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Thor #323: Review

Sep 1982
Steven Grant, Greg Larocque

Story Name:

...Comes a Dark Stranger!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Thor #323 Review by (May 18, 2020)

Review: A nice throwback tale to Thor’s youth—and he’s not the uncultured lout Jason Aaron made him out to be—and he wins his glory. The story starts out as a variation on the English epic Gawain and the Green Knight, with its decapitation and promise of a return blow in the future, which seems like an odd place to start. But it then moves into more comfortable Norse territory with Thor’s struggle against two opponents who are symbols of some quality he must overcome in himself. The need for the hero to overcome his fear makes sense, I just wasn’t sure how Desire entered into the matter, other than the writer or editor wanted a hot babe in the tale too. Oh well, it was a nice, if overly wordy, story with a lesson for all of us, though mainly for Loki: Don’t mess with Thor.

Comments: Sole appearance of the Dark Man (Fear) and Desire.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thor #323 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Thor, Loki, and the Warriors Three are caught in a sudden thunderstorm; the God of Thunder decides there is little glory in merely stopping the storm so he chops down a mighty tree and carves a shelter out of the middle of the trunk where they can wait for the storm to end. It doesn’t stop Loki’s mockery so Thor ends the storm while scaring Loki with his wrath. Suddenly, a huge dark warrior appears, demanding to know why Odin’s whelps have trespassed on his land and challenging any of them to do battle. Loki goads Thor into action and the Thunder God knocks the Dark One’s head clean off; the Dark Man merely puts his head back on and reminds Thor that he must lay himself open to a return blow—but not here. The Dark One tells them to ride to the north to learn their fates. Thor rashly rides north, demanding that Loki accompany him, leaving the others behind….

After three days, they come to the northern edge of Asgard where they find a golden bridge spanning a chasm, guarded by a beautiful woman, wife of the Dark Man. She tries to seduce Thor into remaining with her but he cites his promise to meet the Dark Man. Loki panics and rides away while Thor continues over the golden bridge which shatters like glass as he passes over and barely manages to reach the other side. The woman is now on this side of the chasm and vanishes, telling him to meet his fate. The Dark Man rides by but he does not stop for Thor. Thor then comes to a massive edifice with a golden door; entering he finds several statues of heroes frozen in positions of horror. The Dark Man strikes Thor down with a blow of his axe, but he is not dead. The wife tries to turn him to stone with a kiss, but Thor remains whole. He stands and knocks the Dark Man across the room with his return blow. The Dark Man states how he once saw his own image in Odin’s eyes and now beats down Thor who fights from fear—fear of shame and fear of defeat and now he is in the Dark Man’s power. Yet Thor fights back, destroying the entire building around their heads. The Dark Man rises unharmed from the rubble yet Thor is nearly broken; he refuses to fall with no one to witness his end. As the Dark Man goes for the killing blow, Thor wishes that his father might know his son died not a coward but a true son of Odin. The Dark Man is surprised that Thor’s last words are, not of pride or fear, but of love; at his weakest, Thor’s nobility shines through, breaking his enemy’s hold over him. All is restored and Thor sent home. He arrives just as Loki is bringing word to Odin of Thor’s death. Thor steps forward and Odin tells him he has defeated Fear and Desire but warns him not to be overconfident. The Warriors Three rejoice with Thor while Loki sulks….

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Greg Larocque
Ricardo Villamonte
George Roussos
Ed Hannigan (Cover Penciler)
Vince Colletta (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Loki Laufeyson)

Warriors Three
Warriors Three

(Fandral, Hogun, Volstagg)

> Thor: Book info and issue index

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