Days of Thunder – May 1972 The Mighty Thor #199

“If this be Death..!”

Stan Lee, editor/ Gerry Conway, writer/ John Buscema, artist/ Vinnie Colletta, inker/ Sam Rosen, letterer

Thor 199

While Asgard hurtles back toward the universe, Kartag takes his leave, returning to the World’s End. Soon after he departs, Hela arrives. Thor refuses to release Odin to her custody, and before the matter can be settled, Pluto, lord of the Netherworld arrives in a longboat full of what appear to be Mutates. He also wants to claim Odin as a prize. This leads to a battle, with Hela joining the forces of Asgard against Pluto and his minions.

Balder, who has apparently been in Asgard along with Karnilla ever since it left the universe, cannot help but join the fray. He is badly wounded for his troubles, and Karnilla once again uses magic to save Balder. As he rises, he prepares to re-enter the battlefield.

Karnilla forbids him to fight and risk death. When he speaks of the dishonor it would be to stay his hand, she releases him, commanding him never to return to her. Such is the depth of her love of Balder.

On Blackworld, “he” has been revealed to be some sort of crystalline hulk, and so Tana Nile at last fills in Sif and company on the nature of “him.” This powerful fiend, who keeps shifting the nature of Blackworld, is Ego Prime, a small offshoot of Ego, the Living Planet. It is unclear why he is named “Prime” when the Living Planet is the primary Ego. He seems to be shaping Blackworld to resemble present-day 1972 Earth. Why he is doing this, remains to be seen.

On Asgard, Pluto fights Thor one-on-one and he bests the thunder god. He stand over Thor, prepared to kill the Asgardian with a final blow of his Axe!

First Appearance (full): Ego Prime

 

Days of Thunder – April 1972 The Mighty Thor #198

“–and Odin Dies!”
Stan Lee, editor/ Gerry Conway, Scripter/ John Buscema, Artist/ Vince Colletta, Inker/ John Costanza, Letterer

Thor 198

Thor and Hogun manage to free Odin from the Mangog’s grasp.   Thor then retreats to protect his father’s body.

Volstagg takes the Twilight water to the Vizier.  Lacking clear direction, the Vizier decides to try mixing the water into the Cosmic Well.

The Cosmic Well explodes, causing a geyser of raw power to shoot outward. Weary Odin finds his way to this geyser and is showered by these waters of power. The mystic shower gives him strength  enough to battle the Mangog one last time.

Meanwhile, the Mangog finds the Odinsword and he unsheathes it!

Fortunately, Ragnarok is averted thanks to Asgard’s absence from the Enthropic Universe. Odin with the power of the Twilight Well and the Mangog with the power of the Odinsword fight one final battle. Odin severs the Mangog’s connection to rage that fuels the beast, causing it to dwindle into non-existence. However, Odin dies in the conflict.

On Blackworld, Sif and Hildegarde try to uncover the mystery of the unnamed force that is toying with the lives of the people who live there. Suddenly, Tana Nile of the Collectors arrives on the scene, frantically warning the Asgardians to join her within her Force Bubble. As they do, they at last see the off-panel face of “him!”

During Odin’s funeral, a thought occurs to Thor. With Asgard outside of the universe, Hela has been unable to claim his father. Until she does, he is not truly dead. As Asgard makes the journey back into the universe, Thor will use his power to freeze time (as he once did to save Jane Foster so that he might keep Odin from Death. As we know, this is incredibly dangerous.

Also, we learn that Odin’s previously unnamed friend is named “Bulwar”.

Days of Thunder – March 1972 The Mighty Thor #197

“The Well at the Edge of the World!”
Stan Lee, editor/ Gerry Conway, scripter/ John Buscema, artist/ Vince Colletta, inker/ Artie Simek, Letterer

Thor 197

Thor has arrived at the Twilight Well, guarded by Kartag. Thor announces his intent to steal the Well’s waters and so he and Kartag fight, while Satrina restrains his friends. Thor and Kartag’s battle eventually plunges them into the well itself.

Submerged within the Twilight Well, the waters of which hold unknown mystical properties, Thor has a vision, a moment of clarity.   Afterward, Kartag drags Thor’s unconscious form from the well. The battle is over.

On Blackworld, Sif and Hildegarde fight some monsters before meeting Silas Grant, a steamboat captain. Something strange is going on in Blackworld. When the Asgardians arrived, it seemed to be a medieval world, but things seem to keep changing, and the inhabitants seem to all be terrified of an unnamed “him” (not be be confused with “Him.”)

At the Twilight Well, Kartag’s masters reveal themselves: Three crones in red robes. They are the Norns, also known as the Fates. They are cosmic beings, and they claim that none have power over them, not even Odin. This quest to visit theTwilight Well was a test and the Asgardians have passed, apparently. The Norns gift our heroes with a sample of water from the Twilight Well and the assistance of noble Kartag.

This obviously raises questions about what relationship, if any, these beings have with Karnilla and the Norn Hag. If Karnilla is the Norn Queen, does that make her the representative of these women?  Surely she is not their leader.  It is not clear.

