Characters Appearing: Adam Warlock, Beta Ray Bill, Dr. Strange, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Loki, Maxam, Moondragon, Odin, Pip the Troll, Sif, Silver Surfer, Thanos, Thor
Issue(s): Thor #471
As i noted when this all started, it seems to me that the impetus for all of this was Thor having been replaced by Eric Masterson in his own title. I kind of suspect that Jim Starlin belatedly found out about that while he was writing Infinity Gauntlet and expressed an opinion on it, and he was later given an opportunity to do something about it in-story. The logical conclusion to all of this should really be Odin taking away the Thor-like powers of Beta Ray Bill and Thunderstrike, but that's not going to happen. Thor is friends with those guys. That's kind of why this whole crossover doesn't make a lot of sense in the end.
As with the entire series, this issue is padded with a big fight. This feels even more padded, since it's a symbolic fight between astral projections of Thor and the Valkyrie that's been leading him "astray". I find the fight kind of ironic. The "Valkyrie" obviously made Thor insane, but there's an inkling of a legitimate grievance in what "she" did with Thor. Odin is a manipulative bastard. I think the Donald Blake scenario mentioned in the previous chapter is a stronger case for that (even if it is old news at this point), but Odin handing out magical hammers left and right that make Thor redundant can be kind of ego-shattering, too. So now Odin comes along and, i don't know, kind of apologizes, and now Thor is willing to literally smash the little bit of independence and rebellion that had manifested in him? The message seems mixed at best.
So there seems to be a "Daddy caused it" exclusionary clause to the rule that people suffering from the Warrior's Madness have to die or be banished. Actually, it's determined that Thor doesn't really have the Warrior's Madness. I guess real warriors don't go mad just because their fathers messed with them.
You also have to love that when Thor wakes up, Sif is waiting for him dressed just like the Valkyrie. If the Valkyrie also represented Thor's repressed sexual desires, Sif certainly got the message.
Note that Warlock is also getting what he wanted: Thor is now indebted to him.
Thanos, despite his help, is not given as warm a thanks. Thor acknowledges that he's indebted to him as well, but tells him to get out of Asgard.
Thor returns the Power Gem to Drax.
This ending was a dud. I'd like to think that maybe something got lost from when it started, possibly from a combination of Jim Starlin leaving as co-writer and (relatedly) Thor's status seemingly getting extended due to Infinity Crusade. Heck, it might even be the case that Thor's madness storyline was originally planned as just a Thor story and the idea of extending it into a 13 part crossover after 5 Infinity Crusade tie-ins was all due to Marvel's insane marketing strategy at the time.
If you ignore the ending, the series at least has a fun premise. I am fine with Thor fighting the likes of Beta Ray Bill, Silver Surfer, Drax, and Thanos. The crossover is definitely padded beyond sanity. But that does leave time for characters to at least be themselves. There are fun moments with Pip and Thanos and others along the way. I say this in contrast to the concurrent Siege of Darkness crossover, which was a tightly-packed insanely incoherent mess completely devoid of characterization. This story is clear and readable and sometimes fun... it's just extremely sparse and fluffy, and that's all made worse by an ending so lacking in impact that Marvel might as well just admit it was all just an excuse to have Thor fight a bunch of people. Still, i'll take something like this over the Siege of Darkness approach. Of course, we shouldn't be asked to choose between these two extremes at all. And i mean that both in the "there's no reason why a story can't be coherent and eventful" sense and as in "we don't 13-part need crossovers to begin with".
A final scene shows Loki saying that he's not going to be a prisoner (of Mephisto) forever, but i don't think that was meant to be leading anywhere in particular. This is Ron Marz's final issue. Roy Thomas becomes the regular writer next issue. M.C. Wyman stays on as artist.
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 170,917. Single issue closest to filing date = 149,500.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is the thirteenth and final part of Blood and Thunder. Note that Dr. Strange has participated in this crossover through the final issue, meaning that this all takes place before Siege of Darkness. Thor will be in a coma until the start of next issue and shouldn't appear elsewhere in between. Beta Ray Bill will also still be in Asgard at the start of next issue, but nothing precludes him from leaving and coming back, if necessary.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
What's extra weird is that Beta-Ray Bill gets de-Thor-ized -- un-Thored? -- as a result of Starblast, doesn't he? It would have made more sense for that to happen in Blood and Thunder.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | March 27, 2017 8:48 PM
@Walter- you mean Star Masters, right?
Posted by: Michael | March 27, 2017 11:02 PM
If Loki's taking notes on this, then next time he sees his dad he should claim that all along an invisible valkyrie was telling him to be bad.
Posted by: Mortificator | March 27, 2017 11:50 PM
This story is a perfect example of a significant trend, particularly for the time: the tale which by rights should have changed the status quo, but is not allowed to.
While the Silver Surfer's attitude changes towards Warlock and Thanos have been acknowledged and explained (albeit in a somewhat incomplete way), Thor should have gone through similar changes by now, but that is not allowed to be even addressed, presumably because the writers and editors prefer to lead the plot of the coming months in some other direction. And rightfully so, in this case. Thor would become an accessory to Warlock's plots as opposed to his own character, much like the Silver Surfer did at this point and Doctor Strange became part of the background for Midnight Sons.
Still, we could at least have a clearer examination of the causes for Thor's frustration. Smashing the Valkyrie so that Sif can now cosplay as her does not seem like much reassurance of Thor's improved mental health to me. I would much rather see his somewhat-latent jealousy of Eric and Bill faced up front.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | April 15, 2017 6:06 AM
Thor is selling barely more than half of what the fourth-tier Spider-Man book (Web, with about 330,000 avg. sales in ‘93) is selling, I notice.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | February 28, 2018 12:07 AM
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