The List – Comics

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What follows is every comic book story or run I’ve read in the past 11 months, ordered from least-favorite to favorite. It does not include ongoing series I am following month-to-month, nor does it include the many 70’s Marvel comics I have been reading for Days of Thunder. As such, it represents a fraction of my total comics consumption.

51. Ichiro
50. Solomon’s Thieves
49. Veil
48. Concrete Park Vol. 1
47. Manifest Destiny #1-4
46. Red Mass for Mars
45. Nola
44. Popeye by Roger Landridge
43. Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth #45-49
42. Star Raiders
41. Deadpool by Way
40. Blood Bowl: Killer Contract
39. Tale of Sand by Jim Henson
38. Leave it to Chance
37. Peepo Choo Vol. 1 by Felipe Smith
36. The Silence of Our Friends by Nate Powell
35. T-Minus by Ottaviani and Cannon
34. De: Tales by Moon and Ba
33. The Doom Patrol by Grant Morrison
32. Tintin in the Land of the Soviets by Herge
31. Tintin: Prisoners of the Sun by Herge
30. Any Empire by Nate Powell
29. Superboy by Kesel and Grummet
28. Wonder Woman: Earth One by Morrsion and Paquette
27. Star Wars by Jason Aaron
26. Archer and Armstrong (Reboot) #0-13
25. JLA Earth 2 by Morrison and Quitely
24. Modesty Blaise: Mr. Sun by O’Donnell
23. Action Comics Vol. 2 #1-18
22. Wonder Woman #14-26 by Simone
21. Patsy Walker, Hellcat by Immonen
20. Punisher War Journal by Fraction
19. Darth Vader by Gillen and Larocca
18. Never Learn Anything From History by Kate Beaton
17. Fall of the House of West By Paul Pope and J. T. Petty
16. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero by Larry Hama
15. Steve Canyon Vol. 3 by Caniff
14. Planetes Vol 1
13. Demon Knights
12. One Piece Vols 1-12
11. New York: The Big City by Will Eisner
10. Punisher by Greg Rucka
9. Casanova Vol 1
8. DC: New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke
7. Krazy Kat Dailies 1935 by Herriman
6. Preacher by Ennis and Dillon
5. Copra Round Four
4. The Don Rosa Library Vol 3-4
3. Usagi Yojimbo Omnibus 6 & 7 by Stan Sakai
2. Tranformers Vs. G.I. Joe by Tom Scioli
1. Peanuts by Charles Schultz 1991-1994

I read some damn fine comics this year. The top 4 are all contenders for best comic of all time. Yes, I honestly think Transformers Vs. G.I. Joe is in the same company as Peanuts, Usgai Yojimbo, and The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, and those are 3 of the 5 or 6 greatest comics of all time.

I finally finished Larry Hama’s original run of G.I. Joe comics for Marvel. I came to G.I. Joe late in life. It has come to be my favorite genre. Something about military flavored comic book absurdity really does it for me.

This was the year I got around to reading Morrison’s Doom Patrol. It doesn’t hold up that well, but is still kind of neat. I also discovered that I really like Modesty Blaise and the work of Nate Powell.   And… I started reading One Piece. With over 80 volumes, to date, I’ve got a lot of children’s Japanese pirate comic to consume.

The List – Video Games

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What follows is a list of every video game I’ve played to completion in the past 11 months, ranked from least-favorite to favorite:

13. Batman: Arkham Knight
12. Rebel Galaxy
11. ZombiU
10. The Witness
9. Roundabout
8. Galak-Z
7. The Witcher III: Heart of Stone
6. Uncharted 4
5. Dark Souls III
4. The Last of Us: Left Behind
3. Doom
2. The Banner Saga
1. Tharsis

This list is both deceptive and short, because over 100 hours of my video game playing time was spent playing Xenoblade Chronicles X, but as I have not finished the game, I can not include it on my list.

This is the fewest games I’ve played in a year since the year I got my original XBox. Little more than one a month.  I have such a backlog.

The List – Movies

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What follows is a list of every movie I’ve seen in the past 11 months, ranked from least-favorite to favorite:

90. Batman V Superman
89. Gods of Egypt
88. Tommy and the Cool Mule
87. TekkonKinkreet
86. Iron Man 2
85. Thor: The Dark World
84. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
83. Santa Claus
82. Halo Legends
81. Tron: Legacy
80. Extracted
79. Iron Man 3
78. Divergent Series: Allegiant
77. Bad Boys II
76. Ant Man
75. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
74. Snowpiercer
73. Doctor Strange
72. Halo: The Fall of Reach
71. Deadpool
70. Sixteen Candles
69. The FP
68. Lady and the Tramp
67. The Divergent Series: Insurgent
66. Blackhat
65. Halo: Nightfall
64. Final Fantasy: Kingsglaive
63. 7 Fast 7 Furious
62. SPECTRE
61. Moana
60. X-Men Days of Future Past
59. Rollerball (remake)
58. The Mysterious Mr. Moto
57. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
56. Her
55. The Hateful Eight
54. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
53. The Heat
52. Zootopia
51. My Best Friend’s Wedding
50. Pretty in Pink
49. The Avengers
48. Iron Man
47. 12 Monkeys
46. Royal Tennenbaums
45. Magic Mike
44. Mr. Moto Takes a Chance
43. Magic Mike XL
42. Captain America: Civil War (twice)
41. Collateral
40. Hail, Caesar
39. Think Fast, Mr. Moto
38. Thank You, Mr. Moto
37. Prince of Egypt
36. Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
35. Dragon’s Nest
34. The Guardians of the Galaxy
33. Captain America
32. G.I. Joe: Resolute
31. Ed Wood
30. A Monster in Paris
29. Road to El Dorado
28. Neon Genesis Evangelion 2.22
27. A Fistful of Dollars
26. For a Few Dollars More
25. The Martian
24. Clue
23. Rushmore
22. Little Shop of Horrors
21. Cowboy Bebop Knockin on Heaven’s Door
20. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
19. The Matrix
18. Avengers: Age of Ultron (twice)
17. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
16. Thor
15. The Pirates
14. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
13. The Thomas Crown Affair
12. Bottle Rocket
11. Labyrinth
10. The Bridge on the River Kwai
9. The Matrix Reloaded & Revolution
8. Thief
7. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
6. Blood Simple
5. G.I. Joe: Retaliation
4. Heat
3. The Muppet Movie
2. Casablanca
1. Miami Vice

So, that’s 93 movies watched in just under 11 months. That averages to 2 movies a week. Of those movies, 20 of them are flat-out great. I would recommend any of the top 20 movies on this list to anyone.

The next 41 are good movies, or at least highly enjoyable to me. The final 29 movies I did not like, which means about 1/3 of the movies I watched this year, I did not like. I watched two movies this year that were worse than Tommy the Cool Mule.
I saw 15 animated, and 75 non-animated films. The best 2016 movie I saw in 2016 was Hail, Ceasar, which is middling Coens.
I watched a lot of Michael Mann this year, and a lot of Michael Mann stayed at the very top of my list. Miami Vice unseated Casablanca and The Muppet Movie, which are both movies I have considered my very favorite in the past. Rushmore, which was also, once upon a time, my very favorite movie is now not even in the top 20 of films I saw this year.
I watched every single film in the Marvel shared movie universe this year, excepting, due to a clerical error, Incredible Hulk. I’m surprised by how much I’ve ended up liking Avengers: Age of Ultron.
I watched four of the Mr. Moto films this year. This is a series of old adventure films where Peter Lorre plays a Japanese detective. They’re not great but as a big fan of adventure and Peter Lorre, I find them delightful, albeit racist.
The Pirates was a surprise treasure. It is a South Korean adventure film where a band of pirates compete against a pack of bandits for a bounty on a whale. It has great action, it’s very funny, and even has a nice romance. Highly recommended.

I love movies!

