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Marvel Graphic Novel #33: Review

Jun 1987
Jim Owsley, Paul Ryan

Story Name:

The Mighty Thor in I, Whom the Gods Would Destroy

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Marvel Graphic Novel #33 Review by (October 28, 2015)
Comments: Plot by Jim Shooter. The title comes from Longfellow, "Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad" which also supplied STAR TREK (TOS) with an episode title. “This story takes place before THE MIGHTY THOR issue 337…” is on the title page; see below for why.

Review: A psychological tale starring one of Marvel’s most famous divided personalities? Why not? Bad timing, that’s why not. This ultimate exploration of what it means for Thor to have both divine and human qualities was published around the time Walt Simonson started his run on Thor’s main title at issue #337, and his first story arc splits Thor from Don and he isn’t seen for another twenty years! Other than that, the story has a bit more depth than usual but there’s nothing remarkable about the thing, not the writing, nor the art. Decent production, just not as major a milestone as it wanted to be.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Marvel Graphic Novel #33 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Dr Donald Blake has lost a patient in surgery; distraught, he heads to a bar and begins drinking heavily. A woman notices him and tries to get him to talk about his troubles. Suddenly the Lady Sif enters and begs Don to take up his staff, saying that his place is in Asgard; Don replies that he is equally at home in Midgard (Earth). Some barroom toughs try to get fresh with the Asgardian beauty and Don narrowly prevents a slaughter. He gives her back the staff and she departs. Soon after, Don and the woman leave, going back to her apartment where they find solace in one another’s embrace. The following morning, Don awakens to find his staff by the bed, Sif having placed it there quietly. Don heads up to the roof and shouts defiance at this father Odin, lashing out at the woman for interfering. Remorseful, Don changes into Thor before her eye and apologizes. He takes her on a journey through the skies….

Meanwhile, Sif returns to Asgard to report to Odin who had sent her to discover why his son clings so strongly to his mortal half. The All-Father comforts the spurned Sif, regretting that he had given his son a mortal frame to teach him humility….

Thor returns his guest to her apartment building and takes his leave. He flashes by a construction site where he is just in time to catch a toppling crane. He then stops fleeing bank robbers by dropping Mjolnir on their car. Then he offers his help to firefighters but is rebuffed by their commander; Thor summons a rainstorm and departs. After having his picture taken with a hot-dog vendor, he mounts the Chrysler Building and muses on his divided soul. Unable to reconcile his two halves, he flies out into space and hurls Mjolnir away from him, knowing that it will not return before his 60-second limit is up and he changes to Don Blake and dies in the cold wastes. Instead fear grips him and he effects his transformation into Thor, plummeting back to Earth….

In the park, he is met by the Lady Sif who seeks to persuade Thor to return to Asgard. When he returns a little girl’s ball, Sif seeks to understand his affection for mortals; he offers to show her. As Don Blake they go shopping for suitable clothes for Sif, after a brief altercation over relinquishing her sword before entering the store. In her new duds, Don takes her on a brief tour of the city but she understands nothing. When he tries to get her to see how to “live in the moment” as mortals do, she has had enough and returns to the apartment. Don asks her to stay with him as a mortal and she is shocked and confused. He attempts to throw his staff into the fire but she stops him. Declaring that his struggle is of his own making she tears off her Earth dress and departs. Don then gets a call summoning him to the hospital. He arrives to find a critically injured patient whom only he can save but Don, fearing failure again, runs out of the operating theater. Sif approaches him to confess that the compassion he has for mortals is a strength she will never comprehend but his divine nature can help him overcome his human fears. Don returns to the OR and operates successfully….

In Asgard, Odin is pleased that his son has managed to resolve his inner conflicts. Meanwhile, there are more lessons he needs to learn….

Paul Ryan
Vince Colletta
Bob Sharen
Paul Ryan (Cover Penciler)
Paul Ryan (Cover Inker)
Bob Sharen (Cover Colorist)


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