Issue(s): Thor #163, Thor #164, Thor #165, Thor #166, Thor #167
Thor attempts to enter it and finds himself in a post-nuclear war apocalyptic future full of mutates.
He frees Sif from a giant mutate...
...but finds that this whole event was a lure set by Pluto.
The next issue is a big fight with Pluto and the Mutates From The Future...
Balder, looking for a distraction since he's in love with the evil Norn Queen Karnilla, shows up to help out as well...
...but things really get settled when Zeus figures out that Pluto is loose.
I wish a heavenly chorus would shout my name every time my floating head appeared in the sky.
Great art, but the story is both overly cluttered and resolved via Zeus' deus ex machina involvement.
After the battle with Pluto's mutates, we see that the army soldiers have peace patches on their uniforms.
I assume that was meant to be a message for peace but it comes off a bit Orwellian.
Meanwhile, a cocoon containing what looks like Him (later Adam Warlock) is hatching. So get ready for some grammar incongruities.
Pluto chose the "City Atomic Research Center" as ground zero for his energy funnel (because it's "where the greatest scientific secrets are kept", according to his thoughts) and when Pluto is dealt with and the Center is returned to its proper place in the space-time continuum, Thor, Sif, and Balder investigate inside and discover that Him has just finished hatching.
It turns out that Him was heading out into deep space when he fell into a trap that the Watcher set up, intending to catch meteors for study. With Him now caught in the trap, the Watcher has to break his non-interference vow to let him out, but instead of sending him in the direction Him was going in, he instead sends Him back to Earth.
If the Watcher had been doing his job and actually watching this might never have happened. "Studying meteors". Sure. I bet a giant meteor was hurling towards Earth and the Watcher set up this trap to save the planet via this meteor-trap, per his regular "non-interference" MO.
Him has apparently gotten a bit lonely with all this flying through space and sitting around in a cocoon because he would now like a lady friend and hey, Sif's cute.
Thor and Balder give chase but they are delayed when Karnilla's minion "Haag" (the poor thing) makes a grab for Balder.
When Him gets away, Thor gets mad. Like, really mad.
It's called the Warrior Madness.
Thor's subsequent fight has him overpowering Him and showing no mercy.
Thor regains his composure after Him re-cocoons himself and flies back into space. But everyone's feeling a little awkward about the whole thing. The Warrior Madness is a serious offense. And Odin has become aware of it.
While all this is going on, Odin has been pushing his advisers to do more research on Galactus. It's really intriguing that Odin is so interested in Galactus. I guess from a publishing point of view, there were some questions about Galactus that Stan and Jack decided would be answered in Thor instead of the FF for whatever reason; as part of a decision to get Thor involved in more space adventures maybe. But from an in-story perspective, what's Odin's interest, and why now? It's nothing Stan or Jack would have considered but we know that eventually the purpose of the Destroyer armor will be revealed to be a weapon against the Celestials. So clearly Odin had an interest in knowing about their activity. Maybe Odin thought Galactus was a Celestial, or a harbinger of their coming? The other possibility is that Odin is the original comic book nerd, compiling all of Galactus' appearances for a blog entry. Years later, in John Byrne's Trial of Galactus, Odin will appear, and until i read these issues i was never really clear on why he would be a credible witness to a room full of aliens. But he (or rather his assistants, and Thor) really has done the legwork here.
Anyway, things wrap up neatly when Odin decides that Thor's punishment for succumbing to the Warrior Madness is that he has to seek out Galactus.
The Warrior Madness introduces an interesting limitation of sorts for Thor. He seems even more powerful than ever, but it's at the expense of his sense of reason, seemingly based on the concept of Norse Berserkers. Thor's need to restrain himself may help explain why he operates just slightly higher than normal super-hero levels on most occasions. In the 90s Marvel will build an "event" called Blood & Thunder around the idea of Thor succumbing to the Warrior Madness.
Anyway, Odin admits that he would have given Thor this quest even if he wasn't being punished.
Balder heads to Earth to protect it while Thor is away, but Haag has created a voodoo doll of Balder (out of enchanted clay) and Loki uses it to injure Balder.
Thor gets permission to visit Earth one last time before his quest, and he winds up at the hospital where they have taken Balder. He turns himself into Don Blake, heals Balder, and then heads home. Loki tries to attack Thor while he is in Don Blake mode, but Odin puts a stop to it.
We get a few panels of Galactus munching some planets as well.
Crazy crazy fun stuff. We are at the peak of Lee/Kirby's Thor here. Incredible Kirby art in these issues.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: There are three distinct stories here: Pluto, Him, and the semi-downtime issue in Thor #167. But they all run together.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (12): show
After this, Him took his cocoon to the British stage to play the title role in the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 19, 2013 5:24 PM
It's really a pity that "Blood and Thunder" (or, as it was known around my comic shop, "Thud and Blunder") sucks so badly, because not only does 166 make warrior madness a credible possibility and a reason to fear a Thor who had totally succumbed, but these issues are really a key part of Adam Warlock's life, with Thor just utterly pounding him into the dirt like that. There's some really great psychological groundwork set up for the rematch in the 90s (especially with Adam having been dead and resurrected more than once and even having been God for a bit) with a psychotic Thor being Adam's greatest fear and perhaps some true malevolence (Loki? Thanos? Maelstrom? Pluto?) thus using Thor against Asgard and ultimately Odin himself.
But instead we got a random imaginary valkyrie, completely unnecessary use of the Silver Surfer, a bloated 14-part "epic" with comic interludes in the Infinity Watch's second book (hey, I like Pip as much as the next guy, but not now, okay?) and Thanos somehow standing up to Odin pretty much on his own. (Huh?) Sigh.
(Also, random characters going to Asgard always kind of pisses me off, since the Avengers have never been there, at least while I was reading, pre-2004. Steve, Clint, Tony, Wanda, etc., who are supposed to be Thor's friends? Never get an invite. But Danielle Moonstar, Sam Guthrie and now even freaking Maxxam and Drax have been across the Rainbow Bridge. Sheesh.)
Posted by: Dan Spector | July 9, 2014 12:05 AM
Though her right eye appears visually low, I agree with you that Sif looks cute in that panel and I also like her face in the panel of her hugging Thor. I can really tell that Kirby makes his female faces too wide and that he models all of them after Jackie O, but a few times here he managed to keep them looking a little better than I've seen from him.
Posted by: Mike | March 21, 2015 10:51 AM
Iwhile some of the other panels are questionable, im willing to bet that the face of Sif in the panel in which she's hugging Thor isn't Kirby at all. That's a John Romita redraw/correction if I ever saw one.
Posted by: Miked | November 26, 2015 12:19 PM
@Miked - I agree but wish they wouldn't do that especially not to Kirby. Seems disrespectful to a the guy who practically invented the whole playground visually at least.
Romita also pencilled and inked the cover for #167. That's unusual; I can't recall a previous instance of somebody else doing a cover over a Kirby drawn issue.
GCD credits Romita for more alterations to the cover of #166.
I read somewhere that Kirby was galled when DC had Curt Swan redraw his Superman faces, & suspect he likely might have had similar feelings about Romita's alterations. It's possible he might not have even noticed them, though, since he's said he was so busy that he rarely if ever looked at his own work after it was turned in and published.
Posted by: James Holt | October 16, 2016 12:17 AM
Pretty sure that the Thor whom Sif is hugging in the panel under discussion is a Romita revision, too, now that I look at him. Oy. (I mean, it's nice…but let Kirby be Kirby.)
Posted by: Dan Spector | June 12, 2017 12:25 PM
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