October 3, 2009

Ye Olde School Cafe’: Thor: The Eternals Saga pt 4

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Written by: Billy
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Welcome my friends to the soul searing conclusion of Thor: The Eternals Saga! This is going to be quite a long journey to get to the end of this story, but trust me it’s worth it. Now when we last saw our hero he was trying to stop two giants from fighting for possession of the rhinegold and the ring of power; which Odin promised them to gain the freedom of the fair maiden Idunn. After one of the Storm Giants kills the other in an act of treachery, he then proceeds to whisk himself away and avoids Thor’s hammer. The final portion of our story starts off with Thor threatening the Eye of Odin with an epic beating if he doesn’t finish his tale of Odin’s words about killing his son once before.

In this issue (Thor #296) we see the Valkyries in action for the first time; thor-296_smalldescending to Earth for the valiant warriors that have fallen in battle and deserve to enter sacred Valhalla (the “heaven” for vikings). In this issue we also see the Mighty Thor in human form as he is shown in the same likeness, but not having his godlike powers. The Eye shows Thor an account of when a man named Siegmund, who is the son of Odin from an affair he had with a mortal, came upon a home during a storm and is let in by a woman named Sieglinda. Well to make a long story short, her husband shows up and accuses them of some hanky panky, which of course they deny, but Hunding nevertheless doesn’t trust this stranger. After Siegmund and Hunding find out that they are from waring tribes, they agree to fight the next day. In the middle of the night, Sieglinda sneaks out and tells Thor of a day when a strange wanderer (Odin) came into their house and plunged a sword into a tree, and no man could pull it free. Siegmund tells her that his father told him one day he would find a sword in an hour of great need, and he pulls the blade free and calls it “needful.”

Above, Odin watches and tells Brunnhilda the Valkyrie to go to his son and protect him in his battle with Hunding, only to be interrupted by his wife Frigga. She states that Hunding must win the battle because he kept his marriage vows, and she is the goddess of marriage so she demands vengeance against Odin’s son. He says although it pains him to do this, that he will acquiesce to her request. That night Brunnhilda appears to Siegmund and tells him that he is in danger, and she helps him rather than do Odin’s bidding. While watching from above, Frigga is furious and demands that her husband do as he said; so with  a heavy heart Odin uses his vast mystical powers to help Hunding smite his son in battle. In the aftermath, Odin vows to make the Valkyrie pay for not heeding his orders; and so we begin the next segment, where we see Odin flying at light speed to find Brunnhilda and punish her for disobeying him. We next see Brunnhilda and Sieglinda trying to hide from the All-Father in Valhalla, but they know he is not far behind. So, Brunnhilda and her friends decide to send Sieglinda to a far away place where Odin seldom travels so she can be safe from his wrath. Odin shows up momentarily after they send her away, and he condemns Brunnhilda to live a life as a mortal on top of a fiery mountain, and to marry the first man who lays eyes upon her.

thor-297_small The story then shows Sieglinda being discovered in a forest by an ugly looking gnome who takes her in and helps deliver a child. Any guesses whose child she is carrying? You got it, Siegmund’s! Although she dies during the delivery, her son grows up to be a mighty warrior like his father before him. Good genes I guess. We see this child all grown up and tossing a grizzly bear around, and we also find out the true reason for the gnome taking in the woman and raising the child. He wants the mighty warrior who is called Siegfried to help him get his hands on the ring of power, which now resides in a cave on the finger of Fafnir the Storm Giant, who has since turned into a fire-breathing dragon. Siegfried forges a sword from the broken pieces of his father’s sword “needful,”  and sets off with the gnome to slay the dragon and get the gold he keeps in his lair. At this point we get to see that ugly little dwarf Alberich again, who basically started this whole mess anyway; he and his band of trolls have a run-in with Odin, who is disguised as a wanderer to keep an eye on things. After an epic battle, Siegfried puts the dragon down, and with his dying breath he changes back to his giant form and tells Siegfried about the gold and the ring of power. Siegfried puts the ring on, and also a magical helmet that can change its wearers appearance; he is then visited by a bird that tells him of the gnome’s evil plot to use him for his own personal gain. The gnome tries to stab Siegfried, but he shrugs off the little imp and throws him into a pool of Fafnir’s blood, and he dies from ingesting the tainted plasma; then he tosses the giant’s carcass into the cave opening to thwart anyone else from getting the gold.

Once again he is visited by the bird whom he asks to find a woman for him, and he tells him of a beautiful maiden on top of a fiery hill. He makes his way to the bottom of the mountain and is greeted by Odin, who tells him that only one worthy can climb the hill and free the woman. They have a brief altercation, but it ends when Odin decides he is worthy; we then see him climb the mountain and wake her with a kiss, only to initially be slapped because she forgets she is mortal now, and figures she needs somebody to get her off that plateau. She then tells him that she cannot leave because Odin banished her to that place, and she says that he needs to fulfill his destiny and then he can come back for her.

He then sets out for adventure with the last of Brunnhilda’s power that Odin didn’t take away. She has made him invincible to any frontal assault to protect his heart that belongs to her. Siegfried searches out adventure at a nearby castle, where we see another descendant of Alberich – Hagen, who is spinning a web to get his hands on the ring of power. He tells his king that he and his sister need to marry so they can have heirs to the throne, and he says he knows of the perfect mates for them. He tells them of a fair maiden on top of a plateau, and a man who doesn’t fear anything. When they hear this, they agree to let him use a magic potion of sorts that makes a person fall in love with the first person they see. He tricks Siegfried into drinking it, who then forgets about Brunnhilda and falls in love with Queen Gutruna; she then asks Siegfried to climb a mountain to get the fair maid for her brother. Since he is smitten beyond all belief, he does this task for his bride-to-be so her brother the king can have a bride as well.

