I, Whom the Gods Would Destroy (Marvel Graphic Novel #33)
Issue(s): I, Whom the Gods Would Destroy (Marvel Graphic Novel #33)
This is an odd one. It was plotted by Jim Shooter but published after he was ousted as Editor-in-Chief. It seems to have been a story that was in the works since 1983, when it was advertised in Thor #336. It takes place when Thor still has his Don Blake alter-ego, and the story makes a special point to affirm Thor's human side. The timing of that is somewhat unfortunate because the placement requires that it go directly before the story arc where Odin rules that the Don Blake persona is no longer required and removes it from Thor. Since this was presumably scripted (or at least given a final edit) in 1987, you'd think an effort could have been made to change the intent of the story somewhat to gel more nicely with that; a sort-of coda for Don Blake.
What we have instead is a story where Blake is depressed because he had a patient die on the operating table. He's also having problems with Sif, who is not enjoying her stay on Midgard or the fact that her beloved has a human form. Blake winds up picking up a woman in a bar.
The story has Thor thinking very depressed thoughts about how he doesn't fit in with the Gods or the humans.
Thor even makes a suicide attempt by flying up into Earth's upper atmosphere and throwing his hammer away long enough to turn back into Blake (the hammer returns and he reverts back to Thor in the end).
He even tries to get Sif to understand by having her dress like a mortal.
It doesn't last long.
A mopey, suicidal Thor is not something we've seen before, and the characterization doesn't really work for me. I can see that the story was going for something introspective, which could have been a nice change of pace, but it falls flat. I'm generally a fan of all the creators involved, but this didn't work for me, and it's not a surprise that this seemingly sat in a drawer for a long time (The story isn't a great forum for Ryan's artwork, either). It really shouldn't ever have been taken out; this doesn't belong in Marvel's Graphic Novel series, although that seems to have been true with many of their Graphic Novels.
Due to the span between when the issue takes place and when it was published, there's a minor anachronism: when Donald Blake is walking in the street, we see a placard for "X-Factor" with a picture of Cyclops. It wouldn't make a lot of sense even in 1987 and it's meant to just be a joke, so we can disregard it for placement purposes, but it's odd to see in a book taking place when Thor could still turn into Don Blake.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Thor still has his Don Blake persona, but is living in New York City, as is Sif. The MCP places this during Thor #336, which fits with the advertisement for the Thor Graphic Novel (4 years early) in that issue. Thor and Sif move from Chicago to New York in that issue, but it's also the issue where Sif leaves Midgard for Asgard (depicted in Flashback). So this story has to take place during that issue, probably after the wedding of Jane Foster, which might help explain Don Blake being down in the dumps.
Continuity Insert? Y (inventory story)
My Reprint: N/A
Several of the Graphic Novels and special project from Shooter's tenure were published long after they were written. There's the Emperor Doom Graphic Novel, which was published in 1987 but which you have placed in 1985. There's the Aladdin Effect Graphic Novel, which was published in 1985, but you'll find when you review it that it takes place before Storm went mohawk.
Posted by: Michael | February 8, 2012 9:08 PM
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