Issue(s): Thor #425
1) Eric Masterson. I mentioned last issue that at least some readers liked him. But others, presumably those that have been with the title since the Walt Simonson days, find him a boring retread.
2) Hercules. There have been several letters complaining that they are here to read about Thor and that Herc is hogging space.
3) The Tales of Asgard back-ups. These are almost universally disliked. I'm generally in agreement with that, since they also take away space from Thor, but also because the short nature of the stories don't leave them with much to do on their own. What's interesting is that that hasn't been the case for the past several issues; what we've actually been getting are scenes that could just as easily be seen as subplots if they appeared between pages of the regular story instead of at the end. Unlike, say, a story of Hogun the Grim fighting a random troll, the back-ups recently will have direct relevance on the main title. If not for the fact that they were by a different artist, there really was no reason for them to be relegated to the back of the book, and i'd argue that even though they were by a different artist, it might have been better to place them into the main story. It would have felt more like Tom DeFalco was doing some master plotting (which really was the case) instead of writing truncated Thor stories and then even more truncated back-ups.
In any event, a solution to all three of these complaints is forthcoming, at least for a while. Eric was separated from Thor during the previous arc. He's re-merged again in this issue, but a bigger change in Eric and Thor's relationship is coming up. Hercules will decide to remain in Asgard after this issue. And the Tales of Asgard back-ups do become the main plot with this issue, and we won't see them again for a while (not counting next issue's Earth Force back-up).
We saw in the previous arc's back-ups that Ymir has risen and Odin has merged himself with Surtur in an attempt to forestall the current Ragnarok.
Thor, Eric, and Hercules are still in the (former) Black Galaxy at the beginning of this issue, but they say goodbye to Count Tagar and the New Immortals (the High Evolutionary and the Recorder/Analyzer are still comatose) and then Sif teleports in with the Celtic gods Leir and Caber. They take everyone back to Asgard.
The Vizier then sends Thor after the Twilight Sword, which is currently in "the Sea of Eternal Night, deep inside the Dimension of Death".
While the other gods try to fight off the giant rampaging elemental monsters...
...Thor enters the dimension where the sword is kept, but finds himself under attack from demons. He winds up getting overwhelmed, and Eric surmises that it's because he and Thor have been separated. So he convinces the Vizier to send him in as well.
Together, Thor and Eric are able to retrieve the sword. This has the effect of causing Surtur to regain control from Odin.
Thor winds up getting buried in ice generated by Ymir. Eric tries to get Thor his hammer, but is unable to lift it.
So instead, Eric grabs the hammer with one hand, and reaches out to touch Thor with the other.
This causes Eric and Thor to re-merge. It also frees Thor from the ice, but Thor tries to use the Twilight Sword to shoot its Eternal Flame at the bad guys, and misses. But luckily the bad guys get to fighting over who gets to hold the sword.
I swear, if ever two bad guys are introduced that are capable of working together, we are all in a lot of trouble.
Anyway, it turns out that (according to Thor) Odin predicted that this would happen, and while they are conveniently on top of each other, Thor uses his hammer to generate a dimensional warp that sends them to the Sea of Eternal Night.
Odin turns out to have separated himself from Surtur before the banishment.
This is all observed by the same Watcher that was there for the birthing of the Celestial in the previous arc.
In the back-ups leading up to this story, we were following an Asgardian warrior named Arko whose wife was pregnant. They have a baby at the end of this issue.
As far as Ragnaroks go, this is a pretty small one. After the build-ups in the back-ups, it feels kind of like a let down. It might have been better to save the reveal that Odin was possessing Surtur, and not vice versa, for this story instead of revealing it in the build-up, because that was the coolest part of this story. Instead the resolution to this issue is Thor's generic and short quest for the Twilight Sword followed by the cheapo dimensional warp move.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This really continues directly from last issue. I've just put it in its own entry to keep the Black Galaxy Saga separate. Thor is still in Asgard at the end of this issue, so he shouldn't appear elsewhere until he returns to Earth (which does not happen until the beginning of #427).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showArko, Balder, Caber, Count Tagar, Deilla, Fandral, Heimdall, Hercules, High Evolutionary, Hogun, Juvan, Leir, Nobilus, Odin, Recorder, Sif, Surtur, Thor, Thunderstrike, Vizier, Volstagg, Ymir, Zon
Has anyone ever compiled a list of all of the times Asgard has been threatened with Ragnarok in the comic books?
Posted by: Ben Herman | June 15, 2015 9:49 PM
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