Thor annual #19
Issue(s): Thor annual #19
But Pluto seems only willing to uphold the letter of the agreement, because to attack Thor he chooses the lamest of the lame, Flame from last year's Thor annual.
In addition to Flame being not the most exciting villain, it's worth noting that the agreement between Loki and Pluto doesn't pay much dividends. If Thor was forced to fight some Asgardian villains and Hercules fought characters from the Nine Realms, that would have been a nice way to mix things up. But despite who the villains are sent by, the heroes are basically staying in their usual lanes. On the other hand, you gotta give Roy Thomas some credit for doing the dirty work of utilizing one of the 1993 annual characters, and extra credit for not using one of his own. Imagine Thor vs. Raptor!
Also, Thomas improves Flame in the best way possible, by having Cerberus transform from the way he's usually depicted at Marvel into his mythological dog form to serve as a mount.
This has suddenly become the greatest comic ever.
Thor is currently at Wundagore, and Flame's arrival causes an earthquake. Thor investigates and finds a cavern that leads to Hades. He's confronted by Flame. Thor tells him that they have no reason to fight, but fight they do.
Thor loses the fight, because we needed more scenes of Flame riding around on his awesome three headed dog.
On Pluto's command Flame brings Thor to Asgard, with the idea that killing Thor in front of Odin will be better vengeance. Some no-name Asgardians try to rescue him but fail. Loki has also asked his wife Sigyn to keep an eye on things. When Flame sees her, he takes off his mask to get her to confirm what Thor told him in the last annual, which is that he's not as hideous without his mask as he thinks he is (part of Flame's origin is an Ugly Duckling story). But Pluto creates an illusion so that Sigyn will say that he is ugly.
But then Flame tries to kill Sigyn. This was actually Pluto's real reason for sending Flame to Asgard. So Loki uses his magic to free Thor.
Cerberus and Flame are defeated.
So, ok, to my earlier complaint, at least Thor fights Cerberus a bit too (not that it's the first time; i'd rather see Thor vs Typhon).
Thor promises Sigyn that he won't tell Odin about Loki's involvement, on the grounds that he's not speaking to Odin anyway and he doesn't really know what the heck all of this was about in the first place. Thor gets out of Asgard before Heimdall or Odin spot him.
This story also has the incidental first Marvel universe appearance of Sisyphus (who only has one more appearance after this).
In a second story, Thor is contemplating things in the Rocky Mountains when a rockslide threatens to crush a kid who is walking nearby. Something about this image gets to me. I mean, it's terrible, but i still want to create an animated video of it with like Slayer or something playing in the background.
After rescuing the kid, it turns out that he's run away from home after a fight with his father. Thor sees parallels with his own self-exile from Asgard, but this kid wants to go home, so Thor flies him to Pennsylvania. Where it turns out that the kid's dad is dead. Cheerful!
With another Ragnarok scheduled back in Asgard, Thor continues to see parallels with his own life (but does not go home).
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Regarding the first story, it's said that: "This story takes place early in the events of Thor #475, before the mutation of Anak, Zefra, and Riger. + Thor's costume change." The MCP have the second story taking place earlier, during Thor #472 after Thor leaves Asgard but before he meets the High Evolutionary's crew. It definitely takes place after Thor leaves Asgard but before his costume change. But if there's room in #475 for the first story, there should also be time for Thor to leave Wundagore and go and brood in the Rocky Mountains for a while.
The first story takes place after Avengers annual #23. As with that issue, Mephisto is behind the scenes.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showBellam, Blitziana, Cerberus (Greek myth), Charon, Flame (Asgardian), Freki, Geri, Heimdall, High Evolutionary, Huginn, Loga, Loki, Luminor, Muninn, Odin, Pluto, Sigyn, Sisyphus, Thor
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