Issue(s): Thor #460, Thor #461
Fans continuing from the DeFalco run probably got whiplash when starting this, especially since the conclusion of DeFalco's run was a big fight over Sif, ending with Thor proposing to marry her. Whereas Thor ends that engagement by page three of this arc.
The idea is that Thor (and, i suspect, Marz and/or Starlin) is outraged over having been banished and trapped in Eric Masterson, where "time and again did I watch him blunder, helpless to even aid him". So not only does he break up with Sif...
...but he hooks up with a leather clad Valkyrie that it becomes increasingly clear is a delusion that only he can see.
I wonder if Thor got the fantasy idea from Sif's outfit in Thor #452. She does kind of look like Sif; i wonder if there's something more going on here.
Thor has generally been rowdy and disruptive since he's been freed...
...and Odin chides him for it. Thor says that he's been suffering from too many guises, noting the Donald Blake identity and the fact that Beta Ray Bill was given Thor-like abilities. Odin suggests that Thor go on a cruise in the awesome viking space boat (see circa Thor #212-213, again circa Thor #255, and of course Thor's encounter with the Ding-A-Ling Family).
The Valkyrie "goes" with Thor, and continually poisons his mind against Odin and his other friends. Sif, meanwhile, goes to Beta Ray Bill for advice. Bill is still on his home planet, technically retired. He has put out his hammer sword-in-the-stone style, and has been supervising as a line of people have come to try to see if they are worthy. When we last saw him, it was his own people that were trying to pick up the hammer, but now we see the group has expanded to aliens.
When Sif says she needs the power of the hammer, Bill tells her to get in line. But she convinces him that Bill needs to help see what's up with Thor.
Sif is able to locate Thor with the Norn Stones, but Thor's been totally poisoned by the Valkrie at this point, so he's not interested in talking.
Sif recognizes Thor's behavior as being due to "the Warrior Madness". She teleports away, leaving Bill behind. A blurb tells us that we'll find out what happens to him in Silver Surfer #79.
Since the whole premise of this scenario is slugfists, it's very dependent on the art. Bruce Zick is a relative newcomer. In my project he's only done the Sleepwalker Holiday Special prior to this. He had actually done some stuff for Dark Horse Presents and a small amount of non-continuity Marvel stuff, too. And after this Thor run he'll do a few more things for Darkhorse and Caliber Press, but he generally hasn't done too much in the comics industry. I think the creatures he comes up with both in the Asgardian taverns and on Beta Ray Bill's planet are very imaginative, and the fight between Thor and Bill is exactly what i'd want. The writing is fun too. It's definitely a radical shift from DeFalco. I mean that in the sense that the scripting is an entirely different style - the dialogue here feels much more natural to me. But i also mean it in the sense that it's a clear break from what DeFalco was doing. Immediately ending the wedding with Sif is the obvious thing, but Marz and Starlin are also looking back on that run from the psychology of an immortal Viking god and wondering how he could possibly tolerate the indignities that befell him in that series. Whereas DeFalco didn't show much indication that Thor was feeling anything but benevolent about the whole thing. Thor as a kind of goody goody all-forgiving hero is probably closer to how Thor is generally depicted (although i think DeFalco overdid it) but i think what Marz and Starlin are doing here makes a lot of sense. In a sense it's a critique of the DeFalco run, but i don't think it's just that. I think it's a real attempt to think about how Thor would think about things. On the other hand, it's really an excuse for a ton of senseless fighting, so your mileage may vary.
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 188,342. Single issue closest to filing date = 172,000.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: Beta Ray Bill next appears in Silver Surfer #79.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
This Thor run was just horrible. An entire year of Thor acting horribly out of character. DeFalco definitely made Thor too goody-goody but one of Thor's defining characteristics is his ability to keep fighting despite hardships- him snapping and trying to destroy the universe makes no sense.
Posted by: Michael | September 15, 2016 11:00 PM
Utter junk. Marz did some tolerable work on Surfer but here I cannot care for this ink and paper. Total detachment.
Posted by: Grom | September 16, 2016 12:47 AM
These issues were better than the Eric Masterson Thor issues, and Zick is a better artist for this title than Ron Frenz.
Posted by: Steven | September 16, 2016 1:20 AM
Thor as a kind of goody goody all-forgiving hero is probably closer to how Thor is generally depicted (although i think DeFalco overdid it) but i think what Marz and Starlin are doing here makes a lot of sense.
In the Poetic Edda and the adaptations that try to stick closer to it (such as Neil Gaiman's stories or the Danish Valhalla comics and animated movie), Thor is actually quite short-tempered and often gets very angry, which I guess is fitting for a thunder god. So bringing the Marvel Thor closer to the source is pretty interesting, certainly more interesting than just making him merely Marvel's own Superman.
Posted by: Tuomas | September 16, 2016 3:22 AM
There's "short-tempered" and then there's "danger to self and others." Marz' run is definitely the latter as future reviews will display.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | September 16, 2016 3:45 AM
I loved then, and still do, Starlin's INFINITY stuff at the time, and Marz's SURFER was acceptably fun, but since day one I've hated this THOR run.
Posted by: Thanos6 | September 16, 2016 3:55 AM
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