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Thor #481: Review

Dec 1994
Roy Thomas, M. C. Wyman

Story Name:

The Living Stone, I Presume?

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Thor #481 Review by (January 17, 2024)

Review: It’s not quite Ragnarok but it is one raggedy rock Thor is facing. And he must accept the help of the Godpack to enable him to defeat it and save Earth. So we’ve got the High Ev and Thor on the same page again, after an issue full of subterranean battles and the promise of some starwarrin’ in a callback to the Black Galaxy Saga. And Don Blake has a point: Every time Thor comes near him, disaster strikes. And we won’t ask why a rock made of Lava Men won’t break when Mjolnir hits it.

Comments: Title is a play on Henry M. Stanley’s historic quote, “Doctor Livingstone, I presume?” Grotesk a/k/a Gor-Tok was introduced in X-MEN #41-42 and appeared in MS MARVEL and other scattered titles. Basallo, king of the Lava Men, first appeared in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #97, then AVENGERS #5 and MARVEL TEAM-UP #26; this is his final appearance. The Living Rock previously appeared in AVENGERS #5, where Thor first saw it.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thor #481 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Thor returns to New York in a driving rainstorm and heads to Avengers headquarters where he is admitted by Jarvis. Jarvis is the first mortal to admire Thor’s new armor and he is pleased. But he was hoping to see Hercules or Thunderstrike but all Avengers are away. After a brief call to Information, Thor telephones Don Blake, asking to come over; the angry Blake at first refuses but soon agrees to the request. On his way over, Thor sees a woman in the rain, about to be hit by a car. He leaps in the way, allowing the car to smash against him. The driver is angered and demands restitution and a mob gathers, denouncing Thor’s arrogance. Ironically, the woman he saved is aware of none of this. Thor flies away…

…only to be stopped by a huge hologram of the High Evolutionary in the sky. HE politely asks Thor to return to Wundagore but Thor will not until HE explains his purpose in creating the Godpack and the reason he wants Thor to join. The Godpack also appeals to Thor to return but he says them nay, continuing on his mission to see Don Blake…

…who is living in a rundown building in a poorer part of the South Bronx. Blake tells Thor he agreed to this meeting only so he could again tell Thor to his face that he will never forgive him for stealing his life. Thor asks if there is any way to atone and Blake asks him to try to get Jane back for him. Thor balks, realizing this visit was a mistake, and departs, followed by Blake’s invectives….

But we learn there is more going on: Grotesk, last of his race and leader of the Lava Men, has set a trap for Thor; knowing of some connection between Thor and Don Blake, he has been watching the mortal. And now the trap is sprung: The front of Blake’s building collapses, dropping him into a chasm which Thor rescues him from and the Living Rock begins to grow and expand into a mountain. When the Avengers faced this Rock before, Henry Pym calculated its most vulnerable spot and Hulk smashed it, ending the threat. Thor tries striking at it but realizes the vulnerable spot must have shifted. He heads underground and does battle with a horde of Lava Men, knocking them about until Grotesk appears and challenges him. The two clash, with Thor generally winning but he hurls his hammer and the Lava Men merge into a huge rock that blocks Mjolnir from returning to its master. The Lava Men swarm over Thor as Grotesk holds Don Blake hostage. But Thor refuses to surrender as any second the Living Rock could reach critical mass, destroying the Earth which is the nihilistic Grotesk’s goal. The Godpack arrives and helps Thor overcome the Lava Men; Thor recovers Mjolnir and lays down some more beatings. Riger, with his super-senses, locates the true vulnerable spot. Zefra, the super-fast Godling, swoops between Grotesk and Blake, separating them and Thor hurls Grotesk into the vulnerable spot, causing it to implode. Thor captures the Lava Men’s king Basallo who reveals that they were all under the bad guy’s control so Thor allows them to go in peace. Thor takes the now-homeless Don Blake back to Wundagore. The High Evolutionary reveals to the Godpack that they were created to fight for him against the New Immortals, his rebellious space-faring creations. The Godpack vow to serve him in this coming war and Thor joins with them in pledging loyalty to the HE….

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

M. C. Wyman
Mike DeCarlo
Ovi Hondru
M. C. Wyman (Cover Penciler)
Mike DeCarlo (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Phil Felix.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Edwin Jarvis)


Plus: Donald Blake Construct, Godpack (Godlings), Grotesk (Gor-Tok), Lava Men.

> Thor: Book info and issue index

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