Days of Thunder – March 1979 The Mighty Thor #281

“This Hammer Lost!”
Mark Gruenwald/Ralph Macchio, Scripters/ Keith Pollard/Pablo Marcos, Artists/ Jim Novak, Letterer/ Ben Sean, Colorist/ Jim Shooter/ Roy Thomas, Editors/ Plotting Assist by Peter Gillis and Mike Catron

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Thor is still having an existential crisis over the nature of the Eternals. He decides that the best way to proceed is to travel back in time to the first visitation of Earth by the Eternals.

He spins his hammer, but instead of traveling to Earth’s past, he ends up stuck in Limbo. What’s more his hammer is missing. He is greeted by the Space Phantom, a minor enemy of the Avengers. Thor has encountered the Space Phantom on two prior occasions, but he does not seem to remember him now. Nonetheless, he warns the Phantom that he considers ever man to be his enemy until proven otherwise.

Limbo is a place beyond time and the Space Phantom’s home. He tells Thor that his people are caught in an endless Time War and that he needs the Thunder God’s help to bring it to an end. In exchange, he will help Thor find his missing hammer.

The Phantom leads Thor to his planet, Phantus, where they are soon attacked by military forces. Thor warns his foes that he isn’t “a God who turns the other cheek” before joining the battle. He crushes a tank with his bare hands, fashioning part of it into a crude hammer. Thor likes hammers.

The Space Phantom takes Thor to a big pit and tells Thor to jump into it. Thor does and finds himself trapped in a nexus between the the timeless and a world where time passes. This is a problem because it means half of him now exists in a realm where it has been 60 seconds since he held his hammer, and half of him doesn’t!

 

Days of Thunder – February 1979 The Mighty Thor #280

“Crisis on Twin Earths!”
A Special Super-Sensation by… Roy Thomas, Writer/Editor * Wayne Boring, Guest Penciler * Tom Palmer, Inker/Embellisher/ Joe Rosen, Letterer * C. Gafford, Colorist * J. Shooter, Consulting Editor
From a plot by Don and Maggie Thompson

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The Avengers have in the past encountered a group of super powered villains known as the Squadron Supreme and have also encountered a group of nominal heroes from a parallel universe known as te Squadron Supreme.  The two groups are alternate  versions of, er, each other.

Thor has been tracked down by Hyperion, the semi-heroic Hyperion from another universe, not the evil Hyperion native to Thor’s Midgard.  Hyperion is making a movie about the time that he and his superpowered teammates enforced the will of a corporate state until the Avengers came to their universe and overthrew that regime.  Hyperion wants the Avengers to play themselves in this dramatization.

None of the rest of the Avengers are available.  Thor, who of course, has done this sort of thing before, has soured on the notion of being behind the camera after Harris Hobbs recent excursion to Asgard went so poorly. Thor nonetheless agrees to let Hyperion give him a tour of his world.

Thor and Hyperion are followed by the evil Hyperion of Thor’s universe.  Complications ensue and Thor is sent back to his world while the evil Hyperion remains at large.

 

Days of Thunder – February 1979 The Defenders #68

“Valhalla Can Wait!”
Val in Valhalla Part Three
Story by David Kraft & Ed Hannigan/ Pencils by Herb Trimpe/ Inks by Pablo Marcos/ Letters by E. Heinl/ Colors by B. Sharen/ Edited by Al Milgrom/ Editor-In-Chief, Jim Shooter

defenders-68

Mortal-Body Valkyrie and Harokin catch up with Hela and her army. Meanwhile the Defenders agree to help Ollerus at the behest of Immortal-Body Valkyrie. Soon the two sides are joined in battle.

While her army fights, Hela visits Odin to take his political temperature. After the recent near-Ragnarok, Odin has no warmth for Hela. He intends to use this conflict as an opportunity to retake Valhalla. “Should Ollerus win– so be it! If not, the legions of Asgard shall drive you back to Niffleheim!”

Meanwhile, the two Valkyries end up fighting in front of the Defenders. Hulk gets confused and throws a big rock at the good guy one. As soon as her counterpart is clobbered, the remaining one reveals her madness. The Defenders realize that this Valkyrie is the personality of Barbara Norriss!

The side fighting for Hela point the Hulk at Ollerus’ shark-finned mountain and he smashes the hell out of it. This turns the tide of battle and Ollerus surrenders. Hela announces that her forces, as well as the vanquished forces of Ollerus are retreating to Niffleheim, that she is ceding the territory of Valhalla to the “most noble”. She leaves Harokin in charge of Valhalla. The mortals that Olerrus had prematurely recruited, such as the Defenders, are returned to Earth. Brunhilde/Valkyrie returns with them, embracing Harokin before she departs. Norriss/Valkyrie stays, banished to Niffleheim as the Fates had prophesied.

 

Days of Thunder – January 1979 The Defenders #67

“Val in Valhalla Part Two”
“We, The Unliving”
“Featuring The Deaths of the Defenders!”

Story by David Kraft & Ed Hannigan/ Pencils by Herb Trimpe/ Inks by Bruce Patterson/ Letters by E. Heinl/ Colors by B. Sharen/ Edited by Al Milgrom/ Editor-In-Chief, Jim Shooter

defenders-67

The Incredible Hulk dies. Slightly later, Valkyrie’s other teammates in the Defenders, Hellcat and Nighthawk also die. One of the two Valkyrie/Barbara Norriss/Brunhildes arrives in Midgard to escort her teammates to Valhalla.

It turns out that Ollerus has gained the power to make mortals die simply by willing it so. He has used this power to kill the Defenders with the goal of recruiting them into his army. He now intends to kill some humans basically at random toward the same end.

Meanwhile, Valkyrie wakes up in Ollerus’s dungeon, which is inside a giant magic mobile shark-finned mountain.. This Val is certain that she is in the body of Barbara Norriss and holds no love for Ollerus. Who, then, is the other? It is unclear.

She soon manages to escape, and joins up with Harokin on the outside to fight some pterodactyls that they refer to as “dragons.” They then depart to prepare their forces for an assault against Ollerus.

 

Days of Thunder – January 1979 The Mighty Thor #279

“A Hammer in Hades!”
Roy Thomas, Editor * Don Glut, Guest Writer * Alan Kupperberg & Pablo Marcos, Illustrators * Glynis Wein, Colorist/ Joe Rosen, Letterer * Jim Shooter, Consulting Editor

thor-279

Thor, back on Midgard, is reminded of Jane Foster, and thinks back to a time in his past. Once, during the time that Jane was hypnotized into not being in love with Blake, she was abducted by Hades. This happened in front of Thor’s eyes, as a weird mystical energy emanating from his walking-stick/hammer drew him to Foster, only to see her pulled down into the earth by strange tentacles.

He follows Jane’s captor into the Netherworld of Olympus. When he catches up with Jane, she is chained above a pool of fire. Pluto wants revenge against Thor’s involvement in thwarting his mutates on Earth. To that end he has sought the help of Loki. Loki does not join them in the Netherworld, but instead sends Ulik the Troll there.

Hades wants the two of them to duel.  The winner will claim the horribly objectified nurse as a prize “to do with as he will…”. The loser shall remain Hades’ eternal prisoner.

The two warriors fight until Ulik realizes that Pluto is using him as a tool of revenge. As much as he hates Thor, Ulik hates being manipulated even more. He turns his aggression toward Hades long enough for Thor to free Jane. Ulik’s assault catches Pluto so off guard, that the Troll almost kills Hades with Enchanted Flames that could consume even the Lord of the Netherworld. Thor intervenes, because he needs Hades to release him and Jane from the Netherworld.

Thor uses Mjolnir to teleport Ulik to Loki’s location. Chagrined, Pluto sends Thor and Jane back to Earth. Jane leaves Thor behind, to eat dinner with her boyfriend.

The events of this story take place after Thor fought Hades in issue #164. The first issue with downtime on Earth following that is issue #167. Furthermore, it takes place during the time that Jane was dating Dr. Kincaid, before she moved on to Dr. North, which means it must have taken place before issue #172. That all places the story squarely in the second half of 1969.

