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Thor #193: Review

Nov 1971
Gerry Conway, John Buscema

Story Name:

What Power Unleashed?

Review & Comments

5 stars

Thor #193 Review by (April 20, 2015)
Comments: From the dynamic cover to the action within, this issue is a winner. I love the Silver Surfer’s flawed, almost selfish, stoicism here. I have always felt that he was a great foil for Thor in those early days, as each had their own unique nobility that was unquestionably admirable, but also in many ways self-serving. It was also nice to see the two with very balanced power levels. When the Surfer fought Durok, he didn’t run away with a victory, but instead struggled just as much as Thor had. At the same time, Thor dispatched Heimdall with ease, as he should—although I don’t think this is always the case in later issues. Durok was a good, albeit generic, foe, who I would have liked to have seen more of over the years. One more thing about this issue: I like to read the letters pages, but sometimes I overlook them. This issue includes a letter from a Marine fighting in Vietnam who described how popular Marvel comics were in the barracks over there. It’s a potent reminder of the times (this issue came out in 1971), and really puts things in perspective for me. Surfer bringing Durok to a future in which the Earth has been destroyed by mankind’s lust for war is now punctuated by the Marine’s letter, and takes on a much deeper significance in the context of the times and the audience.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thor #193 Synopsis by Seahammer

As seen at the end of the previous issue, the Silver Surfer arrives on Earth in response to Balder’s emergency beacon.  When he learns that it was a god that summoned him, Silver Surfer declares that he will not help because he has been tricked by Asgardians before (Silver Surfer #4, I assume).  Pleading with him to aid Thor in his battle against Durok, Balder declares that he would give his life for Thor.  This enrages Karnilla, who in her anger magically causes a rockslide to crush Balder.  The Silver Surfer makes Karnilla remove the stones that buried Balder, only to find that he has been gravely wounded and is near death.  Karnilla is distraught, and the Silver Surfer uses the Power Cosmic to revive Balder.  The Silver Surfer decides that if Thor is noble enough to inspire such devotion, then he is worthy of receiving help.  The Silver Surfer leaves Balder and Karnilla and sets off for Washington, D.C.

            In D.C., Thor continues to struggle against Durok.  In the skirmish, Thor destroys the street below them, causing the two to fall into the sewers.  Just as Durok gains the upper hand and seriously wounds Thor, the Silver Surfer arrives.  Durok sets his sights on the Surfer, and quickly gains the advantage.  As Durok holds the Silver Surfer underwater and tries to drown him, the Surfer strikes Durok with his board.  Using his board, the Silver Surfer keeps Durok pinned and struggling long enough to attend to Thor.  If a god can die, the Surfer states, then Thor is dead!

            Meanwhile, Loki feasts in Asgard with Sif and a bevy of trolls.  He reminds Sif that Durok is sure to kill Thor, and that Loki and Sif will be married.  As he taunts Sif and reflects on his glorious triumph, Loki realizes that Karnilla and Balder are missing.  He looks upon “the Screen Mystic” and sees that the two have gone to Earth, but quickly returns them to Asgard with the Odin Ring.  Defiantly, Balder admits that he went to Earth to help Thor.  As a punishment and a demonstration of his power, Loki takes hold of Balder and transforms him into a hideously deformed, green, ogre-like creature.  Then, to further demonstrate the power granted to him with the Odin Ring, Loki transforms molecules of air into a gigantic golden statue of himself.  Finally—to demonstrate his great mercy, according to Loki—he returns Balder to his original state.

            Back on Earth, the Silver Surfer uses his power to revive Thor, just as he had done with Balder earlier.  Thor then explains that Durok is a construct created by the powerful ring that Loki wears.  The Silver Surfer suggests that he continue to fight Durok, and that Thor take the battle to Loki.  Thor agrees and sets off for Asgard, where he meets Heimdall on Bifrost.   Heimdall tells Thor that although he doesn’t want to, he must obey Loki’s command to attack Thor on sight.  The battle is short: without harming Heimdall, Thor uses Mjolnir to whisk him over the edge of the Rainbow Bridge.  Not willing to kill his friend, Thor catches Heimdall and returns him to safety.  Heimdall then admits defeat, apologizes, and lets Thor pass.  Thor realizes that his entrance into the city of Asgard won’t be that easy, though, as he finds that three humongous Storm Giants guard the gates of the city.

            At the same time on Earth, the Silver Surfer continues to battle Durok.  Just as he had with Thor, Durok overpowers the Surfer.  During their battle, the Silver Surfer catches Durok on the front of his board and pushes him skyward, but Durok grabs onto the Washington Monument as they fly past it and frees himself.  When the Surfer pursues him, Durok fires a blast from his hands that knocks the Surfer from his board.  Then, astonishingly, Durok takes hold of the Surfer’s board and shatters it!  With his strength failing him, the Silver Surfer uses the Power Cosmic to restore his board, then takes to the sky.  Below him, Washington, D.C., is in flames as the military fruitlessly battles Durok.  The Silver Surfer swoops down from the sky and again scoops Durok up on his board, taking him skyward.  This time, the two duke it out atop the Surfer’s board while, unknown to Durok, they begin traveling around the Earth faster than the speed of light.  Tearing through the fabric of time and space, the two arrive in a far future in which all the cities of Earth lie in ruins.  The Silver Surfer leaves Durok there, stating that it is fitting for a creature meant only to destroy to be abandoned in the fruits of man’s destruction.  Then, the Surfer departs.

            Back in modern times, Thor fights an exhausting battle against the Storm Giants.  He finally defeats them and forces his way into the city, where he finds Sif dressed in a wedding gown.  As the two embrace, Loki arrives and declares that this will be the end of Thor.  Using the power of the Odin Ring, Loki removes Mjolnir from Thor and sends the revived Storm Giants to fight him.  As the giants surround Thor, Loki states that Thor will become mortal in sixty-seconds and stand no chance against his enemies.  The issue ends on a cliffhanger with the three giants looming over Thor.

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

John Buscema
Sal Buscema
John Buscema (Cover Penciler)
John Romita (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Balder the Brave)
Silver Surfer
Silver Surfer

(Norrin Radd)


> Thor: Book info and issue index

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