Characters Appearing: Mephisto, Thor, Ulik
Thor annual #13
Issue(s): Thor annual #13
There isn't so much a plot here as there is an opportunity to have Buscema draw Thor battling Ulik and then Mephisto. Which i'm totally fine with. The idea is that Mephisto sees Thor despondent after the death of Odin, and he decides to take advantage of that and try to corrupt Thor by, umm, sending Ulik the troll to fight him. Because that always works out. The hero never finds that the need to rise to the occasion of the battle draws him out of his misery.
Ulik is recruited because Mephisto has kidnapped his never-before-referenced brother Horth. Here's a hilarious sequence with Mephisto sending a fire demon to talk to Ulik, and Ulik picks it up with some blacksmith's tongs and throws it into a furnace.
But that just causes Mephisto to show up in person.
Horth, we learn, has been under Ulik's care "since the day wine-sodden giants slew our sire and dam".
So after Thor defeats Ulik (after getting kicked around a bit, Ulik says some bad words about Odin which causes Thor to rise to the occasion of the battle and stomp Ulik but good)...
...and then decides that even the life of a troll like Horth is precious and he might as well punish Mephisto for messing with him anyway.
So Thor shows up in Hell...
...gets tricked into thinking that Odin's soul is being held there, fights a harpy...
...and eventually summons a big futile rainstorm before Mephisto sends him away.
Thor considers Mephisto to be "primal evil incarnate", for what it is worth.
Meanwhile, being a class act, in thanks for Thor going off to rescue his brother, Ulik kills a family of Asgardian refugees that Thor met earlier. In the end Thor returns to the snowy plains and erects a monument to both the family and Horth, who it turned out was killed by Mephisto.
Again, plot, schmot. This is what we're in it for.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Thor begins this issue on his sojourn through the icy wilderness of Asgard, morning the death of Odin. So this is designed to take place during Thor #354, before the avalanche that knocks him out. Which works fine. But Marvel Team-Up #148 has to take place during Thor #354 as well (see Considerations on that entry) and i've placed Thor's appearance in Marvel Graphic Novel #17 during his same reappearance on Earth. The break in Thor #354 for MTU #148 is really awkward, but it's unfortunately necessary. The MCP does the same, although they've placed MGN #17 elsewhere. However, i see it slightly different than they do. They have the first 10 pages of Thor #354, then the annual, and then the Team-Up issue. The first 10 pages of Thor #354 deal with the immediate aftermath of the Surtwar. But Thor doesn't leave on his sojourn until the end of that issue. So i'm actually thinking there are two breaks in Thor #354. The first in the period after the Surtwar, where Thor returns to Earth for a bit and very convincingly hides his grief. And then this story, which takes place circa page 18 of Thor #354. And based on that, i've placed this directly after Thor #354, whereas the MTU and MGN issues are placed earlier, in a bigger gap i've placed between Thor #353-354 (with the caveat that the first 10 pages of #354 actually take place right after #353). I will not be reduced to cutting up my comics into panels, but sometimes that's what's necessary. For what it's worth, this issue was nicely designed to take place during Thor #354 and works well there, unlike the MTU issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
It's also a bit significant because the whole "Mephisto Vs...." series was one elaborate setup for Mephisto to grab Thor's soul again.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 24, 2013 2:31 PM
You have all these Chronological Placement Considerations for Thor, but are we supposed to just forget that not that long ago Franklin Richards blasted Mephisto all to hell? (yes, pun intended)
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 25, 2015 10:19 PM
Well, Dr. Strange did say in those issues that as long as there's evil in men's hearts, Mephisto will be reborn. That story has no impact on Mephisto's chronology and doesn't start getting referenced until the Mephisto vs... series.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 25, 2015 10:31 PM
Mephisto walking on the wailing bridge of tortured souls is awesome. This issue is pure John Buscema porn.
Posted by: MindlessOne | May 3, 2017 8:49 PM
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