Issue(s): Thor #232, Thor #233, Thor #234, Thor #235, Thor #236
Meanwhile, Thor brings special medical supplies to a doctor who is trying to prevent Jane Foster from dying.
Odin is missing from Asgard, but, at a suggestion from Hildegarde, Sif and Hercules go on a quest to get the Runestaff of Kamo Tharnn, which can heal Jane.
Firelord arrives to give Thor the warning, but not before getting into a pointless fight that destroys a city block.
Thor takes Firelord to the Avengers mansion where Iron Man is hanging out with Hercules' girlfriend Krista.
When Thor hears the warning he gets a little whiny, implying that he'd like the Avengers to take care of things without him so he can watch over Jane.
Thor goes for a walk and decides that he will fight for humanity after all, but discovers that the Avengers Mansion is now covered by a protective force field. The same is true of the Baxter Building, and all individual heroes throughout the country are trapped in their own personal force fields as well.
Thor heads to the Pentagon where he is met by "Happy Sam" Sawyer, Nick Fury's old boss from the Sgt. Fury and the Howlers days.
Loki has taken over Asgard in Odin's absence...
...and he's teleporting Asgardian soldiers into strategic positions all over the US.
This is all way beyond Loki's normal power levels; he is able to do this because he absorbed the essence of Dormammu during the Avengers/Defenders War.
Thor leads US troops into battle but they are unable to defeat the Asgardians, who are aided by Loki's magic.
The Asgardian Vizier shows up but doesn't really have any help to offer.
Thor leads a small strike team into Loki's battle camp, but Loki was expecting it and imprisons them.
Thor is not the sort that you would expect to go on a stealthy mission, so it makes sense that he was caught regardless of Loki's power levels.
Iron Man and Firelord, trapped in the forcefield around the Avengers Mansion, manage to create a hole small enough for Firelord (only) to pass through.
Suddenly, way too quickly, Loki's fortunes are reversed. His concentration on Firelord causes him to weaken Thor's prison, and the thunder god breaks free. Loki starts losing his extra Dormammu powers, and suddenly, within the span of two pages, he is defeated.
Not sure if this was originally planned for four issues and had to be reduced to three or if Conway just wrote a really bad conclusion. Thor wins through no fault of his own; Loki just happened to run out of power. It ends with Thor shedding a tear for Loki, which makes no sense at all.
The main story in issues #235-236 are separate from the earlier arc, but since those issues continue Hercules and Sif's quest for the Runestaff, i'm keeping them all in one entry.
Thor continues his moping (maybe he's sad because he's lost his pants)...
...and almost kills a bunch of innocent bystanders in the process.
There's a weird note about Galileo in the above sequence that i guess shows Conway had just enough physics knowledge to be dangerous. Of course Thor's hammer would be faster than the falling debris if he threw it.
Later, the Absorbing Man shows up and manages to sneak a touch of Thor's hammer, transforming himself into Uru.
Now, in the recent Mighty Avengers cartoon, when the Absorbing Man pulls that trick, Thor is like, well if you've absorbed the essence of my hammer then i can control you like i do the hammer, and i thought that was pretty cool and made sense. But nothing like that happens here. The Absorbing Man has Thor on the ropes the whole fight...
...until Thor tricks 'sorby into touching a fake toy hammer made out of cardboard.
Then the police are able to imprison him by putting him in a cardboard box.
I never understood this sort of solution for fighting the Absorbing Man. There's some element of his powers that i'm just not getting. First, i thought he could basically relinquish his powers and turn human whenever he wanted to. So why not turn human and break out of the box? Second, if you accidentally absorb something like the toy hammer... ok, why not quickly touch something else? The concrete floor, the metal shelving, something. But he's always written this way, especially in his earlier appearances, so i guess there's some restriction i'm not aware of.
Anyway, while that's going on, Hercules and Sif continue the search for the Runestaff.
They find Kamo Tharnn...
...but he's not giving up the staff without a fight. Of course, Hercules is happy to give him one.
Sif, sadly, more or less sits out the combat and doesn't contribute much at all. And then at the end, to heal Jane Foster, Sif has to give up her life, transferring her essence into Foster.
