Monday, December 28, 2015
By this point, we've had over a hundred posts tagged "The End," so ofttimes I'm buying new last issues whenever I happen to come across one. Today's book I kind of knew what was coming, even though I hadn't read it before now! From 1995, Thunderstrike #24, "The Storm and the Sacrifice!" Script and plot by Tom DeFalco, plot and pencils by Ron Frenz, finishes by Al Milgrom.
Former replacement-Thor Eric Masterson had been doing pretty well as "the everyman Avenger" Thunderstrike for the last couple years, until he had to take up the Bloodaxe of Skurge the Executioner, in order to save the world from Seth. Now blood-crazed and insane, Thunderstrike and Thor are currently locked in battle; while on a mental plane, Eric, the spirit of Skurge, and Eric's avatar Sparky fight the evil of the Bloodaxe. (I don't know about Sparky, either.) Eric had been pretty desperate to try to use the axe, but had hoped the Avengers would be able to handle him. Skurge sees that as Eric trying to dump his responsibilities on them; spurring Eric to fight for control of his mace and turn it against the axe, sacrificing himself. Eric's last words in this world appear to be, "Hoo-boy!"
Eric is taken to Valhalla, on Thor's behest; but doesn't feel he deserves it. He requests to be released to whatever is next for him, and goes to the next life. Along with Eric's son and girlfriend, Thor mourns the loss of his friend. The letters page has a thank-you from Tom DeFalco, and an ad for Warren Ellis and Mike Deodato's revamp in Thor #491, which I think was planned as a bit of reconsolidation, trimming away some of the deadwood around Thor. (This briefly included Beta Ray Bill, and if you consider him "deadwood," be aware that you are wrong on a deep and spiritual level.) I wonder if Thunderstrike sales weren't above what would normally be cancellation level--in fact, per the Wikipedia page for Thunderstrike, DeFalco may have claimed at one point that Thunderstrike outsold Thor and the Avengers combined at the time of this issue! Although, in DeFalco's defense, you can see Thor and Captain America's current looks here, and all of a sudden it seems a little more plausible.