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Thor #394: Review

Aug 1988
Roger Stern, Bob Hall

Story Name:

"...And How Shall Mortals Know Ye?"

Review & Comments

5 stars

Thor #394 Review by (December 28, 2020)

Review: A brilliant angle for a standalone story brings together various people’s views of the God of Thunder but it’s not a heavy-handed RASHOMON thing. No, this is actually light and funny in places, such as the shooting of the troubled movie, while showing us the fate of the ill-omened Harris Hobbs who had a significant role in the series once upon a time. The best part is that we get a look at the Thor-Jane relationship from Jane’s point of view, many years later; it’s not as sunny as one would expect from a superhero comic book. And Maddie Arnstein is a delightful character but I realize it would have been very difficult to work a Hollywood screenwriter into a series set in New York. Pity. And I really like that cover!

Comments: Technically, Thor does not appear in the issue; he is seen only in flashbacks.  Quite a few people show up in this tale both “in person” and in flashback, the former starting with Roger Graham whose only previous appearance was in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #84, Thor’s second appearance. The young couples’ tale is from JIM #107; the man’s name is never given and they are wearing the same clothes in the flashback and the modern sequences. Harris Hobbs met Thor in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #114-123 and returned in THOR #272-278 and this is his last appearance to date (as of 2020). In flashbacks we have Iron Man, Giant Man, Wasp, Hercules (THOR #126), Odin, Loki, Absorbing Man, Red Norvell (THOR #273-278), Joey Burnett, Sif, Executioner, Mr. Hyde, Cobra, Man Beast. Oh, and first appearance of Jimmy Kincaid, Jane and Keith’s son. Thor as a talking dog? Check out Thrr in PETER PORKER THE AMAZING SPIDER-HAM #5, a couple of years before this Thor issue. Pages 1-3 were done by Tom DeFalco, script; Ron Frenz, pencils; Brett Breeding, inks.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thor #394 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Daredevil is there when Hogun the Grim is pulled from the River and he does not detect a heartbeat. DD performs CPR and gets Hogun alive again and the Asgardian hero is rushed to the hospital….

In Asgard, the flame tied to Hogun’s life force has flickered out, causing great distress for Balder and Hogun’s compatriots Fandral and Volstagg—and Thor is still missing….

In Hollywood, a movie about the Mighty Thor is being shot and is suddenly in trouble: the real Thor has shaved his beard and abandoned his armor so scenes will have to be reshot and special effects will need to be redone. Producer Simon Anderson asks writer Maddie Arnstein to come up with a new script that includes human interest. Maddie agrees though privately unsure if she can do it so she decides to interview people who have met Thor. First is Dr. Roger Graham who was part of the medical mission to the war-torn nation of San Diablo and witnessed Thor’s intervention to keep the team safe, though he doesn’t know how Jane Foster was rescued from the rebels….

Maddie then interviews several New York City police officers most of whom have glowing stories of Thor’s exploits but one cop reveals a lower opinion of the God of Thunder, citing the time he went on an angry rampage and even his Avengers buddies couldn’t calm him down….

Maddie talks to a young married couple who were sitting on a bench in the park when Thor, stricken by love, flew by rejoicing, giving the boy the courage to propose to his gal….

A soda jerk tells Maddie about how Thor and Hercules had a fight in that very shop over Jane Foster….

Returning to her hotel, Maddie is startled by Harris Hobbs, a half-crazy ex-reporter who tells her how Thor gave him a tour of Asgard but his camera was wrecked and Thor erased his memories of the place. Hobbs then explains how he recovered his memoires and Loki transported him and his colleagues Red Norvell and Joey Burnett in time for Ragnarök; Red became a new Thor and he and Joey were killed. He ends by advising Maddie to drop the project; she won’t….

Maddie then goes to see Jane Foster (now married to Keith Kincaid), whose name has been mentioned often enough for Maddie to figure out she once had a relationship with Thor. Jane is angry over the deception and the prying but Maddie convinces her to talk about the Thunder God. Jane relates how she and Thor met, how often he rescued her from danger, and finally how they decided that marriage between a god and a mortal could never work. Maddie recognizes this as the seed of her screenplay, and assuring Jane that it would be heavily fictionalized, heads back to Hollywood….

Maddie writes up the story of heroic police officer Kelly Hernandez who meets Thor, adventures alongside him against various enemies and soon they fall in love but decide that marriage between a god and a mortal could never work. Success!

A week later, Simon calls her in to talk about the script. It’s perfect but the studio is shying away from making a film about a real-life person, so the project has changed: it will now be a cartoon show wherein Thor is a talking dog. Maddie is overwhelmed….

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Bob Hall
Tony De Zuniga
George Roussos
Ron Frenz (Cover Penciler)
Brett Breeding (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Balder the Brave)

(Matt Murdock)

(Hogun the Grim)


Plus: Harris Hobbs, Keith Kincaid.

> Thor: Book info and issue index

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