Comic Browser:


Thor #397: Review

Nov 1988
Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz

Story Name:

When the Gods Make War

Review & Comments

5 stars

Thor #397 Review by (January 26, 2021)

Review: A lot of cool incidents, with the Lee-Kirby mojo still working, make this issue a winner: Balder’s defeat of the war machine, Wind Warrior’s tornado, an impressive introduction for Loki, Thor’s spectacular breaking of his bonds, his beatdown of the obnoxious Grog. All epic. But the most impressive moment comes when Volstagg, usually the unfunny comic relief, rises to the challenge of heroism and shouts “The enemy shall not pass!” And he predated Gandalf by a few years (the movie one, not the book one). The last was truly remarkable.

Comments: Part three of six parts. Brett Breeding inked pages 1-12 and Don Heck 13-22. One of the letters in the letter column is by William Uchtman, future contributor to the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thor #397 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

In the Dimension of Death’s Black Pyramid, Thor and his allies are prisoners of Grog the God-Crusher who tortures Thor while boasting about taking his hammer Mjolnir away. After the bad guys leave, the heroes (Hogun, Black Knight, Earth Lord, Skyhawk, Wind Warrior) try to break their bonds….

In Asgard, the defenders are beating back the forces of Seth so he sends to his captive “weapon” who refuses to cooperate until he is harmed by Grog. Suddenly, the battle goes against the Asgardians. Balder is struck down and falls in the path of a giant war machine but the power of Thor enables him to overturn the massive tank. Sif and Fandral protect Balder while Volstagg volunteers to oversee the evacuation of the women and children….

Back in the Dimension of Death, Wind Warrior, who panicked and fled the battlefield last issue, is being pursued by members of the Death Legions; she is caught and instinctively responds with a tornado that carries them off to the Black Pyramid. And then she is found by the Lost Ones….

In Asgard, Seth pays a visit to Loki who calmly advises the invader to give up his plan and depart. When he learns that Seth is absolutely convinced of victory, Loki excuses himself and takes his leave, magically….

Volstagg makes sure that all the women and children of Asgard—including his own wife and kids—have boarded the ship that will take them to safety. He refuses to join his wife and leads his troops into battle with the Death Legions, saying, “The enemy shall not pass!”

Invisible, Loki visits the Black Pyramid, searching for the super-weapon. He finds Thor and the others in the dungeon; Thor refuses to break under the excessive torture. It is only when Grog threatens to conquer Asgard using Thor’s own hammer that the God of Thunder is angry enough to break free of his bonds and start breaking heads. The others are also freed and join in the melee. Thor beats Grog into a pulp before realizing he is giving in, not to justice but vengeance. He vows to end the threat of Seth with his allies….

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Ron Frenz
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)

(Loki Laufeyson)


Plus: Bes (God of Luck), 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

Share This Page