Hey everybody, welcome back to another week in Ye Olde School Café! In this edition we’ll be taking a look at a comic book that had a big reveal on the eve of a big anniversary issue. Thor #249 boasts the creative team of Len Wein (writer/editor), ‘Big’ John Buscema (pencils)(RIP), Tony DeZuniga (inks)(RIP), Glynis Wein (colors), Joe Rosen (letters)(RIP), and ‘Marvelous’ Marv Wolfman (“face in the crowd”/plotter). This team would be a fantastic combination (Wein/Wolfman/Buscema) over quite a few story arcs, and go down as one of the best runs ever on that title!
To set the stage, Thor (and Asgard) has been a victim of the machinations of Zarrko the Tomorrow Man, some wacky time travel adventures, a fight with Firelord, and a battle with the Storm Giants. Behind the scenes, though, something even more sinister is going on, and it also appears that Odin is going mad (after having been missing for some time)! All of this has set the stage for what we are about to venture into….
As the issue begins, we see Thor entering a corridor near his father’s throne room. He’s greeted by a battalion of Asgardian soldiers who warn him that Odin has commanded that Thor be captured, and not allowed to gain access to the throne room. Thor’s temper has always been a bit suspect, and it doesn’t take long before he begins to fight the soldiers. Thor actually is taking them down with some ease, but when reinforcements arrive he decides it would be better to flee (there’s also a mystical barrier of some type blocking his way). He flies to the secret residence of Balder the Brave, where he, Jane Foster, the Warriors Three, and the Grand Vizier are plotting to stop Odin. The Grand Vizier tells Thor that they must travel to a far land to ask the help of Karnilla, Queen of the Norns. Jane Foster asks what her role is in this game, and the Grand Vizier tells her that she must stay behind to help rally the people of Asgard against Odin. He hands her the sword of the Lady Sif (she’s been sort of missing…it’s complicated), and as she grasps it, she’s transformed into Lady Sif! After a quick tender moment, the Vizier warns that they must hurry, and so they leave.
Meanwhile, Odin is barking orders to his loyal followers, and tells them to bring the Odinsword to a different chamber. He then commands them to bring his throne and place it over the sword. Odin tells his wary followers that he’ll either rule Asgard alone or destroy it! As Thor and his band of brothers are nearing Karnilla’s stronghold (actually a creepy looking cave), a few giants attack, but are quickly dispatched by the thunder god! Thor enters the home of Karnilla, and then begs her to help against the seemingly mad Odin. At first she rebuffs their requests, even slapping Balder across the face (image below – those two have a history)! The Vizier warns her that not helping them will have some dire consequences in the future, and after a short conversation she relents to their demand.
Later, they arrive back at the palace of Odin. When the guards attempt to stop them, Karnilla uses her magic to whisk them away. Karnilla then tries to use her power to destroy the barrier that protects Odin’s chambers, but she fails. Thor then tells her that together they must try to break it down again. Thor uses his hammer, Mjolnir, and Karnilla summons all of her power, and together they open a hole in the barrier. As Thor leaps through, he tells his friends to follow, but the hole seals back up immediately after Thor jumps through.
Thor is then greeted by his father’s voice, and told to enter the chamber. As he does, he sees that Odin has brought the Odinsword there, and that he’s replaced the Grand Vizier with the evil Igron the Invincible! Igron has been a lackey of Loki’s in the past, but has now somehow deceived Odin himself. Thor begs his father to explain his actions, but he only gets more riddles than answers. Finally, Odin grows weary of Thor’s questions, and then a blinding light shimmers before Thor’s eyes. The ruse is over, and Mangog stands ready to kill Thor!
Wow, this was a such a huge issue, and of course a big brawl followed in the anniversary issue next. To have Wein, Wolfman, and Buscema doing this was a perfect storm as far as I’m concerned. You get great stories, consistency, and mind-blowing artwork, too! Let us not forget the covers around this time either! The king of comics had returned to Marvel and was belting out some fantastic covers! See you next time!