“Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me!”
Len Wein, Writer/Editor * Walt Simonson & Tony DeZuniga, Artists/Illustrators * Glynis Wein, Colorist * Joe Rosen, Letterer
Loki has grabbed the throne of Asgard yet again, and this time he backs up his grab with a well-forged legal document from a cask bearing the Odin-Seal. The scroll within the cask states that in the case of Odin’s incapacitation, whichever of Odin’s sons can first sit on the Throne shall rule the realm. Given that both Thor and Loki have repeatedly been banished from Asgard, and given that Odin enters the Odinsleep once a year, on top of his tendency to mysteriously disappear, one would think he would have established a clear, well-known rule of succession by now.
Instead, we have Loki, apparently the rightful ruler of Asgard. This time, he has surrounded himself with lackeys. In addition to the reluctant support of the Enchantress and the Executioner (both of whom, one would think would still be sore about Loki’s role in their initial banishment) he has also enlisted the aid of his old friends Kroda the Duelist and Magrat the Schemer and brought Snaykar the Skulker into the fold.
Loki bids his brother and friends to depart from his presence. Thor and his friends do, and split into two teams. The Warriors Three are tasked with protecting Odin, while Thor, Sif and the Recorder search for Balder.
The Warriors Three find Odin missing from his bedchambers. They follow the trail left by his abductors, which leads them to Executioner and the Enchantress, deep within the bowels of Asgard, near the Troll-built generators that power the city. They fight. Due to subtle manipulation on the part of Loki, the Enchantress and the Executioner plummet to their seeming death at the end of the fight.
Thor, Sif and the Recorder have been told that Balder left Asgard with Karnilla, accompanying her back to her domain. They head out that way, and hve to fight their way past a pair of Storm Giants to get there. Sif is oddly frightened of one of them, but Thor kills them.
When they arrive at the home of the Norn Queen, Karnilla claims not to know what became of Balder. Thor believes Karnilla when it comes to matters of Balder.
It turns out that Loki has used his magic to erase the Norn Queen’s memory of Balder’s capture and her defeat, that Loki has been manipulating the memories of all the people of Asgard, that Balder is locked in the dungeons of Asgard, and that it wasn’t really Thor that attacked Balder.
Thor returns to Loki, full of bluster. Loki simply vanishes. The Destroyer appear before Thor.