Days of Thunder – December 1973 The Mighty Thor #218

“Where Pass the Black Stars Also Pass Death!”
Gerry Conway, writer * John Buscema, artist * Jim Mooney, inker * Artie Simek, letterer, G. Roussos, colorist * Roy Thomas, editor

Thor 218

Odin has learned of the great threat known as the Black Stars, a threat that is currently menacing the Collectors of Rigel, a threat that if left unchecked could threatened Asgard. He sends Thor to investigate, along with Tana Nile, Silas Grant, Sif, and Balder. As the heroes depart, Odin wonders if the rift between father and son is truly mended.

The heroes arrive on Rigel, only to discover that the planet has been evacuated. Left behind are a small band of mutants: Jukka, Bolaa, Tryx, and a fourth as-of-yet-unnamed one are part of an all-male caste of failed genetic experiments. The mutants were not permitted to live alongside the citizens of Rigel, and were not permitted to evacuate the planet. Thor invites them to come along on the Starjammer, as they race to catch up with the Rigellian fleet. It is unclear how Tana Nile feels about this.

Shortly after they depart, Rigel is destroyed by the Black Stars.

When the Starjammer catches up with the Rigelian fleet, all of its crew, save the mutants of Rigel, are granted an audience with the Grand Commissioner. The Commissioner tells them of the Black Stars (not to be confused with the Black Galaxy.) The so-called Black Stars are five giant planets, each three times the size of Jupiter, orbiting a star that seems to be mobile. This solar system seems to be artificially created, and at least somewhat aware. It have traveled from galaxy to galaxy for an untold amount of time, using energy blasts to destroy planets, and giant machines to scoop up the remains of the planet, which seems to be these strange planets’ fuel source. The driving force of this cosmic mass currently seems to be intent on destroying the entire galaxy.

Elsewhere, Krista returns home to her parents. It is revealed that she is the sister of Hildegarde, and that she is willing to kill in order to keep her charmstone.

First Appearance: Colonizer 12, The Black Stars, The Mutant Class of Rigel

 

Days of Thunder – November 1973 Defenders #10

Steve Engleart, Author * Sal Buscema, Artist * Frank Bolle, Inker * Tom Orzechowski , Letterer/ P. Goldberg, Colorist * Roy Thomas, Editor
Breakthrough! The Incredible Hulk Vs. The Mighty Thor!
Chapter 9″

Defenders 10

Over the past few issues of The Avengers and The Defenders, various members of the teams have been squaring off in battle. Now at last it is time for the main event: Thor vs. The Hulk. This has been long time coming, after their previous fight back in issue #112 proved inconclusive.

This battle also proves inconclusive.

 

Days of Thunder – November 1973 The Mighty Thor #217

“All Swords Against them!”
Gerry Conway, Scripter/ John Buscema & Sal Buscema, Artists Exemplar/ J. Costanza, Letterer, P. Goldberg, Colorist/ Roy Thomas, Editor

Thor 217

The crew of the Starjammer, including those who have theoretically been exiled from Asgard and those who are not Asgard natives, all return to Asgard only to discover doppelgangers in their place! After a good deal of fighting, it is revealed that these duplicates are the creations of Igron!

It seems that the earlier confusion can now be settled: it was Igron, that Loki sent to the Troll dungeons in issue #179, and not Toag, although Igron still wears Toag’s hat.

Igron had escaped from his Trollish prison in the midst of Thor’s battle against Ulik.  Upon his escape, he headed to Asgard, only to find it abandoned. When the Asgardians returned without Odin or any of the Asgardian nobles, Igron crafted an elaborate illusion, allowing him to disguise himself as Balder while controlling a false Odin and thus indirectly ruling Asgard.

The true Asgardian nobles defeat Igron’s illusions with little difficulty and they imprison the dark wizard. They also reunite with Balder and Volstagg and while it is left unsaid, it seems Odin just wants to quietly undo his banishment of those he had banished to Earth.

Apparently, Karnilla quietly departs in the chaos.

