Issue(s): Thor #360
..only to learn that Odin is dead and the city is in ruins. Furthermore, they have another trial ahead of them: Malekith's faerie food trapped innocent souls in Hel, and Hela won't release them, so Thor will be heading to Hel to free them, and he asks the aid of the Einherjar, the mortal heroes chosen by the Valkyries, lead by Harokin, to join him. They agree.
I'm a little confused about something; it might be due to me not knowing my Norse mythology well enough; it might also be explained in Tales of Asgard issues that i don't have. Harokin leads the Einherjar, but those troops are former mortals that were brought to Valhalla. Surely Asgard has its own warriors, too; actual immortals. Harokin has been a relatively minor character prior to Simonson's run. His main appearance was in Defenders #66-68. But we've always seen Asgardian soldiers, and i've always assumed they were actual gods. I ask because Thor speaks to the amassed hordes of Asgardian warriors as if they are all Einherjar.
Anyway, Harokin shows Thor the guns that he picked up from the mortal soldiers in Thor #358, and Thor approves.
Thor then goes off to pry information from Angerboda, "mother of the three monsters! Witch whom Hela hat summoned long ago!".
Forced by runes of Odin's, she tells Thor the path through Hel. After giving the information, she attacks, sealing Thor's lips so that he cannot, by the terms of the spell, command her to stop. But he is able to send her back to Hel by shattering the runes.
Sif is still unable to forgive Thor for striking her while he was under the spell of Loki & Lorelei.
She's unsatisfied with Thor's explanations and apologizes and doesn't seemed soothed by the consoling of Frigga or her brother Heimdall. The fact that Thor doesn't seem jealous of her relationship with Beta Ray Bill seems to also be a factor.
You'll also note in the first scan with Sif, Enchantress is making the moves on Heimdall. She does so openly in front of the Executioner. The Executioner later approaches Thor, asking that he be allowed to join Thor's expedition to Hel. Thor tells him that "I think perhaps that we share the same need".
With a lot of unsettled business behind them, Thor's party starts their journey.
So soon after the end of the Ancient Winters epic, another battle story might have seemed overwhelming, but Simonson sets it up masterfully, with a great combination of authentic-feeling mythology and very human concerns.
Quality Rating: A-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Thor #359 and Power Pack #15 depict the opening of the portal from Asgard to Midgard; the Warriors Three specifically are shown entering the portal in Power Pack #15 and arriving back in Asgard at the beginning of this issue. But page 15 of this issue takes place after "The days pass and the repairs of the Golden City continues day and night... as do the preparations for Thor's upcoming journey...". Balder's training in Balder the Brave #1 seems to take about a month. So the beginning two thirds of this issue should be considered to be taking place concurrently with everything else i've got between Power Pack and here (throwing in any discrepancies in dimensional travel and different time flows between Asgard and Earth as a fudge factor if necessary). This includes Thor's appearance in Secret Wars II #5; he presumably made his way back to Earth to help fight the Beyonder in that issue before returning for the second half of the issue here. Thor #360-362 is a continuous story with each issue leading directly into the following, but there are other issues that take place concurrently, so i've broken it up into three separate entries. Balder the Brave #1 takes place during Thor #360 (Agnar leaves to get Balder on pg 6, Balder returns on pg 15). And Hela abandons her confrontation with the X-Men in Uncanny X-Men annual #9 due to the events of Thor #361-362.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (8): showAgnar, Balder, Enchantress, Executioner, Fandral, Frigga, Harokin, Heimdall, Hogun, Modgud, Sif, Thor, Toothgnasher, Toothgrinder, Volstagg
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