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Thor #338: Review

Dec 1983
Walt Simonson, Walt Simonson

Story Name:

A Fool and His Hammer...

Review & Comments

5 stars

Thor #338 Review by (August 12, 2013)
Review: An onrush of excitement! Beta Ray Bill is a heroic champion of his people! His people are in danger and he needs Mjolnir to save them! He and Thor must fight for it to the death! Yeah, it isn’t clear why Odin putts his beloved son’s life in danger when he can merely rustle up another superweapon (as he does in the next issue anyway) but who knows what pop-parenting guide he was following? This is the Thor comic at its (post-Kirby) greatest!

Comments: Part two of a four-part story. The cover is a homage to THOR #126 which features Thor and Hercules. Hrothgar is the name of the King in Beowulf; has this guy walked all the way from Old English mythos? And it isn’t immediately obvious but this is the last appearance of Don Blake until THOR (2007) #1 where he is revived by J. Michael Straczynski.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thor #338 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Another brief glimpse into the cosmic past, as Surtur the Fire Demon emits another ominous "Doom!" before we are treated to a synopsis of last issue. Then we have Don Blake sinking into despair as he believes he has been abandoned by Odin; Nick Fury tries to console him that everything will work itself out. Meanwhile, Beta Ray Bill, with the hammer and power of Thor, enters Asgard in a fighting mode, believing all around him to be demons. Bill confronts Odin and hurls the enchanted hammer Mjolnir at him; the All-Father easily catches it and seals the intruder in a force field so he can investigate the matter further. Odin summons Thor to Asgard and assures his son he will never forsake him. Odin then frees Bill, who now realizes his captors are not demons, and offers him the hospitality of Asgard. The trio then ascends a high mountain to learn how Bill became the first one after Thor to lift Mjolnir….

Meanwhile, fuming over Thor’s having abandoned her to live in Midgard, the Lady Sif comes upon Thor in a romantic clinch with Lorelei. She punches them both in the head and storms off. "Thor" then stands revealed as Loki in disguise, chuckling over his latest success….

Beta Ray Bill relates his tale: he is of an ancient and noble race which faced disaster when their sun went nova. The race built ships and departed for another galaxy with the mass of citizenry in suspended animation but Bill was chosen to be guardian of the race; thus his mind was transferred to a monstrous bio-engineered body. On the journey they were attacked by alien demons and Bill and his sentient ship Skuttlebutt did their best to fight off the enemy. Now Bill has won a weapon that can defeat the threat to his people and he is loath to give it up. But Bill’s demons are also a threat to Asgard (which is why Odin summoned Thor in the first place) so the All-Father decrees that the hammer will go to the victor in single combat….

Shortly thereafter, Odin proclaims that this combat will be without weapons or magical powers, in the desolate land of Skartheim. The winner’s reward will be Mjolnir, the loser’s, a funeral pyre, as the fight is to the death. The combatants are then transported to the battleground, a hellish volcanic wasteland. The two immediately begin a brutal fight to the finish for the heroic weapon….

In an interlude, Volstagg continues to try to cheer a depressed Balder. They are interrupted a warrior, Agnar Son of Hrothgar, who challenges Balder to a duel. Volstagg steps in, picks up the interloper, and carries him off to a pleasant garden where he sits on poor Agnar and tells him of the glories of Balder the Brave….

The fighting becomes increasingly fierce and Bill is knocked into a river of lava—fortunately he manages to land on a raft of obsidian, thus missing the burning liquid. Thor leaps upon him and the force of their blows leaves both heroes unconscious as the river carries them toward a flaming lavafall. Bill wakes up first, scoops up Thor and leaps to safety. They are immediately teleported back to Odin’s throne room where Beta Ray Bill claims the prize!

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Walt Simonson
Walt Simonson
George Roussos


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Balder the Brave)


Plus: Surtur (Surtur the Fire Demon).

> Thor: Book info and issue index

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