Posted - December 26, 2011 | Updated - July 2, 2013 | August 12, 2015
Thor Disassembled: The Last Ragnarok
Thor Disassembled is technically a part of the Avengers Disassembled group of stories. Nonetheless, the formal name of this story arc is very simply 'Ragnarok'; this title is more fitting for what the story is all about. 'Ragnarok' means 'Twilight of the Gods'. And 'Twilight of the Gods', very simply, is the total destruction of Asgard and the Norse pantheon. Ragnarok. You call a storyline 'Ragnarok' and its going to be ugly, destructive, and its going to be 'The End'. Thor Disassembled is all of this, and more. Brace yourself, because with this last five issues of Thor volume 2, everybody in the Thor universe dies. Everybody.
We begin with the death of one of the more familiar characters of Thor's Marvel mythos - the death of Eitri. Here is a view of his funeral
Eitri is the greatest smith among the Dwarves. I remember him from Simonson's celebrated run in The Mighty Thor volume 1, where Eitri led the forging of Beta Ray Bill's hammer - Stormbreaker. I also remember Eitri from the pages of The New Mutants where Eitri all but adopted Cannonball during the mutants' visit to the Asgardian realms.
This is Ragnarok after all - a tale of destruction. Eitri's fall is but the first death knell of Asgard. His funeral isn't even finshed yet when the next blow hits.
Beautiful panel isn't it? Art by Andrea DiVito. Let's see, the giant is the Storm Giant Hyrm. See the chain Hyrm is holding? At the end of it is Ulik the Invincible, a Troll, a Lord of Trolls. Ulik is huge in my eyes on account of a Thor annual I read were he pretty much nearly fought Thor to a standstill. This is a powerful one I tell you. The wolfman to Ulik's right is Fenris - the Fenris Wolf of Norse Legend. The strangest thing about Fenris is that he is the son of Loki. Loki is, of course, the god in green. Half god I should say. Loki is half god, half Storm Giant. These band of four are riding a ship called Naglfar, a ship made of the nails of the dead. As if this panel wasn't beautiful enough just take a look at Sif. Wow.
When these four villains made their entrance they collapsed the roof over everybody's head. An early casualty is Amora, the Enchantress. Only a few pages into the arc we already have a couple of casualties : Eitri and the Enchantress.
Here's another, rather shocking, damage report.
Sif loses her left arm after taking damage from a tremendous clash between Fenris and Ulik against Thor. DiVito gives us an wonderful panel of an angry Thunder God.
Here's the really big hit.
Thor + Fenris + Ulik + Hyrm = . . .
. . . an explosion akin to an atomic bomb. But heres the real shocker!
In the Marvel Universe I always considered four things to be indestructible : Wolverine's claws, Doctor Strange's Eye of Agamotto, Captain America's shield, and the enchanted Uru hammer Mjolnir. Looks like I'm wrong. On the bright side, even if Thor doesn't have Mjolnir he's still a powerhouse.
Here's a detail that I missed during my first reading of this series.
Look closely at this panel, Loki is holding a hammer, but not Mjolnir, already broken. This hammer is a match for Mjolnir made by Surtur from Mjolnir's mold.
Thor finds himself underwater, stalked by a giant snake, referring to 'his brothers'.
His brothers. I initially thought he was referring to the two other sons of Odin : Balder and Vidar. I was wrong; he was referring to these two :
So now we have the tie-in to Avengers Disassembled
Thor has a broken hammer so I'm somewhat reassured now that Thor is in the company of two of the most reputable Avengers. This is well before the rifts introduced by Civil War, so lets enjoy this triple alliance while we can. Here, the three Avengers look down on the ruins of Asgard.
While walking through the desolation, Thor and company encounter these four familiars yet again.
Now I'm excited, Mjolnir may be broken but Thor has Iron Man and Captain America. This evens the odds a bit. It's time for round 2!
Ulik attacks, resulting in a simply beautiful panel of Iron Man using his repulsors.
Fenris, who is getting bigger as the story progresses, is about to attempt to bite Thor's head off, but not while Captain America is around.
The Avengers are awesome. Loki thinks so too.
Shades of the past! It's Thor vs. Ulik while, in the background, Hyrm steps on Iron Man.
Once again repulsors and the strength of a god does wonders - with a little heroic help from Cap.
Loki brings to bear the power of his hammer but Iron Man has a shield.
Fenris makes a move and Cap responds with a really impressive move of his own.
Loki tries the hammer again, but it is now Cap who has the shield.
Ably defended by 'his brothers' Thor steps in and secures the victory - all four attackers beat a hasty retreat. Writer Michael Avon Oeming gave us a treat by showing us the Avengers in action within the bounds of Ragnarok.
As for Thor's real brother, Balder the Brave has perished.
If I remember my Norse Mythology correctly, Balder's death is one of the 'red flags' of the impending 'Twilight of the Gods'.
Very wisely, Thor sends both Captain America and Iron Man back to Earth. First, because this is not a fight for mortals. And second, to defend Earth just in case the war spreads.
And so now we come to the much awaited appearance of those stalwarts - the Warrior's Three; introduced by the impressive occurence of a thrown dagger overtaking a flying arrow.
Now here they are.
Fandral, Volstagg and Hogun. They have come into the land of the Light Elves to ask for help for the ailing Sif, but suddenly the dread ship Naglfar comes into view. Kudos to Andrea DiVito for this impressive rendition of a rain of arrows coming from the ship.
