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Thor Annual #14: Review

Jan 1989
Roy Thomas, Al Milgrom

Story Name:

Set Ascending Atlantis Attacks, Ch. 13

Review & Comments

2 stars

Thor Annual #14 Review by (March 29, 2015)
Comments: Crossover events are a double-edged sword. It’s nice to see other heroes popping up in Thor’s pages from time to time, but it’s terrible to get just a sliver of an impossibly complicated serialized story. I haven’t read “Atlantis Attacks” other than what takes place in this issue, which seriously diminishes the enjoyment-factor of this annual for me. Also, there are some very “plot convenient” moments, and some things that are just plain confusing—like how Ben Grimm has a “Thing exoskeleton” that gives him all the power that he has as the Thing. The back up features also leave much to be desired, with the exception of the parallel “romantic” Balder and Loki side-stories.

Thor Annual #14 Review by (March 29, 2015)
Dr Strange made people think he died in Strange Tales (1987) #3 and gained an eyepatch in #10 of that series. (He has currently upgraded to his own series again with Dr Strange, Sorcerer Supreme.) Thing was accidentally turned human in Fantastic Four #326. Ben Grimm's exoskeleton was invented in FF#169 after a previous loss of his Thing-ness, and he's taken it out of mothballs again. The Marvel Chronology Project has this issue as the 1st to mention that he's wearing the Thing suit this time round, though he must also have been wearing it in Avengers An#18, Web of Spider-Man An#5 and Av West Coast An#4. Thor learned that Gaea is his mother in his #300. And his history with her other son Atum/Demogorge was revealed in An#10. There are actually 2 Serpent Crowns in the Saga of the SC chapter. The Avengers brought 1 back from the Squadron Supreme's alternate timeline in the previous chapter. After Living Laser stole it in Av An#6 Vision dumped it in the Pacific to get rid of it. In Marvel Two-In-One #64-66 Hugh Jones got hold of the Marvel timeline version again from where Viper lost it in Captain America #182. Then he used a different non-Viper Serpent Squad to find the alternate. Jones then wore a more-powerful mystically-combined Crown. The other members of the Congress of Crowns (previous wearers of the Crown) all appeared in previous episodes of this Saga:- Atra (who created the Crown), Thoth-Amon (who actually wore the Cobra Crown), Naga of Lemuria, Paul Destine, Dorma, Sub-Mariner, Warlord Krang, Viper, President Rockefeller (from the alternate timeline) and Living Laser. Scarlet Witch also briefly wore the Crown but is here as an enemy.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thor Annual #14 Synopsis by Seahammer

Title: “Set Ascending

Writers: Roy Thomas
Breakdowns: Al Milgrom
Finishes: Don Heck
Letterer: Augustin Mas
Colorist: John A. Wilcox

Characters: Thor, Doctor Strange, Quasar, Thing, Set, Gaea, Atum/Demogorge, The Avengers West (Captain America, Iron Man, Vision, Wonder Man, Beast, Sersi, Wasp), Ghaur


            This story is Chapter 13 of the 14-chapter “Atlantis Attacks” crossover event.  This issue directly follows Avengers West Coast Annual #4.

Thor, carrying Ben Grimm (who has transformed back into his pre-Thing form, but wears a Thing exoskeleton), and Quasar arrive at Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum. Doctor Strange reached out to Thor for help battling against Set.  Thor, in turn, recruited Quasar and Grimm because each had previously worn the Serpent Crown.  Together, the four travel to an undersea base where the Avengers West are battling the seven-headed monster Set, who is being brought into this dimension by the deviant Ghaur.  Ghuar has assembled seven “brides” to mate with Set.  Since the Avengers West are not making any headway against Set, Thor and his three companions try a different approach—they dive into one of Set’s seven mouths!

Inside, Thor explains that since Set is an Elder God, he is a dimension unto himself.  As they press through the darkness, they eventually reach a fully realized dimension where they battle an “inside out” Set.  As they fail in their battle against Set’s seven heads, Thor suddenly creates and exits through a portal, leaving the others behind.  He reappears in another dimension, face-to-face with his mother, the Elder Goddess Gaea.  When Thor asks Gaea to recruit her other son, Atum, Gaea reveals that she is being held, powerless, by Set; she cannot help.  Thor then opens another portal, travelling to the sun to seek help from Atum directly.

In the sun, Atum refuses to help Thor.  Atum states that he could only defeat Set by becoming the Demogorge, which he dares not do because the he would not be able to stop devouring other gods.  In an effort to anger Atum into transforming the Demogorge, Thor begins attacking.  First, Thor throws Mjolnir at Atum, but it does nothing to harm him.  Then, Thor attacks Atum with thunderbolts made of the essence of the sun itself, which triggers Atum’s transformation into the Demogorge.  As the Demogorge, he absorbs Thor.  However, this was all part of Thor’s plan, who, by sheer force of will, takes control of the body of the Demogorge.

