Characters Appearing: Beta Ray Bill, Flame (Asgardian)
Thor annual #18
Issue(s): Thor annual #18
The Flame, whose real name is Hrinmeer, was born as a result of a Mulspellian fire demon raid on an Alfheim city of elves. A little confusingly, it looks like the demons were led by Kurse but that's impossible because a) prior to Secret Wars II, Kurse was actually Algrim the Strong and he didn't look like that and b) Algrim was actually a dark elf, not a son of Muspel.
Anyway, during the raid, the fire demon Skulveig kidnapped an elf named Aeltri and brought her home and raped her, resulting in Hrinmeer's birth.
Hrinmeer is a bit of an ugly duckling tale, in that the fire demons couldn't stand to look at him (but you can see from the intial screenshots that he's actually a beautiful elf lad).
Hrinmeer, who burned with hatred (literally, it seems), was forced to wear a helmet.
His mother died early, and when the Flame was old enough, he killed his father and then went on a general rampage through all of Asgard, killing many. Odin eventually sent Thor to deal with him.
Their fight ended with the Flame getting tossed into a volcano, which Thor subsequently hardened by summoning a cold rain.
Some unspecified period of time later, the Flame emerged from the volcano, and was met by Loki, who promised him the means to defeat Thor.
Also in this issue, Beta Ray Bill goes to Asgard looking for Sif but winds up in a fight with a storm giant.
Tom Grindberg has a Walt Simonson thing going, which i like, but the story of the Flame is pretty dull. And it's definitely all set-up for a future Flame encounter (which we'll get in next year's annual, where Flame will complain that
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The framing sequence takes place while Thor is "gone", with a footnote to "current issues of Thor". So this takes place during the period where Thor has the Warrior's Madness. The Beta Ray Bill back-up has him going to Asgard to look for Sif and join her in the quest to cure Thor. Bill is with Sif in Thor #468, which is the first part of Blood and Thunder, but we don't see when they meet up. So i'm placing this issue before Thor #468 (as a reminder, Thor's madness stretches back to Thor #460-461, so it's entirely possible to place this while Thor is gone/mad but before Blood and Thunder). This should probably be Beta Ray Bill's last appearance before Thor #468 (e.g. this should be after Silver Surfer #79-82 and Thor Corps #1-4), but it doesn't have to go directly before it. It's worth noting that Loki is a prisoner of Mephisto at this time, so the portion of the story that he appears in should also be considered part of the flashback (even though it's in a separate chapter from the story told in the pub).
Crossover: 1993 Annuals
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I dig the Mignola/Simonson thing the artist is doing here. Grindberg is an underappreciated journeyman.
Posted by: Adam Dale | March 8, 2017 4:09 PM
Looks much more like Mike Mignola than Walt Simonson to me. I guess he's moved on from imitating Neal Adams.
Posted by: Tony Lewis | March 8, 2017 5:48 PM
Is the storyteller supposed to be the Flame or his mother? One of the warriors refers to the storyteller as a "woman". The MCP lists it as his mother. That's the problem with elves- the way some artists draw them, it's difficult to tell if an elf is male or female.
Posted by: Michael | March 8, 2017 7:59 PM
The part about the mother dying would seem to be a problem with that theory. Are you sure the gender confusion isn't on the part of the warrior?
Posted by: Morgan Wick | March 8, 2017 8:07 PM
Tom Grindberg was doing a very Mignola inspired style around this time, which I think looks great. He also drew a couple of early 90s Batman issues in this style from right before Knightfall.
Posted by: Red Comet | March 8, 2017 9:45 PM
Very cool art for the time period
Posted by: Bob | March 9, 2017 1:00 AM
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