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Thor #231: Review

Jan 1975
Gerry Conway, Dick Giordano

Story Name:

A Spectre From the Past!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Thor #231 Review by (July 12, 2023)

Review: Weak issue has Thor fighting a watered-down version of Ulik and nothing is explained. Who is Armak, how and why did he possess Arnold, why did he carry off Anne? The lack of answers to any of these questions shows that Gerry Conway was having a lazy day and just tossed in some cliché. In issue #233, Loki says he sent the Neanderthal as a test though that doesn’t explain much. It says something about the story that the account of Thor and Herc plugging a hole in the ground is covered in more detail than the supposed main plot—and is more interesting. Nice full-page pic of Thor smashing through the car, though.

Comments: Jane Foster’s last appearance was in issue #172 and that was her first since #146. There is a note indicating that the bizarre events of MARVEL TEAM-UP #28 took place the morning of the day that Hercules faces Armak. According to GCD, the cover was extensively revised by John Romita. The art is broken down as Layouts: John Buscema. Art: Dick Giordano (figures), Terry Austin (backgrounds). The letters page includes one by future martial arts expert Jeff Westfall.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thor #231 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Thor and Hercules return to the surface world to be greeted by Police Detective Sergeant Ralph Blumkenn who informs them that a couple of suicidal patients held at Bellevue (psychiatric hospital) became normal while the heroes were away. When the huge hole in the ground created by Herc is pointed out, the two swing into action, Herc hurling the granite plug from the river bottom into the air and Thor knocking it back into the hole with Mjolnir. Blumkenn then tells Thor that one of the suicidal patients has been asking for him, Jane Foster. Thor becomes emotional and heads to the hospital. Reviewing his history with Jane for the benefit of the newer readers, he finds her comatose in her room and stands beside her, touching her hand….

Elsewhere, Madame Cynthia, a phony medium, is conducting a séance for the Carwell family, an older woman who has lost her son and the son’s widow, Anne. Suddenly, her son/accomplice is possessed by a spirit and transforms into a savage calling himself Armak, the First Man. He seizes Anne Carwell and crashes through the wall….

At the hospital, Thor has kept vigil by Jane’s side for two days. Sif and Krista find them there. A doctor tells Sif that Jane, seriously injured in her suicide attempt, has only a couple of days to live. Sif, determined to save her, returns to Asgard, pushing past Heimdall and heading for Odin’s throne room. There she finds Hildegarde who informs her that the All-Father is missing….

On the city streets, Armak, holding Anne Carwell, is causing some property damage while challenging men to fight. He encounters Hercules, who throws a punch that Armak withstands; the caveman returns a blow that sends Herc crashing back. Krista sees the battle unfold on the TV news then slaps Thor across the face to get him to go to the aid of his friend. Reluctantly, Thor heads to the fight and takes on the bruiser while Herc rescues Anne, who fills him in on the much-needed context. Armak hurls a car at Thor who smashes his way through it with a swing of Mjolnir. Their brawl takes them to a construction site where they fall into an elevator and are sent to the top of the building. Herc and Anne have brought Madame Cynthia to the site and she calls to her son through a bullhorn, asking him to stop. Her voice distracts Armak and Thor hits him, sending him over the edge to his death. There he transforms back to Arnold and calls Anne beautiful and dies. Anne is confused and Herc vows to unravel the mystery. Thor rushes back to the hospital, praying he finds Jane still alive….

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Dick Giordano
Dick Giordano
Petra Goldberg
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)
Rich Buckler (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Layouts: John Buscema. Letterer: John Costanza.


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