Monday, December 19, 2011

The Terminus Factor 3: Thor Annual #15!

From Thor Annual #15, "...Can Terminus be far Behind?" Written by Roy and Dann Thomas, pencils by Herb Trimpe, inks by Mark McKenna. After a little bit of research at the GCD, it looks like the main Terminus Factor storyline was clocking in at 25 pages out of 64 an annual; so the total story would only be 125 pages. (Maybe 145 if you count the "Mediawatch" pages...which I don't, Andy Rooney appearance or not.)

Which Iron Man working on the damaged Machine Man, Tony Stark calls in the big guns. Thor even brings Hercules for good measure, to find and stop the Termini in San Francisco, while he goes into space to investigate Terminus. Herc scoffs that he cracked Termnius like a lobster, but that wasn't the real Terminus that died in the Savage Land. Herc calls B.S. on that.

The Termini attack a decommissioning nuclear power plant, and Herc gets a ride over there from some cops. Now slightly bigger than the bear one, the Termini are also repeating snippets of speech, perhaps without understanding. Hercules punches it up with them, until he slips on a puddle of fuel. Downed only for a moment, the Termini turn on each other, but aren't fighting, they're combining.

Meanwhile, above the galactic plane where Quasar dumped Terminus, Thor faces the giant; noting he can't go anywhere without his broken power-lance. Thor smashes his way into Terminus' armor, noting that he did much the same the prior year's annual--OK, he doesn't put it like that. He is then bombarded by Termnius' mind and forced to hear his origin: an evil race, on the verge of being wiped out by the Celestials, create the non-carbon Termini virus as revenge. The virus eventually evolves into the monstrous giant, which travelled to worlds spared by the Celestials to get revenge in destroying them.

When fighting the Fantastic Four, Reed Richards attached a device to Terminus that launched him to the earth's core. Terminus climbed his way out, reaching the lab of the Deviant scientist Jorro. The Deviants hate the Celestials just as much as Terminus' creators, and Jorro would wear a copy of Terminus' armor and die in the Savage Land. Terminus, meanwhile, used Jorro's equipment to recreate the virus-form, a fail-safe in case he was defeated.

After that recap, Thor is attacked by the defenses of Terminus' body; which manage to get Mjolnir away from him, then eject Thor. Terminus uses the hammer's power to regenerate his lance and head back to earth, leaving the thunder god drifting in space...

The Termini are now a singular giant, which Herc notes is similar but different than the one he beat; as Terminus arrives...

Even with four pages of origin, this one starts to get moving. Thor is taken out of action fairly quickly, but this issue also has "The Return of the Thermal Man" from Frenz and Hartle, in which Thor may solve problems on Midgard and Asgard at the same time, which may or may not be a good idea.

The next time we look at the Terminus Factor, it'll be 2012: next week will be the third annual "The End" week, and we've got a lot of last issues to look at.

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