Monday, February 8, 2021

Marvel Immersion Project: Thor #367-372

During the stretch featured this week, Sal Buscema took over as primary artist for Thor.  He was born Silvio Buscema January 26, 1936 in Brooklyn, New York.  He is the younger brother of fellow comic book artist John Buscema.  In fact, he got his earliest work in the industry inking his brother's pencil work.

After high school, he worked as an advertising artist and a jeweler before being drafted into the Army.  He spent 21 months as an illustrator in the Army Corps of Engineers.  Afterwards, he continued to do illustration work for the government as a freelancer.  

Sal finally followed his brother to Marvel in 1968.  He has worked on numerous titles over the years and won several industry awards.  He is probably best known for a ten-year run as artist for The Incredible Hulk.

My Recent Reads

Thor #367
Originally Published May 10, 1986
Writer and Artist: Walter Simonson
  • Balder arrives in Asgard for his coronation.
  • The celebration is brief indeed.  Immediately after the ceremony, Kurse jumps on stage and breaks Balder's neck!

Thor #368
June 10, 1986
Writer: Simonson
Artist: Sal Buscema
  • Wouldn't you know, it wasn't really Balder but Malekith in disguise.
  • Thor and the Warriors Three set off to find out what happened to the real Balder.
  • Thus begins an appealingly Grimm-like tale.  Thor encounters an old woman who tells him of three damsels in distress, imprisoned in a castle.  
  • We soon learn, through Loki's magical snooping, that Balder had encountered the same woman and had, in fact, found the damsels and freed them from a terrible troll.  In gratitude, the women seduced him and made him forget all about going to Asgard...
  • At issue's end, Thor enters the castle and encounters the same charming three women, not yet aware of what happened to his friend.

Thor #369
July 10, 1986
Simonson/S. Buscema
  • Fortunately, Thor doesn't fall for it.  
  • He discovers Balder and frees him from the women's spell.
  • Thor reveals their true identity as troll hags.
  • Together, Thor and Balder destroy the trolls including the old woman who started all the trouble.  Turns out, she was the troll mother in disguise!

Thor #370
August 10, 1986
James Owsley/John Buscema
  • This month, we get a cross between a Grimm fairy tale and an Old West pulp novel.
  • It is 1875 in Danville, Texas.  Our lead is a gambler who's just been thrown out of a saloon for cheating at cards.  His name is Sundance, a handsome redhead: obvious homage to Robert Redford.
  • An old man hands Sundance a claim ticket and tells him that if he brings it to a man on a white horse, that man will give Sundance $100.
  • Turns out the man on the white horse is Thor and the story's big baddy is really Loki.  
  • Loki had stolen the apples of Idunn which the gods must eat to retain eternal youth.  
  • Together, Thor and Sundance defeat Loki and regain the apples.

Thor #371
September 10, 1986
Simonson/S. Buscema
  • Balder is crowned King of Asgard, though he refuses to sit in Odin's throne.  He's had a smaller one built for himself.
  • In a tale building up as a secondary narrative in the last few issues, Thug Thatcher, recently released from prison, manipulates Ruby, an old flame, into helping to break out Brad Wolfe/Zaniac, too.
  • Brad kills Ruby, then Kellen, Thug's accomplice, kills Brad.
  • The creatures inside Brad escape his body as he's dying and invade Thug instead, making him the new Zaniac.
  • Now Thug/Zaniac is out to get Jane Foster, Thor's old Midgard flame.
  • Thor himself isn't in this story much.  He does have an encounter with Justice Peace, one that will have greater significance in the next issue.

Thor #372
October 10, 1986
Simonson/S. Buscema

via Wikipedia

  • Thug heads to Jane Foster's house, where she's sitting in the living room with her husband.
  • Meanwhile, Thor and Justice Peace have their second showdown in Ruby's kitchen after having discovered her and Brad's dead bodies.
via Marvel Database

  • Justice Peace (JP) reveals he's been sent from the future by the Time Variance Authority (similar to Trek's Department of Temporal Investigations?) to kill Zaniac before he can assassinate the Mayor of Brooklynopolis in their own time period.
  • Now working together, Thor and JP still arrive too late to Jane's house.  She lies dead in her husband's arms.
  • Obviously, they have to go back in time, this time with the aid of Mjolnir.  
  • This time, they destroy the Zaniac creatures (but perhaps not all of them?) before they can inhabit Thug.  Jane is saved.
  • In a heartwarming wrinkle, Thor brings Ruby's now orphaned sons to Asgard where Volstagg promises to raise them as his own.
  • Apparently, Thor can wield some special magic with Mjolnir to put children to sleep.  Now, that's a superpower!


  1. I don't remember these issues that well. :(

    1. This is not an especially memorable run. The Balder story with the princesses was good for the Grimm elements. As for the Time Variance Authority, you know how I feel about time travel...

    2. Me, too. Though, thankfully, Marvel, at least through the 90s, didn't do a whole lot of messing around with time travel. There was Days of Future Past, but it was less of a time travel story than a glimpse into a horrific future, and they mostly left it at that. Mostly.
      DC has been much more egregious with their use of time travel.

    3. I don't mind a What If scenario and that's basically what Days of Future Past was. I mean, it's not my favorite, but it's okay.