Issue(s): Thor #411, Thor #412
Then there's these lame-o kids that show up and help Thor during the fight.
Ok, that's Firestar from the cartoon, and a guy that looks vaguely like the guy from the few issues of that Nova series i had, except he's obviously much younger and in an ugly red version of the costume. I didn't know who the others were at the time. But a bunch of kids didn't need to show up during what should have been the most awesome fight of the decade between two of Marvel's most physically powerful characters.
Finally, there's the ending. I didn't know how it should end, but Thor waving his hammer and sending the Juggernaut away to some other dimension sure seemed cheap.
I stand by a lot of this today. I definitely have a better appreciation of the New Warriors (although i think it's a miracle their credibility survived these issues), and i acknowledge that Thor has used his "wave them away" power on a few previous occasions (it still feels cheap each time). And most importantly, i admit that Ron Frenz delivers exactly the kind of knock-out battle between Thor and Juggernaut i would want, especially in #411 before the New Warriors show up. It still doesn't feel as epic as it should be, and i'm still not happy with the Eric Masterson status quo. But it is still a major highlight of Acts of Vengeance. Maybe that's damning with faint praise. But i think it just says a lot about the strength of the characters Thor and Juggernaut that i can still look on these issues fondly despite a number of flaws. They fought, and that's cool. That's all that matters.
After a brief intro outlining the basic Acts of Vengeance premise, we see Loki (whose identity is still not revealed, but c'mon!) apparently confused because he can't locate Thor, only Eric Masterson. But he nonetheless goes forward with his plan of teleporting Juggernaut from a British prison to Queens.
I love his attitude. Someone must have teleported me here for a reason, and i'm cool with that. I don't know what the reason is, but i bet if i just start smashing stuff it'll sort itself out.
And it works! Eric hears about the Juggernaut's rampage on the news, and decides to go after him. He leaves Hercules behind because he thinks Herc will just add to the property damage.
Note that Eric (and probably Tom DeFalco?) thinks that Juggernaut is a mutant.
One thing i'm still not sure about is how much influence Thor has on Eric at this point, or vice versa. Would Thor have left Hercules behind? He's still on Eric's balcony when he transforms, so i guess so.
There's Loki still being all confused. He knew about Donald Blake, right?
Now, our fight.
Oh, another thing i forgot about that i didn't like: Thor's ongoing problem with spells of weakness. Not during the Juggernaut fight, huh, guys?
The fight continues...
...and this is my favorite part.
Also during the fight, furthering the Superhero Registration theme that is part of Acts of Vengeance, are people complaining about Thor.
Meanwhile, an alert goes out to the new kids on the block.
Let's see. A few notes: Firestar has been "dreading this call for weeks". That's difficult to honor since her appearance in Marvel Comics Presents takes place before New Warriors #1 but during Acts of Vengeance. Who knows, maybe it's not the call she thought it was. Maybe she has an overdue library book. Chord is colored like a white guy, and his talk of having a cushy job is an interesting introduction. And Nova's message board message ("IT'S WAR! TOTAL WAR!"): is that a prearranged code or is he just being overly dramatic?
The New Warriors show up after Juggernaut takes that Hammer Express to Thor.
Nova looks so young compared to his own series. Maybe that's more the fault of John Buscema and the others that drew him in that book. He was supposed to be a teenager. My reaction could also relate to my own age at the time. I had some Nova back issues very early in my comics collecting years, when people that were high school age were basically adults to me. At this point i was approaching high school age myself. I had gotten older but Nova had gotten younger. Actually, i didn't even understand that it was the same Nova; i really thought it was a younger "Kid Nova" as he will be described on the cover of the first issue of their series.
Speaking of youth, that's all these New Warriors talk about. They're set up to be the new generation of heroes, mocking the old guard villains like Juggernaut. Here's the other half of the above splash, so you can see the intro speeches from the other characters.
I have to say that Ron Frenz is not at his best here. A Thor/Juggernaut fight is a case where i'd love to have seen him at his hyper-Kirby-est. Although right now it's a New Warriors/Juggernaut fight.