Meanwhile, while fleeing from the conflict in the city, an Asgardian named Krista finds a strange stone in the woods marked with a scary monster face that seems to radiate power.

Elsewhere, the Colonizers of Rigel find themselves fleeing Rigel in a mass evacuation.

This is the first time it is suggested that the Asgardian friends of Thor: Balder, Sif, Hildegarde, and Heimdal, are more than just friends, but nobles, members of a codified social station above those of the common Asgardian.

First Appearance: Krista

 

Days of Thunder – October 1973 Avengers #116

Ten Years ago this month, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created… The Mighty Avengers! Today, Steve Englehard and Bob Brown continue the standard of excellence that has always marked Marvel’s mightiest, most exciting group–/Mike Esposito, inker/ John Costanza, letterer/ Petra Goldberg, colorist/ Johnny Romita, art director/ Roy Thomas, editor
“Chapter 2: Betrayal!”

Avengers 116

Dormammu and Loki have tricked the Defenders (currently consisting of Doctor Strange, Namor, the Hulk, Valkyrie, the Silver Surfer, and Hawkeye) into believing that the Evil Eye is the key to releasing the Black Knight from the stone prison that the Enchantress left him in. Now they search for the six scattered parts, guided by Strange’s magic.

Loki is having second thoughts about this plan. He has realized that if Dormammu would succeed in conqueroring Earth’s dimension, he would have the power and the vantage to launch an attack on Asgard. While Loki has no respect for his father’s rule, he does not wish to see his home conquered by an outsider and so he leaves the Dark Dimension in order to warn Thor of the threat to Earth. This is the very first time a Marvel comic has depicted Loki thinking or doing anything that was not entirely selfish and craven.

However, Loki cannot bring himself to be honest and admit culpability for this threat. Instead, he paints the Defenders as villains, seeking the Evil Eye for their own nefarious ends. Given that five of the six Defenders have track records as villains, this is plausible enough. And so the Avengers split up to fight the Defenders and keep them from re-assembling the Evil Eye.

This issue makes it clear that Earth and Asgard are in separate dimensions. The nature of what exactly a dimension is, remains shaky.

Clearly, this entire Avengers/Defenders crossover takes place either before or after Thor’s recent trip into space.

 

Days of Thunder – October 1973 The Mighty Thor #216

“Where Chaos Rules!”
Gerry Conway, Scripter/ John Buscema & Jim Mooney, Artists Extraordinaire/ John Costanza, letterer/ George Roussos, colorist/ Roy Thomas, Editor

Thor 216

The crystalline group consciousness that is known as Xorr has transformed itself into a giant humanoid being intent on absorbing the universe and remaking the cosmos as Xorr sees fit. Out of love for Sif who remains trapped within the Xorr, Thor is not only prepared to allow the being to do this, but he stands before the creature as its protector.

When Xorr speaks, there are quotation marks around his dialogue, a detail traditionally omitted from comic book storytelling. It serves to makes Xorr more offputting.

While Thor’s allies are prepared to stand back and not interfere, Mercurio and the Gramosians are not so accommodating. They attack Thor so that they might stop Xorr from his rampage, and also so they might harness Xorr’s power to save their world.

Xorr absorbs energy from a variety of cosmic sources as Thor and Mercurio battle. Eventually, Mercurio convinces Thor to stop being a jerk and they combine their powers in order to free Sif and Karnilla. While Thor and Mercurio work things out, Odin nudges Xorr into a supernova, which shatters the crystal form of the creature. Mercurio collects the shards of Xorr, with which he can somehow save his world from vaguely defined doom.  He and Thor part as friends.

Meanwhile on Earth, Balder has regained his sanity. It is unclear what lifted that cloud from his mind, just as it remains unclear precisely what he had been doing on Asgard, and what it was that  drove him mad. Seeking to face that which caused him harm, Balder takes Volstagg with him as he swings his magic sword to return them to Asgard, never mind that they are both banished from that land.

