I can remember it very clearly. We were coming back from someplace and my Dad stopped at the 7-11 to pick up cigarettes. The family stayed in the car–but I asked him to get me a comic book. He came back with two–thinking about it, I expect that one of them was intended for my brother Ken, but i wound up with both of them somehow–but they were both Marvel comics. And I didn’t like either one. This was the incident that made me an avowed Marvel hater for several childhood years.
The first of those two comic books was this issue of THOR. This isn’t a really great period for the title–pretty much everything after Jack Kirby left until Walt Simonson came on was a bit underwhelming. But additionally, this was the era in which Sword & Sorcery was a popular hot genre, and so the THOR book often skewed more in that direction. I had no interest in barbarian comics, I wanted super heroes, so this was of no interest to me.
The issue opens with Loki doing his typical thing, yearning for vengeance on his half-brother Thor. As it turns out, Odin is missing from Asgard, so Loki wastes no time in taking the throne for himself. Meanwhile, on Earth, Thor rescues a child in the path of a runaway truck by destroying the truck. He makes his way to Avengers Mansion, but cannot enter, as the place is surrounded by an invisible force-field.
Proceeding to the pentagon for some reason, Thor learns that every other super hero on Earth has been trapped inside a similar deus ex machina force field, and that only he is left to stem the tide of Loki’s attack. The God of Evil appears at the head or an attacking column on the Arlington Bridge and declares war between Asgard and Earth.
Thor flies to the cite, and there’s an inconclusive skirmish before Loki disappears, pulling back. The army then shows up, General Sam Sawyer from the old Howling Commandos stories commanding, to back up the Thunder God. And the battle is joined once again.
But mortal troops are no match for Gods who can do extraordinary things, and the human soldiers are quickly demoralized. At a lull in the battle, Odin’s Vizier appears, telling Thor that Odin has transformed himself into a mortal to learn humility, much as he had earlier done with Thor himself. But this means that Odin is unaware of his true identity, and cannot be depended upon for aid.
This proves to be true, as on the final page of the issue, we cut to Odin, living as a farmer named Orrin, seeing the conflict on television but having no glimmer of recognition. There wasn’t much to the story to hook me in–I couldn’t relate to Thor and his funky speech pattern, and I didn’t care a whit who was on the throne of Asgard. And the story was once again To Be Continued. This seemed to be the case with every Marvel book that I read, and I could never be sure of being able to get the next issue. So it was all very much an unsatisfying reading experience. The other book, which I’ll cover next, was really no better, and in some ways even worse.