Once again we bring a scholarly scrutiny to the bygone breathless boasts used to promote Marvel Comics titles backed in the age when the House of Ideas truly reigned supreme. The tantalizing teasers typeset and tucked into the monthly Mighty Marvel Checklist always guaranteed staggering surprises and jaw-dropping jolts, but how often did the individual issues live up to the hype?
This time out, the monumental mythmaking moving under the microscope comes from Thor #186, which was touted as follows: “Even the title, ‘Worlds at War,’ can’t begin to describe the excitement and wonder of this one. What happens to Thor is unbelievable–but Odin’s fate–Wow!”
The title of the tale itself promises a powerful procession of petrifying perils and profound pageantry. Besides the notion of warring worlds, there’s the added assertion on the cover of previously unseen thrills and wonder in a story more epic than any that had come before. Stan Lee provided the words that quaked with such doom, but it was the requirement of John Buscema to press his pencil to paper and visualize the vile vistas.
I’d say that looks like a town going through a bad day.
Thor, Odin and their fellow gods of Asgard are in a protracted battle against the powerful force known as Infinity, whose reach is great and grand enough that he’s able to enthrall the minds of sturdy, strident warriors and turn them against their kind compatriots. For Thor’s part, he is being led deeper into The World Beyond, where he eventually encounters Hela, the goddess of death. Hela wields her wicked, withering power on the Thunder God, reducing him to a frightful form.
That’s the unbelievable occurrence Thor faces in the story, which would probably be more shocking if it weren’t forecast right there on the cover. What’s more, it’s a grave danger that he faces for only a page or two before a simple touch from a figure known as The Silent One restores Goldilocks to full health. As excruciating of an experience as it may be for you or me, for the mighty Thor it’s a setback of scant seconds.
This bring us to Odin’s fate, a woeful and worrisome wound worth of a “Wow!” When Thor is finally reunited with his father, the most majestic of Norse gods, he discovers the awesome elder has succumbed to Infinity’s mind control.
The exclaimed simplicity of that next issue box says it all, True Believer. When the king of all the gods, the puissant patriarch of the province of paragon personages, concedes cognitive control to the devastating deity on the other side of the dogfight, it’s probably time for his friends turned foes to start thinking about which corner of Valhalla they want to set up shop. “Wow!” seems a suitable summation of the situation.
Captain America #136