Days of Thunder – December 1978 The Defenders #66

“War of the Dead!”
“Val in Valhalla Part One”
A “Journey Into Mystery” by Dave Kraft, Story/ Ed Hannigan, Art/ Bruce Patterson, Inks/ Elaine Heinl, Letters/ Bob Sharen, Colors/ Bob Hall, Editor/ Jim Shooter, Editor-In-Chief

defenders-66

Valkryie has been a member of the Defenders for several years now. Their roster currently consists of Valkryie, Nighthawk, Hulk, and Hellcat.

Valkryie has now been summoned to Valhalla by Hela. On her way there, she passes through Asgard, greeting Heimdall as she passes. The warrior known as Valkryie that possesses the body of the mortal woman Barbara Norris has never been to Asgard before, and yet it seems that this is a return. It is most strange.

As she continues to Valhalla, she encounters the Three Fates, which seem to be distinct beings separate from the Norns, despite similarities. The Three Fates, Skuld, Verandi, and Urdur, refer to Valkyrie as being the long-lost leader of the Valkryior.   They then  show Val what her future offers.

Val peers into the Spring of Mimir at the base of Yggdrasil. She sees herself in Valhalla, caught in the middle of a civil war. She sees herself struck down by an unknown foe. She sees a challenger to Hela’s rule, one who threatens to bring a reign of hopelessness upon all he touches. Finally she sees herself banished to Niffleheim, realm of the Thrice-Damned, plunging into unceasing Witch-Fire.

Afterward she resumes her trip, soon arriving  in Valhalla. There, she is greeted not only by Hela, but by her allies Harokin and Tyr.

It seems that Valkyrie is not actually a false persona created by the Enchantress. In truth, she is Brunhilde, the leader of the Valkryior, an army of warriors who fight to protect Valhalla.  It is they alone who decide who may dwell in Valhalla. Apparently, the Enchantress either mistakenly captured Brunhilde when she created the Valkyrie persona, or was previously lying about it.

Hela, ruler of Valhalla, who has just finished leading an army against Asgard, now leads a different army in the underworld. She is facing a challenge to her rule by one named Ollerus the Unmerciful. For this battle, she needs of Brunhilde as a general.

Brunhilde’s memories seem to have fully returned. She speaks  with Svava, one of her Valkryies, about how Valhalla has fallen into desolation under Hela’s rule. They both lament this change, but both acknowledge Hela’s authority.

Ollerus has two lieutenants in Casiolena and Poppo the Cunning. Of course, Casiolena was killed by the Enchantress in issue #4 of the Defenders, which presumably is why she is now an inhabitant of Hel. Poppo, is presumably similarly deceased. Both are sorcerers.  Poppo is also a thief. The three of them plan a trap for Valkryie.

In the Pass of Peril, the army of Hela meets the army of Ollerus. The battle is savage, but eventually Val is lured away to a dungeon. Inside the dungeon, she is shocked to find the immortal body of Brunhilde, who’s appearance is identical to that of the mortal body of Barbara Norriss! Taken aback, Val touches the body and there is a loud crack and a flash of light. When it clears, one Valkyrie is unconscious and the other stands, claiming to be the madwoman Barbara Norriss. She stands alongside Ollerus and his allies.

First Appearance: Ollerus the Unmerciful, Poppo the Cunning, Svava, Skuld, Verandi, Urdur

 

Days of Thunder – December 1978 The Mighty Thor #278

“At Long Last– Ragnarok?!”
Roy Thomas Writer/Editor * John Buscema & Chic Stone, Illustrators/ Glynis Wein, Colorist/ Joe Rosen, Letterer/ Jim Shooter, Consulting Editor

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The combined forces of Asgard face Hela and her army.  As they fight, Loki enters the fray, without explanation of how he escaped his chains. He soon falls, and afterward, the Midgard Serpent appears.

While the rest of the Asgardians fight for Asgard, Sif convinces Norvell to take her back to Asgard so that he and she might join the fight. They do, although the Midgard Serpent soon claims Norvell’s life. The Odinson reclaims his hammer and uses it to kill the Midard Serpent, which is not supposed to happen.

Having no idea what the hell is going on at this point, Hela calls for a retreat. Her army departs, leaving the Asgardians to marshal their forces and take stock. Norvell is dead, Joey is dead, but now that the danger has passed, there is a flare, and Balder is restored to a state resembling the Odinsleep.

Odin, seemingly back to full strength explains: He knew that Loki and Hela were determined to kick-start Ragnarok and that they had knowledge of Volla’s prophesies. His plan was to confuse them to the point where they could no longer use the prophesies as a road map. Most of the recent battle was an illusion brought forth by Odin, including the presence of Loki and the Midgard serpent, as well as all of the Asgardian fatalities.

Thor, as usual, is angered at the manipulation on the part of his father and prepares to storm off to Midgard. Odin is sick of Thor dividing his time between the two world.  He commands Thor to stay in Asgard. Thor defies his father and gets himself banished again. He begs Sif to come with him, reminding her that Jane Foster is trapped inside her, but Sif does not have it in her to defy her king.

Thor returns to Earth with Hobbs and his dead camera crew towed in a big net. Upon his arrival, he says his goodbye to Hobbs and tells the reporter that he has to deal with the Celestials.

 

Days of Thunder – November 1978 The Mighty Thor #277

“Time of the Trolls!”
Roy Thomas, Writer/Editor * John Buscema & Tom Palmer, Illustrators/Imaginers * Glynis Wein, Colorist/ Joe Rosen, Letterer * Jim Shooter, Consulting Editor

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In the aftermath of “Red” Norvell’s attack, the trial of Loki concludes with a sentencing phase. Loki is chained to a rock, where a viper will drip mystic venom on his face until Ragnarok, soon as that may be. Sigyn is granted permission to do what she can to ease her husband’s suffering.

Meanwhile, Novell has taken Sif to Alfheim, home of the Ljo’s-Alfar, also known as the Bright Elves. The Bright Elves seem to be a a bunch of diminutive friendly folk. Norvell batters them around as if they were less than nothing.

While Norvell tries to convince Sif to be in love with him, she explains to him how he was able to obtain the power of Thor. Some time ago, Odin became concerned that his son might be on Midgard at a time when Asgard was in danger. So he had a back-up copy of Thor’s essence made and stored in his gloves and belt. Loki gave unwitting Norvell the instructions to unlock Thor and imprint the Thunder God’s essence o’ertop of himself.

Hela’s army attacks Asgard.

 

Days of Thunder – October 1978 The Invaders #33

“A Time of Titans!”
Roy Thomas, Writer/Editor * Alan Kupperberg & Frank Springer, Illustrators/Innovators * Joe Rosen, Letterer/ G. Roussos, Colorist * Jim Shooter, Consulting Editor

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Thor fights the Invaders. The combined might of the Invaders are not enough to go toe-to-toe with Thor, but they do what they can to keep Stalin safe.

In Germany, Dr. Olsen has a heart attack and dies. Hans, who is actually Doctor Doom operating under an assumed name, secretly transmits the ravings of Hitler to Thor. Hitler is sufficiently hateful and murderous that Thor abandons his mission, but not before accidentally giving lightning powers to Union Jack. Thor heads back to Asgard, but for some reason decides to wipe the memories of the Invaders before he does so.

 

Days of Thunder – October 1978 The Mighty Thor #276

“Mine– This Hammer!”
Roy Thomas, Writer/Editor * John Buscema * Tom Palmer, Illustrators/ Glynis Wien, Colorist/ Joe Rosen, Letterer/ Jim Shooter, Consulting Editor

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Odin is weakened from losing a sizeable portion of the Odinforce, but nonetheless decides to put his son, Loki on trial.

Before the trial begins, Loki advises Red Norvell to don Thor’s Belt of Strength in the temple of the Palace of Thor, where he can both find and wear Thor’s Iron Gloves, and finally, to bathe in the fire of Geirrodur.