 

Days of Thunder – September 1973 Avengers #115

Steve Engelhart, Script/ Bob Brown, Art/ Mike Esposito, Inker/ Jean Izzo, Letterer/ S. Goldberg, Colorist/ Roy Thomas, Editor
“Prologue: Alliance Most Foul!”

avengers115

In a three page postscript to this issue, it is revealed that when blinded Loki fell off a cliff last Halloween, he was rescued by Dormammu, Lord of the Dark Dimension. Dormammu is an enemy of Doctor Strange who after a failed attempt to conquer Earth, has sworn to never invade Earth’s dimension.

Now, what Dormammu has realized is that if he could expand the size of the Dark Dimension so that it enveloped Earth’s dimension, then he could conquer the Earth without breaking his word. To achieve this goal, he seeks the Evil Eye, a powerful artifact that has been broken into six pieces and scattered across the land.

Dormammu wishes Loki to become his middleman, tricking Strange’s allies, the Defenders, into obtaining the pieces of the artifact for him. Loki agrees to help.

Days of Thunder – September 1973 The Mighty Thor #215

“The God in the Jewel”
Gerry Conway, Scripter * John Buscema & Jim Mooney, Artists Exemplar * John Costanza, letterer/ Stan G., colorist * Roy Thomas, Editor

Thor 215

Six million years ago, there was a world named Xorr. The inhabitants of that planet were the progenitors of many other humanoid races, including the Humans, Skrulls, and Kree. The people of Xorr, when faced with their sun going nova, created a shield of nuclear force around their planet. In the millions of years that have followed, the force shield has shrunk and the planet, its inhabitants and the nuclear shield have fused to become the crimson crystal that now houses Sif and Karnilla.

The people of Xorr hold the miners of the Dark Nebula in their thrall and are now absorbing the immense power possessed by Sif, the Asgardian and Karnilla, the sorceress. When Thor’s people and Mercurio’s people agree to team up against this new threat, the miners Quellor, Rothgar and Kagg combine the crystal with their mining colony to create an ad hoc spaceship. Thor and company gives chase in the Asgardian starjammer, along with their Gramosian allies.

They catch up with the ship and form a boarding party. They overpower the miners but the giant crystal, once a planet, now a spaceship, transforms itself again, becoming a giant crystalline person, roughly human in shape, with Sif and Karnilla still trapped within.

As the people of Xorr become a single crystalline entity, it warns Thor that if it is to be in any way harmed, that harm will mean the death of Sif!

 

Days of Thunder – August 1973 The Mighty Thor #214

“Into the Dark Nebula!”
Gerry Conway, scripter/ Sal Buscema, artist/ Jim Mooney, inker/ John Costanza, letterer/ P. Goldberg, colorist/ Roy Thomas, Editor

Thor 214

Before heading into the Dark Nebula, Thor swings by Asgard to  drop off most of the population.  A few stay on the ship:  In addition to to his exiled friends, Heimdall and Odin accompany Thor on this quest. The previous matter of Thor and his friends defying Odin and being exiled from Asgard is not addressed.

Thor and company soon stumble into a violent conflict where the stakes and and motivations are unclear. One of the combatants in this fracas is Mercurio, the Four-Dimensional Man. Previously believed to have been killed by Thor in issue #208, it is revealed that  Mercurio did not die, but instead exploded into another dimension. In that dimension, he passed through a giant red crystal which returned him to his people on planet Gramos.

That enormous jewel was a Dimensional Transporter, existing simultaneously in many dimensions all at once. Now, raiders from Gramos have come to the mines of the Dark Nebula seeking to harness the power of the jewel in an attempt to save their dimension from the still-unexplained threat that may destroy it.

Also in the mix are three humanoid miners from Orion Base, Quellor, Rothgar, and Kagg. It is unclear what their role is at the moment, but they seem to be untrustworthy, and also seem to know more about the jewel then they have revealed.

In the midst of this melee between miners, Gramosians, and Asgardians there is an eruption as the massive jewel breaks through the surface of the ground. Trapped within it are Sif and Karnilla. Before any action can be taken, an unseen voice claims that it will use the life force of Sif and Karnilla to “dominate this portion of the cosmic all”!