Once he nears the top of the mountain, he uses his helmet to change into Gunther the king and get the girl. She for obvious reasons resists him, but she eventually faints and he takes her back to the castle for a double wedding. After she comes to, she tells the king that she is in love with Siegfried, and that they made whoopie only days ago. Gunther gets furious at this revelation and tells his guards to kill Siegfried, but being as he has been given the power from Brunnhilda, and having that mystical sword, he wipes the floor with them. Realizing his men can’t win, Gunther calls them off, but not before Brunnhilda mentions that Siegfried is vulnerable from the back. Well, that’s all that Hagen needs to hear to plot to kill Siegfried and take the ring from him. He does just that by stabbing Siegfried in the back with a spear while his attention is turned away. He then kills the king as well with his throwing knife to get his hands on the golden ring, but then as he tries to get it off of Siegfried, his arm lurches forward and the guards grab him. Brunnhilda enters the room and sorrowfully tells Siegfried how sorry she is, and demands that he get a funeral fitting of a great warrior. While all watch on to see courageous Siegfried burn in a blazing funeral pyre, Brunnhilda mounts her steed and cries out to Odin to take them both to Valhalla and jumps into the fire.

The other Valkyries fly noble Siegfried and devoted Brunnhilda to Valhalla, but they instead take them to Odin where he tells the Valkyries to go away. He then uses his cosmic might to reanimate the two fallen heroes because they died through no fault of their own. Once they are aware, he cleanses their minds of these mortal existences and finds himself unworthy to be the All-Father; he then snaps the ring in half, using it to crucify himself to the Tree of Life (Yggdrasil) forever. After hanging for an undisclosed amount of time, he is visited by a cloaked figure who tells him that he is needed to stop a threat, and then precedes to show him a mighty vessel from space that hovers over the Earth. He then returns to Asgard to consult Mimir about who is on the spacecraft; he is told that they are beings of  immeasurable power who visited the Earth long before Asgard even existed.

Mighty Odin decides to enlist the help of the other Gods of the universe to thor-300_smallstop this menace.They all gather and conclude that they will send three representatives to talk to the giants that dwell on this ship. Odin, Zeus and one of the other pantheon’s gods confront the mighty Celestial, and are shown that if they stand in the way of the judgment that their homelands will be burned to the ground. We now have come full circle in this story; Thor was enraged to see his father bowing before the Celestials, but he now knows that it was to save Asgard and Earth from certain destruction. The Eye then tells Thor about the origin of The Destroyer (the armor that whipped Thor earlier in the story). He knows that his father created it to hopefully destroy the Celestials. Next it shows Thor how Odin then used the ring of power to forge a giant sword capable of housing all of Asgard’s power in it for The Destroyer to use in a last attempt to stop the judgment by the Celestials. Upon returning to Asgard with the eye, Thor sees all the inhabitants laying lifeless on the ground; even Odin himself sits motionless on his throne. Thor remembers Mimir and goes to consult him about what has transpired while he was away. Mimir tells him to throw the Eye into the well, and he does so; then the fiery head tells Thor that Odin has entered The Destroyer, and has taken all of the spirits of Asgard and the Oversword to battle the unstoppable Celestial. Well, needless to say the fight doesn’t last long, and ends with Thor seeing the Destroyer being annihilated, and therefore Odin and all of the people of Asgard dead! Thor goes berserk and tries to stop them himself, but to no avail; and just as the Celestial is about to deliver the final blow, that same cloaked figure appears before them and begs for them to not kill Thor, but to take twelve of her children that are the noblest that Earth has to offer instead of laying waste to the planet. The Celstials agree, and Earth is saved; but by who? The answer is Thor’s mother, Gaea, who is the Goddess of Earth itself.

She heals Thor’s wounds and tells him of his true heritage, and also reminds him of Odin and his fellow Asgardians’ deaths. He asks her for help, and she explains to him that if he can gather a small portion of power from each of the pantheons gods that he can revive his father and countrymen. He first goes to check in on his friends the Eternals, and finds that their leader Zuras was killed when the Uni-mind tried to stop the Celestials. After he gives his condolences, he sets out to gain the power to resurrect the Asgardians, and has little difficulty receiving the help he desperately needs. Only one pantheon gives him a hard time, and he challenges their mightiest warrior for the right to receive it. He eventually beats down the other fighter, and returns to Asgard to revive his slain father. He does just that, then Odin revives the rest of Asgard, and they crack open some brew and start partying like there’s no tomorrow. Wow, what an awesome journey! If my rendition in any way sparked an interest for you, then do yourself a favor and pick up this trade. Even at cover price it’s worth it, by a long shot. See you next time.

Billy Dunleavy



  1. I love these columns. And I’ve always wanted explore some classic Thor. Great stuff!

  2. Billy

    @andrewhurst, I own lots of classic Thor stuff but this is my favorite story by a long shot. The early stuff with Stan Lee and Jack Kirby is good stuff too.

  3. Marie

    Billy, great conclusion! Makes me want to read Thor.

  4. Are the Storm Giants those things that are currently appearing in ‘X-Force,’ or are those something else?

  5. billy

    @Andy, It’s the same race. I think that wolfy dude that has been doing Wolsbane is Asgardian IIRC. So I gather that’s the link.

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