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Thor #417: Review

May 1990
Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz

Story Name:

Only Death Can Save Thee

Review & Comments

4 stars

Thor #417 Review by (August 10, 2021)

Review: An epic battle against a little known villain ends with a deliciously nasty fate for the baddie, a dark creature that can’t abide light being trapped in the sun. Not sure why this adventure wasn’t longer or why he was never brought back but the Dark Dweller could have been a classic foe. And so it goes. And the custody battle is getting nasty, Marcy Masterson could have been one of the great villains as well. The second story, rather complicated for a Tales of Asgard offering, ends on an even more surprising note, demonstrating that this title’s soap opera subplots are not confined to Midgard.

Comments: First story: Part two of two parts. Final appearance of the Dark Dweller, whose first appearance was in the previous issue. Issue also serves as a prelude to the Black Galaxy Saga in issues #419-424. The Thor replicoid was previously seen in issue #389.  Ron Frenz and Tom DeFalco collaborated on the plot. Second story: Part one of nine parts.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thor #417 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Eric Masterson is falling from the balcony of his apartment, having been hurled by Hercules in the thrall of the alien Dark Dweller; he manages to get ahold of his walking stick in mid-air and positions it beneath him, hoping for the best. The point hits the ground a second before he does, which is enough to turn him into Thor. The Dark Dweller watches with the captive Susan Austin, ordering Herc to kill Thor and take his hammer. Herc leaps from the balcony and Thor hurls Mjolnir to give his pal a softer landing but Herc still attacks, the two heroes fighting shaking the building to its foundations. The alien villain decides that he had better retreat with his prisoner and once he is out of range, Hercules snaps out of his spell. Thor checks out the apartment and finds it totally trashed, then he and Herc pursue the Dark Dweller….

In the Black Galaxy, the High Evolutionary unfolds his plans to his sidekick Count Tagar: using the cell samples stolen from Thor (in issue #408) he intends to create a race of gods and no one can stop him. But a Celestial is aware of his plans and sends a message to Odin, giving him a terrifying vision of the end of all things….

Thor and Hercules arrive at an auto junkyard where they confront the Dark Dweller—but he now has an army of enslaved humans to do his bidding, and even Herc is now back under his control. He is punched by Herc and mobbed by the rest so he conjures up a wind to push back his foes without hurting them….

At school, Susan has not arrived to pick up Kevin Masterson (on account of having been kidnapped by the Dark Dweller) and teacher Ed Marrero can’t reach either Susan or Eric on the phone. Kevin has an alternate suggestion….

Herc hurls a house at Thor who reacts by calling down lightning to destroy it in midair—and the Dark Dweller is pained by the bright light, losing his hold on Hercules. Thor presses the advantage: the alien enemy can be hurt but turns Thor’s energy back on the Thunder God, boasting that, as he is not truly alive, he cannot be killed. But Thor points out that he can be punished and creates a vortex throwing the Dark Dweller into space and dropping him into the sun. Thor finds Susan relatively unharmed….

As Susan recovers at home, Eric is surprised by the arrival of the group from Child Welfare Services. They see the shambles the apartment is in (after the battle with the villain last issue) and learn from Kevin’s mom Marcy Masterson that Eric didn’t pick up Kevin from school, berating him as an unfit father. The Child Welfare people leave and Marcy smugly warns Eric that the custody battle is about to get worse….

And lastly we see the Thor Replicoid created by the Celestials is speeding through space, heading for Earth….

“The Abduction”
Writer: Tom DeFalco. Pencils: Gary Hartle. Inks: Mike DeCarlo. Colors: Nel Yomtov. Letters: Michael Heiser.
Synopsis: On the Isle of Avalon, home of the Celtic gods, Dagda manages to locate the missing Asgard in the Negative Zone. Leir, Lord of Lightning, asks him to create a pathway so that he can claim the Lady Sif as his own since Thor doesn’t deserve her. As Leir leaps through the portal, his sidekick Caber goes along to keep him out of trouble….

In Asgard, Odin is beset by nightmares of the end of all things and the Grand Vizier is worried, sharing his concerns with Sif. Leir suddenly appears to her in her room and confesses his love as she tries to kill him….

Outside the room, the skulking Caber is caught by the Warriors Three and they are interrupted by Leir emerging from the boudoir to announce that Sif has accepted his proposal of marriage….

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)
Layouts: Ron Frenz. Letterer: Mike Heisler.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


Warriors Three
Warriors Three

(Fandral, Hogun, Volstagg)

Plus: Ed Marrero, Kevin Masterson, Leir (Lord of Lightning), Marcy Masterson, Susan Austin, Tagar (Count Tagar).

> Thor: Book info and issue index

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