Norvell does all of this, and then he crashes the trial. He is now bigger, beardier, and dressed in Asgardian raiment. He claims to be the “real Thor”. He is brash and brutish and picks a fight with Thor. As they fight, Norvell grabs Mjolnir and wrests it from Thor’s grasp!!

Red beats Thor to a pulp with Mjolnir and is prepared to kill Thor when Joey attempts to intervene. Red accidentally kills Joey. This gives him only slight pause. He threatens to kill Thor if Sif will not come away with him. When that doesn’t work, he threatens to destroy the Odinshield and thus bring about the end of the world.

Faced with the end of the world Sif yields to this creep. Norvell, still holding Thor’s hammer, grabs Sif and they depart. Yuck.

 

Days of Thunder – September 1978 The Avengers #175

“The End… and the Beginning!”
James Shooter, Plotter/Editor-In-Chief * D. Michelinie, Scripter * D. Wenzel, Pencils * P. Marcos, Inker * D. Wohl, Letters * P. Rache, Colors * R. Stern, Editor

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A large assemblage of Avengers, both  former and current, have been caught up in a complicated war of wills between Korvac and a cosmic entity known as “The Collector.” Korvac has killed the Collector, but these Avengers, Thor among their number, remain aboard his spaceship, currently orbiting Earth.

Investigating the environs of their now-deceased foe, the Avengers discover that the Collector owned a time machine, and had been using it to snatch Thor out of the time-stream so that he could assist the Avengers, despite his being preoccupied with Asgardian matters. The reasons for this were complicated and opaque, but after each adventure, Thor would be returned to his own point in the time stream with his memory removed.

 

Days of Thunder – September 1978 The Invaders #32

“Thunder in the East!”
Roy Thomas, Writer/Editor * Alan Kupperberg & Frank Springer Illustrators/Storytellers * J. Rosen Letterer/ Carl Gafford, Colorist * Jim Shooter, Consulting Editor

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During World War II, Adolf Hitler tasks a pair of scientists with creating a a device capable of teleporting Thor from Asgard to Germany. The scientists, Dr. Olsen, and his assistant Hans, who’s face is entirely covered in bandages do what Hitler asks.

Hitler convinces Thor to fight for the Nazis, who he presents as the descendants of the Vikings. “Side by side, Son of Odin and Son of Schickelgruber stride from the chamber–”. Hitler ask Thor to assassinate Joseph Stalin. Thor agrees.

During this time, there was a team of American, British, and Atlantean heroes that fought for the Allies known as the Invaders. Their number included Captain America, Namor, an android called “the Human Torch”, Spitfire, and Union Jack. This group of heroes  happen to be delivering an experimental armored tank directly to Stalin when Thor attacks!

This issue also makes clear that Thor speaks in Asgardian, not English, and that some manner of magic provides translation between he and whomever he is speaking with.

First Appearance: Dr. Olsen, Hans

 

Days of Thunder – September 1978 Thor Annual #7

“And Ever– The Eternals!”
Roy Thomas, Writer/Editor * Walt Simonson & Ernie Chan, Illustrators/ Glynis Wein, colorist/ Tom Orzechowski, letterer / Jim Shooter, Consulting Editor

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Many of the stories to feature Thor outside of the main magazine have proven difficult to pin down when they happen in relationship to those stories, which tend to leave little room for downtime.  This story does not have that problem, explicitly taking place in the middle of The Mighty Thor #275.  This issue features the encounter between Thor and Mimir that was alluded to in that issue.

All the recent hubub regarding the end of the world has Thor thinking about how the world began.  The Asgardians have legends about such things, but so do the Olympians, as well as the mortals on Earth.  What about evolution?  It seems that he does not remember that he himself gave life to the first humans on Midgard.

Thor is musing on all of  these topics, but they are not what he asks Mimir about.  Instead, he wants to know if Ragnarok is going to take out Midgard when it goes, or if only Asgard is to be wiped out.  The full scope is not entirely clear.

Mimir tells Thor that he should already know how Earth is to be destroyed, but that he has forgotten.  Mimir then cites the events of Thor Annual #5, which goddammit, means I have to square that story with the other Thor storytelling that has already transpired.

At any rate, a thousand years ago, Thor was wandering around, far away from Asgard, when he stumbled upon a prisoner locked away in the middle of nowhere.  The prisoner said that its name was Dromedan, Master of Minds and Men, and that if Thor freed it, he would be granted wealth, women, and worlds to conquer.  Thor was ensorcelled by the prisoner, and tempted to free it, but he ultimately resisted and left it imprisoned.

Afterward, Thor went to Mexico and tried to get the natives to worship him.  This was met with hostility.  He soon ran into four colorfully dressed white men calling themselves “Eternals.”  These men, Druig, Virako, Ajak, and Valkin, asked to parlay with Thor, away from the “primitives.”

The Eternals explained that eons ago, powerful space gods known as Celestials had visited Midgard and performed breeding experiments on the local ape life to create three different breeds of intelligent life:  The Humans, The Eternals, and the Deviants.  At some point later, the Celestials wiped out their creations, forcing what people remained to rebuild their civilizations from scratch.  Now, the Eternals somehow sense that the Celestials are preparing to return for a third time.

Thor takes all of this at face value, but is shaken.  He asks if the first humans on Midgard were named “Aske and Embla”.  They do not know.  This leaves room for multiple interpretations.  Perhaps the Celestials actually only created the Deviants and the Eternals, while Thor created the humans with a branch of Yggrdasill.  Perhaps Yggrdasill served as some sort of catalyst for the Celestials.

It is also worth noting that the Eternals perceive Asgard and Olympus as existing in parallel universes to their own.

At any rate, Thor helps his new friends the Eternals subjugate the Aztecs.  They scare the humans into worshiping them so that these “primitives” might be “civilized”.  After a while, Thor gets bored and takes off for a while, before coming back and helping his buddies give the Mayans the same treatment.

Eventually, Druig turns traitor and releases Dromedan, who is a member of another terrestrial sub-race known as the  Mutates.  He also enlists the service of Tutinax the Mountain Mover, who is also a Mutate.  Druig wants to  enslave humans, not just civilize them.  And so he and his allies fight Thor and his allies.

Virako dies in the fight. But in the end Thor’s friends win the fight.  Afterward, Valkin uses mind powers to erase Thor’s memory of ever encountering the Eternals.  It is not clear why, but this  encounter was part of what the Eternals refer to as the Third Cataclysm.

Now, a thousand years later, Thor remembers.  Mimir informs him that the Celestials now walk the Earth so that they might judge it in fifty years time,  and that depending on how they judge it, they may wipe out civilization again.  Mimir implies, but does not outright state, that this will be the end of Midgard, not Ragnarok.

After a frustrated and despondent Thor leaves, Mimir takes a moment to delight in the secret knowledge that “The destiny of Thor be e’er entwined with that of his adoptive world– for reasons only Odin and Mimir do know!  And Odin, poor soul, be pledged ne’er to tell!”

First Appearance: Virako

Days of Thunder – September 1978 The Mighty Thor #275

“A Balance is Struck!”
Roy Thomas, Writer/ Editor * John Buscema & Tom Palmer, Illustrators * J. Rosen, Letterer/ B. Sharen, Colorist * Jim Shooter, Consulting Editor

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Balder is dead! Out of desperation, Odin sends an Asgardian by the name of Hermod the Swift to Hel to see if anything can be done to restore Balder. The Allfather lends Hermod his eight-legged horse, Sleipnir toward that purpose.

Odin tasks various Asgardians with protecting the Realm. Amongst them he tasks Sigyn, the wife that Loki has apparently had all this time, with guiding the aim of blind archer Hodor. She clearly states that while she loves Loki, she would defend Asgard even if it meant turning on him.

Thor briefly steps away to consult with Mimir.

