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Thor #489: Review

Aug 1995
Roy Thomas, M. C. Wyman

Story Name:

Hel and High Water

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Thor #489 Review by (April 9, 2024)

Review: It’s the battle that makes the issue, Thor and Hulk whomping on each other while exchanging witty banter, a rarity given the history of these two and possible only with Professor Hulk. Hela’s revelation that she was bluffing comes off as a cop-out, the writer having come up empty with a real reason for her to release Thor. But the battle overcomes any flaws in the tale.

Comments: Part five of five parts. Title is a pun on “come Hell or high water,” meaning a task must be achieved regardless of circumstances. Professor Hulk visited Hel in INCREDIBLE HULK #423, also meeting Thor/Red Norvell at the time. Final appearance as of 2024 of the Godpack or any of its members. Paul Becton contributed to the coloring.  


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thor #489 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Balder and Sif, plus the High Evolutionary and his Godpack, explain the situation to latecomer Professor Hulk. And Hulk is reluctant to return to Hel but he is the only one there who did not promise not to rescue Thor….

In Hel, Hela, Queen of the Dead, is exulting in finally having Thor in her power, making him repeat his vow to serve her over and over. But Thor claims he would have done anything to protect Midgard from her depredations….

Balder escorts Hulk to the mouth of Hel, which is as far as he can go, given his vow. Balder offers to deal with Garm, the giant dog guarding the entrance while Hulk descends until he reaches the throne of Hel. As Hela’s insistence, Thor orders Hulk to leave as he, Thor, is there by his own choice. Hulk vows that he is taking Thor out of Hel with or without his consent. And the battle begins. They immediately destroy Hela’s castle in the brawl and Hulk realizes he will have to go all-out to beat Thor—but if he does, he runs the risk of losing control and turning back into Bruce Banner, which would definitely lose him the fight….

The Godpack and others await on the surface to learn the outcome. Even Blitziana shows some concern over Thor’s fate while others suggest that if they found Malekith they could possibly trade him for Thor. But Riger, the one with the supersharp senses, feels something wrong—and it’s the fact that Jane Foster has no heartbeat. His ploy spoiled, Malekith resumes his own form and escapes, turning into energy and speeding through the air. He alights once more on the ground and is captured by Kurse who beats him into a coma. Then Sif and the Godpack arrive and Sif requests Malekith to trade for Thor but Kurse refuses, intending to wreak his full vengeance on his enemy. Sif pleads, telling him that being consumed by his vengeance would be Malekith’s final victory….

So Kurse brings Malekith to Hela, offering to trade. She declines as Thor is of much better value than Malekith and besides, Thor, given enough time, will defeat the Hulk, because he is immortal and Hulk would weaken in about a century. Kurse comes up with a counteroffer….

As Thor and Hulk continue to bash each other, Hela calls a halt. Kurse has offered to take Thor’s place. She was so moved by his nobility that she could not take him from the face of the Earth. She also admits she was bluffing to Hulk and Thor; they would completely lay waste to Hel long before one could defeat the other. They leave and punch out Garm and take Balder along. Once outside, Thor informs the Godpack he will not be joining them as he doesn’t belong with them; he will go his own way in Midgard. Sif says farewell as she would always be a stranger on Earth and only feel at home in Asgard. He bids farewell to his friends, including Beta Ray Bill and the Warriors Three. He also says his goodbyes to the Godpack and Jane Foster. He and Hulk walk off together…

…and up in Asgard, Odin sheds a tear….

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

M. C. Wyman
Mike DeCarlo
Ovi Hondru
M. C. Wyman (Cover Penciler)
Mike DeCarlo (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Phil Felix.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Balder the Brave)

(Goddess of Death)

Warriors Three
Warriors Three

(Fandral, Hogun, Volstagg)

Plus: Godpack (Godlings).

> Thor: Book info and issue index

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