Issue(s): Thor #437 (main story only)
I had hoped to place this issue before Infinity Gauntlet, since once Eric has faced Thanos it's hard to buy the idea that he's still a n00b, but that didn't work out. Still, doesn't hurt to refine your abilities by training with a warrior that has been around for thousands of years, but Herc gets too rough with Eric and Eric refuses to train any more. So Hercules goes to Sersi for advice.
As you can see, Sersi probably wasn't the best person to go to, but she does suggest going to "that aging Boy Scout that walks like an Avenger", Quasar. Ouch!
Herc concocts a hilarious scheme to get Quasar to fight Thor instead of just telling him it's for training purposes.
Meanwhile, the Enchantress disguises herself in her Leena Moran identity (she was Susan Austin's roommate before Susan was put in the hospital) and goes to seduce Eric knowing that Eric has some mysterious connection with Thor. Eric's business partner and romantic interest Jackie Lukus walks in on Leena while she's seducing Eric, and walks out in a huff. Eric then goes to visit Susan in the hospital, and he's told (by Dr. Duane Allman!) that only Donald Blake has the skills to save her life. I love the shock on Eric's face.
My immediate nerdy idea was to contact Keith Kincaid, the doctor that Odin used as a template when creating Donald Blake and who is currently working for the Avengers. I bet a lot of fans wrote in suggesting that, since the idea is mentioned (but not actually addressed) in the next arc. For now, we move on to the training session with Quasar. Herc summons Thor and delivers a similar spiel to what he gave Quasar. The irony is that the Enchantress is still lurking around, so 'mind controlled by sorcery' is indeed going to be part of the mix.
Despite being influenced by the Enchantress, Quasar acts pretty normally.
Thor is strong enough to shatter Quasar's forcefield.
But no one can withstand his nunchucks.
Hercules eventually notices that Quasar is attacking with more abandon than he expected, and notices the Enchantress.
Quasar is actually supposed to have a failsafe in his bracelets to protect him from mind control, but it takes a while to kick in.
Meanwhile, Hercules is fighting the Enchantress...
...but she teleports away, having learned that a mortal is currently posing as Thor.
Quasar and Thor aren't too happy to learn that this was all a training session gone awry.
(Since this all takes place during Quasar #28, they must come back to get him right away.)
For this issue, we've shifted to basically a comedy without much warning, and it's a zany Three Stooges kind of comedy at that. But it's fun. What's interesting, between this and the concurrent Quasar story, is seeing Hercules almost becoming a pure joke of a character. He's always had a humorous personality, but he was a legitimate serious hero at the same time in earlier stories, whereas now it seems like he's transitioned into a pure comedy character.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This story takes place during Quasar #28, and a scene in Quasar #28 also is shown (and expanded on) in Captain America #395, so Cap #395 should also take place before the next issue of Thor. In this issue there is also the first part of a Tales of Asgard story that continues directly in Thor #438 so i will cover it with that entry.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showBloodaxe (Jackie Lukus), Bobby Steele, Enchantress, Gary Paretsky, Hercules, Quasar, Sersi, Susan Austin, Thunderstrike
I don't think I've mentioned it in any Quasar-related entries yet but I really didn't care for his character at the time. So that, couple with my disappointment at how DeFalco was handling this whole "Thoric" thing, made this one of my least favorite issues.
Posted by: Robert | November 12, 2015 6:54 PM
You're not the only that didn't like that Herc had turned into a joke. Several months after Harras took over the Avengers, he did an interview in Marvel Age saying that he didn't like that Herc had turned into "a buffoon- too cartoony" and would make sure to correct that in his run.
Posted by: Michael | November 12, 2015 7:55 PM
Harras wrote Hercules less humorously, all right, but I prefer this portrayal of Herc to the depressed my-dad-erased-my-imaginary-girlfriend Herc from his '90s Avengers run.
Posted by: Mortificator | November 12, 2015 8:52 PM
It's one thing to reset Thor by making him a new hero again. It's another thing to have him saying things like "We're in deep doo doo!" Does anyone actually want to read that? Did no one have the guts to tell their boss he was writing a really awful book?
Posted by: Erik Beck | February 5, 2016 7:28 AM
In the next issue it does occur to Eric to try to contact Keith Kincaid, but immediately after he thinks of this his ex-wife Marcy's new husband Bobby Steele shows up at his doorstep to tell Eric that he wants to adopt Kevin, and then shortly after Steele leaves Eric is attacked by Stellaris, and then by Dargo Ktor, and then Beta Ray Bill shows up, and the three substitute Thors travel into the timestream to fight the Tomorrow Man. By the time Eric *finally* gets back to the present day and has a quiet moment to himself he learns that Susan's doctor has (seemingly) been successful at locating Donald Blake, so at that point he must have thought there was no point in looking for Kinkaid.
Posted by: Ben Herman | November 17, 2017 12:36 PM
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