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Thor: Tales of Asgard #2: Review

Jun 2009
Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Story Name:

When Heimdall Failed!

Review & Comments

5 stars

Thor: Tales of Asgard #2 Review by (July 4, 2011)
Comments: Reprints the “Tales of Asgard” backup stories from JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #105-112, with new coloring. Includes the Official Handbook entries on Asgard, the Nine Worlds, Balder, and Loki.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thor: Tales of Asgard #2 Synopsis by Arcturus Jackson
Brimer, King of the Storm Giants, wants to invade Asgard but knows there is no way his forces can sneak past Heimdall, guardian of the Rainbow Bridge. Queen Nedra has an idea: she dispatches a tiny air spirit called a Vanna to spy out Asgard. The small and quick spirit zips past Heimdall as he stands at his post; the guardian senses something but sees nothing, confusing him. The Vanna easily discovers all of Asgard’s defenses and military capabilities without anyone suspecting it is there. In the royal chamber, however, Odin receives word from Heimdall that he suspects great danger. Odin exerts his powers and detects the sprite in the room and commands it to appear, allowing Odin to capture it. He summons Heimdall who confesses that he failed and is not worthy to be the guardian. Instead Odin commends him in that he sensed the evil Vanna even though he did not see it, and risked ridicule in reporting his suspicions to Odin. He returns to his post to serve faithfully.

Story #2

Balder the Brave!

Writer: Stan Lee. Penciler: Jack Kirby. Inker: Vince Colletta. Colorist: Matt Milla.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

The warrior Balder is summoned to appear before Odin, who questions the hero as to why he deserted the army when they pursued the Storm Giants in battle. Balder confesses it was because he stopped to return a baby bird to its mother’s nest. Odin orders him to face the test of mortal death. Though many other warriors intercede for the beloved hero, Odin’s decision is final. Balder is brought to the area of execution and Tyr the Master Archer is commanded to fire an arrow into the condemned man’s heart. He lets fly a shaft but a hawk swoops down and plucks the arrow from the air. Odin then commands Honir to hurl a spear at Balder but again, he is rescued when a huge plant immediately grows up before him and traps the missile. Next, Odin order Thor to dispatch Balder and the Thunder God reluctantly raises his hammer—but Odin himself halts him. The All-Father reveals that he is the one who summoned the hawk and the plant, and now endows Balder with the gift of invincibility, to demonstrate that the bravest are the gentlest.

Story #3

Balder Must Die!

Writer: Stan Lee. Penciler: Jack Kirby. Inker: Vince Colletta. Colorist: Matt Milla.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

As the newly invulnerable Balder (so gifted by Odin last issue) plays with his friends the forest animals, Loki looks on with bitter jealousy. Determined to destroy Odin’s new second-favorite, he approaches the Norn Queen and demands to know how Balder can be killed. He knows that every living thing has pledged to protect Balder but Odin must have forgotten something; he forces the Norn Queen to reveal what it is: the lowly mistletoe. Loki then seeks out a patch of mistletoe and has the trolls fashion for him a blowgun and a dart out of the plant. The next day, the God of Mischief watches from hiding as Balder engages in combat practice. When the kindly Balder stumbles to avoid stepping on a caterpillar, Loki strikes—but the blowgun explodes into flames in his hands. The Norn Queen appears and points out the small detail Loki had overlooked: that the Norn Queen herself had also pledged to protect Balder. Loki vows revenge but she intends to be ready for him. Meanwhile, Balder senses that danger lurks nearby but he fears it not.

Story #4

Trapped by the Trolls!

Writer: Stan Lee. Penciler: Jack Kirby. Inker: Vince Colletta. Colorist: Matt Milla.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

A lone traveler appears at the court of Sindri, king of the Dwarfs, seeking shelter from the storm. Sindri, who owes the Trolls a slave as the price of keeping them from invading his realm, drops the visitor through a trap door. He is seized by a waiting band of Trolls and carried through the underground labyrinth to their dungeon, where the captive is chained. The new prisoner reveals himself to be Thor, defeats the trolls, and frees all their slaves, as he was ordered by Odin. Thor then seals up the opening to the underworld.

