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.