Tuesday, February 15, 2011

You should have to kill the whole thing yourself, before you can put "Dragonslayer" on your business cards...

Last week, we started our look at Eilif, the last Viking, in Walt Simonson's Thor. The old man had attempted to trick Thor into killing him, in order to get into Valhalla; instead, Thor made him his shield-bearer and took him into battle against the giant dragon Fafnir.

The battle joined, the heroes are too quick for Fafnir, but Fafnir's armor is able to withstand even Thor's mightiest blows. Eilif comes in too close and is unhorsed from Cloudrider, and when Thor moves to his aid, Fafnir has him from his chariot. Now Fafnir has him, and worse, the magic fades and Eilif is an old man again.

But Eilif won't quit, dragging himself up above Fafnir and striking. Eilif's spear penetrates Fafnir's armor; enraged, the dragon turns his attention away from Thor. Thor manages to drive the spear into Fafnir full force, killing him, but Eilif is no more. Enraged, Thor takes Fafnir's corpse to make a pyre for Eilif, and the Valkyrie maidens come for the last viking.

Strangely, this wasn't the end of Eilif's story, as he'd appear during the Surtur War in Thor #351. Taking full credit for offing Fafnir, too.

Back from a pretty substantial death, in eight issues: I don't think Superman returned that fast.

This is the weird part for me: so we've got the mortal Viking heroes, collected by the Valkyrie upon their deaths, here back on earth and used against Surtur's demon army. I kind of wonder what happened if they got killed again, do they end up back in Valhalla again? I think this was the last time we've seen Eilif Dragonslayer, so no telling.

Scans from The Mighty Thor #343, "If I Should Die Before I Wake..." And #351, "Ragnarok and Roll, Too!" Art and story by Walt Simonson, letters by John Workman Jr, and colors by Christie Scheele.

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