Issue(s): Thor #315, Thor #316, Thor #317
Dr. Donald Blake has been down on his luck since he lost his clinic job, so Tony Stark hires him to be a ship's doctor for one of his cargo ships that's traveling through a new 'disaster triangle'.
It's somewhat clear that Stark actually expects trouble and is relying on the fact that Blake is Thor (Stark and Blake have known each other's identities for some time now).
The ship is attacked by the Bi-Beast...
...and once we get past the usual "Donald Blake can't get to his cane to transform" stuff, Thor smashes the hell out of him.
You could almost imagine that Thor has smashed their skulls open. We see a shot of its steaming body with the head obscured, and the caption says "The Bi-Beast does not reply... from either face."
We also learn that if Thor's hammer is returning to him and Thor is otherwise occupied, the hammer just lands gently on the ground next to him.
Issue #316 opens with Iron Man investigating reports that a giant floating city has crash landed on the Florida coastline, containing the Stark cargo ship that Donald Blake was on.
He meets up with Thor, but soon a strange device frees the Bi-Beast, whose skull(s), it turns out, is/are still intact. The device also causes the police who were guarding the Bi-Beast to begin fighting each other in unreasoning hatred.
Despite the involvement of Iron Man and Thor...
...the Bi-Beast is able to escape. He's picked up by a mysterious partner and brought to a swamp. The partner is soon revealed to be the Man-Beast.
(This could have begun a series of "swap half the name" appearances: Bi-Beast, Man-Beast, Man-Wolf, Red Wolf, Red Raven, which brings us back to the Bird People who created the Bi-Beast.)
It turns out the Bi-Beast and the Man-Beast have had a long alliance, one that goes back further than Spider-Man's last encounter with the Man-Beast. The Man-Beast has absorbed all of the Bi-Beast's knowledge, and the Man-Beast has in turn strengthened the Bi-Beast's will to destroy Earth, compensating for his inability, as an android, to feel emotions. The process has also reduced the Bi-Beast's size, something that the Bi-Beast is of two minds (ha!) about.
The Man-Beast really just wants to get back to Counter-Earth to destroy it (irony alert: it's already gone; see References), but it's unclear what the Bi-Beast is getting out of this. I guess the idea was that the Bird People had programmed him to destroy the world but, as an android, he didn't have the emotional drive to get the job done? The Man-Beast is also pretending to help him destroy the Earth, but he's not really interested in that.
Also in the swamp is the Man-Thing (Bi-Beast, Man-Beast, Man-Thing...). He approaches the Bi-Beast at one point. The Bi-Beast doesn't exhibit fear, but the Man-Thing doesn't leave it at that, and he reaches out to touch the Bi-Beast, said to be a "test... for whoever knows fear... burns at the Man-Thing's touch".
Now that's really unfair. Let's say i encounter the Man-Thing in a lonely swamp. By all rights i should already be terrified. But let's say i manage to keep my emotions in check. Now that big slimy creature is going to reach out and touch me, just to be sure?!? That's not right!
But (appropriately) the Man-Thing doesn't really factor into the plot of this story. He's just sort of there.
Soon we get a Thor & Iron Man vs Bi-Beast and Man-Beast fight.
Iron Man and Thor manage to subdue the Bi-Beast. The Man-Beast escapes but crashes in the swamp and has to be rescued by the Man-Thing.
Iron Man then takes his leave...
...so it's Thor vs. the Man-Beast at Cape Canaveral.
Honestly, considering that the Man-Beast just wanted to get over to Counter-Earth to blow it up, it might have just saved everyone some effort if they'd just let him go to find that the planet isn't even there anymore.
The Man-Thing appears again, and Thor does better with his "test" than the Bi-Beast.
It's a much more standard super-hero type of story than you normally get for Thor. I actually like to see stories like this mixed in with his Asgardian adventures. And the Man-Beast and the Bi-Beast are both good villains to use since they are approximately at Thor's power level. Guest appearances by Iron Man and Man-Thing are also fun to see. That said, Moench's writing here is very vanilla. They don't really go beyond being standard super-fights in any way. Not bad by any means, but it's kind of amazing how Moench was so good on Master of Kung Fu and just kind of middle of the road on everything else.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP places this between Avengers #217-218.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Doug Moench admitted later that he wasn't much of a good fit for Thor, either.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 17, 2011 7:39 PM
At one point you refer to Man-Beast as Man-Wolf, and in another you confuse him with Man-Thing. Not that I blame you. All this story needed was a character named Thing-Beast to be complete.
Posted by: Gary Himes | December 10, 2017 11:30 PM
Posted by: fnord12 | December 11, 2017 2:50 PM
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