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Thor #400: Review

Feb 1989
Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz

Story Name:

Lest the Heavens Perish!

Review & Comments

Rating:
5 stars

Thor #400 Review by (March 1, 2021)

Review: And the whole Seth invades Asgard arc wraps up in spectacular fashion. Surtur is one of the most formidable foes in Marvel and he looks it. Enlarging Thor to giant size too is a brilliant idea and this part of the tale alone is epic. Fortunately the rest of it is on the same level, evoking the greatest Thor battles of the Lee-Kirby era: Thor’s fight with Surtur, Odin versus the giant snake, Hogun’s fatal charge, and the epic climax wherein everything is put back in place to move on in the next issue. Terrific in all of its parts.

The Other Stories: “When Volstagg Was in Flower!” is easily recognized as the first meeting of Robin Hood and Little John from a later heroic legend; it serves to inform us that though Volstagg has been a braggart and a coward from his first appearance in a Thor comic, he must have been a warrior once, right? Maybe. “When Warriors Clasp!” is pretty funny with the bickering narrators who are writing the story, with some fine meta-humor. “Evil Aborning:” this “origin of Loki” has an amazing new look, more along the lines of Maxfield Parrish or Barry Windsor-Smith (and maybe a little Graham Ingels), sets this tale apart from the rest of the comic; the story is pretty good too. The combination makes this look like an old legend rather than a 1980s comic book.

Comments: First story co-plotted by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz. Part six of six parts. Earth Force returns a few more times over the years. Grog returns in PUNISHER ANNUAL #2, of all places. Earth Lord’s name is given as Kyle Brock; in issue #395, it’s Tyle Brock. Issue includes a portrait of Sif by John Workman and Joe Sinnott. Black Knight is saved from the blood curse in BLACK KNIGHT (1990 miniseries).  






 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thor #400 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

In the Dimension of Death, Thor, with Odin’s power added to his own, must fight the fiery demon Surtur to save the universe. Using his newfound power, he grows to giant size to face his enemy on equal terms. Surtur uses the Black Pyramid itself as a weapon, unwittingly killing Grog the God-Crusher, and unleashing Seth’s power which sends them hurtling through the cosmos ….

Asgard, meanwhile, has fallen to Seth’s forces. Sif advises Tyr and the others to retreat, though Leir hurls a tower at the enemy as a parting shot. Then we learn that Balder had been snatched away to safety by his lover Karnilla, the Norn Queen; he demands she help him defeat the enemy but she balks, hoping to keep her kingdom safe but Balder shows her scenes of Seth’s forces killing off the trolls and frost giants; there can be no escape from this enemy….

Seth enters the throne room of Asgard with his Death Legions only to be greeted by Heimdall, Volstagg, and Fandral as the sole defenders—but then a portal opens up and a huge force of Norns, trolls, and frost giants arrives to join the battle against the Death Legions….

Sif and the refuges look down on conquered Asgard from the hills but then Odin arrives to rally his people. Horus and the Egyptian gods are joined by Earth-Force (Earth Lord, Skyhawk, Wind Warrior) and the seriously ill Black Knight as Hogun worries about the Sign of Death on his face and the prophecy made by Seth that when they meet again, Hogun shall die. Leir leads the Celtic Gods against monsters unleashed by Seth. The Grand Vizier makes his way to Seth’s command tent to find Amora asking help for the grievously wounded Lorelei….

Thor’s battle with Surtur takes them to Atlantis, then to the Inhumans’ Great Refuge on the moon, then to Rigel-3, then to….