Even a Skateboard/Juggernaut fight.
Night Thrasher really does feel out of place here. Not because of the skateboard but because he's doing a Punisher-style rant about crime while fighting a guy who mainly goes in for grudge matches against his step-brother.
Another weird thing is how Firestar has to swoop in and calm him down, because she's the only one who can, like he's a raging werewolf or something.
Firestar was wrong about the fight being over in that panel above.
Firestar refuses an order from Night Thrasher to microwave Juggernaut's heart because she won't kill. Then Thor finally wakes up.
He unleashes everything he's got and Juggernaut is still standing. Pretty cool.
Like i said, i don't really know how else this could have ended. But after continuing the fight for a little bit and even getting Juggernaut trapped in a cocoon of steel with some help from the Warriors, Thor realizes that he's just going to have to banish the guy.
As always, my question is if he can do that, why doesn't he do it for every fight? Sure, he's a warrior and he likes to have a definitive win if he can. But there's no drama to any fight if we know that Thor can just zap his opponent away if he can't win legitimately. It's crap! But it's still a fun pair of fight issues overall.
Hey, this mysterious lackey guy that has been facilitating Acts of Vengeance, he sure seems to have a special interest in seeing Thor defeated, huh?
While Thor and company are busy fighting, Hercules is home reading Alf comics and meeting Eric's ex-wife, who wants custody of their son Kevin.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Fantastic Four #334 says that it takes place before Thor #411. A montage scene in Avengers Spotlight #27 shows this happening at (we'll say roughly) the same time as that issue and a number of other attacks on the Avengers. A portion of the Thor/Juggernaut fight will be shown during Captain America #366. The New Warriors appear here between issues #1-2 of their series. Note that their appearance causes a cascading effect causing a lot of x-titles to take place prior to this, thanks to Firestar's story in Marvel Comics Presents #82-87. There are Beta Ray Bill back-up stories in these issues but the story continues through issue #413 and will be covered in a separate entry.
Crossover: Acts of Vengeance
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (8): show
Nova was called "Kid Nova" because in the early '80's Marvel adopted a rule that only one character could have a name at a time. It was Gruenwald's job to make sure that rule was followed. Gruenwald thought there was no way anyone would bring back Nova after the way his series failed, so he gave Frankie the Nova name. DeFalco decided the way to handle this was to rename Rich "Kid Nova". Fabian didn't like the idea and had the other characters only refer to him as Kid Nova when they were angry at him. Gruenwald later admitted the whole mess was his fault.
Posted by: Michael | March 26, 2015 8:31 PM
I thought the portrayal of the New Warriors was so bad I have no intention of buying the comic when it was announced. However, after a glance on the stands, it looked a lot better and I'm glad I picked it up.
I'm of mixed minds about the DeFalco run. I kept dropping the title and picking it up throughout his run. Many of the plot concepts were very good, but the whole Eric Masterson ploy was annoying.
Posted by: Chris | March 26, 2015 10:56 PM
Fnord, you're apparently not the only one that didn't like the Juggernaut fight. As you'll see later, we get a rematch between Thor and the Juggernaut soon.
Posted by: Michael | March 27, 2015 7:53 AM
I had the same thought flipping through these issues in the shop: what are these punks doing in my Thor vs Juggernaut fight.
Posted by: kveto | March 28, 2015 3:26 PM
New Warriors aside, this is what all of Acts of Vengeance should have been like. A classic matchup that does credit to the villain, even if he has to lose in the end. And because he has to lose, I'm glad it's thanks only to Thor's banishment power. I forget how the rematch goes, but Thor simply shouldn't be able to beat Juggie in any conventional brawl.
Makes me wish Peter David had given us a Juggernaut vs. Grey Hulk fight, too.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | March 30, 2015 1:56 AM
I LOVE that cover for #411 ... just a basic design that works fantastically and Frenz drew a surprisingly good Juggernaut. Always did.
