Thor 320 was written by Doug Moench and pencilled by Keith Pollard and opens with Odin, Allfather of Asgard, musing over a lost love before going back to his wife in a scene that seems somewhat out of place.
We then go to Chicago, where Dr Don Blake is opening a new doctor’s practice is enjoying a look at a norse exhibit in a local museum. There is a silver chalice there, that flickers with light when no one is looking at it. Blake and his old friend Shawna Lynde go back to his new office and start setting that up. Blake interviews Miss Stevens for a nursing position and as they are talking, she is covered in ice and when it breaks and falls off her, she is now Fairgold, mermaid of golden scales, part of Rimthusar’s menagerie. This mermaid is drying up, so Blake places her in a water therapy whirlpool before his first patient comes in. In walks Thorne Kirby along with Shawna and the same thing happens to them. The diminutive Thorne is transformed into half man half bull Grult, whilst Shawna becomes the winged Kyrie. Two other people from the building come in and are transformed into the bear-like Borna and the reptilian Slithgarn. Immediately Grult and Borna get into a fight and Blake tries to calm them down. He then learns that they retain the memories of their transformed hosts and they escaped the silver chalice of Rimthusar, an ancient god of Asgard. After revealing himself as Thor and then having a drink with the menagerie, Blake is drugged and the four walking members of the menagrie go out to have some fun.
It doesn’t take long for them to get in trouble, including a bar fight, while Blake wakes up in the bath, with Fairgold, who fancies a bit of more adult fun with the good doctor. Blake gets out and slams his nearby walking stick to the floor and transforms back into Thor, the god of Thunder and goes beast hunting. He finds the bar and ends the massive fracas that has erupted. He goes back for Fairgold and the menagerie agree to return to the chalice.
We then learn that Rimthusar wanted to use the menagerie in war against Odin, centuries before Thor’s birth and when they denied him, he slaughtered them and used magic to lock their souls into the chalice, which he threw towards Midgard/Earth. Using the power of his hammer Mjolnir, Thor tries to put them back and his failure to do so causes another fight, this time with Borna. Thor decides not to use his hammer as he believes Borna is bewitched, but instead punches the s**t out of him. They all realise they can’t do as they planned, some darker magic is at work, Asgardian magic, leaving Thor to know who is likely to be behind this, his brother Loki.
Notes: 18 months from now, Thor as a title will be transformed into epic tale of gods and cosmic forces, this issue kind of tells you why that was needed. The story idea is interesting, but to be honest, the writing is decent at best and the art is a bit pedestrian, which on Thor is something of a mis-step. This story could be about any character, but tacking on the Asgardian element and Thor is a natural foil, but this doesn’t feel like a Thor story and the issue suffers as a result and to be honest, what was the Odin scene about?
A disappointing story, but nothing too terrible.
Next Time: Job interviews, robots attacks and the difficulties of holding down two jobs.