Thor, Volstagg, Fandral, Hogun, and Karag travel the rainbow bridge back to Asgard only to discover that the bridge has been shattered and that Asgard is gone! Fandral suggest that Asgard might not be destroyed, merely absent, and so Thor tries a bit of magic: He believes the waters of the Twilight Well to have an affinity with the water of the Cosmic Well of Asgard. He pours some the Twilight waters on his hammer and hurls the hammer into the unknown, trusting the water’s affinity to pull the hammer, with his party in tow, to Asgard, if indeed it still exists.

It works! Back on Asgard, they soon find themselves in battle with the Mangog. The Mangog has a surprise in store: He pulls out the near-death body of Odin, to use as a shield and as a trophy!

First Appearance: Silas Grant, The Norn

 

Days of Thunder – February 1972 The Mighty Thor #196

“Within the Realm of Kartag!”
“Stan Lee, editor/ Gerry Conway, scripter/ John Buscema, artist/ Vince Colletta, inker/ Jon Costa, letterer

Thor 196

Deep within the World’s End, Thor and his friends meet Satrina, servant of Kartag. She suckerpunches them with the Crimson Mist, which sends them into a shared hallucination of being waited on hand and foot by beautiful fawning women. Kygar, who is immune to the mist, warns Thor that things are not what they seem. This allows Thor to realize that they had been pawing over fawning MONSTERS! Her illusion pierced, Satrina kills Kygar and retreats.

Later, Satrina, having failed with the carrot, tries to scare Thor and company off with the stick. She creates a powerful dragon illusion, but Thor figures out that it is a trick. Out of options, she agrees to take our heroes to meet Kartag. Kartag is a fearsome Giant, armed with a giant cudgel of an axe, prepared to kill those who intrude upon his land.

On Blackworld, Sif and Hildegarde find themselves fighting bandits, which causes Sif to cry out “I feel that dark craving– an emotion akin to my love for Thor– The Battlelove of a warrior born!”  Sif has hopefully shaken off the weepiness that had been ailing her.

Elsewhere, Asgard is under assault by the Mangog. How can the Mangog still exist?  It is not entirely clear, but it is speculated that once something as powerful as the Mangog is created by magic, the very idea of it is too powerful to ever be undone.

As the Mangog attacks, Hela comes to Odin, chiding him for sending his son away to escape the power of the Mangog. The assembled might of Asgard tries to hold back the Mangog, but none can equal its strength. Odin’s oldest friend Khan, dies defending Asgard. In the face of the Mangog, with his dead friend claimed by Hela, Odin shouts to the heavens “ The Mangog hat almost triumphed– and for the sake of a thousand universes– this must not be! –This day, by my power, by my glory – the sacred world doth forever more pass away…”

The full implications of Odin’s actions are unclear, but at that moment, on another world, Sif and Hildegarde notice a star in the distance go nova.

First appearance: Satrina, Kartag

 

Days of Thunder – January 1972 The Mighty Thor #195

“In the Shadow of Mangog!”
Stan Lee, Editor/ Gerry Conway, Writer/ John Buscema, Artist/ Vince Colletta, Inker/ Artie Simek, Letterer

Thor 195

Currently unaware of the danger that Odin has allowed Loki to unleash, Thor and his friends take a well-deserved breather. Thor takes off his helmet and lets his beautiful tresses flow, while Fandral dances like an idiot. Thor pledges that he and Sif shall be wed within a fortnight. For a second time, Asgardian women other than Sif appear in the background.

All this revelry is cut short when Odin sends Thor and “the three who’s lives are bound to his” on a quest into the World’s End, to find Kartag the Keeper, so that he might divulge the secret of the Twilight Well. Sif can’t even be bothered to ask to go along only to be sternly denied. She skips straight to crying.

Odin then summons a warrior named Hildegarde and commands that she take Sif to Blackworld, which she does, by karate chopping Sif into unconsciousness and picking her up while Odin transports the two of them with his rod.

When Sif awakens she cries some more, bemoaning her separation from Thor. Hildegarde is unimpressed, as she is in love with one of the trio. She does not elaborate on this point, “We’ll have time enow for woman’s talk when we do reach shelter.” The two warriors head to a small village and along the way they help The Mighty Thor pass the very low bar that is the Bechtel Test for the first time in 112 issues.

On Asgard, Odin has assembled a team of very old friends of his: Khan, Rongor, Whitemane, and a fourth as-of-yet unnamed one. He need their help to protect Asgard against that which he has unwittingly unleashed.

He shows his friends that thanks to his mistake, Loki has released the Mangog, which somehow still exists. The Mangog does not believe in gratitude and traps Loki in a block of Amber.

Thor and company fight their way through some freaky monsters, including a pack of trolls that look unlike any trolls we have seen in these pages to date. Thor spares the lives of one of the trolls, named Kygar, who pledges to serve Thor forevermore.

And then the still-living Mangog arrives in Asgard.

First Appearance: Hildegarde, Khan, Rongor, Whitemane, Kygar