Issue(s): Thor #468
I say that this issue "formally" begins the crossover because this scenario for Thor, wherein he's (seemingly) afflicted by the Warrior's Madness, was set up more than half a year earlier in Thor #460-461. I think Thor's madness was artificially extended by Infinity Crusade - Thor had five tie-in issues! - but it's not like that shifts the blame any since Starlin was also writing Crusade and presumably knew what was coming. It's possible that the number of tie-ins was editorially dictated at the last minute i guess. But any way you look at it, Thor is not himself for an entire year of his own title plus all of Infinity Crusade plus the other issues in this crossover.
But that's actually not as bad as it sounds. Because the truth is that Thor "wasn't himself" for about two years prior to all of this, too. He was replaced by Eric Masterson back in Thor #432, and the "real" Thor only returned in the arc just before he went mad. And the Eric Masterson story continued directly in Thunderstrike. So if you wanted to, you could pretend that the Thor book was continuing as it had been all along, just under a new name, and what we have here is just a special limited series. Viewed in that context, you aren't really losing anything by Thor not being himself for a year, and an "everybody fights a Thor gone mad" storyline should be a lot of fun.
That said, the plot of this crossover is very sparse. And probably the biggest flaw is that the art teams aren't exactly star players. If all you've got to offer are tons of splash pages of Thor fighting people, you really need quality art. But Ron Lim is off Silver Surfer at this point, Thor's art team is in transition, and the art on the Warlock books is also inconsistent (Angel Medina is only on one issue, for example). Still, while the general consensus on this crossover seems to be that it sucks, i find it more than tolerable.
In this issue, we see the Valkyrie that has been leading Thor around (and it's already been pretty apparent that she's just a figment of Thor's imagination) convincing him that renouncing his father or even getting revenge on Asgard isn't enough, and he should really burn down the entire universe.
Sif and Beta Ray Bill are watching him, and Sif approaches Thor. Thor is not receptive, and the fact that he keeps talking to his invisible girlfriend is alarming to Sif.
It will eventually turn out that Thor doesn't have the actual Warrior's Madness. It's a resolution that feels like a loophole to me, since the idea is supposed to be that if you get the Warrior's Madness you have to be exiled from Asgard forever. Thor is clearly insane in this storyline, but it'll ultimately be diagnosed as being a different kind of insanity than classic Warrior's Madness, so Odin won't have to banish Thor. I bring this up now because of Sif's shock that Thor is talking to an invisible friend. She knows that Thor is insane, so the idea of him acting insanely shouldn't be quite so surprising to her, and you'd think that she'd have a better way of approaching him and dealing with his obvious delusions. But maybe traditional Warrior's Madness doesn't involve talking to imaginary people.
Anyway, Thor approaches Sif and thwacks her.
This causes Beta Ray Bill to jump in. They jointly attack him but have no luck.
Bill convinces Sif to flee to get more help, and then he's struck down.
Thor is about to deliver the killing blow to Bill when the Silver Surfer shows up.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is part one of Blood and Thunder. Part two is in Silver Surfer #86. Beta Ray Bill's appearance in Thor annual #18 takes place prior to this. See the Considerations for Thor Corps #1-4 regarding the appearances of Beta Ray Bill and especially Thor.
Blood and Thunder intertwines with two other similar length crossovers, Starblast and Siege of Darkness. Some of the Infinity Watch appear in Starbrand #1, and in Quasar #54, part two of Starblast, they are seen deciding whether they want to continue to be involved in that crossover or help out with Thor, and we'll see in Warlock Chronicles #6, which is part three of Blood and Thunder, that they decide on the latter. So this issue and Silver Surfer #86 take place before or concurrently with Starblast #1, and then Warlock and company jump from Starblast to Blood and Thunder in Quasar #54/Warlock Chronicles #6. To further complicate matters, Starblast part 3, in Secret Defenders #11, takes place after Dr. Strange's house is destroyed in Siege of Darkness. But Dr. Strange's house is fine during Blood and Thunder, and regular Dr. Strange participates in Blood and Thunder (i.e. it's before the masked "Strange" persona emerges during Siege of Darkness). So the three crossovers will all have to be mixed together. It's worth noting that from a timing perspective this won't make a lot of sense. All three stories pretty much continue directly issue to issue. But i'll be prioritizing things from an event perspective, e.g. an issue having to take place before or after Dr. Strange's house is destroyed. I'll reiterate the relevant points and go into more detail in the Considerations for the individual issues.
Crossover: Blood and Thunder
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
It's here! Let's see where this Star Siege of Blood and Dark Thunder leads...
Posted by: Mortificator | March 27, 2017 3:16 PM
I couldn't stand this crossover- I thought it just used "madness" as an excuse to write Thor out of character. But I don't see the "Thor doesn't have real Warrior's Madness" as a loophole. Human psychiatrists distinguish, for example, between a woman who's afraid of going out on a date because she's afraid of being rejected, which is Social Anxiety Disorder, and a woman who's afraid of going out on a date because she's afraid of being raped, which is a phobia of being raped. There's no reason Asgardians can't make similar distinctions between conditions that seem similar.
Posted by: Michael | March 27, 2017 8:09 PM
Completely missed this...you are to be feted wirh a feast of haggis for your determination.
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | March 28, 2017 1:44 AM
"It's here! Let's see where this Star Siege of Blood and Dark Thunder leads..."
No where good, that's for sure.:)
Posted by: CLYDE | March 28, 2017 8:38 AM
I actually find the artwork by Bruce Zick & Mike DeCarlo to be quite good. It's not fantastic, but it's solid and gets the job done. It has a rather Kirby-esque feel to it, but in a different way than what Ron Frenz was previously doing. Perhaps the Zick/DeCarlo team would have been received a better reception from readers if they had been working on higher-quality stories, instead of having to spend almost a year drawing "Thor goes crazy and beats up his friends at the behest of his imaginary girlfriend."
Posted by: Ben Herman | March 28, 2017 1:03 PM
Ye gods. "Thud and Blunder". The most pointlessly attenuated cross-over ever, just one long Thor v Whoever slamfest after another, broken up by ENDLESS Pip issues in the 2nd Warlock book.
And we get the Infinity Watch becoming the latest People Who Get To Visit Asgard When the Avengers STILL Haven't Been There. I cannot tell you how much it burns me that Steve and Clint and Wanda and the Pyms and so on have, to my knowledge, never been across the Rainbow Bridge, but here we have the likes of Gamora and Maxam getting to follow in the footsteps of Danielle Moonstar and Sam Guthrie and their New Mutant pals. Urgh. Some friend you are, Odinson. Show a little class.
(Note: I stopped reading with Disassembled, for the most part. It's been 13 years, somebody may have rectified this. But at the time, it drove me over the bend.)
And of course we get Thanos facing off against Odin, and fighting him to a draw. Riiiiiiiiiight. The "Spidey beats Firelord" fight was more credible than this. There's power and then there's POWER. Let me know when Thanos can keep entire dimensions alive with his life-force. Sheesh.
Posted by: Dan Spector | January 17, 2018 3:10 AM
The Avengers went to Asgard during the Fear itself event. Granted, Asgard was floating over Oklahoma at the time...
Posted by: Jay Gallardo | January 17, 2018 6:38 AM
And before that, Cap and Iron Man went to the "proper" Asgard in Michael Avon Oeming's Ragnarök story, the one that ended the Thor comic for a while before it came back under J. Michael Straczynski.
Posted by: Tuomas | January 21, 2018 5:22 PM
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