This will be a discussion of Walt Simonson’s run on Thor. I’ll be covering issues of Thor from 337-382, as well as the Balder the Brave mini-series.

Views: 444

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Norse noir? Now I'm imagining Thor in a trenchcoat.

Thor #347
Into the Realm of Faerie!
Writer: Walt Simonson
Penciller: Walt Simonson

The realm of faerie is in the Cotswolds of England. Roger is approaching with a fair amount of trepidation as the situation reminds him of his experiences in the Korean war. He’s also there without Thor, who he’s worried about since his behavior has been rather scattered since he drank the mead back in New York. He has the casket of ancient winters with him, and he’s trying to locate the faerie.

Suddenly he’s attacked by the faerie, who see him as a threat. They knock him out, and begin to search him, having been forewarned by Malekith of the possible invasion by Thor and his “servant”. The find the casket of ancient winters in his knapsack, but then Roger isn’t quite so unconscious. He can’t see the faerie, but as he’s fought in dark places before, when they touch him he can fight back. Thor then appears and opens up a can of Mjolnir on some faerie ass. Having knock the guard unconscious, they plan to travel further into the faerie realm. Thor want sot anoint both of their eyes with the oil of vision, bu t finds that in his hasty attack he destroyed on of the vials and there’s only enough oil for one of them. As Thor can somewhat see the faerie, he gives the oil to Roger. Once he receives the oil, Roger can tell that the castle they were fighting outside of is actually nothing more than an old ruin from bygone days.

In the wastelands of Asgard, Balder continues to fight the sand devil armed with only a stick to protect the fallen woman. Agnar, who followed him into the desert to slay him is watching, and impressed by Balder’s bravery. Balder plans to try to divert the sand devil’s attention from the fallen woman to himself. He succeeds, but he is injured in the process. Seeing Balder stunned, Agnar tosses his sword towards Balder, in hopes of giving him a fighting chance against the sand devil. With the sword, Balder is able to drive away the sand devil. The woman thanks Balder for saving her, and seems to know everything about him, including his thoughts. She tells him that she will take him on a journey to her home, then she takes his hands and they both disappear. Agnar is left to retrieve his sword.

Back in England, Roger and Thor venture further into the faerie realm. Roger wants to do the sensible thing and try to get some reinforcements, but Thor is hell bent on rescuing the woman he loves, Melodi. Roger asks him how long he’s known Melodi, and he tells Roger not for long, but his love for her is burning brighter than any before. Roger is worried that Thor’s head isn’t in the right place. As they wade through some water, they are attacked by water elementals. Thor defeats them by using Mjolnir to create a waterspout, driving them away.

After crossing the river, they come to the gates of the faerie realm. Roger once again suggests getting some reinforcements, but Thor insists on pressing onward. We see behind the wall a force of faerie warriors prepared to attack them when they open the door, but Thor smashes the doors down and surprises them. As the fight rages, we see Malekith and one of his advisors Wormwood talking about Malekith’s plan.

Back in Asgard, Balder is being led by the mysterious woman. As they walk through the corridor, her appearance changes, and we find out that she is Wyrd of the Norns, one of the gods of fate, more powerful than anyone in Asgard. She then shows him their valley at the foot of Yggdrasil, and says the sister’s of fate have been waiting a long time to talk with Balder.

Back in England, Thor is basically a one man army, fighting like a demon against the faerie forces. Roger implores h8im to slow down a bit so he can catch up, but Thor is undeterred. A door opens t a tunnel, but instead of more troops, it’s Malekith, holding Melodi over a pond full of flesh eating monsters. Thor is enraged and heartsick, and Roger tells him that it’s just an illusion. However, Thor can’t tell since he didn’t anoint his eyes with the oil of vision. Malekith tosses Melodi into the pond and Thor rushes to save her. As he does so, Roger is overwhelmed by faerie soldiers. Meanwhile, a skulking warrior in the shadows attacks Thor from behind. He’s called Algrim the strong, and he thinks he’s downed Thor. He plans to deliver the coup de grace.

Back in Asgard, the Warriors three have an audience with Odin. Odin tells them a storm is coming that Asgard may not survive, and bids them journey to all of the realms to gather an army to meet that storm.

Back in England, Thor makes short work of Algrim. Malekith then springs a trap beneath Thor’s feet, trapping both him and Algrim together. They fall into what appears to be a bottomless chasm.

