Issue(s): Thor #445
The last chapter of Galactic Storm, in Iron Man, focused on the team that was heading to the Kree. This one focuses on the team going to the Shi'ar.
They arrive at a situation where a Kree starfigher is bombing a civilian area on an outer rim Shi'ar planet. The Shi'ar send an SOS to their homeworld, and Gladiator responds. The Avengers, meanwhile, are trying to help the civilians, but when Gladiator arrives he assumes they're the ones responsible. The big debate among the Avengers is who is going to confront Gladiator (theoretically to "reason with" him but obviously no one expects it to work out that way). Thor is the most powerful, and therefore best suited to deal with Gladiator, but when he hesitates due to the fact that it's really the mind of Eric Masterson controlling Thor, Wonder Man jumps in.
Wonder Man is using his old jetpack, since the more recent belt-level version was destroyed in Wonder Man #3.
Wonder Man gets repeatedly pounded by Gladiator...
...so Thor has to step in after all.
Gladiator thinks that Thor is a Kree agent. Someone writes in to the lettercol to complain that Gladiator should recognize Thor from Fantastic Four #339, but the response is that Gladiator is headstrong and Thor's costume has changed.
I'm kind of scratching my head about why the Avengers don't all fight Gladiator. Theoretically they're helping the Shi'ar civilians, but as you can see they're really all standing around in the Quinjet.
Eric's inexperience is played up in the fight.
Meanwhile, Captain Marvel and Living Lightning go to the supposedly Kree ship that was attacking the Shi'ar civilians. They find a Skrull inside, but he activates a self-destruct switch on his ship.
You'll also notice that the other Skrulls on the ship have been reduced to ashes, just like the supposedly Shi'ar warriors that the other team of Avengers were fighting in the previous chapter.
After CM and LL escape the exploding Skrull ship, Thor uses his control over lightning to bring Living Lightning down on Gladiator.
That stuns Gladiator, and while he's dazed Thor pounds the crap out of him. The other Avengers come out to stop Thor from killing him. More foreshadowing of the final conflict in this story.
Living Lightning doesn't seem too pleased with the liberty Thor took with him.
Thor then makes another reckless decision; to get Gladiator off the playing field, he throws him through the warp gate that the Avengers used to travel from Earth's solar system to Shi'ar space, and then seals the gate closed. Thus sealing off the Avengers' way home.
Meanwhile, Captain Marvel had found a way to track a path to Empress Lilandra.
It turns out Living Lightning is impressed with Thor after all.
But the Avengers are soon located and surrounded by a fleet of starships.
I like Olliffe's art. Cartoony, but dynamic and with clear storytelling, and a change of pace from Ron Frenz, whose art had gotten weaker when he gave up on the Silver Age pastiche and switched to breakdowns.
I do feel like Eric's inexperience is being overplayed. For comparison, we also have Living Lightning in this book, who has had his powers for a shorter time than Eric has been Thor, but there's no talk of him being inexperienced. Granted he's not fighting Gladiator. I do like that this book takes time to focus on some other Avengers besides Thor. Wonder Man gets a chance to fight Gladiator, and i think this is the most we've seen of Captain Marvel since her oneshot (it's still not a lot, not really even enough for me to tell if the creative team is aware of the way her powers changed in that oneshot, but it's something).
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 164,708. Single issue closest to filing date = 166,400.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is part seven of Operation: Galactic Storm. It continues in Captain America #399.
Crossover: Operation Galactic Storm
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showCaptain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), Gladiator (Shiar), Living Lightning, Scarlet Witch, Starfox, Thunderstrike, Vision, Wonder Man
I do find it interesting that DeFalco is basically the only writer who ever insisted on how inexperienced and incompetent Eric can be. Starlin had him be pretty competent in Infinity Gauntlet and Gruenwald had him be useful in the Skullhouse story, but DeFalco seemed to really want to stress how rubbish Eric was. So, Eric is like a weird inverse of a creator's pet.
Posted by: AF | January 28, 2016 2:16 PM
I expect that Starlin was originally planning on it being the original Thor when he started writing INFINITY GAUNTLET, and found out about the change in Thors after the fact. That likely had an influence on how he was portrayed.
As for the Avengers going after Gladiator one-on-one...my guess is that it was due to their (slim) hope of a peaceful negotiation. They may have thought that the entire team confronting him would come across as too hostile and undermine their "we come in peace" message. Just a thought.
Posted by: Dermie | January 28, 2016 7:42 PM
Note that Monica is able to turn into energy in this story- the writers couldn't keep track of her new powers. Maybe they were confused by her being able to turn into energy in Marvel Fanfare 42 and didn't realize that was supposed to take place in the past?
Posted by: Michael | January 28, 2016 7:58 PM
I bought these in "real time" and thought Eric was reacting a little too hardcore to Starfox LOL! I always wondered (and still don't know) if they've explained what/who Eric's Thor body is or if Odin just created a body and form out of scratch, which would kind of make his powers a bit more omnipotent than banishing Thor and Loki and sleeping a lot !!!
Posted by: Brimstone: Wrestler, Celebrity, Actor, Author, Comics CEO | January 30, 2016 3:35 AM
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