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Thor #278: Review

Dec 1978
Roy Thomas, John Buscema

Story Name:

At Long Last--Ragnarok?!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Thor #278 Review by (April 14, 2015)
Comments: Part six of six parts. Red Norvell’s line, “Here’s lookin’ at you, kid!” is a quote from the classic CASABLANCA. Irony: one of the readers on the letters page complains that Ragnarok seems to happen every fifty issues or so; wonder what he would say now that it has happened at least four more times since this?

Review: This version of Ragnarok wraps up in predictable fashion: new fake Thor redeems himself abruptly and it all gets explained as not the real Ragnarok; the only time it was allowed to be the real thing—in THOR Vol. 2 #80-85—everything did end even though it was only for three years. The most amazing aspect of this tale is that it includes a theodicy, an attempt to vindicate the actions of a god. Here Thor takes Odin to task for a plan that made puppets of all involved and killed the two Earthmen. Odin responds that he made no one do anything against their will; he incorporated their freely chosen actions into his plan. This is quite similar to the classic Christian theodicies rooted in the Bible (starting points: Isaiah chapter 10 and the book of Habakkuk).


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thor #278 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Thor, leading the warriors of Asgard, confronts Hela and her evil forces on the Rainbow Bridge; the Goddess of Death awaits the coming of the Midgard Serpent to launch her attack. Meanwhile, Odin broods, Balder clings to life, Harris Hobbs despairs over his guilt…. In Alfheim, the Thor-usurping Red Norvell pleads with Sif to return his love but she has only pity for this man who would destroy worlds to sate his lust….


The battle is joined (even though Balder is still alive); good versus evil for the fate of the Nine Worlds! Loki, wielding the flaming sword of Surtur, escapes his bonds to face Thor but the collapse of a bridge separates the brothers. The Thunder God goes up against the Midgard Serpent and is clobbered by its massive thrashing tail. Shamed by Sif, Red Thor returns and enters the fray; he attacks the Serpent but his blows do no good. Returning Mjolnir to Thor, Red rides the Serpent into the hollow beneath Asgard; Thor follows and he and the others from both armies find themselves on a barren plain. The Midgard Serpent returns without Red Norvell and Thor, to avenge the fallen anti-hero, attacks the Serpent until it vanishes. Hela orders her troops to retreat as this is clearly not Ragnarok. Thor returns to Asgard with the body of the heroic Red Norvell. Odin reveals that he had caused many of the signs of the coming of Ragnarok to occur to deceive their enemies and postpone the Day of Judgment; all who had perished were mere illusions, save Red Norvell. Thor questions Odin’s wisdom in allowing the deaths of Red and Joey and will feel guilty over what the Asgardians have done. Odin orders Thor to never return to Midgard; the Thunder God refuses and begs Sif to join him but she declines, despite sharing her life-essence with Jane Foster. Thor is ordered never to return; he takes Harris Hobbs and his two dead crewmen back to Earth. Thor brushes off Hobbs' attempts to apologize and heads off to prepare for the coming of the Celestials….

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

John Buscema
Chic Stone
Glynis Wein
John Buscema (Cover Penciler)
Bob McLeod (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Balder the Brave)

(Red Norvell)


> Thor: Book info and issue index

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