Thor annual #14 (Atlantis Attacks)
Issue(s): Thor annual #14 (Atlantis Attacks story only)
This issue begins slightly before the end of Avengers West Coast annual #4. We saw Thor, Quasar, and Thing hanging around with the other Avengers in that issue. They didn't leave with the group to search for the missing female heroes, but it wasn't really explained why. Here we see that they've gone to visit Dr. Strange.
Try to ignore Thor showing up in his short pants, and instead notice that Thor says he's startled to get an offer of help from Strange, since he thought Strange was dead. This despite the fact that we've had to put this story after Fantastic Four #333. I put it to you that Dr. Strange got cold feet after initially revealing that he was dead, so he cast his spell again, making everyone forget that they saw him alive (hey, we saw him do it to Spider-Man in Daredevil annual #4).
Thor has brought Quasar and the Thing because they've worn the Serpent Crown in the past.
We're shown that the Thing is back in his exo-skeleton.
Dr. Strange's "By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggarth! -- to coin a phrase" is the sort of tone i'm talking about with Thomas' current scripting style.
The goal for this team is to invade Set's realm and pull him back in. The idea is that previous Crown wearers are more suited to be in his realm. I would have thought it would make them more susceptible to getting controlled by Set, like we've seen in the past, but i guess not. Maybe having worn the crown reduces their chances of descending into madness in the Elder God's realm, and Dr. Strange will help with any possession attempts.
Thor's team arrive just as Set is being brought into our dimension, as we saw at the end of the Avengers West Coast annual, with some deliberate overlap of dialogue. Thor refers to the Avengers already there as the "Avengers West", even though it includes Captain America, Beast, and Sersi. Thor's group watches the "Avengers West" ineffectively battle Set, but Thor holds the Thing back when he tries to join them.
Instead, they have to enter Set's dimension, and since Set is blocking the portal, they have to go through Set to do it.
If you think about it physically, to get past Set into the dimension behind him, if they entered through his mouth, they'd have to be pushing out through his butt hole. So let's not think about it physically. It's just a mystical thing. It's just a mystical thing. It's just a mystical thing.
Inside Set's dimension, there's somehow an inside-out Set.
They battle Set for a while, to little effect...
...and then Thor breaks from the battle to make a special appeal to his mother, Gaea, for help.
She can't help directly, and she can't even summon her other son, Atum. So Thor goes to Atum directly. Atum refuses to help, too, because it means that he would have to become the Demogorge. So Thor has to make Atum angry to force him to turn into the Demogorge. I guess the Demogorge is the Hulk of the God set.
So Atum becomes Demogorge, the God Eater, and not surprisingly his first move is to eat Thor.
But then something hilarious happens.
Ha ha ha! Oh god, that's funny.
DemoThorge tears Set into seven pieces...
...and the individual heads slither away.
When that's over, the Demogorge fully consumes Thor, but then decides that Thor is too noble to eat, so he, um, disgorges him. Just like last time.
Back on Earth, Ghaur thinks Set is trying to come back, and he tries to help him along, but it turns out to be Thor and his crew.
Ghaur then teleports away with his Brides, and the united heroes get ready to go after him for the final battle.
It's a fun adventure story. Very much a deus ex machina resolution except that it does build on what we've been re-learning from the Saga back-ups so it's not totally out of nowhere. It definitely seems kind of lighthearted and not as mystically cosmic as you'd expect from the guy writing Dr. Strange (although maybe a better art team than Al Milgrom and Don Heck could have changed the emphasis). But i do like the Thing's humor, especially his riffing on the word "Deviant", which he'll continue to do in the final part.
Back-ups include a story of Thor in the year 3289, touring a barren destroyed Earth, and then generating a storm that will eventually result in new life appearing on the planet. It's written and drawn by Bob Layton, so maybe it can tie into his future-era Hercules continuity. There's also a two page spread comparing the power levels of various godly and cosmic entities, from himself and Hercules to the Living Tribunal. The thing that stands out to me is the inclusion of the Beyonder only to emphasize that he wasn't as powerful as we all thought, and that even his destruction of a galaxy at the beginning of Secret Wars was just an illusion. And there's a Tales of Asgard Loki story showing how he wound up getting married to Sigyn (it was a trick; Loki killed Sigyn's betrothed, Theoric, and replaced him, and the illusion wasn't discovered until after the wedding).
There's also a Balder back-up that is a continuity insert that i've covered in a separate entry, and of course the Saga of the Serpent Crown segment.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is part thirteen of Atlantis Attacks; part fourteen takes place in Fantastic Four annual #22. See my comments above about Thor thinking that Dr. Strange is dead, and also remember that we're ignoring Strange's eyepatch for this crossover.
Crossover: Atlantis Attacks
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showAndromeda, Beast, Captain America, Dagger, Demogorge, Dr. Strange, Gaea, Ghaur, Invisible Woman, Iron Man, Jean Grey, Quasar, Scarlet Witch, Sersi, Set, She-Hulk, Storm, Thing, Thor, Vision, Wasp, Wonder Man
I wonder if the Thing exo-skeleton used in these annuals was planned or was it something they added at the last minute to explain his appearances during Atlantis Attacks.