Story #5

Banished From Asgard!

Writer: Stan Lee. Penciler: Jack Kirby. Inker: Vince Colletta. Colorist: Matt Milla.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

For fighting a duel without permission, Odin banishes Thor from Asgard. The other Aesir intercede for Thor in view of the war with the Mountain Giants but the All-Father is adamant. The traitor Arkin the Weak seizes the opportunity to bring this news to Knorda, normal-sized Queen of the Giants, hoping to win her love. She leada a band of giant warriors to ambush Thor on the mountain trail and they drive him into a closed canyon and seal up the cave he rides into. However, Thor emerges from the other end of the tunnel where Odin and the Asgardeans are waiting and they have the giants trapped in the canyon. Odin’s ruse has flushed out the traitor in Asgard as well. Knorda surrenders to Odin and father and son ride home together.

Story #6

The Defeat of Odin!

Writer: Stan Lee. Penciler: Jack Kirby. Inker: Vince Colletta. Colorist: Matt Milla.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Rampok, the rebel against Asgard, is dead; his youthful son Rivvak takes up the reins of battle. As the warriors of Odin and Rivvak face each other across the boiling plain, Odin orders a frontal attack, despite Thor’s advice against it. Rivvak, frightened at his first battle, is losing the confidence of his legions. As the Asgardeans charge across the plain, Rivvak orders his army to meet them but boiling geysers erupt, driving Odin and his warriors back. For the first time in history, Odin orders a retreat. And the newly confident Rivvak is acclaimed a hero by his men. On the way back to Asgard, Odin explains to Thor that he lost the battle on purpose, to keep the human race strong with hope that no enemy is unconquerable.

Story #7

The Secret of Sigurd!

Writer: Stan Lee. Penciler: Jack Kirby. Inker: Vince Colletta. Colorist: Matt Milla.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Returning from a mission for Odin, Thor, Loki, and Balder are walking through a forest when they are surprised by a lone warrior. This warrior, Sigurd, inhabits the forest and challenges the three from Asgard to battle. While Loki goads Thor into fighting the foe, Balder recalls that Sigurd has some secret. Thor and Sigurd face each other and Thor shatters his enemy’s hammer with a blow from his own, throwing Sigurd to the ground. The warrior however rises stronger than before. This happens several more times, with Sigurd becoming stronger every time he is knocked down. At this, Balder recalls that Sigurd is the son of the Earth Sprites who empower him every time he touches the earth. Thor then hooks his hammer to Sigurd’s belt and hurls him to an asteroid in space where he will never again be a menace. Loki, who led his companions on this path to see Thor defeated, leaves disappointed.

Story #8

The Coming of Loki!

Writer: Stan Lee. Penciler: Jack Kirby. Inker: Vince Colletta. Colorist: Matt Milla.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Odin leads the forces of Asgard into battle against the giants of Jotunheim in order to secure his right to reign. He faces the giant king Laufey on the field of combat. The two struggle but when Odin is nearly trapped by a geyser of flame, he hurls his magic hammer and shatters Laufey’s war club. Seeing their king discomfited, the giant forces pour onto the field to attack, so Odin calls the warriors of Asgard to his side and the battle is on. After much fighting Odin’s legions drive the giants into retreat with the Aesir in pursuit. Laufey dies under Odin’s hammer rather than surrender and the giants are vanquished. A bag is discovered to contain an infant—Loki, son of Laufey, shamed for his small stature. Though they sense evil in him, Odin vows to raise the child as his own, as befits a prince.

Jack Kirby
George Roussos
Matt Milla
Olivier Coipel (Cover Penciler)
Mark Morales (Cover Inker)
Laura Martin (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Balder the Brave)

(Loki Laufeyson)


> Thor: Tales of Asgard: Book info and issue index

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