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Thor Annual #17: Review

Jan 1992
Roy Thomas, Geof Isherwood

Story Name:

The Hammer, the Cross -- and the Eye (Citizen Kang, Part 2)

Review & Comments

3 stars

Thor Annual #17 Review by (April 1, 2015)
Comments: Like Annual #16, this is an example of how to do a crossover right. The story can stand alone, but is a piece of a larger puzzle if you’re interested in reading them all. The light-hearted Warriors Three story was not bad, and the other two back up features—one about Thor’s rogues gallery for readers new to Thor, and one about Kang’s backstory for readers unfamiliar with Kang—made sense for the crossover audience this issue was targeting. There are also two “pin ups” in this issue: Thor vs. Ulik, and the Thor Corps. On the whole, this isn’t the best annual out there, but for a story that’s subservient to a larger crossover, it could be much worse.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thor Annual #17 Synopsis by Seahammer
This story is Part 2 of the “Citizen Kang” crossover event.  It follows Captain America Annual #11.

            Following orders from Black Widow, Thor (Eric Masterson) travels to Timely, Wisconsin, in search of the missing Captain America, who himself had gone in search of the Vision.  After seeing an Avengers Quinjet in town, Thor investigates a nearby factory.  In the factory, Thor sees a door with a strange light glowing behind it.  When he opens the door, he is transported to what looks like ancient Mesopotamia.  When Thor sees a futuristic looking city in the distance, he begins flying towards it, but is transported through time again.  This time, he emerges over the Trojan War.  He sees the futuristic city again, and again he is transported to another time when he pursues it.  Now, he finds himself in a time that he says “just seems right.” 

Below, he sees two medieval armies, which turn out to be Vikings, led by Rollo, against the Franks, led by King Charles.  Since this Thor only speaks modern English, he cannot communicate with either side.  Instead, he calls down a storm, which causes the Vikings to kneel down before him.  Soon, the Franks attack again, and Thor is struck by a powerful beam of energy.  When he looks up, he sees Prester John on his floating throne, wielding the Eye of Avalon.

Prester John explains that he was the last inhabitant of Avalon when Kang the Conqueror appeared out of nowhere.  When Prester John refused to serve Kang, Kang tried to take the Eye of Avalon.  As the two battled, Prester John fell through a portal in time and awoke here in this time.  Prester John reveals to Thor that since he is stranded in this time, he plans to rule this time period by controlling King Charles as a puppet king.  Thor realizes that if he is successful, Prester John will change history, which he cannot allow.  After a quick skirmish, Prester John knocks Thor backwards.  As he falls, he inadvertently strikes Mjolnir twice against the ground and transforms back into Eric Masterson.  In the 20th Century, Doctor Druid and Nebula agree to work together to learn more about Kang’s new scheme.

When Masterson wakes up, he and Rollo are tied up.  Prester John asserts final control over King Charles and uses the Eye to transform the landscape into his city, New Avalon.  This causes the Franks to panic.  During the commotion, Masterson escapes and regains his walking stick.  He transforms back into Thor and attacks Prester John.  Prester John thinks he is gaining the upper hand by absorbing the energy of Thor’s thunderbolts with the Eye of Avalon, but it is too powerful for him to handle.  The power of Mjolnir triggers another “time maelstrom,” which sucks Prester John away.

Then, Thor resets history by forcing Rollo and King Charles to agree to peace.  Unknown to Thor, King Charles demands that Rollo denounce his pagan beliefs.  When he does, Thor is transported out of this time and back to the 20th century.  Thor surmises that it was Rollo’s belief that drew him to this particular time in the first place.  When Thor reappears in the 20th century, he finds himself not in his own year, but at Ellis Island in the early 1900s.

The “Citizen Kang” story continues in Fantastic Four Annual #25.


