Welcome back everybody, to another week in Ye Olde School Café! This week, we’ll have the exciting conclusion to the great Tpb (trade paperback) Thor: Ragnarok! The past two weeks (Pt 1 & pt 2) we’ve seen Loki use his evil skills to dupe Thor into bringing three people to Asgard. Harris Hobbs, a TV news personality, and two members of his crew are currently in Asgard even though Odin wants them out. Thor tells Odin that he’ll take care of them, but before he can figure out what he wants to do with them, Balder the Brave is killed (Loki tricked blind Hoder into shooting him with an arrow). Also, a subplot has developed between Sif and the cameraman from Hobbs’s crew. Loki is subtly influencing him and coaxing him to have feelings for Lady Sif. Odin has just made a hasty sacrifice, too, that just might signal the end of times for Asgard as well!
At the beginning of Thor #276, we see that Thor doesn’t quite understand what Odin has done. Odin explains to his son that he just gave a portion of his power (or life force) to Balder in hopes that he’ll be able to keep his soul away from Hela. Thor then realizes that this will leave his father almost powerless against the invading hordes of trolls and giants that are coming for Asgard. Odin then turns his attention to the trial of Loki. The trial is a quick one and results in a guilty verdict against Loki. Realizing he’s running out of time, Loki convinces Red, the cameraman, to put on the Belt of Power, and Thor’s iron gloves as well. Lastly, he tells Red to jump into the Fire of Geirrodur to obtain the power of Thor! As the trial concludes, we see Red, who is now calling himself the “real” Thor, bust through the wall, and a huge battle breaks out between Thor and Red. Thor actually takes quite a beating, and everyone is astonished, but no one interferes at Thor’s behest. Eventually, The Warriors Three and Sif start to attack him. Just before they can attack him, the third human, Joey, tries to reason with his old friend. Red callously strikes down his former friend, and then convinces Sif to come away with him instead of perpetuating more violence. As the two fly away, Odin slumps down on his throne and the flame around Balder seems to weaken.
As Thor and his comrades ponder what has happened, Harris Hobbs is weeping over the loss of his friend’s life. Loki then tells them all of his machinations of late. He tells them that he struck a bargain with Hela to plant dreams in the head of Harris Hobbs. These dreams would serve as the motivation for Hobbs wanting to come back to Asgard. Thor then gets into a verbal argument with Loki over the fact that Loki would rather see Asgard fall if he cannot rule it. Thor then goes berserk and has Loki staked out in a desert of sorts. There, he’s tortured by a viper that drips poison into his eyes. Meanwhile, Hela is rallying the troops (trolls, giants, etc.) to get ready for the final battle. Sif then talks with Red and tries to reason with him. She tells him that she knows how he got his power and that he’s still not at Thor’s level as a man. She tells the story of how Odin thought Thor may one day exhaust himself on Midgard (Earth), and need to fight in Asgard. So he used Geirrodur the troll and his own power to create a flame-filled room that would house the power of Thor, and if the need ever arose, he could bequeath that power to a lesser godling for the protection of Asgard.
Just as Thor is rallying all the Asgardians to be ready for the oncoming siege, Hela comes knocking at Asgard’s gates. A gigantic battle ensues with all of Asgard’s finest trying to stop an invading army of evil beings. Heimdall, The Warriors Three, Thor, and everyone else that can wield a weapon are fighting for their very lives. Back at the scene with Sif and Red, Sif is trying to tell Red that his legacy won’t be of honor and valor, but deceit and lies if Asgard falls. She also tells him that Midgard will be next, and it’s at that point when Red realizes what he must do. Back in Asgard, Thor is stunned to see that Loki has somehow been freed of his bonds and is coming at Thor with the Sword of Surtur. Just as Loki is about to deliver a mighty blow, the ground trembles as the Midgard Serpent has come to deliver the prophecy of killing Thor! Thor tries to fight off the huge beast, but his strength is low and Mjolnir is nowhere to be found. It appears as though the serpent is going to kill Thor, but then out of the sky comes Red, and he engages the beast. The serpent then must fight him as well, but it returns to the depths with Red on its back. In mere minutes it returns, though, and Thor, who is now enraged at the thought of Red being slain by the beast, goes wild and fights, until suddenly the great serpent disappears.
After everything is said and done, Thor questions the validity of the combat. Odin tells his son that it was all a ruse to gauge Hela’s forces and might. He tells Thor that he used his mighty powers to create all of this. He also tells Thor that everyone thought dead is still alive, except the men of Midgard. Thor then renounces his father and the throne of Asgard, Odin tells him that he cannot return to Midgard, but Thor tells him that no one will tell the Thunder God where he can go. Odin then tells Thor that he’ll not be allowed to return to Asgard forever if he leaves. Thor tells his father goodbye, then tries to get Lady Sif to come with him, but she refuses. Thor then transports Hobbs and his two fallen comrades to Earth. Hobbs wants to talk with Thor, but Thor tells him that he cannot stay because the time of the Celestials’ judgment is upon the world!
Well, that’s it, but wow, what a story! Roy Thomas is really a master at these types of stories, and actually is continuing this type right now in Conan (Road of Kings). This peticular story leads right into my favorite story of all time – Thor: The Eternals Saga! See you next week!