Characters Appearing: Bloodaxe (Jackie Lukus), Bobby Steele, Ed Marrero, Gary Paretsky, Hela, Kevin Masterson, Marcy Masterson Steele, Mephisto, Odin, Sif, Stellaris, Susan Austin, Thor, Thunderstrike, Vizier
Issue(s): Thunderstrike #15
The issue starts with Thunderstrike having already invaded Asgard, and then jumping back to find out why. The answer is that, as we saw last issue, Thunderstrike's son Kevin made a deal with Mephisto to keep his parents from moving to the west coast. Mephisto then approached Thunderstrike, saying that he'd spare Kevin if he'd acquire one of the Golden Apples of Idunn. But even though Thunderstrike makes it to an apple, he changes his mind when he gets there. He says that there is one apple for each Asgardian, and the apples are what grant the gods their immortal life. So if he takes an apple, he's effectively killing an Asgardian. I don't know exactly how the apples work, but Thunderstrike even says that the Asgardian who might not get their immortality could be Sif or Thor or one of the Warriors Three, which seems wrong. Thunderstrike eventually deduces that Mephisto doesn't really want the apple; he wants a "very special soul". Thunderstrike knows that it isn't his own soul that Mephisto wants but he offers Mephisto his own. Thor shows up at that point; he was summoned by Mephisto, who intended to trade Thunderstrike and Kevin's souls for Thor's. But Thunderstrike anticipated this and he called Hela. Since Thor's soul has been "promised to Hela since time began its journey" she takes issue with Mephisto's scheme to get it.
The scenes between Hela and Mephisto are depicted in giant splashes. The middle one is an overt tribute to the one of Galactus and Watcher in Fantastic Four #49.
I wouldn't be surprised if they were all homages, and in the end every Ron Frenz panel is basically an homage, but the Galactus/Watcher is just so immediately recognizable to me.
Hela and Mephisto argue and threaten to go to war (and make me wish that Peter David's Hell God War that he's been teasing in Hulk had been more fully developed and more widely communicated), but in the end the dispute is resolved when Odin goes to Earth and releases Kevin's soul.
It's a weird deus ex machina kind of story where Thunderstrike can't do anything directly and even his clever plan of bringing in Hela isn't what resolves the situation. It's decently told and the art is fun as always but it's missing something, especially as a Thunderstrike story. It might have been better with a little change of emphasis, showing how Thunderstrike has grown more experienced and therefore is able to pull a trick like he did and get his kid out of a deal with the devil. And you can certainly read it that way, but the story isn't presented in that way. And as recently as the last arc, Thunderstrike was still being treated like a newbie (the Black Widow made it clear that SHIELD was choosing Thunderstrike as their fall guy because he was an easy target).
If you're following the soap opera goings-on of the supporting cast, be aware that Ed Marrero is jealous that Gary Paretsky is making time with Susan Austin. Also, it becomes clearer than ever that Jackie Lukus is Bloodaxe. You'd think that people would notice due to the fact that her hair turns into a helmet when you get far enough away.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: I have Thor here during the same break in his series as his guest appearance in Code Blue #13-14.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Double Feature... Thunderstrike/Code Blue #15
Beginning with this issue, DeFalco pretty much tells everyone that Jackie Lukas is Bloodaxe without directly saying so until the final reveal.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | March 1, 2018 3:51 PM
I mean, at this point the idea that there's still a reveal to have is an insult to everyone's intelligence.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | March 1, 2018 4:43 PM
This is the story where Thunderstrike thinks Hela is "checking him out" and Thor has to remind him that she's Death.
Posted by: The Small Lebowski | March 1, 2018 7:26 PM
Yeah, that was intended as foreshadowing of Eric's fate.
Posted by: Michael | March 1, 2018 7:50 PM
And he becomes the first character ever to call Hela 'cute'.
Posted by: The Small Lebowski | March 2, 2018 4:37 AM
Comments are now closed.
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