Title: “The Ten Most Heinous Enemies of the Mighty Thor

Words: George Caragonne
Pictures: Kirk Jarvinen
Inks and Colors: Brad Vancata
Letters: John Babcock

Characters: Thor, Hercules, Ego the Living Planet, the Grey Gargoyle, the High Evolutionary, the Absorbing Man, Surtur, Ulik, Amora the Enchantress, the Destroyer, Hela, Loki


            Still trying to learn about being Thor, Eric Masterson asks Hercules who might be coming after him.  Over a drink, Hercules explains some of Thor’s most powerful and dangerous foes.


            Title: “Looking for Trouble

Words: John Lewandowski
Pencils: Kevin Kobasic
Inks: Bud LaRosa
Letterer: Rick Parker
Colorist: Sarah Mossoff

Characters: Volstagg, Hogun, Fandral, Gudrun, Skullnik, the Vizier


            This tale of the Warriors Three has a much more comedic tone than the other stories in this annual.  After Volstagg knocks over an array of weaponry at Hogun’s abode with his large rear-end, the two set off to meet Fandral.  As they depart from Hogun’s home, however, they are met by a troll woman named Skullnik, Ulik’s beloved.  Skullnik reveals that Ulik has been missing for a fortnight, so she has sought the out Warriors Three for help.  Together, they go to Fandral, who is teaching several beautiful women how to handle his sword.

            The Warriors Three quarrel about whether or not to trust Skullnik, so Hogun suggests they go to Odin’s Vizier.  The Vizier uses Ulik’s stinking loincloth—which Skullnik just happens to have with her—to conjure an image of what Ulik is doing at that very moment.  The image that appears is of Ulik resting peacefully in a field of flowers.  It turns out that he has just gone on vacation, without telling his wife.  This enrages Skullnik, who thanks the Warriors Three for their help before setting off to meet Ulik.  That night, as the Warriors Three celebrate at an Asgardian pub, Ulik bursts in looking to teach them a lesson about meddling with his “domestic bliss.”


Title: “Paradise Lost

Writer: Peter Sanderson
Penciler: Rich Yanizeski
Inker: Fred Fredericks
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Colorist: Max Scheele

Characters: Kang, Ravonna, Immortus, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, the Squadron Sinister, Spider-Man, the Grandmaster


            Kang narrates a retelling of his life up to this point.  Even after he became the dominant power in the 41st century, his previous defeat at the hands of the Avengers upset him.  To destroy the Avengers, Kang created a robotic doppelganger of Spider-Man to infiltrate the team, but the real Spider-Man stopped it.  Then, Kang went to King Arthur’s court and took over Camelot, but Uatu alerted the Fantastic Four, who stopped him.  He even attacked the Fantastic Four on the Richards’ wedding day.

            Back in his own time, Kang met Princess Ravonna.  She refused to marry him because he was not truly royalty, so Kang summoned the Avengers to prove his combat prowess.  When Ravonna still refused to marry Kang, even after he defeated the Avengers, Kang took her kingdom by force.  However, his top commanders threatened to rebel if he did not kill Ravonna as he had killed the other rulers that he captured.  When Kang freed Ravonna’s kingdom in order to get the Avengers to fight at his side against his rebellious commanders, Ravonna finally returned his love.  At that moment, though, Ravonna was shot by one of the rebels.  Unable to save her, Kang put her in suspended animation.

            When he finally regained his empire after the rebellion, Kang was approached by the Grandmaster.  The Grandmaster proposed that if Kang’s chosen warriors could beat his, then he would grant Kang a one-time use of the power over life or death.  Kang chose the Avengers, who defeated the Grandmaster’s Squadron Sinister.  However, Kang then had to choose whether to save Ravonna, or kill the Avengers once and for all.  Ultimately, Kang chose to kill the Avengers.  He was defeated by the Black Knight, who had not yet joined the team.  Kang ends the narration at the base of Ravonna’s suspended animation chamber, lamenting that his life is empty of meaning and empty of love.

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Geof Isherwood
Fred Fredericks
Tom Smith
Rob Panella (Cover Penciler)
Dan Panosian (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Peter Parker)

Warriors Three
Warriors Three

(Fandral, Hogun, Volstagg)

Plus: Squadron Sinister.

> Thor Annual: Book info and issue index

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