Harris Hobbs and his team report on the events, but what’s more, Hobbs, who did a lot of studying of Norse mythology before his trip, has been predicting events before they have been happening. Not because of prophetic visions, but because things are matching what he read of Mythology.

Red Norvell hits on Sif some more, and as angry as that makes her, she refrains from slaying him. Butthurt, Norvell tells himself that Sif only likes Thor better than him because Thor is stronger than him. Loki offers to help him with his girl problems.

Loki takes Norvell to Jotunheim, land of the Giants but meets with an assemblage of Trolls and Dwarves. Geirrodur and Ulik are conspicuously absent. Thor somehow tracks them down, and Loki attacks his brother with what he claims to be very axe that Odin used to slay Ymir, eons ago. Since Odin did not slay Ymir, but eternally trapped him in a ring of fire, it seems clear that Loki is lying.

The two brothers battle while Norvell records the fight. Some time prior, Loki weaved an enchantment on Thor so that were he to enter Jotunheim, he would find his strength halved. Thor is no stranger to having his strength halved, but finds he need his full strength and so he uses Mjolnir to summon his Belt of Strength, last seen 184 issues prior. With it, he is able to defeat Loki as well as the trickster’s horde of Trolls and Dwarves.

Thor takes Norvell back to Asgard.  As Thor carries his unconscious brother, he asks Norvell to hold his belt.

When Hermod arrives in Hel, Hela tells him that Balder can be revived if all the world would weep for Balder’s passing. It comes to pass that all things do weep, all save for a Giantess named Thokk, who proclaims that Balder never did nothin for her. This is exactly what Hobbs said would happen, although he adds that there are rumors that Thokk is actually Loki in disguise.

Balder cannot be revived. In order to forestall his full death, Odin sacrifices some of his Odinpower, siphoning it into the fallen god’s body in order to bring Balder to a state of Odinsleep, surrounded by an Odinshield. This will perhaps stave off Ragnarok, but at the cost of weakening the All-Father.

This issue also makes it explicit that time passes at a different rate on Asgard than it does elsewhere. This, perhaps, can account for Odin’s difficulties with understanding time.

Also, Odin has started letting a pair of wolves follow him around wherever he goes.

First appearance: Hermod the Swift, Thokk, Sigyn

 

Days of Thunder – August September 1978 What If Jan Foster Had Found the Hammer of Thor? #10

“What if Jane Foster Had Found The Hammer of Thor?
Don Glut, Writer/ Rick Hoberg, Artist/ Dave Hunt, Inker/ C. Gafford, Colorist/ Carol Lay, Letterer/ Roy Thomas, Editor/ J. Shooter, Consulting Editor

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“What If?” is a comic book magazine that reveals how events would have played out for the superheroes of Marvel, if major events had unfolded differently. This issue examines what would have happened if it Doctor Donald Blake had brought along Nurse Jane Foster on the fateful vacation where Blake originally found Mjolnir.

In this version of events, Blake and Foster are together when the Stone Men From Saturn attack, and after Blake drops his walking stick, it is Foster and not Blake who ends up trapped in a cave with the gnarled stick that is actually Mjolnir in disguise. She picks it up and taps it on the ground, initiating the transformation into Thor that was intended for Blake. Evidently, despite the elaborate scheming of Odin designed to turn Blake into Thor, Jane Foster is herself worthy of the mantle of Thor and so she transforms into a female incarnation of Thor.

Jane, much like Blake in his early days as Thor, has none of the memories or knowledge of Thor. She decides to call herself by the arguably more feminine name of “Thordis.” Thordis makes short work of the Stone Men from Saturn, rescuing Blake.

In the weeks to come, Thordis fights the same threats that Thor had faced in his early crimefighting career and handles herself as well, if not better than Thor had in the default timeline. Not needing a walking-stick, she has carved the stick into a wooden hair-brush that she keeps in her purse.

Eventually, Thordis is summoned to Asgard. Odin is shocked and appalled to discover that it is a mortal woman that has come to wield Mjolnir, and there is enough wiggle room in the text to say that his concern is not over her gender, but over the fact that she is a random non-Blake mortal. Odin banishes Thordis from Asgard.

Sif takes this turn of events poorly. She loves Thor and is now worried that he will never return to Asgard.  She travels to Midgard and proceeds to seduce Doctor Donald Blake, who has drifted apart from Nurse Foster ever since she began her career as a superhero. Over time, Blake and Sif fall in love. Sif uses magic to heal Blake’s leg.

Eventually, the Mangog attempts to unsheath the Odinsword. In the face of Ragnarok both Sif and Thordis return to Asgard. Sif allows Blake to accompany her. Thordis fights the Mangog before waking Odin from his Odinsleep with Mjolnir, allowing the All-Father to undo the Mangog.

In the aftermath, Odin forces Thordis to give Blake her mystic hammer, restoring the doctor to his natural state as Thor. However, Jane has won the respect of Odin and he gifts her with the godhead. He then starts putting the moves on her, and eventually the two are wed. It’s pretty damn weird.

 

Roger Moore as James Bond 007 in Ian Fleming’s “The Man With the Golden Gun”

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The film starts with a sharply dressed Herve Villechaize serving champagne to a three-nippled Christopher Lee at the beach. The manservant is playing a complicated game. He has secretly brought a man to their house, seemingly to kill the three-nippled man, who we learn is named Scaramanga.

This would-be assassin attempts to ambush Scaramanga but this house is not what it seems to be. It is no mere beachside mansion, but nothing less than a funhouse of death! Finding himself beset by garish deathtraps, the intruder is freaked out. Meanwhile, Scaramanga searches the maze for a weapon.

Nick Nack, the manservant, is running a deadly game.  His funhouse toys with both Scaramanga and the intruder.  In the end, Scaramanga is the victor.  Apparently, he arranges these little contests to keep him sharp.  He celebrates his victory by shooting a wax statue of James Bond.

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The opening credits are super boring but the music is good. Lulu sings to an odd brassy theme.

In M’s office, Bond rattles off a dossier’s worth of info on Scaramanga. He was raised in a circus as a trick shot. He is a first class assassin. He kills his victims with a single shot. He charges one million dollars per kill. He carries a golden gun that fires golden bullets. He has three nipples.

M informs Bond that MI6 has received a golden bullet with “007” engraved onto it and that they believe that this means Scaramanga will attempt to kill Bond. For this reason, Bond is being pulled off of his current assignment.

Sadly, Moneypenny is reduced to a mere cameo.

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Bond is rather put out and takes it upon himself to track Scaramanga himself so that he can get back to his job. This involves some seduction, some fighting, and some light comedy before Bond gets his hands on a bullet used to murder one of Scaramanga’s previous victims.

Bond visits Q, who steers him toward the chap who crafted the golden bullet, a man in Macau named Lazar.

I really like this next bit. Lazar, an expert in exotic weaponcraft shows off his workshop to Bond. It is a procedural scene with a hint of the exotic. Lazar is an affable craftsman who takes pride in his work. Unfortunately, Bond bullies him until he gives up what hie knows about Scaramanga.

Bond meets up with Mary Goodnight, a young woman who apparently has history with Bond. She is smitten, but Bond treats her like garbage. She provides him with local intel.
Bond begins tailing a woman for unclear reasons. He breaks into her hotel room, entering the bathroom as she takes a shower. However, she emerges from the shower with a pistol.
She doesn’t want any of what Bond is selling, but he disarms her and slaps her around until she tells him what she knows about Scaramanga. Her name is Anders and she works for Scaramanga and is his sometimes lover. She advises Bond to visit the Bottoms Up Club.

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This movie has started strong but as it has gone on it has been too 70’s brown, too dull, too leering, too thuggish. It is all around unpleasant.

At the Bottoms Up Club, Scaramanga is lying in wait, but instead of killing Bond, he kills some other guy right in front of him. Before he can figure out what is going on, Bond is ushered away by a Hong Kong official named Hip to a totally sweet secret base in the wreckage of a partially sunken ocean liner, the Queen Elizabeth.

