Thursday, May 19, 2011

DeFalco does write a swinging, cheerful DD, which I like...even if he probably hadn't been seen for decades.
Over his career, Daredevil has beaten some opponents well out of his weight class: the Sub-Mariner. The Hulk. Ultron. (With a stick!) The Absorbing Man. And by beat I mean "stalled his opponent to a standstill but ended up in the hospital for his trouble," for the most part. Still, maybe Hogun the Grim shouldn't feel too bad for having so much trouble with DD in Thor #393, "The Blaze of Battle!" Written by Tom DeFalco, pencils by Ron Frenz, inks by Brett Breeding.

While Thor battles Sandman in drag Quicksand at a nuclear plant; Hogun has come to earth to get him, but after a head injury he sees Daredevil as an actual devil. Yeah, let's just blame Loki, that'd make more sense. DD tries to help or at least contain the rampaging Hogun, but I can't help but think maybe if he'd gone home, Hogun would've calmed down a little.
I don't think Hogun's head injury made him see anyone else as monsters...
When the nuclear plant threatens to go critical, Thor uses Mjolnir to spin the whole thing, "down to the foundations," into another dimension. How Thor and/or Mjolnir know a dimension is uninhabited is anyone's guess. Maybe Thor keeps track, as he comes across them in his travels, or just has a specific dumping ground: "Aye, nothing here...mayhap this would be a worthy place to dump a nuclear explosion, or Loki, or what have you." It's a very convenient, very Superman-style resolution to that problem, although Quicksand escapes.
Thor would use this a lot, for a while.
In retrospect, though, DeFalco may have been planting seeds for the future: his Thor is on top of his game, one of the most powerful forces in the Marvel Universe. But, he would be replaced by the Eric Masterson-Thor, who tried hard but was generally clueless. (To his credit; and that's why Eric worked pretty well in stories like Infinity Gauntlet.) It's an interesting contrast, but I may be giving DeFalco too much credit, since Eric-as-Thor was still like three years away. (In 1991's Thor #433, per the GCD: "Synopsis: Thor is no longer the Shakespearean speaker, rather he is a streetwise smartass.")

Meanwhile, Hogun manages to put Daredevil on the canvas, just long enough...to get shot by a SWAT team. I bet Volstagg and Fandrall still give Hogun the hassle about that one. Every time he gets a little too grim, Fandrall goes "COUGH! Daredevil!" just to piss him off more...

I know I didn't like the DeFalco/Frenz run on Thor that much; although I admit a good chunk of that is because they were following Simonson, and I sure as hell wouldn't want to come on stage after that. There's also a doggedly retro, silver age style to most of their issues; which is good in some ways (the action keeps moving, in a bombastic, Kirby-style fashion) but not others. (The book felt dated and simple, even at the time. Subplots, especially romantic ones, were seemingly given one panel an issue and dragged forever.) But, in hindsight, I know I've read a lot worse Thor comics than Defalco and Frenz's.

I wanted to hit this issue since I saw it in the quarter boxes (I know I had it at some point...) but it's also a good excuse to give a shout-out to the Daily Thor! Covering an issue of Thor every day, from his first appearance in 1962's Journey into Mystery #83 to the present, which is a helluva goal and a helluva read. Check it out! Luckily, they won't get to this issue until, um, next March or so?

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

The Defalco/Frenz era wasn't too bad; They were initially the ones on the book when I started collecting Thor. It took me awhile to get used to the art style of Frenz, but I come to appreciate it more as the years go by. The Defalco FF run was pretty good too; not the best what with Alicia turning out to be a skrull, Reed and Dr. Doom supposedly dying, and Sue's slutty costume.

I had the issue you mentioned here, but got rid of it along time ago. Not bad stuff here overall.

As for feeling old, I'm turning 30 this year, and I also feel old when faced with the current music choices out there today. I just want my classic rock myself, and older rap, like Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. Good stuff.