Tuesday, January 26, 2016
...and it's really not the time, Thor. From 1982, Marvel Team-Up #116, "Between Sword and Hammer!" Written by J. M. Dematteis, pencils by Herb Trimpe, inks by Mike Esposito. Reprinted in Marvel Adventures: Thor/Spider-Man.
The cover and accompanying blurb "Have Sword...Will Travel!" makes it seem like this issue is going to be a light-hearted one, but it's a little heavier than that. Valkyrie wonders about her place in that world, and if she would ever find that special someone; before she gets possessed by the spirits of a murderous alien couple, from the previous issue. (An aside: I think this happened a lot about this time, where the writers needed an alien for an issue's bad guy, but wanted them to have more motivation than the usual none. The writer would then overcompensate, by giving them entirely too much back story for a single comic. We saw the same thing back in an old issue of World's Finest, where the aliens are straight-up out of Les Miserables, to fight Green Arrow and Hawkman.)
Meanwhile, Spidey is being his usual mopey self--actually, the level of his self-loathing seems a bit high today, as he wonders if he'll be "exposed as an academic fraud" when he has trouble finishing a term paper. He takes a break to go for a swing, and sees Valkyrie: while not knowing her well, he thought she was okay, which is why he's a little surprised when she attacks. Realizing pretty quickly that she was possessed by her sword, Dragonfang, Spidey makes for Dr. Strange's place, where the doctor is of course out. Meanwhile, since a woman on a winged horse chasing Spider-Man through New York City makes pretty good TV, Dr. Donald Blake sees the televised action, and is struck by feels, since he and Val used to be a thing. Not really, but sort of: they had shared a mortal incarnation together, centuries ago, as Siegfried and Brunnhilda. They died, and their memories of that life were taken by Odin: this was all around Thor #296-300, in a pretty weird adaptation of the opera Gotterdammerung by Richard Wagner. OK, maybe not the weirdest adaptation of it, but still.
Thor actually gives Spidey a thump for attacking Val, but she turns on him as well. Dragonfang was actually what the aliens possessed, not Val; so when Spidey gets the sword away from her she returns to normal. Giving Thor time to realize, man, Valkyrie's kinda got it going on. Val realizes her life was too confusing by itself right then, or maybe Thor was coming on a bit strong; but Thor does get his head in the game long enough to smash Dragonfang and send the aliens' spirits to another dimension. (Possibly the same one he dumps everything else.) Thor and Val head off to get Dragonfang reforged, and Spidey wonders how NYC is going to blame him for this one.
Well, you probably have "Spear and Magic Helmet" stuck in your head now too, so my job is done...