As Doctor Strange, Ben Grimm, and Quasar continue to struggle against Set in his own dimension, Demogorge-Thor appears and destroys Set by tearing his seven-headed body into seven different pieces, which he scatters across seven different dimensions.   The Demogorge then releases Thor and transforms back into Atum, who is astonished by Thor’s willingness to sacrifice himself for such lesser beings. However, with Set defeated, his dimension begins to implode and the portal between Set’s dimension and Earth begins to shrink.  Unaware of Set’s defeat, Ghuar opens the portal from the outside, thinking he can pull Set back to Earth.  Much to his dismay, Thor and his companions fall through.  Ghuar vanishes with the Seven Brides, and the Avengers vow to hunt him down.


Title: “God’s Hope

Story and Layout: Bob Layton
Finished Art: Ernie Chan
Letterer: Tim Harkins
Colorist: George Roussos

Characters: Thor, The Watcher


            Thor arrives on a dead, barren Earth in the year 3289.  As he flies across the destroyed planet, Thor hopes in vain that there is something remaining on the planet that could show signs of life.  In his desperation, Thor calls down a thunderstorm.  Then, The Watcher appears.  He says nothing, but his presence gives Thor the notion that something of note has just occurred, the implication being that the storm he called down contained “life giving waters.”  Thor leaves with the hope that sometime in the distant future, life may return to the planet.


Title: “Relative Strength Comparisons

Credits: Peter Sanderson, Ron Lim, Mike DeCarlo

Characters: Thor, Loki, Hercules, Odin, Zeus, Mangog, Surtur, Destroyer, Ego, Galactus, Beyonder, Exitar, Eternity, The Living Tribunal


            Thor describes various beings that he has encountered in the universe that are as powerful and more powerful than him.


Title: “Balder Agonistes

Writer: Ralph Macchio
Artist: Bo Hampton
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Colorist: Gregory Wright

Characters: Balder, Nanna, Karnilla


            (This story takes place after TALES OF ASGARD from THOR #311Balder, surrounded by woodland creatures, mourns over Nanna’s dead body, which has been placed upon a stone altar in the forest.  Nanna had killed herself to save Balder from being forced to marry Karnilla.  As Balder mourns, Karnilla approaches and asks to speak to him.  Angered at her presence here, and blaming her for Nanna’s suicide, Balder demands that she leave.  However, Karnilla seeks to prove her love for Balder: she summons Hela, and reveals that she will trade her life for Nanna’s if Balder just gives the word.  Balder does not give the word, however, and spares Karnilla.  Karnilla says that this is because Balder truly loves her, not Nanna, and the love he thought he had for Nanna was just an illusion.  When Balder leaves, Karnilla reveals that she did not truly summon Hela, but merely created an illusion to manipulate and test Balder.


Title: “Thy Neighbor’s Wife!”

Writer: Randall Frenz
Penciler: Jim Valentino
Inker: Gary Martin
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Colorist: Mike Rockwitz

Characters: Loki, Sigyn, Theoric, Geirrodur, Odin, Thor


            (This story takes place after “Evil Aborning” in THOR #400Loki, sitting alone in his castle, has grown lonely and desires female companionship.  Using magic, Loki sees and image of Sigyn, and decides that she must be his.  He gathers some of his treasure and rides to her home in Asgard, where he presents it to her as a wedding gift.  Sigyn reveals that she is already engaged to be married to Theoric, a young warrior, but even if she were single she would never marry Loki.  Angered, Loki vows that she will be his one way or another.  Several days later, Odin sends Theoric on one last mission before his wedding, to monitor the peace on the southern border of Asgard.  Learning of this, Loki sends his astral projection to Geirrodur, king of the trolls, and pays him to kill Theoric and his companions.  Then, Loki disguises himself as Theoric and returns to Asgard, reporting to Odin that his companions were killed by unknown assailants.  For the next few days, Loki poses as Theoric and spends time with Sigyn leading up to their wedding.  As soon as Odin pronounces them “man and wife” at the wedding, Loki reveals himself.  Loki triumphantly reminds Odin that even he cannot annul the marriage.  When Sigyn says that it is now her duty to stand by Loki for better or worse, Odin declares her the Goddess of Fidelity.


Title: “The Saga of the Serpent Crown Chapter 13: Congress of Crowns

Writer: Peter Sanderson
Penciler: Mark Bagley
Inker: Keith Williams
Letterer: Jade Moede
Colorist: Marc Siry

Characters: The Watcher, Stingray, The Thing, Scarlet Witch, Hugh Jones


The Watcher recounts a past event with the Serpent Crown, to give background information for the current “Atlantis Attacks” storyline.  Some years ago, Hugh Jones, president of Roxxon Oil, gained possession of the Serpent Crown and used it to enslave Washington, D.C.  The Thing, Scarlet Witch, and Stingray battled Jones and the “ethereal duplicates” of everyone who had ever worn the crown in the past.  They eventually succeeded in removing the crown from Jones’s head, and the crown attached itself to the Thing’s head!  When the Thing was able to take the crown off, he took it to Project: Pegasus, which the Watcher says is the worst place he could have taken it.


Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Al Milgrom
Don Heck
John A. Wilcox
Ron Frenz (Cover Penciler)
Joe Sinnott (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Balder the Brave)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

(Ben Grimm)



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