M is there, as is Q, and he explains to Bond that the dude that was killed at the club was a solar energy expert who had recently created a breakthrough in solar cell technology.

Later, Bond uses a fake third nipple to pose as Scaramanga in an attempt to trick a Hai Fat, a Thai gangster, into admitting culpability in arranging the murder. It doesn’t work, and after Bond leaves, we learn that Fat was already entertaining Scaramanga and knows exactly who Bond is.

Hai Fat’s plan to dispatch Bond is to invite Bond to dinner only to attack him with Sumo Wrestlers. Bond defeats one Sumo by giving him an extreme wedgie but he is knocked out by Nick Nack.
Nick Nack is about to kill the unconscious Bond with a trident, but before he can, Hai Fat plays the “not in my home” card.

When Bond wakes up, he finds himself the prisoner of an evil Kung Fu academy. He beats up a couple of students before Hip, his Hong Kong helper arrives, bringing with him his Karate Master nieces to help bust out Bond.

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After some light Kung Fu, Bond parts ways with his Asian friends, and  ends up escaping via boat.  This leads to a weak boat chase.

In the middle of this boat chase, who wanders in but J. W. Pepper, the redneck sherriff from the previous film. Pepper is on vacation, and inexplicably is here to shout ugly racist things. Last time around, his presence felt like an attempt to make the film seem less racist by comparison, this time it appears the filmmakers just though it would be funny if there was a guy who shouted racist things.

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This “comedy” ruins the already flat pace of the boat chase.  During the chase Bond finds the time to cruelly toss a child into a river for his own amusement.  Needless to say, he escapes his captors.

Scaramanga has become Hai Fat’s junior partner for dubious reasons. He now murders Fat and assumes total control of his criminal enterprise. It is a very unconvincing coup.

Bond reunites with Goodnight and the two spend a quiet moment together. Bond finally deigns to make a crude pass at her who rebuffs him, not wanting to be one of his passing fancies.

The very next scene, Goodnight has changed her mind and comes to bed with him. However, before things heat up, Anders arrives. Bond hides Goodnight in the closet.

Anders claims that it was her plan to get Bond on Scaramanga’s trail, that it was her only way to be free of him. She tells Bond that she’ll pay any price if he’ll stop Scaramanga, that he can sleep with her too, if he likes. He takes her up on her offer, with Goodnight still in the closet.

Afterward, he arranges to meet Anders at a boxing match, where she will give him a macguffin known as a “Solex Agitator”. When Bond arrives, he sits next to her, but she is dead. After he realizes this, Scaramanga sits down next to him.

Scaramanga tells Bond a story about how he avenged the death of his one and only friend, a circus elephant. Christopher Lee as Scaramanga is flat. Unmenacing. Uninteresting. I do not care for the plight of this elephant.

Meanwhile, through a complex series of handoffs, Goodnight ends up at the fight with the Solex Agitator, but she ends up being tossed in the boot of Scaramanga’s car.

Bond gives chase, commandeering the rental car of J. W. Pepper, with the Sheriff in the passenger seat providing running commentary. Pepper dampens what is an otherwise solid chase scene. The chase contains an amazing stunt that is totally ruined by an astonishingly ill-considered use of a slide-whistle.

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Scaramanga escapes by strapping wings and an jet engine onto his car. He takes off with Goodnight still in his boot. Bond follows Goodnight’s tracker into China, eventually landing on Scaramanga’s island.

Scaramanga is happy to find Bond has followed him. He has decided that they are two of a kind. He shows off his evil lair to Bond. He has henchmen and solar apparatuses.

Scaramanga’s evil plan is to, er, sell clean efficient solar energy to the highest bidder. It is pretty altruistic as far as evil plans go. Oh, also he can use his solar stuff to turn the rays of the sun into a heat cannon.
Scaramanga, like Dr. No before him, gives Bond the “we are the same” speech. But instead of wanting to recruit Bond, Scaramanga wants a duel.

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Roger Moore Bond doesn’t really seem like the soulless murder machine that Connery was. Moore’s Bond is a creep and a rapist but he doesn’t have Connery’s barely-contained fury. Moore’s Bond treats everything with bemused, haughty detachment. He doesn’t seem at all like the opposite side of Scaramanga’s coin.

Scaramanga lures Bond into his funhouse of death. There are mirrors and death traps and wax models. Bond kills Scaramanga by posing as a wax dummy of himself.

Meanwhile, Goodnight kills one of Scaramanga’s henchmen who was trying to rape her by throwing him into solar machinery. Then she accidentally turns on a solar laser with her butt. The net result of her actions is the destruction of Scaramanga’s compound.

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Bond and Goodnight escape in a Chinese junk with the Solex. But as they try to have sex in a boat they are attacked by a knife-wielding Nick Nack. This is not treated as a real threat, just an excuse for Bond to stick a midget in a steamer trunk.

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Then Bond and Goodnight fuck on a boat. The End.

Days of Thunder – August 1978 The Mighty Thor #274

“The Eye– And the Arrow!”
Roy Thomas, Writer/Editor * John Buscema, Tom Palmer, Illustrators/ Instigators * Joe Rosen, Letterer * Bob Sharen, Colorist * Jim Shooter, Consulting Ed.

Thor 274

After taunting Thor with the prospect of the twilight of the Gods, Loki transforms into a rat and scurries behind a statue of Odin. Thor lifts the statue in order to get at his brother, despite the fact that lifting the likeness of Odin is sacrilege. It is while holding this statue that Odin returns astride Sleipnir, his eight-legged horse.

Odin has brought with him a blind warrior named Hoder. More strikingly, after all these binocular years, the All-Father now wears an eyepatch. Thor and Balder somewhat calm down Odin, who is angry about the statue and the mortals and Loki.

Thor wants to kill Loki in order to prevent Ragnarok. Odin says Thor can’t. Odin is surprised that Loki has been restored to Godhood.   Loki says Odin can not punish him again, and that Odin knows the reasons why. Odin, who normally would have plenty to be absurdly angry about, takes it all in relative stride, for he knows they face the end of all things.

Recently,  Odin’s ravens, Hugin and Munin, warned him that the time of Ragnarok might be approaching. Odin visited Mimir, seeking knowledge of how to prevent such an Armageddon. Mimir asked that Odin pay a price for such knowledge.

Unlike the price Mimir recently asked Thor to pay, the price demanded of Odin is actually costly: his right eye. Mimir hates Odin, for at the dawn of Asgard, Odin was responsible for Mimir’s beheading. Having taken petty payment, Mimir instructs Odin to travel to Hel to consult with Volla, the long-dead prophetess.

Odin finds Volla and asks her how, if possible, Ragnarok can be avoided. She tells him that Ragnarok is inevitable, due to Odin’s long-ago decree that the world will eventually need “fiery cleansing.” She suggests that it may be delayed if Balder can be protected, for his death shall signal the beginning of the end.

This is strange, for in the vision of Ragnarok that she saw, as depicted in issue #200, Balder fought alongside Thor in the battle of Ragnarok. Either her vision of the future has changed, or she is lying.

While in Hel, Odin encounters Hela. It is well-established that there are multiple afterlifes, and that the afterlife for the Aesir is Valhalla. This is now slightly reframed, as Hela is identified as the ruler of the Realm of the Dead known as Hel, and that she has semi-recently annexed Valhalla, something that Odin would take issue with, had he not more pressing matters. On the way back to Asgard, Odin happens upon Hoder, a blind wandering god, whom Odin offers to bring back to Asgard. He does so.

Soon after Odin finishes his tale, Sif and Hildegarde return from a seperate mission, tasked to them by the All-Father: They have brought back the long-absent Goddesses of Asgard. It is unknown where they were, or why they left, or how much of the female population of Asgard had been away while others such as Sif, Krista, and Hildegarde had remained.

