Comic Browser:


Thor #340: Review

Feb 1984
Walt Simonson, Walt Simonson

Story Name:

Though Hel Should Bar the Way!

Review & Comments

5 stars

Thor #340 Review by (August 26, 2013)
Review: Exceptionally cool conclusion to the Beta Ray Bill saga. The space battle scenes are nicely executed and the portal with its endless steam of demons is mind-bending. The Volstagg subplot ends on an effective note, with a scowling Hogun (though the Lorelei part is only a setup for upcoming issues). Simonson deserves his reputation.

Comments: Conclusion of a four-part story. Balder appears only in flashbacks in this issue.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thor #340 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Riding Thor’s goat-drawn chariot though space, the heroes Thor, Beta Ray Bill, and Sif come upon the star fleet carrying Bill’s people to a new home. The last ship in line is being destroyed by the swarm of demons that has plagued them. Sif drops off onto the ruined craft to beat back the demon hordes while the other two head onward to find the source of the aliens for only there can they be destroyed. Arriving at the site of Bill’s homeworld, they find it gone, a massive portal in its place, from which a steady stream of demons emerges. As they fight their way nearer to it, Sif teams up with Bill’s sentient ship Skuttlebutt to lead the monsters away from the fleet to buy the heroes time….

In Asgard, Volstagg relates to the captive warrior Agnar how Balder the Brave, in the land of the dead, saw the souls of the warriors he had slain in battle and was so unnerved that he renounced killing (issues #301-302). So, he continues, should Agnar bring any harm to Balder while in he is his pacifist mood, he will have to deal with the unforgiving Hogun the Grim….

Unable to enter the portal, Thor and Bill hurl their hammers at the entrance; Storm Breaker and Mjolnir collide, destroying the gateway to the demons’ world. Light years away, Skuttlebutt plans to self-destruct to vanquish the demon horde but the sudden fading of the invaders signals that the heroes have won their victory.

In Manhattan, Loki has aided the temptress Lorelei in setting up an apartment overlooking Central Park. Why? For his amusement….

The heroes return to Asgard for a glorious welcome (though Skuttlebutt is too large to join the parade and festivities). But Bill is still possessed by a melancholy that he cannot share, the knowledge that his fearsome visage will make him an outcast from the people he saved. Odin asks for Sif’s insight into this malady of their friend’s and she relates the untold origin of Beta Ray Bill: how he won the role of champion over myriad contenders in grueling tests of strength and mind; how the process to fit his brain into a formidable bio-engineered body brought excruciating pain—and how the change was irreversible. Odin will see what he can do….

That evening, at a banquet in the heroes’ honor, the All-Father has Thor and Bill cross hammers and an enchantment switches bodies. Bill now possesses the power to return to his normal form by striking Storm Breaker on the ground. And Thor is no longer tied to the mortal form of Donald Blake…. When Bill departs to rejoin his people, Sif chooses to go with him, to regain her edge as a warrior. Odin cannot say if they will ever see Beta Ray Bill again….

Epilogue: Off the coast of Cape Cod, a ship is surprised then destroyed by the rampaging dragon Fafnir, returned from imprisonment and hungry for vengeance against Thor….

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Walt Simonson
Walt Simonson
George Roussos
Walt Simonson (Cover Penciler)
Walt Simonson (Cover Inker)
Walt Simonson (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Balder the Brave)

(Hogun the Grim)

(Loki Laufeyson)


Plus: Fafnir, Skuttlebutt, Surtur (Surtur the Fire Demon).

> Thor: Book info and issue index

Share This Page