The Mighty Thor! “If Asgard Falls…”
Scripted in solemn splendor by: Stan Lee/ Illustrated in idealistic imagery by: Jack Kirby/ Delineated in delicious delicacy by: Vince Colletta/ Lettered in living luminescence by : Sam Rosen/ Unaffected by the unabashed utterances of: Irving Forbush
It is time for the Asgardian Tournament of Titans. This is a competition of warriors held in Asgard and Judged by Odin, with a suit of golden armor as the prize. Odin declares that it is to be fought for by every warrior from every land but how far that invitation extends is unclear. Thor reports that warriors pour into Asgard from galaxies without end, so it seems like a pretty big deal.
Thor enters the competition alongside grim Hogun, dashing Fandral, and valorous Volstagg, the first time these three have shown up in a story set in the modern day 60’s. The Asgardians clash with a pack of friends visiting Asgard from the world of a Thousand Galaxies: Brok the Crusher, Tyr of the Blinding Blade, Galp of the Steel Arm, and Drom the Spirit-Weaver. The budding rivalry in this story is established early but it does not go very far.
Meanwhile, formless Loki, who had been floating in space alongside the Absorbing Man all these many months, has discovered that he can project his mind into the body of the Destroyer, buried in the ruins of the Temple of Darkness. It is odd, Loki’s self, which is formless remains in space while his mind is projected out of that self into the Destroyer like a radio signal. What that self actually constitutes is an unanswered metaphysical question.
Now commanding a body so powerful that it can cut Thor’s hammer in half by pointing at it, Loki sends the Destroyer straight to Asgard. It makes short work of poor Heimdall, who was already bummed about missing the tournament.
The Destroyer wades into where the tournament is being held, seeking to kill Odin, but Thor leads a mighty defense against the all-powerful foe. While Thor does that, Odin sends Balder to astrally project himself into space, seeking Loki, who Odin reasons is the only possible culprit. Thor can only hold off the Destroyer for a short while, but it is enough for Balder to find Loki’s self. With that, Odin sends a Beam of Forgetfulness to Loki, closing the villain’s mind to all thought and memory. The Destroyer falls to the ground, immobile. If Loki no longer had physical form and he no longer has a functioning mind, it is unclear to me what remains that can said to be Loki.
The story of Thor has been moving at a breakneck speed for a number of issues. Since issue #114, Thor has moved immediately from the events of one issue to the next, leaving no room for a break. That makes for exciting comics, but it also leaves it unclear when this story takes place. Certainly not immediately before or immediately after #132. Perhaps it takes place after the recuperative period in issue #128 but before Thor returns to Jane. Perhaps it takes place some time after the events in the current Thor narrative.
First Appearance: Brok the Crusher, Tyr of the Blinding Blade, Galp of the Steel Arm, Drom the Spirit-Weaver