Amongst the returning Goddesses is Frigga, the wife of Odin. Frigga shows a maternal affection for Thor, but in an aside, Hobbs explains to his cameraman Roger “Red” Norvell, that he doubts that Frigga is Thor’s mother; that according to mythology his mother was a giantess named “Jord.”

After Thor and Sif exchange a warm greeting, Odin, Frigga, and Thor depart to discuss the end of the world and also the presence of mortals in Asgard. Loki is not invited.

While they do that, the rest of the cast has a moment of downtime. Red clumsily hits on Sif and Balder tells him to fuck off. Balder then tells everyone that he is not worried about dying because as long as he remains in Asgard, he is invulnerable to any non-mistletoe thing. In his telling, it is Frigga that arranged this, but he likely misremembers, for it was Odin that made such happen.

Thanks to a psychic suggestion from Loki, Balder suggests that everybody throw their weapons at him. All the Asgardians do, despite Hobbs’ protests that they are being very stupid. Loki offers Hoder a special bow, with which Hodor uses to fire an arrow straight into Balder’s chest, fatally!

First Appearance: Sleipnir, Hoder, Hugin, Munin, Frigga, Njord

 

Days of Thunder – July 1978 Captain Marvel #57

“Star Burst”
The Beginning of the End, as recorded by: Roger McKenzie, script * Pat Broderick & Bob Wiacek, art * John Costanza, letterer * Don Warfield, colorist * Jim Shooter, Editor

Captain Marvel 57

Captain Marvel is the formal name of Mar-Vell, a Kree warrior with cosmic super powers not unlike those of Warlock. He posesses the Nega-Bands, two bracelets that give him a connection with the Negative Zone

Mar-Vell has come to make the Earth his home, and is a sometime ally of the Avengers, and a friend of Rick Jones. Recently, Captain Marvel combined forces with the Avengers and Warlock to defeat the mad Titan Thanos, preventing him from killing countless lives. Both Warlock and Thanos died in the battle.

Mar-Vell has become feverish, and Rick has taken him to see Doctor Donald Blake. Blake can do nothing for him, and in mid-examination the Kree bursts out of Blake’s office. Blake transforms into Thor and gives pursuit.

When Thor catches up with Mar-Vell, the delirious hero begs Thor to kill him. Before Thor is willing to take that step, he demands an explanation. Mar-Vell explains that before he died, Thanos tampered with the Sun of Earth and the other planets in the Solar System. It is causing the cosmic physiology of Mar-Vell to overload , which will cause a chain reaction leading to the destruction of the entire universe.

Thor has a hunch and hurls Mjolnir at Marvel’s Nega Bands. It strikes both of them, opening a portal to the Negative Zone. Such are the strange properties of the Negative Zone, that Marvel’s excess energy is sucked into the Negative Zone, creating a new star. Afterward, both Mar-Vell and the Sun seem to be fine.

 

Days of Thunder – July 1978 The Mighty Thor #273

“Somewhere… Over the Rainbow Bridge!
Roy Thomas, Writer/Editor * John Buscema & Tom Palmer, Artists/Storytellers * Joe Rosen, Letterer/ G. Roussos, Colorist * Jim Shooter, Consulting Editor

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Starting with this issue, the introductory text that began with issue #248 has been subtly changed to:

“When Dr. DONALD BLAKE strikes his wooden walking-stick upon the ground, it becomes the mystic mallet MJOLNIR – and the lame physician is transformed into the Norse God of Thunder, Master of the Storm, Lord of the Living Lightning– and heir to the throne of eternal Asgard… Stan Lee Presents: The Mighty Thor!”

When Thor last crossed paths with Harris Hobbs, he used hypnosis to make the reporter forget what he knew about Thor and about Asgard. When Doctor Donald Blake last crossed paths with Hobbs, that hypnosis had held. However,  for all of that time, the mortal’s memories of Asgard would haunt him at night, and eventually he sought out a hypnotherapist who was able to restore the reporter’s memories.

Now a television reporter, and desperate for a story,  Hobbs begs Thor to be allowed to take a camera crew to Asgard. Thor promises to ask Odin, but considers getting a “yes” to be highly unlikely. Thor departs, and soon afterword a mysterious stranger makes himself known to Hobbs, asking to hear more about his dreams.

Hobbs tells the stranger about a vision he has been having, of a time long ago when a young Thor and a tragically hatless Hymir went fishing. What Thor did not tell his friend was that he was fishing for Jormungand, the one and only Migard Serpent, destined to one day slay Thor at the time of Ragnarok. Hymir cut the enchanted fishing line when he realized what Thor had done and Thor stormed off as a result.

The telling of this story somehow manages to restore the memory and strength of the stranger, who is, of course, Loki. Loki offers to take Hobbs and his camera crew to Asgard, which is an offer the mortal eagerly accepts.

Meanwhile, Thor visits his friend Tony Stark’s corporate office to pick up all that remains of F.A.U.S.T:  a giant adamantium cube.  He plans to take it to Asgard for safekeeping. Once he has the cube, he is visited by an illusion appearing to be the Midgard Serpent. He attempts to fight it, but returns to Asgard once he realizes the serpent is not real.

In Asgard, he is eager to see Sif once again, only to be informed that she and Odin have departed on a unknown mission, leaving the Warriors Three in charge. Before the matter can be discussed further, a panel in F.A.U.S.T. pops open and Hobbs and his camera crew, Red and Joey, pop out along with Loki.

Loki claims that Hobbs’ vision is a precursor to the coming of Ragnarok and that it is the nearness of the end times that has restored Loki. The time of Ragnarok, claims Loki, is here!

First Appearance: Red, Joey

Days of Thunder – June 1978 The Mighty Thor #272

“The Day the Thunder Failed!”
A Trio of Titans– Re-Teamed!
Roy Thomas, Writer/Editor * John Buscema & Tom Palmer, Illustrators/ George Roussos, Colorist/ Joe Rosen, Letterer/ Jim Shooter, Consulting Editor

Thor 272

On the streets of Midgard, Thor stumbles upon some kids and ends up telling them a story of his youth. He tells a tale of Asgard, one that takes place some time after he has earned his hammer.

Young Thor and Loki were lost in a forest, far from Asgard, when they stumble upon a giant, large enough to hold both Asgardians in the palm of his hand. The giant’s name is Skyrmir, and he tells the brothers that they are in the kingdom of Utgard.

Skyrmir is returning to the the Hall of Utgard, and Thor and Loki decide to follow him out of the forest. That night, the Giant offers his tiny companions food from his bag and then promptly falls asleep. To Thor and Loki’s frustration, they discover that they cannot open the giant sack. Frustrated, Thor lashes out at Skyrmir, striking him with a thunderbolt. The giant wakes only briefly, having barely felt anything.

Later, they arrive in Utgardhall, a city scaled for people the size of Skyrmir. Thor and Loki quickly earn the attention of Utgard, the ruler of Utgardhall. He challenges the gods to a series of five challenges. If they win, he will give them directions to their home, if they fail, they will be banished to the dungeons.

In turn they fail each challenge: First there is an eating contest, a race, and a drinking contest. Then the challenges get more insulting as Thor is challenged to lift a simple housecat, and when he fails that one, is asked to defeat an old crone at wrestling. This too he fails.

At this time, Utgard reveals that they have been tricked all along. That each step of the way, they were the victims of illusions and enchantments. Thor was not lifting a cat, but the Midgard Serpent. The crone was actually Elli, the very personification of Aging.

Having revealed the deception, Utgard commends the Asgardians for not surrendering, declaring them worthy to rule the cosmos. He then departs, and strips away the illusion that was Utgardhall itself.

The kids thank Thor for the story and depart.  As they go, one says to Thor, “The Force be with you”.  To this, Thor replies,  “And with thee, lad… whate’er thou dost mean.”

It is at this point that Harris Hobbs runs up to Thor and declares his intent to create a TV special about the Norse Gods, filmed on location in Asgard.