Michael: point take about Busiek and Thor's portal manipulation and I respect Kurt for making the effort to explain why Thor didn't use this power more often. Honestly, though, I think he overthought it. To me, the reasoning is Thor simply forgets to do it most of the time. He's not a total idiot but he thinks with his fists a lot of the time. Thor also has supreme confidence in his own brute strength to get the job done against anyone short of the Hulk and he likes to test his strength. He's a warrior god after all. He sees this sort of thing as the cowardly way out. It's also not an instant thing he can do, it takes a while to conjure up, so it's not a great tactic in pitched battle; when Thor tried the same thing against Count Nefaria, the Count was able to block the portal with a building.
In fact, the result of the Odinson teleporting away Juggy gives another, even better reason for his avoiding use of this power ... potentially endangering innocent lives.
Like I say, I give lots of credit to Kurt Busiek for thinking this through and attempting to rationalise why Thor doesn't rely on portals more often but we're talking about probably the most powerful superhero in the Marvel Universe here, with the possible exception of the Silver Surfer. When he waves Mjolnir, he can do pretty much whatever he wants.
Walter, the rematch is a barnstormer and a pastiche of the first Hulk/Thor fight from 'Avengers'. It proves that Thor's every bit as strong as Juggernaut but it's Cain's durability and forcefield that makes him unstoppable. I think Fixit would've been WAY outmatched against Juggernaut but the Professor/Juggernaut fights later on were interesting.
Posted by: Nick | March 31, 2015 5:34 PM
The cover of 411 completely sold me. A pity the interior story didn't hold up.
I like most of the New Warriors as characters, but they were just in the way.
Good point on Frenz not doing his full Kirby here. I wonder if the editors wrongly told him to go more contemporary since this was part of a larger crossover.
Posted by: Bob | June 8, 2015 5:46 AM
See, I would have been content with an explanation where zapping someone away was morally questionable for some reason, something someone of Thor's moral fiber wouldn't do. In this particular case, it clearly seems to be portrayed as a last resort and Juggernaut appears to have been zapped to some far-off planet, so maybe it's something where he has no trust the character will survive and therefore it might be kinda-sorta killing them (or alternately, causing a new problem for whatever inhabited area he teleports them to).
Posted by: Morgan Wick | June 8, 2015 8:15 AM
Is it just me, or it that panel of Namorita pulling down her jeans while shouting "Yahoo! It's action time!" something that could be totally misconstrued?!?
Posted by: Ben Herman | June 14, 2015 3:28 PM
"Also during the fight, furthering the Superhero Registration theme that is part of Acts of Vengeance, are people complaining about Thor."
Posted by: clyde | July 23, 2015 10:34 PM
I just thought of something. Do they ever explain how Cain got back to earth?
Also weren't there other Non-Thor fights that resulted in Jugs being transported off-world? I could have sworn this wasn't the first time this plot device was used on Juggie.
Posted by: Jon Dubya | July 23, 2015 11:20 PM
Yeah- Black Tom rescues him with a teleportation gizmo in X-Force.
Posted by: Michael | July 23, 2015 11:56 PM
@Ben Herman - You beat me to it. I don't know how they got away with that.
Posted by: Erik Beck | September 22, 2015 10:34 PM
@Ben Herman - Perhaps that panel was the inspiration for Nicieza to establish Namorita as having a well-developed libido.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | March 8, 2016 5:12 AM
Namorita's been established that way at least as far back as Marvel Two-in-One #2, I think.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | March 8, 2016 8:41 AM
Her kiss/respiratory aid in MTIO#2 was scripted like her first time. And she was played younger then. Her characterization was pushed toward the adult/mature spectrum in NW#1, as opposed to her concurrent appearances in Namor where she was characterized as much more toward the teenage range and more emphatic. The difference can be seen as "same character/different context," but I think really it was Firestar being the more emotive ingenue of New Warriors that pushed Nita to "the cool, self reliant one." Who went on to party, apparently, a lot, by inference. Not that there's anything wrong with that...except for the theft of her address book.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | March 8, 2016 11:06 PM
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