“Journey to the Golden Star!”
Gerry Conway, Scripter/ John Buscema and Don Perlin Artists/ Vinnie Colletta, Inker/ D. Vladimer, Letterer/ S. Goldberg, Colorist/ Roy Thomas, Editor
Thor is so concerned over Balder’s well-being that he rips the doors of his friend’s room in Avengers Mansion off of the hinges to get to him. He finds Balder babbling incoherently, beset by madman’s visions. The subject of his ranting is “Asgard” which is enough evidence to convince Thor that this must be the work of Odin and that the only course of action is to return to Asgard en masse, and fight Odin.
Thor decides that one of their group must stay behind in Avengers Mansion to care for their friend. He means for it to be Hildegarde because she is a woman but she lets him know “’Tis not this woman’s work.” Volstagg agrees to stay behind. All the others, including the powerless mortal Silas Grant travel with Thor to Asgard.
They arrive in Asgard only to find it empty and unguarded. They soon are ambushed by a band of lizard men. Hildegarde kills the first one but they soon find themselves in a dialogue with the lizard men’s leader, Sssthgar.
Sssthgar tells them a tale. According to him, Asgard was beset by insectoid alien slavers known as Vrellnexians, who captured and enslaved the whole of Asgard. Sssthgar’s people are, according to him, escaped slaves, and they will happily lead Thor’s contingent to the Golden Star, a planet that apparently is the heart of the galactic slave trade.
Thor’s people and Sssthgar’s people fly through space on a magic flying longship (perhaps the same Odinship of Thor’s youth?), and soon arrive at the Golden Sun. They arrive just in time to see Odin, cowed, in chains, on the auction block. Thus do they begin to fight the slavers.
As they fight, Odin is in a daze, begging Thor to retreat. Also, Ssthgard reveals he and his people to in actuality be the former partners of the slavers, abandoned on Asgard, and now staging a coup.
First appearance: Sssthgar, Vrellnexians, the Golden Star, lizard men