First Appearance: Utgard, Skyrmir, Elli

 

Days of Thunder – June 1978 Marvel Team-Up Starring Spider-Man and Thor #70

“Whom Gods Destroy!”
Chris Claremont, Author * John Byrne, Penciler * Tony DeZuniga, Inker * Annette Kawecki, Letterer/ Andy Yanchus, Colorist * Jim Shooter, Editor

MTU 70

Thor stumbles upon Spider-Man and an X-Man by the name of Havok fighting a giant calling himself the Living Monolith. Thor helps the heroes beat the villain.  As he departs, he tells Spider-Man to “know that the son of Odin shall e’er count thee among those he calls his friends.”

Days of Thunder – May 1978 The Avengers #171

 “…Where Angels Fear to Tread”

Jim Shooter, Writer/Editor /George Perez, Penciler/ Pablo Marcos, Inker/ Denise Wohl, Letterer/ Phil Rachelson, Colorist

Avengers 171

Thor, that is to say, the real Thor, is helping his comrades in the Avengers fight Ultron. The nature of the seemingly false Thor remains unknown.

Joining the Avengers is Ms. Marvel. Ms. Marvel is a human who’s DNA has been merged with that of a member of the alien race known as the Kree. This fusion has granted her superhuman abilities. Ms. Marvel is both a a superhero and a liberated woman. One of her abilities is precognitive visions,  and she has recently had a vision that compels her to help the Avengers in their fight against Ultron.

The conflict against Ultron leads the Avengers to a church. Thor is uncomfortable entering the church. He explains that some Christians consider his very existence to be an affront to their belief in a single supreme deity.

This church has for some reason been chosen as Ultron’s lair. Ultron wishes to murder his father, and imprint a robot with the personality of his father’s wife and then to fuck that robot. Ultron, not one for subtlety, names his would-be robot bride “Jocasta.”

Jocasta awakens and finds herself deeply conflicted between her programmed love for Ultron, and how deeply skeeved out she is by him.  Confused, she tries to murder him. She fails, but this distracts Ultron long enough for the Scarlet Witch to crack open his armor. Once this happens, Thor uses Mjolnir to suck out all of Ultron’s life force before ejecting it into the cosmos.

Days of Thunder – May 1978 The Mighty Thor #271

“…Like a Diamond in the Sky!”
“Len Wein, Writer/Editor * Walt Simonson & Tony DeZuniga, Illustrators/ Storytellers * Glynis Wein, Colorist * Joe Rosen, Letterer

Thor 271

After conferring with the Avengers and with an intelligence operative named Nick Fury, Thor uses Mjolnir to teleport himself and Iron Man inside of F.A.U.S.T., now in orbit around Earth. The two of them destroy it.

Last Appearance: Len Wein

 

Days of Thunder – April 1978 The Mighty Thor #270

“Minute of Madness– Dark Day of Doom!”
Len Wein, Writer/Editor * Walt Simonson & Tony DeZuniga Artists/Storytellers * Glynis Wein, Colorist * Joe Rosen, Letterer

Thor 270

Thor finds himself unable to retrieve his hammer before his time runs out.  Fortunately, his transformation back to Blake happens unseen. As Blake, he tells Blastaar that Thor went thattaway, and Blastaar departs. However, by the time Blake makes his way back to his reverted walking stick, it has been snatched up by a youth proclaiming himself to be the President of a group of toughs known as the Street Kings.

Blake politely asks for his stick back, and gets hit upside the head for his trouble. He grabs the stick and, without tapping it against anything at all, is transformed back into Thor. Perhaps the contact against his head closed the circuit of transformation.

Upon witnessing this transformation, the Street Kings take off.  Blastaar has already made himself scarce, but Stilt-Man remains, and he tells Thor what he knows.

Thor visits his teammate in the Avengers, Tony Stark. Thor tells Tony what he knows about Blastaar’s activities, and Stark uses a computer to cross-reference the clues and determine that Blastaar’s master is F.A.U.S.T., the living factory.

Blastaar has become convinced that F.A.U.S.T. is a being of enough power to be worth serving. His master has promised to make him King of the Negative Zone in exchange for his service. He gives F.A.U.S.T. the isotopes that Stilt-Man stole.

Thor heads straight to the factory and fights Blastaar. When it becomes clear that he will not win the fight, Blastaar retreats to a portal to the Negative Zone created by F.A.U.S.T. However, he has been double crossed, and Blastaar is disintegrated instead of teleported.

Meanwhile, F.A.U.S.T. has reconfigured itself into a orbiting death satellite and launched itself into orbit.

First Appearance: The Street Kings

 

Days of Thunder – April 1978 The Avengers #170

“…Though Hell Should Bar the Way!”

James Shooter, Writer/Colorist /George Perez, Artist/Co-Plotter / Pablo Marcos, Inker/ Denise Wohl, Letterer/ Archie Goodwin, Editor

Avengers 170

After Thor’s recent realization that that he was slumming by participating in the Avengers, he reduced his role to that of an associate member, to be called upon only in times of emergency. There have been some other membership shakeups, and the current full-time Avengers roster now consists of Iron Man, Captain America, The Wasp, The Scarlet Witch, The Vision, and the Beast (formerly of the X-Men).

Wonder Man, a reformed villain with a brief former stint as an Avenger who is also the human template for the Vision, has been returned from the dead via vague arcane means. He now serves as a member of the Avengers although he has not been officially made an active member.

Since taking his leave of absence, Thor has seemingly dropped by to assist the Avengers on three separate occasions. However, he now arrives at the Avengers Mansion, claiming to have never done any such thing. He is very confused. It seems that the Thor that has been fighting alongside the Avengers as of late has been an Impostor.

Days of Thunder – March 1978 The Mighty Thor #269

“A Walk on the Wild Side!”
Len Wein, Writer/Editor * Walt Simonson & Tony DeZuniga, Illustrators/Storytellers * Glynis Wein: Colorist/ Joe Rosen: Letterer

Thor 268

Thor has visited a newsstand where he helps himself to a newspaper and proceeds to leaf through it, although he explains to the news vendor, “Lacking suitable coin of the realm, I cannot repay thee for the use of thy…”

Almost immediately after he finishes his paper, Thor changes into Blake.  Blake  immediately gives a homeless woman a dollar. Thor reads newspapers as a god so that he doesn’t have to pay for them.

Blastaar is a brutish warrior with the power to make things explode by pointing at them. He was once accidentally released from the Negative Zone of Sub-Space by Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four an let loose on Earth. Sometime later he was killed by the X-Men before being resurrected by two years of steady dosage of Gamma Rays administered by a mad scientist named Professor Preston Pentecost who wanted Blastaar to kill a sentient factory named “F.A.U.S.T.”.  Before Blastaar could kill the factory, the Incredible Hulk wrapped him in an unbreakable metal known as “adamantium” and threw him in the ocean.

The Stilt-Man is a costumed criminal who uses a suit of armor containing hydraulic telescoping legs to commit crimes. Recently in a battle with a hero named Black Goliath, his armor was destroyed, and he was imprisoned. Now he has been broken out of prison by Blastaar and provided a brand new suit of stilt-armor, this new one made of adamantium. It is unclear how Blastaar came to leave the bottom of the ocean, but he is now working for an unseen master.

As payment for his freedom and for his new armor, Stilt-Man is tasked with stealing a package containing unknown contents out of a helicopter in mid-flight. Stilt-Man finds that reasonable, and so he agrees to the job. When he grabs the goods, he uses stupifying gas to knock out the helicopter pilots. As the helicopter plummets, it gains the attention of Dr. Blake, who becomes Thor once again, and catches the helicopter.

Thor then finds defeats Stilt-Man. As he approaches his fallen foe, Blastaar suckerpunches Thor with an explosive burst, causing Thor to drop his hammer and start the sixty-second clock.

Meanwhile, on Asgard, the Warriors Three have captured the team of Snaykar, Magrat and Kroda.

 

Mostly James Bond and Thor Stuff