January 1986: The Mighty Thor 366 – Or, giant frog riding two goats in space, fair to say the drugs have kicked in.

Synopsis: Sir! Was written and drawn by Walt Simonson and opens with Thor’s Chariot being pulled by the goats Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder and standing upon it is well a 6ft6 frog dressed as Thor.

It actually is Thor, who has been turned into a frog by the machinations of his brother Loki, who schemes to rule Asgard after Odin has fallen. No one is aware of this, the Warriors Three (Fandral the Dashing, Hogun the Grim and Volstagg the Voluminous) have arranged with Heimdall to have the warrior Harokin pose as Thor until the real Thor returns. Voltage however doesn’t care about any of the, Hildy, one of his many children is sick, feverish after finding the sword of Surtur. The thought of Loki’s involvement with the sword forces Volstagg to act, taking his sickly daughter on a quest to find the sword.

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At the ampitheater, the people have gathered to select the next ruler of Asgard. Their choices are Harokin (posing as Thor) and Loki. Harokin says nothing, it’s Loki’s turn to speak and he does so at great length. He mentions that he has a past, acknowledges his prior selfishness and mischief and also acknowledges that he was alongside Thor and Odin in the battle against Surtur and he was the last one standing. To emphasise this new and more noble Loki, he grabs Faux-Thor’s hammer, lifts it and hurls it. He knows about the lie and has enchanted the fake hammer to return to him. A hammer does return, but it’s the real Mjolnir, pulling the real Thor. Harken gets the idea and quietly choses to be elsewhere.

Speaking of elsewhere, Kurse searches for the dark elf Malekith, under the watchful eye of Hela.

Frog Thor (Throg?) takes Loki out of the amphitheater and starts laying a smackdown on him, but Loki uses all the magic he can think of to make Throg more frog like in mind as well as body.

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On their quest, Volstagg and the ailing Hildy find the huge sword of Surtur and the mighty ending leeching power from it to provide power to Loki. Volstagg puts his seriously ill daughter down and rest against a rocky outcrop, causing it to collapse, triggering a landslide in a fashion typical of the Lion of Asgard. The rockslide destroys the engine, cancelling out much of Loki’s current magic and healing Hildy instantaneously. Throw reverts to his true form as the Mighty Thor and Loki immediately begins to spin the situation to his advantage by talking about Harokin and the great deception. Thor dispels this idea by getting Loki to wield the true Mjolnir, which of course he can’t. Thor then spins this himself not as a slight on Loki, but the actions of the frog creature everyone saw. He uncovers his face, showing everyone the scars he bears and tells his people not to malign the well meaning Loki, nor raise Thor up, but to realise that the best person to rule Asgard would be the noble Balder the Brave. Hogan is sent to summon Balder while Loki plans to put this to his advantage too.

Notes: My biggest problem with Walt Simonson’s art and story is…. nothing. His verbose style suits Thor as a title perfectly. The scheming of Loki, the Power of Thor and the nobility deep inside the comedic Volstagg are all shown so very clearly. Simonson turned an also-ran supporting character like Volstagg into my favourite character in this run. A boastful, bumbling fool he may bet, but Simonson makes him the true Lion of Asgard, fierce in defence of his daughter and steadfast in his quest to save her, his is the beating heart of this issue. It’s also not an action heavy issue, but has plenty of political intrigue and strong dialogue so that you are never bored.

Simonson’s Thor run is an epic poem of love, duty, sacrifice and glory and even when it’s not the louder moments, still very much lives up to it’s hype.

For more soon this title, https://www.thelightningandthestorm.com

It’s a podcast by Miles Stokes, half of the fantastic X-Plain the X-Men team and does a much better job of explaining and celebrating this fantastic series than I could.

Next time: A band of cyborgs who have left Wolverine near death face … a 5 year old girl.

 

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