Thor Marvel Masterworks volume 12

By Gerry Conway, Len Wein, John Buscema, Marie Severin, Don Perlin, Sal Buscema, Jim Mooney & various (Marvel)
ISBN: 978-0-7851-6621-4 (HB)

Disabled doctor Donald Blake took a vacation in Norway only to stumble into an alien invasion. Trapped in a cave, he found an ancient walking stick which, when struck against the ground, turned him into the Norse God of Thunder!

Within moments he was defending the weak and smiting the wicked.
Months swiftly passed with the Lord of Storms tackling rapacious extraterrestrials, Commie dictators, costumed crazies and cheap thugs, but these soon gave way to a vast kaleidoscope of fantastic worlds and incredible, mythic menaces, usually tackled with an ever-changing cast of stalwart immortal warriors at his side…

Having recently returned to Earth after interstellar escapades and bravely enduring exile from the gleaming spires of Asgard, our peripatetic cast await fresh challenges as this bombastic compendium (available in hardcover and digital formats and reprinting Mighty Thor #206-216, which span December 1972-October 1973) opens. The narrative wonderment begins following more candid revelations and contextual history from scripter Gerry Conway in his Introduction ‘The Anarchist’s Comic Book’

A new chapter opens when the Earthbound godling clashes brutally but inconclusively with an uncharacteristically amok Absorbing Man Crusher Creel, just as Thor’s greatest enemy resurfaces in #206’s ‘Rebirth!’

After a destructive but inconclusive clash in the city, Thor tracks the escaped Creel to Rutland, Vermont just in time for their annual Halloween festival. Here Thor and goddesses Sif and Hildegarde clash with malevolent Loki and his all-powerful ‘Firesword!’ in an action-heavy duel elevated by a plethora of quirky comic creator cameos (with the divine Marie Severin adding her caricaturing brilliance to John Buscema & Vince Colletta’s workmanlike illustration). Another extended sub-plot opens here as Sif vanishes, spirited away to the ends of the universe by lovelorn Norn Queen Karnilla

Sci fi themes predominate #208 as ‘The Fourth-Dimensional Man!’ manifests, stealing the Thunderer’s ambient Asgardian energies to save his own world from disaster. Sadly, they are insufficient and the malevolent Mercurio is compelled to tap his source directly, resulting in battle without mercy as Thor’s noble spirit gradually gives way to the despair of exile and constant loss…

Ceaselessly searching for Sif, Thor stops over in London (not one any Briton would ever recognise, though) in #209. It’s just long enough to accidentally awaken a sleeping alien dormant since the building of Stonehenge and the resultant clash between Thunder God and Demon Druid devastates much of England in ‘Warriors in the Night!’, before our globe-girdling hero is ambushed in Red China by Mao’s soldiers in #210’s ‘The Hammer and the Hellfire!’ (Buscema, Don Perlin & Colletta).

The People’s Army are merely the action appetiser, however, since ultimate Troll Ulik has decided to conquer both his own people and Earth and moves pre-emptively to remove his greatest foe from the equation…

With New York City invaded by Troll warriors, #211 highlights ‘The End of the Battle!’ (Buscema, Perlin & Colletta) as fellow exiles and Warriors Three Fandral the Dashing, Voluminous Volstagg and Hogun the Grim join the fray.

The fighting mad Asgardians route the underworld insurgents just as a now-insane Balder returns to warn that Asgard had been conquered. With the Realm Eternal emptied of gods and occupied by sleazy lizard-men, Thor and his companions are soon hot on the trail of their missing race.

Guided by saurian rogue Sssthgar and his serpentine horde, they undertake a ‘Journey to the Golden Star!’ in #212 and discover their liege and kin meek chattels on a slaver’s auction block…

Scripted by Len Wein over Conway’s plot, ‘The Demon Brigade!’ depicts Thor betrayed by the Lizard Lord and embroiled in a civil war between slaver races before discovering Sssthgar’s secret and freeing his father. He also obtains a lead to the whereabouts of Sif and Karnilla, consequently plunging his small but dedicated band of brothers recklessly ‘Into the Dark Nebula!’ (by Conway, Sal Buscema & Jim Mooney) to rescue the missing maidens from the asteroid miners who had purchased them.

They find their quarry besieged by the 4D Man and his army, who are intent on acquiring a malign, sentient source of infinite power, but events take an uncanny turn when ‘The God in the Jewel’ (John Buscema & Mooney) absorbs the women into its crystalline mass and flies off, intent on dominating all life in the universe…

Forced to become allies of convenience, the Asgardians and Mercurio strive together ‘Where Chaos Rules!’, set on freeing the women and stopping the rapacious gem-god, but even after eventual victory leaves them tenuous comrades, Thor’s trials are not done.
To Be Continued…
© 1972, 1973, 2017 Marvel Characters, Inc. All rights reserved.