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Thor #310: Review

Aug 1981
Doug Moench, Gene Day

Story Name:

The Maelstrom to Mephisto

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Thor #310 Review by (January 21, 2020)

Review: Hummf. One would expect a battle between Thor and Mephisto to be epic, or at least heroic but no, the fiery red bad guy is no match for Thor. The art looks very nice as the two face each other down in Hades, giving the comic the look of something much more exciting but the fight is rather one-sided, draining the tale of its drama, until the mugger leader repents and aids Thor, which was the point of the tale. There’s the big deal in the story, Thor as a moral exemplar who can inspire regular people to emulate their ways—even framing the desire to be good or bad as a choice everyone must make. I was going to mention the oddball theology of the issue but if anyone looks to superhero comic books for spiritual enlightenment, they deserve what they get. (Though I will mention that Mephisto looking for victory in the eternal war between good and evil makes no sense since if either side can claim victory, the war isn’t eternal.) So, Thor is a hero, someone who we can look to for moral guidance. He hasn’t felt like this in years.

Comments: Thor previously battled Mephisto in issues #204-205 and the baddie will return in THOR ANNUAL #13 (1985)


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thor #310 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Thor, on his nightly patrol, comes across a band of muggers robbing a woman; he offers them the choice of giving the lady’s purse back or continuing in their life of crime and suffering the consequences. Then a police chase zooms past and the baddies lose control and Thor knocks their car into the air to avoid hitting some children. Thor’s lecture, now with a concrete example of crime not paying, leads the mugger leader to grudgingly return the lady’s purse….

Down in Hades, Mephisto pitches a fit because Thor is interfering with evil by giving humans a divine example of goodness and messing up the balance of good and evil. So Meph goes to the surface world and invisibly tempts people to acts of sin and evil—theft, arson, violence—until the city is aflame. Thor races back to find the gang of muggers looting a store, the leader defying Thor. Then Mephisto causes the ground to erupt and open into a chasm with the wrongdoers falling into Hades. Thor leaps after them and confronts his Satanic foe. Meph orders his demons to attack Thor but the outnumbered hero merely shakes them all off so Meph realizes he must whup Thor on his own. Meph causes the stone floor to sprout tentacles to enwrap Thor but he smashes them. Meph creates multiple illusions of himself but Mjolnir can find the right one. Meph grows into a giant and Thor still knocks him flat. So Mephisto tries a different tack: he threatens to destroy the souls of those he had kidnapped from the street and who are now melted into a stone pillar. Thor hurls Mjolnir but the trapped souls seize it and hold it until Thor transforms back into Donald Blake whom Mephisto can easily destroy. Don offers himself in place of the kidnapped souls and this offer so moves the mugger leader that he fights the others and throws Don back his stick, allowing him to become Thor again. The Thunder God offers Mephisto the choice: release the souls he has taken to return to the world, or he and Thor can fight it out forever. (He also points out that Meph’s complaining about Thor’s interference in humans’ moral lives while constantly interfering himself makes him a hypocrite, like that’s the worst of his sins.) Meph reluctantly releases the souls and they go back to their previous lives with no memory of what had happened that night.  

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Gene Day
Gene Day
George Roussos
Keith Pollard (Cover Penciler)
Keith Pollard (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Layouts: Keith Pollard. Letterer: Joe Rosen.


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