Thor #402-408 (1989)

Thor fights Quicksand at his secret identity’s construction site.  Quicksand’s real motive is to distract Thor during battle long enough for her partner, Mongoose, to steal tissue samples from him for a new, mysterious villain who promises to use those samples to create a new race of Gods.

Meanwhile, Lorelei dies in Asgard and Executioner, who is dead, accompanies Hela to retrieve Lorelei’s soul.  Enchantress, Lorelei’s sister, is distraught and Executioner—who loved Enchantress while he was alive—asks Enchantress to take Lorelei’s place, so their souls can be together in the afterlife.  Enchantress says no, which upsets Executioner.  Enchantress instead decides to create a new Executioner.
ANNIHULS
Thor handily defeats the new Executioner–and recognizes him as a fake.

He then returns to Asgard, only to find that it is being invaded by Annihilus of the Negative Zone.  As he is fighting him off, he learns that Mongoose has kidnapped Kevin Masterson, the son of Eric Masterson, who is Sigurd’s (Thor’s civilian identity) friend on Earth.  Mongoose did this because he still needs those pesky tissue samples.

You getting all this?

It turns out, Odin can easily beat up Annihilus, and Thor goes back to Earth.  But during the fight, the Negative Zone essentially swallowed Asgard.  So, there’s an opportunity for a brief Fantastic Four cameo (since they have a portal from the Zone to Earth).

We learn that Mongoose took Eric Masterson to Wundagore Mountain, former home of the High Evolutionary.  So, whoever this mystery master who wants to make Gods is, he’s apparently tied to High Evolutionary.  In fact, we learn he’s one of High Ev’s New Men.

Before Eric and Kevin Masterson were taken hostage, Thor used his hammer to bless the child’s toy.

That’s a forgotten power set.  But Thor uses it to track the kid once he’s taken hostage.

Thor rescues Eric Masterson, Mongoose gets away, and Thor goes after High Evolutionary because he has something to do with a problem with Hercules that I confess I didn’t follow.  The stories in these issues run fast and frequent—it’s very hard to keep track of it all.

And speaking of tons of plot developments…

The Rigellians are involved in all this, so Thor and Eric Masterson (who gets a suit of armor from the New Men) go to find High Evolutionary and Hercules in space.

Also, Rigellians means an appearance of a Recorder.

And there are Celestials.  And Ego the Living Planet.
SPLASH
Hercules and H.E. are brought back to Earth in the end, and Thor sacrifices himself to save Eric Masterson—actually, he gives Masterson his own ability…


So, Eric Masterson is the new Thor, and he and Hercules are hanging out on Earth together.  Hercules’ undercover civilian name is Harry Cleese.

Thus, the Donald Blake concept is revived, but this time it’s Eric Masterson.

These issues (intentionally) read like early 1970s Thor comics, paying tribute to the Lee/Kirby years, complete with a revival of the “Tales of Asgard” back-up features.  You can tell by the art, above. If you love those issues, you might enjoy these.  I found them to be pretty inferior—the story was hopelessly complicated and it got to the point that it seemed they were just throwing whatever they could into the mix just to include more stuff.

Creators: Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz
Grade: C

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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