agree that the first 12 issues of the TF comic were quite interesting. Budianski managed to build a solid storyline there.
Anyway, for all those unfamiliar with the TF infodumps:
Now go back to that Code Blue scene and compare :)
Posted by: Piotr W | June 16, 2015 2:37 PM
How has "Grasp thee now my sacred scepter" not ever been taken out of context? That's awesome! That should be Odin's pick-up line!
Posted by: Erik Beck | October 15, 2015 12:05 PM
Comments are now closed.
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