Comic Browser:


Thor Annual #18: Review

Jan 1993
Ron Marz, Tom Grindberg

Story Name:

Forged in Fire

Review & Comments

3 stars

Thor Annual #18 Review by (April 7, 2015)
Comments: If it weren’t for the art, this issue would be at least a 4 out of 5 for me. The stories were simple, but interesting. In fact, I’m surprised that The Flame was only used in two issues after this one (one being the next annual, the other being little more than a cameo in Oeming’s Ragnarok story). His set up here was good, and he could have been a recurring player for Thor. As for the art: it just isn’t my cup of tea. It is dark and shadowy to the point of being unclear in places, and the figures are blocky and disproportioned. I looked up other art from Grindberg and it isn’t all like this, so I wonder if it is just a victim of that “early 90’s” style. Whatever the reason, the art is by far my biggest complaint for this otherwise fine issue featuring an exciting new character.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thor Annual #18 Synopsis by Seahammer

Characters: Thor, Hrinmeer The Flame, Aeltri, Skulveig, Odin, Sleipnir


            In an Asgardian pub, several warriors are discussing who is the mightiest in Asgard with Thor away, not counting Odin.  A mysterious hooded woman enters and says that she knows a tale of a mighty warrior who once battled Thor, although he is never talked about.  The warriors ask her to tell her tale.  It takes place in the distant past, when the borders between the Nine Realms were more easily crossed, and bands of Fire Demons raided the other realms.

            On one such raid, a Light Elf woman named Aeltri is taken prisoner and brought to the Fire Demon Skulveig.  He keeps her for his pleasure, and eventually she bears him a son, Hrinmeer.  Hrinmeer is half elf, half fire demon.  Believing that Hrinmeer is too hideous to look at, Skulveig forces him to wear a mask his entire life.  According to the storyteller, Aeltri eventually dies.  When Hrinmeer grows up, he is filled with anger and hatred, and murders his father.  Taking his father’s sword, Hrinmeer calls himself the Flame and goes on a spree through Asgard, killing Asgardians and burning their villages to the ground.

            Odin sends Thor on a mission to find and stop the Flame, bringing him in alive if possible, but killing him if necessary.  To speed his search, Odin lends Thor his eight-legged horse, Sleipnir.  In searching for the Flame, Thor comes across a town that had been burnt to the ground.  The only survivor is a small child, whom Thor sends to Asgard on Sleipnir.  Thor continues the search by flying with Mjolnir.  Eventually, Thor finds the Flame riding into Nidavellir.

            After giving him several chances to surrender, Thor battles the Flame.  The Flame recounts his plight and attributes his terrible deeds to his horrible appearance and his emotionally abusive upbringing.  After telling him to “stop whining,” Thor removes Hrinmeer’s mask.  To his amazement, Thor does not see a hideous monster, but a fair-featured light elf with flaming hair.  Thor then tries to convince Hrinmeer that there is nothing wrong with his appearance.  Hrinmeer, however, believes that Thor is trying to trick him, and dives into a lake of molten lava to escape being brought in alive.  In an act of pity and remorse, Thor calls down a rainstorm until the lava cools and solidifies.

            Back at the pub, the warriors thank the woman for her tale and ask her where she learned it.  The woman removes her hood, revealing to the reader that she is actually Aeltri, Hrinmeer’s mother, but telling the warriors only that it is a tale she knows.


Title: “Rekindled

Writer: Ron Marz
Artist: Tom Raney
Letterer: Diana Albers
Colorist: Greg Rosewall

Characters: Hrinmeer The Flame, Loki


            After an unknown period of time since this battle with Thor, Hrinmeer the Flame bursts through the hardened stone created when Thor cooled the lava.  While he wonders aloud how he survived, a voice nearby suggests that it is only due to his half fire demon heritage.  It is Loki.  Loki has a proposition for Hrinmeer, but Hrinmeer isn’t interested and does not trust him.  Loki disappears, but almost immediately reappears in the form of a dragon.  Loki then shape-shifts into a beautiful woman, a powerful troll, and finally, into an image of Thor himself, promising to give Hrinmeer anything he desires.  Loki tries to gain Hrinmeer’s trust by describing how he grew up an outcast as well, then suggests a partnership: if Hrinmeer agrees to serve as Loki’s agent in matters where he does not want to get physically involved, then Loki will provide Hrinmeer with the chance to get revenge on Thor.  Hrinmeer agrees.


Title: “Stormbreaker

Writer: Ron Marz
Penciler: Tom Grindberg
Inker: Don Hudson
Letterer: John Costanza

Characters: Beta Ray Bill, a Storm Giant


            Beta Ray Bill has returned to Asgard in search of the Lady Sif.  He needs her help to try to cure Thor of his Warrior’s Madness.  When he arrives, he finds Asgard beset by a constant and violent storm.  Seeking the source of the storm, Bill finds a Storm Giant on the peak of a nearby mountain.  The giant says that when Thor was in Asgard, he would always end the destructive storms created by the giant.  Now that Thor is nowhere to be found, however, the giant finally has the chance to destroy Asgard.  Bill reveals that he, too, is a defender of Asgard, and battles the giant.  After he defeats the giant, Bill calls upon his hammer, Stormbreaker, to do that for which it was named: break the storm, and bring calm back to the skies of Asgard.

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Tom Grindberg
John Nyberg
Tom Vincent
Tom Grindberg (Cover Penciler)
Tom Grindberg (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.



> Thor Annual: Book info and issue index

Share This Page