“The Day of the Destroyer!”
Who but Stan Lee could have written this tale? Who but Jack Kirby could have drawn it? Who but Vince Colletta could have Inked it? Who but Artie Simek could be called Artie Simek?
Oddly, this issue has no real cover art, merely four images from within the story, recycled.
Before the Destroyer can, er, destroy Thor, Loki uses a Force of Thought from his prison cell to turn Thor into an unsolid state. This allows Thor to momentarily escape from his foe, even as Loki passes out from the exertion.
When Loki’s jailers wake him, he sends a Mental Wave Image to the kingdom of the Norns begging the Norn Queen to go to Odin and wake him. The Norn Queen agrees to help her evil ally and contacts Odin. The Asgardian king wakes with a start and immediately takes action to helpThor.
While all this has been happening, Thor has been fighting a losing battle with the Destroyer on Earth. However when Odin finally makes contact with his son, Thor tells him to stay out of it. Despite all the times when Odin has saved the day for Thor in the past, he now realizes that “The god of thunder must wage his own battle no matter what the cost!”
With Odin staying his hand, Thor grabs the body of the hunter who’s mind inhabits the Destroyer. Thor uses the body as a human shield against the strength of the Destroyer. The Destroyer threatens to call the god’s bluff, proclaiming that Thor has pledged never to take a mortal life and that he must release the body, lest it be destroyed. However when Thor doesn’t back down, the Destroyer blinks first, transferring the still-unnamed hunter back into his body.
Thor takes the hunter away from the temple as he destroys it utterly, burying the Destroyer in the rubble. He then thanks his father for allowing him to do things his way.
Odin reasons that Loki must be to blame for this fight and he is ready to kill his son. However his guards tell him that Loki was desperate to help Thor in this battle. At this news, Odin calms slightly and gives Loki a reduced sentence, binding him to the service of Ularic, Odin’s Royal Warlock.
Thor still needs to bring the Norn Stones back to Asgard, but there is the matter of his broken hammer to be dealt with. He delays returning to Asgard, instead heading to America, where he seeks the mightiest forge in all the land.
First Appearance: Ularic Odin’s Royal Warlock