When Thor happens upon the realm of the Light Elves he finds only Volstagg, and not the Volstagg of old. Volstagg the Vast has become Volstagg the Thin.
Even Kurse, another incredibly mighty denizen of the Nine Worlds, does not survive Ragnarok, as can be seen by his bloody helm.
Vidar, son of Odin, brother of Thor and Balder, has also fallen.
As you can see, 'Ragnarok' is a book of losses. You know what they say, how you handle yourself when you are losing says more about you than how you handle yourself when you are winning. Let us see what these gods are made of.
Here's a partial map of the Nine Worlds of Asgard.
The battle before the walls of Vanaheim shows Fenris growing to gigantic size.
Look who's here : Valkyrie
If you've read the The Defenders from before and the current Fearless Defenders, Brunnhilde or Val is a familar figure.
Here's another excellent panel of Durok the Demolisher looming over Sif and the dead Valkyrie.
You'd think Sif would be in trouble, but the great warrior has an excellent counter.
This pane, with Sif referring to her severed left arm as a 'scratch', really caught my attention.
Oh I love this! Look who's come to join the party!
Beta Ray Bill! Stormbreaker, his hammer, is actually the equal of Mjolnir. Bill isn't Thor's equal, he's better. A contest of equals was held by Odin and Bill emerged the victor over Thor. But those are old antagonisms, today Bill is firmly on the Asgardian side. Bill's first move in this work is a tremendous blow to the forehead of Fenris; wonderful visual from DiVito.
Did I say mighty? I meant irresistible; this shot reduces Fenris to a skeleton.
This wonderful interior shot of a hall in Vanaheim is also a must-see.
Every 'Thor' artist has his or her own version of the sites of Asgard, including Hildstarlf, the High Seat where the Lords of Asgard look upon their domain. Here is Andrea DiVito's vision of this high place
Here's another significant panel
The ghostly child is the Odinpower, the power cosmic that is the right of all the rulers of Asgard. Through this manifestation Michael Avon Oeming gives voice to the Odinpower and makes this enigmatic being Thor's guide.
It is a famous part of Norse Mythology that in order to gain knowledge Odin sacrificed his right eye to the well called Mimir. All this was shown in The Mighty Thor Annual no. 7 - a part of the Eternals Saga. Also a part of that Saga is The Mighty Thor No. 300 which shows Odin making yet another sacrifice - impalling himself on a branch of Yggdrasil, the World Tree. It is in the context of these sacrifices by Odin that the Odiinpower now informs Thor that he, too, must make sacrifices, but not the same ones - Thor must exceed his father's sacrifices. So Thor sacrifices not one but both his eyes.
I keep thinking about this 'gauging your own eyes out with your bare hands' move. I've come to the conclusion that its not possible. No person can do this. No way.
Now is Thor's turn to hang himself on the branches of Yggdrassil.
Now looking at this, Thor has it better than his father. He's hanging by a chain. Odin impaled himself to the World Tree.
The ordeal takes Thor to Niffleheim or Hel. The land of Hela, Goddess of Death.
Now here is where Marvel departs from the Norse Myths, and, in my opinion - improves upon it. Witness 'Those Who Sit Above In Shadow'.
These are the beings who sit above the gods of Asgard. These are the authors of the endless Ragnarok cycle being experienced by the Asgardians in the Marvel U. 'Those Who Sit Above In Shadow' absorb the energies produced by the 'Ragnarok Cycles'.It is a mark of the importance of Thor Disassembled that this is the story arc where Thor puts a stop to this parasytic relationship.
For the moment, Thor returns to Hildstalft to see his sacred goats Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder reduced to skeletons.
In Norse Myths, Thor's goats pull his chariot. He can also kill them and eat them, and, in the morning they come back to life to serve him as steeds once more. But this time they remain dead; for whoever killed them also broke their bones, removing their ability to regenerate.
Here is the return of another epic Thor foe : Mangog.
Armed with the knowledge gained from his sacrifices and the Odinpower, Thor easily overpowers Mangog.
Here is the confrontation between Loki and Thor.
I think this panel is particularly fitting because I've always believed that the half-giant Loki should be shown as, well, being a half-giant - he should be much taller and bigger than the gods who adopted him.
In this confrontation. Loki literally losses his head.
But that doesn't stop him from talking
The apellate 'God of Evil' never really fit Loki who is not truly evil, like Mephisto or Dormammu. 'God of Mischief' is more his speed.
Here is Andrea DiVito's rendition of a war between giants and demons.
In the midst of this chaos Thor makes a surprising deal with Surtur.
In return for Surtur's aid in remaking Mjolnir, Thor will guide Surtur and his minions, both giants and demons, on a direct path to Asgard in order to make war on the gods. Why would Thor bring disaster on his own people you ask? Because Thor is a Viking. The thinking goes : to die in battle is the best possible death. Thor isn't bringing disaster on his people, he is bringing glory.
Here is the incredible single page panel of the March of Surtur and his hosts.
If you like that one, this one is going to make your jaw drop - the war against the Asgardians.
It is the end, it is Ragnarok, the gods fall, in glory and courage.
Next, Thor finds himself before the Fates. Here they are before their great loom.
Here is a better view of the loom.
In severing the thread of fate, Thor destroys the endless cycle of Ragnarok much to the dismay of 'Those Who Sit Above In Shadow'.
And with that the 'Ragnarok Cycle' is ended and so is volume 2 of Thor. This two page pinup from DiVito is a wonderful montage of the rich history of Thor.