If you haven't heard, you're second favorite Thor stand in (Sorry Red Norville, maybe next year) is headed back to the (proverbial) newsstand. That's right, news broke this week that Thunderstrike is coming back from the dead later this year to wow you just like he did in the early 90s.
What? You don't remember being wowed by him in the early 90s? Sounds like it's time for a First Issue Spectacular. Don't try to hide it, I know you're excited.
Let's leap into the world of knock-off Asgardian action as only Tom Defalco and Ron Frenz can deliver.
The issue begins with activities you would automatically associate with Thor or his knockoffs: Carjacking.
Here we find some street-level goons jackin' some old lady when Not-So-Thor arrives on the scene to bust some heads and take some names. After a short scuffle, and lots of destruction, Not-So-Thor is victorious and reveals just how not Thor he is:
No wonder he was booted out of Asgard, it's all insurance rates and liability with him. I'm sure They couldn't boot him down the rainbow bridge fast enough after he tried to talk to Vostagg about the dangers of over eating. Sheesh, man, live a little.
Back to the story, Not-So-Thor flies off late for a date, and musing that he needs to come up with a better name for himself. I guess he doesn't like Not-So-Thor. We get a brief recap here of his history so far: How he was Thor until the real thing came back, who in exchange for the hammer gave Not-So-Thor a mace called Thunderstrike.
Now, I know that's supposed to be an uplifting message on that mace, but I can't help to read it as a guilt trip. "The world still needs heroes, Thunderstrike," now get out of bed and go get me some coffee or something. It makes me laugh, I've been saying it all week.
Anyway, from here the real 90s-ness of the book starts to take over. First we follow our hero's ex-wife and her husband as he gets carjacked which leads to the introduction of the dreadlocked and metal-masked villain, Carjack (Convenient!). Next, vowing revenge for what Carjack has perpetrated, we meet the anti-est of anti-heroes, BLOODAXE!
Seriously if I wanted to show someone an example of 90s craziness (that wasn't Image) I would probably show them these two. As much as I give those early Image creations shit for being uber-90s, they're avante garde brilliance compared to this. And yes I say that as a kid who thought BLOODAXE looked super awesome when I was twelve.
So BLOODAXE goes to fight Carjack, Not-So-Thor goes to stop them and gets his ass whooped. It's kind of embarassing for everyone involved, but mostly for Not-So-Thor because he was beaten so thoroughly. It's so bad that right away he decides he needs to change his look to distance himself from that fight.
Empowered by this change of wardrobe, Not-So-Thor takes on BLOODAXE again, this time vowing not to go like a bitch. Good thing too, otherwise he would have had to get another new costume and that gets really expensive.
This time, eschewing the traditional choreographed Thor plan of attack, Not-So-Thor opts for a more... elegant solution.
Sure enough it works. After successfully flailing his mace around, he hooks BLOODAXE's axe and then drops a building on the man. Precision might not be his strong point, but what are you gonna do.
Finally, here at the end of the book, with BLOODAXE out of commission, Carjack.. umm... out of sight, Not-So-Thor finally comes up with a name of his own.
Elegant as always. Can't wait to have you back, er Thunderstrike, I'm sure the world has missed you.
Or at least they would, if they remember who you were.