“The Eye– And the Arrow!”
Roy Thomas, Writer/Editor * John Buscema, Tom Palmer, Illustrators/ Instigators * Joe Rosen, Letterer * Bob Sharen, Colorist * Jim Shooter, Consulting Ed.
After taunting Thor with the prospect of the twilight of the Gods, Loki transforms into a rat and scurries behind a statue of Odin. Thor lifts the statue in order to get at his brother, despite the fact that lifting the likeness of Odin is sacrilege. It is while holding this statue that Odin returns astride Sleipnir, his eight-legged horse.
Odin has brought with him a blind warrior named Hoder. More strikingly, after all these binocular years, the All-Father now wears an eyepatch. Thor and Balder somewhat calm down Odin, who is angry about the statue and the mortals and Loki.
Thor wants to kill Loki in order to prevent Ragnarok. Odin says Thor can’t. Odin is surprised that Loki has been restored to Godhood. Loki says Odin can not punish him again, and that Odin knows the reasons why. Odin, who normally would have plenty to be absurdly angry about, takes it all in relative stride, for he knows they face the end of all things.
Recently, Odin’s ravens, Hugin and Munin, warned him that the time of Ragnarok might be approaching. Odin visited Mimir, seeking knowledge of how to prevent such an Armageddon. Mimir asked that Odin pay a price for such knowledge.
Unlike the price Mimir recently asked Thor to pay, the price demanded of Odin is actually costly: his right eye. Mimir hates Odin, for at the dawn of Asgard, Odin was responsible for Mimir’s beheading. Having taken petty payment, Mimir instructs Odin to travel to Hel to consult with Volla, the long-dead prophetess.
Odin finds Volla and asks her how, if possible, Ragnarok can be avoided. She tells him that Ragnarok is inevitable, due to Odin’s long-ago decree that the world will eventually need “fiery cleansing.” She suggests that it may be delayed if Balder can be protected, for his death shall signal the beginning of the end.
This is strange, for in the vision of Ragnarok that she saw, as depicted in issue #200, Balder fought alongside Thor in the battle of Ragnarok. Either her vision of the future has changed, or she is lying.
While in Hel, Odin encounters Hela. It is well-established that there are multiple afterlifes, and that the afterlife for the Aesir is Valhalla. This is now slightly reframed, as Hela is identified as the ruler of the Realm of the Dead known as Hel, and that she has semi-recently annexed Valhalla, something that Odin would take issue with, had he not more pressing matters. On the way back to Asgard, Odin happens upon Hoder, a blind wandering god, whom Odin offers to bring back to Asgard. He does so.
Soon after Odin finishes his tale, Sif and Hildegarde return from a seperate mission, tasked to them by the All-Father: They have brought back the long-absent Goddesses of Asgard. It is unknown where they were, or why they left, or how much of the female population of Asgard had been away while others such as Sif, Krista, and Hildegarde had remained.
Amongst the returning Goddesses is Frigga, the wife of Odin. Frigga shows a maternal affection for Thor, but in an aside, Hobbs explains to his cameraman Roger “Red” Norvell, that he doubts that Frigga is Thor’s mother; that according to mythology his mother was a giantess named “Jord.”
After Thor and Sif exchange a warm greeting, Odin, Frigga, and Thor depart to discuss the end of the world and also the presence of mortals in Asgard. Loki is not invited.
While they do that, the rest of the cast has a moment of downtime. Red clumsily hits on Sif and Balder tells him to fuck off. Balder then tells everyone that he is not worried about dying because as long as he remains in Asgard, he is invulnerable to any non-mistletoe thing. In his telling, it is Frigga that arranged this, but he likely misremembers, for it was Odin that made such happen.
Thanks to a psychic suggestion from Loki, Balder suggests that everybody throw their weapons at him. All the Asgardians do, despite Hobbs’ protests that they are being very stupid. Loki offers Hoder a special bow, with which Hodor uses to fire an arrow straight into Balder’s chest, fatally!
First Appearance: Sleipnir, Hoder, Hugin, Munin, Frigga, Njord