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Thor #414: Review

Feb 1990
Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz

Story Name:

Beyond Courage Must I Strive

Review & Comments

4 stars

Thor #414 Review by (July 7, 2021)

Review: A familiar cover (Thor vs. Ulik for what feels like the 137th time) leads to a less-than-familiar battle. For once, Thor and Ulik fight on the streets of New York. Secondly, Hercules is involved (tangentially) and Ulik can lick both of them. The real surprise is that it is Marcus Stone, an easily overlooked recurring character, who becomes the hero of the day, over the two divinities, serving the city that employs him as a peacekeeper. He’ll be around a lot longer, as will the lady lawyer and Kevin’s teacher. The child custody subplot seems to be multiplying characters to fill in the non-Thor-related gaps in the plotting. Is all of this really necessary? Only time will tell.  

Comments: Part two of two parts. First appearances of Samantha Joyce and Ed Marrero, who will appear frequently in this title and THUNDERSTRIKE. “Double Zero Priority” is police code for a battle between superhumans in the city. And as with the just concluded “Acts of Vengeance” event, the Mystery Villain is again Loki (who really should get a hobby). Ron Frenz and Tom DeFalco collaborated on the plot. 


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thor #414 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Story continues from AVENGERS WEST COAST #55.

Having ended the Acts of Vengeance mini-event, Thor returns to New York wondering about Hercules, last seen pursuing Ulik the Troll. Thor turns back into Eric Masterson, joining Susan Austin for a meeting with his lawyer Samantha Joyce about the coming custody battle. Sam tells him that the case is tilted against him but encourages him. Eric leaves, not knowing that Susan is in love with him….

Ulik has set a trap for Hercules at a company’s loading dock. He jumps down on Herc, clobbering him then dropping a huge truck on him….

Police detective Marcus Stone tells his partner Vinnie Evans that he is retiring because his wife wants him to; he and Vinnie visit a new crime boss in town at his palatial headquarters in a huge skyscraper. They warn him the police will be watching but he denies being a criminal and mocks them for their insignificance. Stone and Evans leave and are alerted by radio of an incident involving super-powered people….

Susan Austin arrives at school to pick up Kevin Masterson but learns from his teacher Ed Marrero that the boy’s mother has already gotten him….

Elsewhere, Eric Masterson is arriving late for a business meeting but hears of the same incident on the office radio and takes off, changing to Thor on the way. Thor arrives to find Ulik has defeated Hercules and with his strength enhanced by Loki’s magic, he takes on the God of Thunder who beats him brutally. Seeing the monster down, Herc rushes forward to humble him but Ulik just hurls him away and the Greek god crashes into an automobile transport truck. Thor rushes to his rescue but the collapsing truck buries Thor under a mountain of cars and after 60 seconds without Mjolnir, he turns back to Eric Masterson under the pile. Ulik crashes his way through the police forces, his enhanced power beginning to wane, and climbs to a roof for a getaway. Marcus Stone pursues him and confronts him, shooting but the bullets do not harm the monster. Stone is angry at the troll and continues to fire while Ulik stalks him when a lucky shot causes the bad guy to lose his footing on the parapet and he plunges to the street below, knocking him cold. By this time, Eric has gotten his hand on Mjolnir once more and rushes to the scene where he congratulates Stone on his victory while the detective merely throws away his retirement papers….

Back at home, Hercules is in a funk over his recent bouts of fear. Susan arrives to tell Eric that she doesn’t know where Kevin is, when Marcy Masterson walks in, having taken the boy on a shopping spree and reminding Eric that she is going to take Kevin away from him….

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Ron Frenz
Joe Sinnott
George Roussos
Ron Frenz (Cover Penciler)
Joe Sinnott (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Mike Heisler.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Loki Laufeyson)


Plus: Ed Marrero, Kevin Masterson, Marcus Stone, Marcy Masterson, Samantha Joyce, Susan Austin.

> Thor: Book info and issue index

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