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Thor #199: Review

May 1972
Gerry Conway, John Buscema

Story Name:

If This Be Death..!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Thor #199 Review by (June 16, 2015)
Well that came out of nowhere! Just when things seemed to be wrapping up, Asgard is launched into another perilous battle. The fact that this new threat seemingly popped up with no warning is not lost on Conway, who writes that this is “but another skirmish in the nightmare Asgard’s world seems to have become.” I wonder if Conway was commenting on the somewhat contrived nature of this sudden threat, or just waxing poetic on the bellicose nature of the gods. Also conveniently appearing out of nowhere was Karnilla, who popped into the middle of battle to revive Balder then disappeared just as suddenly. As for Sif’s side story—the one which is due for really getting some focus—we get a reveal of the mysterious “Him” and a tease of what might be coming next. Despite those awkward hiccups, there is plenty to love in this issue. There is some good character development injected in subtle ways for Thor’s supporting characters, and Thor himself gets several “fist pumping” moments where he displays his awesome power. Buscema’s art here is as dynamic as ever, as well. This was a good issue, despite a minor flaw here or there, that still has me excited to see what happens next.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thor #199 Synopsis by Seahammer
Now that Mangog has been defeated, Kartag, the gigantic keeper of the Twilight Well who had come to Asgard to help Thor, requests to be sent back to World’s End.  Thor sends him, but soon questions whether or not he was wise to send such a powerful warrior away at a time like this.  The Vizier joins Thor and reassures him that it was a wise decision, stating that Asgard will need his wisdom in the dark times to come.  As he and Thor look over Odin’s “dead” body, Hela appears to claim Odin’s soul.  She is baffled to find that she cannot claim Odin’s soul because he is held within a mystical barrier of Thor’s creation.  Hela pleads with Thor to give her Odin’s soul, revealing that hers is the merciful option.  If Odin’s soul is not taken to her realm, it will instead be taken by force to the torturous realm of Pluto—who at that very moment is arriving in Asgard with his army.  Pluto first gives Thor what he believes is a reasonable offer, to take Odin’s soul and leave Asgard in peace.  When Thor defies Pluto, however, Pluto attacks.  Hela summons her mystical blade, Nightsword, and joins the battle on Thor’s side.

            Meanwhile, on the ever-changing Blackworld, Sif, Hildegarde, Silas Grant, and Tana Nile are fleeing a towering monster.  Tana Nile reveals that the creature is Ego Prime, a mobile offshoot of Ego, the Living Planet.  As Ego Prime stomps through Blackworld, his touch causes the planet to evolve years at a time.  As they run from Ego Prime, Sif sees an advertisement for the year 1964 and dreads what will happen to the real Earth once Blackworld catches up to its timeline.

            Back in Asgard, Hela fights Pluto one-on-one, insisting that they are equals in power.  Balder sees that while everyone had been distracted watching the death gods fight, Pluto’s troll army has begun sneaking closer to Asgard.  Once they are discovered, the troll’s attack outright.  Thor unleashes his power and takes out masses of trolls by himself, while a troll takes down Balder and leaves him near death.  Out of nowhere, Karnilla appears and rushes to Balder’s side.  After she revives him, Karnilla is dismayed to see Balder immediately rush back into battle.  Elsewhere, Hogun and Fandral notice that Volstagg has been much bolder since Thor gave him an important mission (in THOR #198).  Thor continues to tear through the troll hordes, and finally reaches Pluto and Hela’s one-on-one battle.

            As the two death gods continue to fight to a stalemate, Pluto finally gains the upper hand when he summons claws from the Demon Hounds of Hades to rise from the ground and grasp Hela.  With Hela immobilized, Pluto states that there is no one left to stand between him and Odin’s soul.  With a crack of lighting, Thor proves Pluto wrong, standing defiantly against the death god.   With a single blow, Thor decimates the remainder of Pluto’s troops and knocks Pluto himself to the ground.  Pluto is impressed by Thor’s strength, but continues to fight.  Pluto rises and magically bathes himself in flame as he attacks Thor.  With his mystical axe, Pluto bats Mjolnir away.  Undismayed, Thor puts Pluto in a powerful bear hug, thinking that he has won.  Pluto, however, reveals that this was his strategy all along: removing Thor’s weapon forced Thor to move within Pluto’s reach.  Pluto places his hands on Thor and saps him of his energy.  With his troll army regrouping around him and Thor motionless at his feet, Pluto raises his axe over his head and declares himself “Lord over all!”

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

John Buscema
Vince Colletta
John Buscema (Cover Penciler)
Frank Giacoia (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Balder the Brave)



Plus: Pluto (Hades).

> Thor: Book info and issue index

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