Thor #379-380 (1987): Fin Fang Foom!

Fin Fang Foom is one of those cultish characters who doesn’t appear very often, but fans love him.  Especially his purple underwear, which, for some reason, is colored yellow on the cover.

No matter, he’s still a giant, stupid, talking dragon who likes to scare the bejesus out of people.

 

In this issue, he pops up when some Frost Giants are fishing for Jormungand, The Midguard Serpent, that caused so much trouble for Thor several issues ago.  When they hook Fin instead (who announces himself as the “oldest” dragon), they attack his ego—trying to lure him into going after Thor.

Which he does.

He doesn’t recognize Thor at first, what with the beard and armor now, and we get a Superman joke about how there are lots of heroes with red capes.

Sadly, for all of us Fin fans, it’s not Fin.  By the end of the second act of the story, he reveals that he is, in fact, Jormungand in disguise.

Then comes the giant battle, which takes up nearly all of issue #380, and is told in full-page panels.

This is quite interesting, because it wasn’t even a year ago that Jim Shooter rejected a Hulk script from John Byrne (which eventually ran in Marvel Fanfare #29) that was all full-page panels because, according to Jim, it wouldn’t sell well.  Hm.

Anyway, Thor kicks the serpent’s butt in a very tough battle and both combatants die at the end, but Hela has taken from Thor his ability to die, so he just comes back from the dead.

In a book that’s consistently very good but also consistently very “epic” and serious, this is a fun break—and some of the best-written dialogue of Simonson’s entire run on Thor.

Note: Iceman and Beast are tagged in this post because there’s a brief sequence of Thor returning Iceman to Earth after his having been kidnapped by Loki in the last arc.  We also have a short “curses, foiled again!” interlude with Loki.

Note2: I’m tagging Fin Fang as well because, up to this point the late 1980s, he had appeared in just a few issues, I believe: Strange Tales #89 and Astonishing Tales #23-24, both from 1974 and earlier.  And after this “appearance,” he stays underground until the 1990s, when he starts appearing with some regularity.  I believe, personally, that the only reason he reappears in 1990 and beyond is because of Walt’s having referenced him here.  So, even though it’s not really him, I’m tagging him.

Creators: Walt Simonson, Sal Buscema
Grade: A

For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.
And see my Ratings of Runs on comics here.

 

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