Having defeated Thor, Malekith tells Wormwood that he can have Melodi, but suggests he treat her reasonably well s it was her mead which allowed them to defeat Thor. He then turns to Roger who has been captured by the sheer number of faerie troops. He retrieves the casket of ancient winters from Roger’s knapsack. He then decides to make Roger blind rather than kill him. Roger resists and breaks free, but not before Malekith blinds him. The soldiers plan to follow, but Malekith tells them not to bother, as blinded, Roger is no threat since he can’t find his way out of the faerie realm and there will be plenty of time to hunt him down later. We see Roger, who had planned on using the steel plate in his head to deflect Malekith’s spell, but it didn’t work. However, he still swears revenge on Malekith. He begins to attempt to escape, but finds himself at an opening that leads over a cliff. He decides to wait and since he’s hidden, see if he can figure out Malekith’s plan. The plan is a simple one—open the casket and use it’s powers of ice, combined with the powers of Surtur’s fire, to destroy the Earth.

My Rating: 8/10

Some thoughts:

* Not so many subplots this issue, although things are beginning to coalesce together.

* Have I mentioned before that I really like Malekith as a villain? Because I really like Malekith as a villain. Shame they couldn’t have gotten David Bowie to play him in the movie.

* The fight between Balder and the sand devil was fun.

* I’m looking forward to Roger’s revenge.

Re Simonson's first run on Thor, the issues were heavily inked by Tony DeZuniga. It's my guess the editor wanted a more standard look. Likewise on DC's Hercules Unbound his style was effaced in the inking except on the last two issues, where he inked himself.

Roger once again proves to be a valuable ally, although finding out that Thor has only known Melodi for a week would not have inspired much confidence in him as they enter the realm of their adversary.


Randy Jackson said:

Back in England, Roger and Thor venture further into the faerie realm. Roger wants to do the sensible thing and try to get some reinforcements, but Thor is hell bent on rescuing the woman he loves, Melodi. Roger asks him how long he’s known Melodi, and he tells Roger not for long, but his love for her is burning brighter than any before. Roger is worried that Thor’s head isn’t in the right place.

"The Hammer Strikes!" in #347 printed the following letter:

Dear Walt--

THOR keeps getting better and better! Dunno how you do it--but don't stop!

Excelsior!

Stan

Marvel Productions

California

Malekith is one of my favorite Thor villains, too. Love Simonson's design for him! And Bowie is a great casting choice.

I actually wonder if his look for Labyrinth was based on Malekith.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Malekith is one of my favorite Thor villains, too. Love Simonson's design for him! And Bowie is a great casting choice.

Thor #348

The Dark and the Light

Writer: Walt Simonson

Penciller: Walt Simonson

With Thor and Roger out of the picture, Malekith intends to create a path from the faerie world to the world of mortals and then open the casket of ancient winters before his master makes his entrance. Meanwhile, Roger’s vision has returned, but the ointment that allowed him to see the faerie has worn off. He can see Melodi and the casket, however, the casket floating over Malekith’s head. Having one bullet left, he aims and fires, wounding Malekith. Malekith drops the casket, but his assistant Wormwood manages to catch it before it breaks open. Malekith realizes it’s likely Roger who shot him, but the faerie are unable to locate him. Wounding Malekith means that he doesn’t have the energy he needs to open the portal to Midgard, so he needs to rest and recharge. As he leaves to rest, he orders his minions to find Roger as well as guard the casket and the girl.

Elsewhere, Thor and Algrim are still falling. Thor spies a pool of magma below him and realizes that he only has seconds to act, and Mjolnir is till up above. He summons the hammer and manages to save himself.

The Norns are talking with Balder. They tell him that they have always known that this particular moment in time would come, and that Balder is a gentle soul who’s warrior nature is in conflict, and he wants to die. One of them shows Balder some of the threads of fate, including that of a still living Loki. She then hands him his own thread, and tells him that if he chooses, he can break it, but he must do it quickly or he won’t get a second chance. He hesitates, and suddenly he cannot let go of the thread and the Norns are gone. He’s pulled along until he’s wrapped in a web mostly made up of his own thread. He discovers when he pulls the thread that he can see ll of the lives he’s affected and that he might affect in the future. He manages to break the thread and set himself free, free but sees that everything around him is affected by his decisions. As he’s falling to his death, he sees someone waiting to gather the broken threads. With an effort, he manages to catch the broken threads but has no idea how to join them back together. Suddenly he finds that the threads are back together, or rather that he is now riding his horse, Silverhoof, riding towards Asgard. Sensing great danger in Asgard, he rides there with haste, pledging to no longer willingly give himself over to thoughts of suicide. Along the way he picks up Agnar, who he doesn’t recognize. Agnar has completely changed his tune about Balder, and is happy to help out.