Seth, fleeing the battle scene, is intercepted by the Earth-Force, rejecting the life he lent them and refusing to do his bidding. Seth kills them all rather easily. Seth is blasted by multiple weapons but it only releases the giant serpent that dwells within him. Odin grows into a giant and wrestles with Seth-Serpent; Hogun finds Black Knight, completely paralyzed by the blood curse he has been fighting, and Hogun, knowing his fate is sealed, hurls Black Knight like a spear, piercing the Serpent’s brain. At the same moment, Thor appears on the scene and calls down a whirlwind that causes Surtur to implode while Seth shrinks and vanishes, resulting in the rebirth of the Egyptian gods. Thor surveys the destroyed Asgard and mourns. Odin, seeing as there is no other prison that can hold him, absorbs Surtur into his own body and uses the Demon’s power to restore Asgard and its people to glory. The Egyptian gods use their powers to resurrect the Earth Force and send them back to Earth to recover, though retaining their superpowers should they need them….

Epilogue: Thor asks permission to return to Midgard; Odin grants it but reminds him that soon he must make a choice: Midgard or Asgard….

“I… This Hammer! (Or, If You Knew Uru Like We Knew Uru!”
Writer: Tom DeFalco. Pencils: Ron Frenz. Inks: Brett Breeding. Colors: Brett Breeding.
Synopsis: A history and list of powers of Thor’s mighty hammer Mjolnir.

“Who Shall Be Worthy?”
Writer: Tom DeFalco. Pencils: Ron Frenz. Inks: Brett Breeding. Colors: ?
Synopsis: A list of characters who have been deemed worthy to lift Mjolnir: Odin, Captain America, Beta Ray Bill, Dargo Ktor.

“The Heart of a Hero!”
Writer: Tom DeFalco. Pencils: Ron Frenz. Inks: John Romita. Colors: Max Scheele.
Synopsis: A list of women romantically linked to Thor: Jane Foster, Sif, Enchantress, Lorelei, Hela.

“When Volstagg Was in Flower!”
Writer: Tom DeFalco. Plot: Ron Frenz. Pencils: Rich Yanizeski. Inks: Marc McKenna. Colors: Robbie Busch.
Synopsis: Fandral and Hogun are asked by Kevin and Mick Mortensen why they hag around with a fat old family man like Volstagg; Fandral tells how he first encountered Volstagg as a strong young man who challenged him to a quarterstaff fight on a narrow bridge. Volstagg won the battle but Fandral won the rematch and the two became friends. Volstagg arrives to take all the kids home as he mentions other mighty exploits in his youth.

“When Warriors Clasp!”
Writer: Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz. Pencils: Gary Hartle. Inks: Don Heck. Colors: Evelyn Stein.
Synopsis: Thor and Hercules meet to arm wrestle atop a thin mountain. Their contest demolishes the mountain and continues without end…. This comical tale is narrated by a sparring Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz.

“Evil Aborning”
Writer: Randall Frenz. Pencils: Charles Vess. Inks: Charles Vess. Colors: Christie Scheele.
Synopsis: Young Loki is pout in detention by Odin but he soon escapes and rides forth to seek his fortune. The Grand Vizier suggests to Odin that he let Loki reap the consequences of his rebellion. Loki is attacked in the woods by trolls and left for death; an elderly wizard Eldred finds him, nurses him back to health and takes him on as apprentice. Loki summons Surtur and makes a deal with him: Surtur gets Eldred’s souls while Loki gains Eldred’s powers in his scheme to overthrow Odin and rule Asgard. This happens and Loki gloats over his victory….


Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:




Ron Frenz
Joe Sinnott
Max Scheele
Ron Frenz (Cover Penciler)
Brett Breeding (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Balder
Balder

(Balder the Brave)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Hogun
Hogun

(Hogun the Grim)
Loki
Loki

(Loki Laufeyson)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)
Thor
Thor

(Dargo Ktor)

Plus: Black Knight, Earth Lord (Kyle Brock), Grog the God-Crusher (Grog), Karnilla (Norn Queen), Leir (Lord of Lightning), Seth (Serpent God), Skyhawk (Winston Manchester), Surtur (Surtur the Fire Demon), Wind Warrior (Pamela Shaw).

> Thor: Book info and issue index

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