First Appearance: Quellor, Rothgar, Kagg

 

Days of Thunder – July 1973 The Avengers #113

“You Young Men Shall Slay Visions!”
Steve Englehart, Script/ Bob Brown, Art/ Frank Bolle, Inks/ John Costanza, Letterer/ David Hunt, Colorist/ Roy Thomas, Editor

avengers 113

Since we last checked in with the Avengers, Hawkeye and Quicksilver have both quit the team. The Black Widow briefly joined only to quit almost immediately.   Also, the mutant Scarlet Witch and the android Vision have become openly involved with each other romantically.

When the paparazzi catches wind of a relationship between a human and a robot, most of the public seems heartwarmed by the revelation. However, there is a small group of people so blinded with hatred at the prospect of an Android thinking himself to have personhood that they form a group of suicide bombers dedicated to killing the Vision.

The so-called Living Bombs send a manifesto to Avengers mansion: “only the lord Jehova can create life! Androds are agents of the devil, and will Bring hellfire and Brimstone to america! Wize up befor its to late! Androds have no soles!”

Soon after that message is delivered, a bomber manages blow herself up near the Vision, badly damaging him. The Avengers quickly form a team to repair their fallen friend: Noted scientist King T’Challa, renowned engineer Tony Stark, and established android expert Dr. Donald Blake.

As the three men work to repair their friend, the Scarlet Witch and Captain America patrol the grounds, anticipating another attack. As they patrol, the two heroes wonder where Thor and Iron Man are, being unaware of their teammates’ civilian identities.

More bombers do attack. Tony Stark, not needed to repair the Vision at that particular moment, excuses himself to “search” for Iron Man. Iron Man fights for awhile, until Stark returns to the “surgery.” He returns suggesting that Blake (wink, wink) search for Thor just like he (wink, wink) had searched for Iron Man. Blake grins at Stark’s piercing of their mutual charade before slipping out and turning into Thor.

Thor creates a vortex that spins the hatemongers high into the air, who all detonate themselves rather than be captured. Stark and T’Challa complete the procedure. The Vision will pull through.

First Appearance: The Living Bombs

 

Days of Thunder – July 1973 The Mighty Thor #213

“The Demon Brigade!!”
Gerry Conway, Story/ Len Wein, Scripter/ J. Buscema/ D. Perlin, Artists/ Vince Colletta, Inker/ C. Jetter Letterer/ G. Wein Corlorist/ Roy Thomas, Editor

Thor 213

After the reptilian alien Ssthgard reveals himself and his men to be slavers, the the tide quickly turns against Thor and his friends. As Thor fights the lizards, Odin begs his son to stop fighting, in a low-lidded stupor. The Asgardians fight on against Odin’s wishes, but are soon overpowered and thrown into prison cells.

It does not take Thor long to discover that that there is a drug in the food that is being fed to the prisoners. This drug induces passivity and non-violence in those who consume it. While Thor avoids its effects, many of his friends fall prey to it. It is only Thor, Hildegarde, and Tana Nile who break free, clear-headed.

Although it isn’t actually shown outright, it now seems safe to assume that amongst Ssthgard’s omissions in the story that he told Thor, was a part wherein the slavers visited Asgard under false pretenses long enough to drug enough of the Asgardian food supply.

Thor and his friends discover the Golden Star’s Resistance Army.   They work these guerrillas to destroy Ssthgard’s supply of the drug and to free the Asgardian slaves. Before they leave, Thor asks Ssthgard about the whereabouts of Sif and Karnilla. Despite the fact that Thor should have had no reason to believe that exiled Sif and non-Asgardian Karnilla would have been in Asgard when the slavers came, it appears that this was nonetheless the case.  Ssthgard tells Thor that the two women were sold to miners located in the Dark Nebula (not to be confused with the Black Galaxy) shortly before they arrived. All the Asgardians enter the flying longship (suggesting that the ship’s hold possesses a bigger-on-the-inside nature) and they depart.