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Thor #396: Review

Oct 1988
Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz

Story Name:

Into the Realm of Death

Review & Comments

4 stars

Thor #396 Review by (January 19, 2021)

Review: And everything goes insane with Seth hinting at a super-weapon as the new bad guys from last issue decide to be good guys, there’s a prison break via teleporter, a massively one-sided battle, Thor getting his powers drained when he isn’t looking, and Black Knight is in the issue for some reason. Some nice Lee-Kirby echoes (four-panel pages go a long way toward this effect) but with a plot that always makes sense, this is a pretty cool issue.

Comments: Part two of six parts. Grog the God-Crusher was introduced in issue #390.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thor #396 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

At the hospital Thor donates blood to the injured and weakened Hogun; when they are up an about, Hogun hides the Mark of Death Seth branded him with, instead telling him about the imminent threat to Asgard….

Seth, informed that Thor is ready to enter the battle, does not worry as he has an invincible ultimate weapon to conquer all planes of reality—and it appears to be person trapped inside a large bubble (revelation in #398)….

The Earth Force (Earth Lord, Skyhawk, Wind Warrior) returns to the hospital, offering to join forces with Thor against Seth who had deceived them. The Thunder God accepts their aid….

In Asgard, Sif has heard of Balder’s plan to strip Thor of his godly powers to use in defense of the realm and she begs him not to. Balder insists it will be necessary….

Thor borrows a Quinjet from the Avengers, with Black Knight going along as pilot and they all head to the Vault, the prison for superhuman baddies. They ask to see Grog the God-Crusher ostensibly to question him about Seth’s invasion plans. When his power dampener is turned off, Grog opens a portal to escape and the others follow, as that was Thor’s real plan. They land in the Dimension of Death, outside of a huge Black Pyramid, surrounded by the Death Legions of Seth. Thor leads the battle against overwhelming odds, though Wind Warrior panics and flees….

Seth leads his massive battle armada though the portals against Asgard; Balder orders that the Celestial Siphon be activated. It drains Thor’s power (leading to his nearly being crushed by a massive pillar) and transfers it to Balder. Balder then mounts his steed to lead the defenders against the enemy, with Volstagg, Sif, Fandral, and Heimdall at the front of the troops….

Outside the Black Pyramid, Grog beats the now powerless Thor to the ground and takes Mjolnir away from him. The Death Legions rally and take Thor and his party prisoners….  

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Ron Frenz
Don Heck
Max Scheele
Ron Frenz (Cover Penciler)
Brett Breeding (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Balder the Brave)
Black Knight
Black Knight

(Dane Whitman)

(Hogun the Grim)


Plus: Earth Force, Earth Lord (Kyle Brock), Grog the God-Crusher (Grog), Seth (Serpent God), Skyhawk (Winston Manchester), Wind Warrior (Pamela Shaw).

> Thor: Book info and issue index

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