Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Citizen Kang, part two, featuring Thor!

Eric likes to test new material on the road.
Thor Annual #17 opens with Thor stuck in tenth-century France, but then backs up a minute: in last week's Captain America Annual, Cap went off to Timely, Wisconsin to find the Vision. Cap never made it back, so Black Widow asks Thor (the Eric Masterson version) to fly out and take a look. So, yeah, at the time the Avengers were being run like Camp Crystal Lake.

Thor finds the weirdly over-wholesome slice of Americana that is Timely, with its far-too-earnest citizenry, and Cap's quinjet. He then investigates the town's factory, trying to get a look at the manager's office, and Thor's lost in time in less than seven pages into this thing. Flying, Thor is able to cover more ground--and get good and lost faster--than Cap. Thor thinks he sees Gilgamesh at some point, but doesn't really care enough to follow up on it, and it very well could be just another overly muscled guy.
Ah, nothing to see here...
Flying towards the futuristic towers Cap had seen before, Thor flies over the Trojan War (Eric remembers that the real Thor had been there, but doesn't see him) before arriving in medieval times. Two armies are about to tear into each other, but instead attack Thor when he tries to get information. Thor breaks it up by bringing down a thunderstorm, but can't really get anywhere, since he can't speak medieval whatever. (I don't know if the original Thor ever had that problem...)
That question mark is shared by everyone reading this thing.
The fighting resumes, and Thor is about to bring down the lightning, when a blast from nowhere knocks him on his ass. It's Prester John, whom Thor recognizes as having once fought the Fantastic Four, and who fortunately for Thor speaks English. (Did he fight the whole FF, or just the Torch?) John had been a knight of King Richard's, wandering after the Crusades and finding Avalon. It was a scientific wonderland, but after the inhabitants died in a plague, John was going to use their "Seat of Survival" to live and on tell future generations about Avalon, when Kang shows up. At first thinking Kang was looking for a team-up, John quickly realizes Kang's just looking for a lackey, and fights him; Kang knocks him through a hole to the year 911 AD, some three hundred years prior to John's own time.

John plans on killing off the Vikings here--who history tells him and Thor would go on to become Normans and conquer England in 1066--and taking over the place. Thor tries to stop him from screwing up the timeline, but a lucky shot (in the face) throws him back and he hits his hammer on the ground twice, turning back into Eric.

And now we're up to this chapter's interlude with Dr. Druid and Nebula, who sadly has put on some armor for her attempt to take over Druid's mind. Druid's upped his game, though, and isn't having it; but Nebula is still able to talk him into looking into Kang's scheme. Oh, and there's some swiped dialog from The Maltese Falcon, which brings to mind one of my main rules for movies, possibly stolen from Siskel & Ebert: there's little I hate more than watching a movie where they're watching a better movie.

Meanwhile, in the tenth century, Eric wakes up tied to a post with the Vikings, as Prester John tells King Charles how it's going to be: Prester's taking over, and is going to turn the place into Avalon, which featured a giant fire salamander for some reason. Getting his bonds in the fire, Eric manages to get free and get his cane to turn back into Thor. Who then beats Prester John in two pages: Mjolnir triggers "another time maelstrom" in John's Evil Eye, launching him out of that era. Eric figures he'll end up whenever he's supposed too, but is more worried about damaging the timestream. He gets the enemies to set aside their differences, which they do by turning against him.

Thor ends up heading towards the futuristic city, but instead ends up in Ellis Island around the early 20th century. For a joke.
Cue sad trombone...
Ugh. Not great: Eric does seem to be having a little more fun with this than Thor would, but no one was clamoring for the return of Prester John. No one. He may be a Lee/Kirby creation, but so is Tomazooma, and I think Toma's actually got more appearances. From Thor Annual #17, "The Hammer, the Cross, and the Eye" Written by Roy Thomas, pencils by Geof Isherwood, inks by Fred Fredericks. I think I've seen Isherwood's name spelled Geoff more often, he did a stretch of Conan the Barbarian that I liked.

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