Roger manages to find his way to the pit that Thor fell into because his hat fell there. He plans to avenge Thor, when Thor bursts out of the ground. Thor apologizes for his earlier failures, and Roger brings him up to speed. Thor (it‘s kind of unclear who these thoughts are attributed to)thinks that Malekith has likely sensed his return, and with his ability to hide in the shadows, he could be difficult to capture.

Malekith senses Roger and goes to confront him. He sees a shadow that he assumes is Roger, and tells him that he’s decided not to kill him, but rather enslave him as he had done with so many other mortals, using special food supplied by Hela, queen of the netherworld. However, since Roger wounded him before, he does decide to get in a little payback. He blasts the shadow with his magic, only to discover that it wasn’t Roger, but Thor. Thor is happy to know the source of the magical food, and then he calls down lightning to illuminate the cavern so Malekith cannot hide in the shadows. Unable to escape, Malekith goes Super Saiyan...er, the transforms into his battle mode. Unfortunately, he is absolutely no match for a pissed off thunder god, and Thor beats him unconscious. Thor decides to take him to Odin, but he also wants the casket and Melodi as well.

Back in Asgard, the Warriors Three have begun gathering their allies for the upcoming fight. As Fandral leads an initial group to the gathering point, Odin prepares himself for battle, asking for his armor.

Thor returns to rescue Melodi and the casket. Melodi tells Thor to beware of Roger, as he’s been enchanted by the faerie food. Roger tells him that it’s a trap, but Thor doesn’t believe him. As Thor goes to attack him, Roger throws his gun at Melodi, and reveals that it isn’t her, but Wormwood. Roger figured it out (again, this is a little unclear) because he couldn't see Melodi, but threw his gun at the sound of her voice. Thor easily dispatches of Wormwood, and then they spot Melodi. However, a fresh group of faerie troops show up ready to rumble with Thor. Thor tosses Mjolnir towards the ceiling of the cavern, destroying it and letting in light. As the faerie are unable to withstand light, they have to retreat. The real Melodi is happy to see Thor,., and Thor declares his love for her. Roger is confused because he didn’t know that Melodi knew that Thor and Sigurd Jarlson were the same person.

Meanwhile, Malekith has regained consciousness. He’s too hurt to do much, but he grabs Roger’s gun and throws it at the casket, destroying it. The casket explodes, and a white ball begins to enlarge.

Opening the casket has created the opening Surtur needs to escape the area where he was. Using the sword he just created, he burst free.

My Rating: 8/10

Some thoughts:

* So Roger is pretty much the hero of this particular episode. Sure, Thor is still Thor, but his decision making is terrible right now because of the love potion. Without Roger to guide him to some point, it’s unlikely things would have turned out the way they did.

* Balder gets his Wonderful Life moment and I’m glad, because mopey Balder is no fun. Loved seeing Agnar’s 180 degree attitude change as well.

* There were several instances in this issue where it was difficult to figure out who was saying what and what happened, and I’m wondering if an editor spotted them and just didn’t catch them in time.

* I’m having a hard time not reading ahead. This is so much fun.

Stan knew good comics when he saw them.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

"The Hammer Strikes!" in #347 printed the following letter:

Dear Walt--

THOR keeps getting better and better! Dunno how you do it--but don't stop!

Excelsior!

Stan

Marvel Productions

California

Randy Jackson said:

I actually wonder if his look for Labyrinth was based on Malekith.

I think more of this stuff has gone on than we realise: comics influencing movies and TV. The super-car in The Spy Who Loved Me can be explained as an updated version of the Aston Martin, but it's awfully like the ones from the 1960s SHIELD feature. There were instalments where cars fired missiles and went underwater.

John Wayne Adventure Comics #23 has a oil well fires story like the later Hellfighters. Wikipedia's account of the origin of the film implies it was studio project and Wayne was brought in to star. So perhaps the comics story wasn't the inspiration. But the similarity is striking.

Comics vampires have always been fanged, but in the movies they weren't fanged (except for the one in Nosferatu, with its rat teeth) until the 1950s.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Welcome!

No flame wars. No trolls. But a lot of really smart people.The Captain Comics Round Table tries to be the friendliest and most accurate comics website on the Internet.

SOME ESSENTIALS:

RULES OF THE ROUND TABLE

MODERATORS

SMILIES FOLDER

TIPS ON USING THE BOARD

FOLLOW US:

OUR COLUMNISTS:

Groups

© 2021   Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service