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Thor #319: Review

May 1982
Doug Moench, Brett Breeding

Story Name:

The Zaniac Craves Blood!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Thor #319 Review by (April 21, 2020)

Review: Oddball Thor tale pits him against a maniacal method actor with radiation-induced powers! And Thor is mistaken for a woman with his long hair—is this the first time that happens outside of NOT BRAND ECCH?       The tale is an amusing romp (if overly wordy at the beginning) with its yellow caveman for an antagonist and Don not picking up on Shawna’s flirting though they seem to have found each other by the end. And things get even weirder next issue!

Comments: First appearance of Zaniac, who returns in #371-372. The movies shot in Chicago listed by Shawna LyndeTHE HUNTER, THE BLUES BROTHERS, THE FURY, THIEF, CONTINENTAL DIVIDE—are all real films and two of them feature John Belushi, a Chicago native son. Director Cronenking’s name is an amalgam of David Cronenberg and Stephen King; directors John Carpenter and George A. Romero are also mentioned. Classic move stars Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn are invoked as well. Don refers to Chicago as a “toddlin’ town,” recalling the song “Chicago.” And he uses the phrase, “not whistling Dixie,” indicating the speaker is serious in what he says.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thor #319 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Thor flies around Chicago getting a feel for the city before changing back into Dr. Donald Blake. He addresses the surgical seminar on the fine line between holding the patient’s confidence and admitting to one’s mistakes. He goes to dinner with Dr. Shawna Lynde and she takes him around the city; at the University of Chicago she mentions that it was where the atom bomb experiments took place (this is important later). They stop to watch a movie being shot in the University stadium, a horror picture called THE ZANIAC CRAVES BLOOD, with star Brad Wolfe as the title monster/slasher, hoping this will be the big break in his career. During a scene where the Zaniac chases a victim across the stadium, a carelessly discarded cigar ignites a box of explosives and the bleachers are destroyed but the blast, combined with traces of uranium and heavy water, convinces Wolfe that he really is Zaniac, a serial killer of women and he also has the power to make a dagger materialize in his hand. He chases Shawna, fighting off men who go to her rescue and drags her to an alley to kill her. Don becomes Thor and pursues, driving the killer away from his intended victim. But the madman sees Thor’s long blond hair and mistakes him for a young woman wearing a mask and attacks him, surprising the hero with his inhuman strength. The monster decks Thor and flees; the Thunder God turns Shawna over to the police and finds the movie’s director. Figuring the maniac is following the script, he learns that the next scene has the Zaniac invading a woman’s hotel near the Loop. Thor heads there and finds Zaniac has fought off the police and driven all the women to the rooftop to murder one-by-one. The two grapple and fall from the roof to land on the L tracks. A train approaches and Thor lifts the tracks so that the train passes over himself and the Zaniac. The villain generates one knife after another to hurl at Thor who whirls Mjolnir, sending them back at his foe and knocking Zaniac to the street below. The rescued women cheer….

Epilogue: Don tends to Zaniac until the ambulance arrives. Then he and Shawna are happy to find each other safe and sound and Don decides that Chicago needs Thor as much as New York does and decides to stay….

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Brett Breeding
Brett Breeding
George Roussos
Keith Pollard (Cover Penciler)
Keith Pollard (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Layouts: Keith Pollard.


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Plus: Shawna Lynde, Zaniac.

> Thor: Book info and issue index

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