Posted by: Robert | October 21, 2014 3:14 PM
It wasn't mentioned in his first Atlantis Attacks appearance in Avengers annual #18, where by all appearances he was just supposed to be the Thing (why would he be working out with weights in his exoskeleteon?). And then in his second appearance they had him back as Ben Grimm and talking about how his exoskeleton got broken (even though we never saw that happen). Then after that he started appearing as the Thing again and they always made sure to mention that it was the exoskeleton. So i do think they realized they made a boo-boo but then covered for it.
I also suspect the original plan was for Englehart to have restored the Thing to his classic rocky form when reverting him from the mutated pineapple, not to change him back to Ben Grimm, which is how the mistake happened in Avengers annual #18.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 21, 2014 3:22 PM
Why would Ben Grimm work out in his Thing exo-skeleton? My guess is to test it out and make sure it's operating at max capacity. That's a No-Prize explanation right there! :)
Posted by: Bill | October 21, 2014 5:47 PM
Bill, that would work if the Thing's dialogue wasn't "Gotta see about having Stretcho build me a new set of weights. These ones are getting too ea--" (he's then cut off when the wave from the serpent crown hits).
Posted by: fnord12 | October 21, 2014 5:56 PM
Fnord,Ben appears in Avengers West Coast Annual 4 and it's not mentioned he's wearing an exoskeleton.
Posted by: Michael | October 21, 2014 8:05 PM
Shortpants Thor makes me laugh every time.
Posted by: S | October 21, 2014 9:08 PM
This is the first comic that I ever bought.
Posted by: Steven | October 22, 2014 3:17 AM
once again fnord launches his assault on the work and writing of roy thomas a true hall of famer if there ever was one. fnord in my time i have defended your site i have supported your site i have stood up for your site but you are about to lose my endorsement with this constant criticism of roy thomnas and his work and how he doenst do enough for you. i dont know if he rejected your submision to Marvel back in the day or what the issue is but i am over it. roy thomas is a living legend but every entry you tear him to pieces the guy has 60 years in the comic industrys i think he knows what hes doing
Posted by: Rob Granito | October 22, 2014 5:00 AM
Rob, i find it odd that you've stood up for my site (somewhere? not actually on my site) when i've criticized Thomas' generally well regarded Silver Age works but it's a bridge too far when i criticize his part of a crass crossover event where he was just fulfilling an editor's plot outline. To each his own, of course. I do suspect your choice of username means this is all some kind of performance art, in which case it's pretty good. But just in case you are being sincere, i refer you to my previous response to your complaints.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 22, 2014 7:52 AM
I'll say that shortpants Thor was a side-effect of the magic Dr. Strange used to phase the heroes through the roof of his building. Thor's pants were just slightly out of phase with the rest of him and had not yet rematerialized. :)
Posted by: Dermie | October 22, 2014 10:20 AM
Dermie, your explanation made me spit up my coke I was drinking. Good one!
Posted by: Bill | October 22, 2014 10:51 AM
Bro I am not trying to troll or make it personal so you trying to throw me under the bus makes no sense. I am not selling art so your comment make no sense the point is that I stuck up for you fnord and I simply notice a pattern where you go out of your way to bury Roy Thomas who is a legend in the comics and I feel at this point its just your own personal issue with him and it shows in your review of every single thing the dude ever wrote so it means i cant enjoy it when i know you go out of your way to trash the guy
Posted by: Rob G | October 24, 2014 12:25 AM
i know its your site your rules but i thought we had the right to speak out. its almost like you run an anti-Roy Thomas site at times
Posted by: Rob G | October 24, 2014 12:27 AM
Rob, the worst thing fnord says about Thomas in this review is that his style since returning to Marvel is "overly flippant." That's a fair point. I don't get what all the fuss is about. Because Thomas is a legend in the industry he should be exempt from even the slightest criticism? I've read some of the other entries where you made these complaints and, again, it seems much ado about nothing. I haven't seen fnord (or anyone else) call into question Thomas' legacy. Even the best writers have written some stinkers and, let's face it, this annual is not making Roy's highlight reel.
Posted by: Robert | October 24, 2014 7:36 AM
but it isn't slightest critiscm at all its nonstop its like he cant give one roy Thomas written issue even a pleasant reading experience and you can tell when he makes joke comments fnord is really enjoying tearing the guy to pieces its like he enjoys pushing him down. thank god he isn't reviewing the dc stuff roy Thomas wrote and he also doesn't give dann Thomas any credit
Posted by: Rob G | October 24, 2014 10:53 PM
"Why would Ben Grimm work out in his Thing exo-skeleton? My guess is to test it out and make sure it's operating at max capacity. That's a No-Prize explanation right there! :)"
I'm pretty sure when he originally had the exo-skeleon he did try it out to see how strong he was.
Posted by: clyde | July 16, 2015 2:55 PM
Comments are now closed.
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