This is such a bad move. Sif, at least in her earlier appearances, was a great strong female character, and a major improvement over Jane. I don't know why we're going back in the other direction.
Kamo Tharnn, who is entirely uninteresting, nonetheless has some longevity. He'll eventually be revealed as one of the Elders of the Universe, going by the name Possessor.
Odin, sans memory, is wearing big overalls and living on a farm with some nice people who call him Orrin while all of this is going on.
There's a lot going on here but it's a bit muddled. The quality of John Buscema's art varies wildly between issues; not sure if it's due to deadline problems or the different inkers; it's best with Joe Sinnott. In general though, even when you've got nice Buscema art, it's Conway writing so it's a hard slog to get through.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: As with Thor #229-231, the MCP places these issues during Avengers #137, which i've placed afterwards. There are a lot of cameo appearances that need to be taken into account, but they are relatively context free. Iron Man's appearance is more critical but still doesn't have any major bearing on his own series. He's wearing his nose-armor, for what it's worth. The Hulk is in San Francisco when he is trapped in the forcefield. The Black Panther is listed as one of the heroes "around the country" that is trapped - the gap between the Black Panther's abusive ordeal in Jungle Action #13-15 and Jungle Action #16, where he is shown to be fully recovered, is the best place to suggest that he might have taken a brief trip back to the US for one reason or another. Thor appears in Marvel Two-In-One #9 during this arc.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (16): show
In #232 in a center panel directly above the Iron Man panel, there's a building sign saying "Aust". In #231, there's a newspaper saying "stin". Terry Austin was working with Dick Giordano in Neal Adams' studio at the time("Bunker", the kid who was disguised as Loki, probably refers to the Crusty Bunkers, Neal's team of art assistants), so these issues may be Terry Austin's first Marvel work.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | November 17, 2012 8:09 PM
The thing is, issue 136 was such a horror show, with Odin being essentially racist, rigging the test against Jane, wiping both Jane's mind and to a lesser degree Thor's (in both 137 and 140 he briefly muses about why he's not thinking about Jane and figures it's Odin's doing) and dumping Jane with Fake Blond Doctor (wimmen are all whores! one doctor's as good as the next, right, Odin?), that IMO it begged to be undone, and points to Conway for doing it on the 100th anniversary after.
But sentiment was all on the side of Fighting Sidekick Sif, not Generic Girlfriend Jane, and having Sif sacrifice herself didn't help at all. Not to mention that Jane makes her "comeback" as a helpless female at a time when those were considerably dated. So really a poor way to do a good thing, IMO. Disappointing.
Posted by: Dan Spector | February 3, 2013 5:41 AM
A letter from Terry Austin in Back Issue #66 confirms he did background inks for Giordano here.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 10, 2013 1:56 PM
Aaah nice to see Herc FINALLY win a fight after spending a year as Thor's sidekick and being used to show how dangerous the next bad guy is. To heck with Jane Foster, I like Lady Sif more, same with the movies.
Posted by: David Banes | November 10, 2013 2:16 PM
Stories like this make me wonder if Walt Simonson's brilliant run on Thor was partially the result of not being burdened with Jane Foster.
Posted by: Erik Beck | March 7, 2015 1:24 PM
I don't think there is anything wrong about the character of Jane Foster. It's the dynamic between Jane and Thor that is the problem because there is only so much that can be done with it.
This is a typical problem with any superhero girlfriend (or boyfriend) scenario, but the whole "it is forbidden for immortal to mate with a mortal" angle quickly forces the same story line again and again.
A good mortal supporting cast for Thor has always been a problem because by their nature, they can't be peers and the relationship possibilities with Thor are quickly played out.
Although the Simonson run does have mortals in it, they are less supporting characters than either recurring characters or characters that exist to drive the plot.
Posted by: Chris | March 7, 2015 4:48 PM
Shouldn't Tom Fagan be tagged? I believe this is his last appearance.
Posted by: Tony Lewis | October 5, 2017 12:00 AM
Yes, thanks Tony.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 5, 2017 10:52 AM
Comments are now closed.
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