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Thor #456: Review

Dec 1992
Tom DeFalco, Al Milgrom

Story Name:

The Choice and the Challenge!

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Thor #456 Review by (July 26, 2022)

Review: Poor Eric Masterson! For multiple issues he has been agonizing over whether he is able to be a hero like Thor and it hasn’t been easy. Now he learns from Odin that the real Thor has been imprisoned in his subconscious all along and figures that anytime he did anything even remotely heroic it was Thor acting through him. What a bummer. He decides that no one would miss him if he were gone and so decides to risk his life to return Thor to the land of the living. Maybe a prescription for Xanax would help and he could go back to work, marry Susan Austin, and get joint custody of Kevin. We know that won’t happen but he does get a second chance at being a superhero not many issues from now and that might work out a little better—for a couple of years anyway. On the other hand, the return of Bloodaxe made for much excitement and I would like to see more of “him” in the upcoming THUNDERSTRIKE. And it’s sad that no one could think of any further use for the Earth Force whose final appearance this is. But then this combination of Big Guy, Flying Guy, and Wind Lady didn’t have much to distinguish it. As for the second story: We discover that Amora has a hole in her heart that has never been filled. We also see the power and nobility of Odin so it’s too bad that all 21st century Thor writers have turned him into a buffoon and an unworthy ruler and manipulator of his subjects. Can’t we get the noble Thor and Odin back someday?

Comments: First story: Part one of four parts. Ron Frenz and Tom DeFalco collaborated on the plot. The Earth Force was introduced in issue #395-400 and the three were last seen in THOR ANNUAL #16; this is their final appearance to date. Kevin refers to Jack Magniconte and Dallas Corbin of the New York Smashers football team, as seen in the New Universe series KICKERS INC. Model Cindy Crawford is mentioned and Eric quotes the TV cartoon REN AND STIMPY. Second story: Pat Garrahy is credited with “aspirin.”


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thor #456 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

On a rooftop, Bloodaxe is battling the astral form of Doctor Strange when Susan Austin comes between them. The two combatants each think the other is trying to harm Susan and respond by an attempt to protect her but Susan cannot see Strange in his astral form and believes Bloodaxe is trying to kill her. Telling Susan his mission is to protect the innocent, Bloodaxe scoops her up and leaps off the roof, landing on (and totaling) a police car. The officer sends in a call for Code: Blue to deal with this new menace….

In Asgard, Thor (Eric Masterson) asks Odin how he can find and restore the missing Thor Odinson; Odin reveals that Thor is closer than he imagines. He relates how, when Thor was banished, he was imprisoned in Eric’s subconscious mind, explaining how Eric was able to rise to the occasion of heroism. Odin also explains that the spell separating Thor from Eric may be fatal to both; the only hope remains the Gauntlet of the Grim Guardian….

Code: Blue, led by Lt. Marcus Stone, arrives to confront Bloodaxe, who charges his axe with electromagnetic force and blasts it at the cops. Officer Kyle Brock, seeing that Code: Blue needs help, uses the device tattooed on his hand to transform into Earth Lord and summons his fellow heroes of the Earth Force, Wind Warrior, and Skyhawk….

In Asgard, Eric tells Balder he is returning to Midgard to think things over and he says farewell but doesn’t think he should face Sif so he is going quietly….

The three Earth Force heroes attack Bloodaxe while an officer helps Susan get away, though she doesn’t think the monstrous figure meant her any harm. Dr. Strange, observing in his astral form, is worried that the villain is far more powerful than the three heroes suspect but he is growing too weak to help….

Back in New York, Eric Thor heads to his son’s school and notes that Kevin seems happy with his mother Marcy Masterson-Steele….

Bloodaxe swings his axe on a chain around him, creating a whirlwind; Wind Warrior enters it and tries to control it but Dr. Strange, sensing she is weakening, prods Marcus Stone into ordering the use of explosives. A small bomb explodes in the center and Bloodaxe is gone, leaving Wind Warrior unharmed. Dr. Strange returns home to his physical form, hoping that he did the right thing. He sensed no evil in Bloodaxe and so allowed him to escape to another dimension….

Thor arrives on the scene to discover everything has been settled though Susan still wonders how Bloodaxe seemed to know her. And so later, Eric decides that no one will miss him while Thor is a much-needed hero and so he chooses to return to Asgard to face the Gauntlet and save the real Thor….

“Healing Hands and Poisoned Tongue!”
Writer: Tom DeFalco. Pencils: Geof Isherwood. Inks: Ariane Lenshoek. Colors: Ariane Lenshoek. Letters: Steve Dutro.
Synopsis: Odin visits Heimdall who is recovering from injuries sustained in issue #450. Amora the Enchantress rages against Odin, claiming that all that has befallen Heimdall is Odin’s fault. The All-Father uses his Odin-Power to heal the wounded guardian and so departs. Amora turns on Heimdall reminding him that she did all the hard work of saving his skin and yet he fawns in devotion toward Odin. Heimdall responds that he is pledged to the honor and glory of Asgard so what would she have him do? She walks out, telling herself that she wants someone to love her the way Heimdall loves Asgard….

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Al Milgrom
Al Milgrom
Mike Rockwitz
Ron Frenz (Cover Penciler)
Al Milgrom (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Layouts: Ron Frenz. Letterer: Rick Parker.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Balder the Brave)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)

(Eric Masterson)
Warriors Three
Warriors Three

(Fandral, Hogun, Volstagg)

Plus: Bloodaxe, Code: Blue (Code Blue), Earth Force, Earth Lord (Kyle Brock), Kevin Masterson, Marcus Stone, Marcy Masterson, Skyhawk (Winston Manchester), Susan Austin, Wind Warrior (Pamela Shaw).

> Thor: Book info and issue index

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