Thor (Vol. 2) #5

Background

Upon returning from the Heroes Reborn universe, Thor discovered Asgard in ruins and cannot locate the Asgardians by any means. This occurred in Avengers (Vol. 3). #1.

During a battle with the Destroyer both Thor and EMT Jake Olsen were killed. Olsen was accidentally killed when Thor conjured up a storm to defeat the Destroyer, who ultimately killed Thor.

In Hela's realm of the dead, the enigmatic Marnot informed Thor of his action. Thor was deeply troubled and allowed Marnot to merge them together as penance and return him to Earth to stop the Destroyer. Once the battle was over, Thor transforms into Jake Olsen and resumes his life in his stead.

Thor has some of Jake's memories and retains his voice and diction when speaking (usually). He has had difficulty adjusting to his new life.

Story 'Heroes'

  Thor (Vol. 2) #5
Summary: Peter Parker Cameo
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Pencils: John Romita, Jr.
Inker: Klaus Janson

New Yorkers (specifically Spider-Man, Thing, and Iron Man) awaken to the lovely sounds of shock-jock Chucky Diamond's latest tantrum. Today's subject is Thor and the "con" he's pulling on everyone, claiming to be a god. Chucky cites the battle with the Destroyer that practically destroyed the docks as "proof" that he's not a god; gods don't cause that kind of destruction. He continues to demean the other Avengers as well, excluding Captain America who he holds in high regard.

As Chucky continues his anti-Thor tirade, the real Thor makes his way to the hospital where Jake Olsen is employed as a paramedic and reverts to his human form. On the way in, he meets Jane Foster - now a physician herself - and considers disclosing his recent change until her husband shows up. Realizing that the opportunity has passed, Thor excuses himself and begins work.

He and his partner Demitrius Williams are dispatched to bring in a heart attack victim. When they arrive, "Jake" examines the victim and challenges the initial diagnosis. He thinks that there's been larynx trauma and prepares to perform a cricothyrotomy, a procedure similar to a tracheotomy but riskier, and one that he is not licensed to perform. Demitrius tries to stop him and reminds him that they have to transport the patient or he will die. Jake counters that he'll die if he doesn't do this.

Through the two-way headset Demitrius wears, Jane Foster overhears their argument and instructs them to bring in the patient before its too late. Olsen tries to convince both Demitrius and Jane he knows what he's doing since he "learned" the proper technique from Dr. Donald Blake. Foster stumbles at the mention of the name, but promises to get his license revoked if he tries this.

During Jake's struggle with Demitrius for the knife, Thor's real personality comes out in a burst of anger. The stunned medical staff acquiesces and lets Jake perform the procedure. To his credit, he finds an obstruction and successfully completes the process, saving the man's life.

As they load him into the ambulance, Jake overhears of a hostage situation at WNYX, home of Chucky Diamond. Since the victim is out of danger, Jake abandons Demitrius, changes into Thor, and heads toward the radio station.

At WNYX, an obsessed Thor fan has taken the shock-jock hostage for his derogatory comments. Thor arrives and disarms the perp using Mjolnir, which unexpectedly fails to return to his hand. Thor saves Diamond from the wrath of his errant hammer and wonders aloud what could have possibly caused this. As he inspects his hammer, a pair of red eyes and tendrils erupts from the hammer, catching him completely off guard and then vanishing. As the police arrive, he chastises the fan for his actions.

As Thor walks away, the opportunistic Diamond attempts to get him to cut a promo for his show. Adding insult to insult he takes certain liberties with Thor particular diction, coming across less like William Shakespeare and more like Daffy Duck. Thor responds "If doing so would end the threat of Ragnarok forever, still might I refuse to do so!" (Classic. Love that line.)

The arrogant Diamond begins to tell him off but Thor swings his Uru hammer, creating a wind that blows off Diamond's toupee, giving everyone a good laugh at his expense.

In Asgard, the evil gods Perrikus and Adva are joined by Majeston Zelia as they take over the ruins of the once-noble city.

General Comments

For what boils down to a "Howard Stern vs. Thor" story, this was actually enjoyable. It's not really surprising that Thor ended up saving Diamond at the end. What was surprising is that Thor was able to tell he was wearing a toupee when - apparently - no one else did.

The rest of the issue is a good blend of medical drama and groundwork for future issues. Thor is adjusting to his new life while re-introducing elements from his previous one. Allowing Jane Foster, a nurse to Dr. Donald Blake (Thor's former alter-ego), to become a full-fledged physician is a logical and appropriate step.

The only real complaint is the ease in which Olsen deduces what is actually wrong with the "heart attack" victim. Of course if you have the memories of a world-class surgeon, I guess anything is possible.

Overall Rating

3.5 webs. A good mix of everything needed for a superhero comic. Having Thor intervene in a hostage situation may seem like overkill, but it was handled well.

Footnote

For those wondering why Blake is no longer the mortal host for Thor, there is an explanation. His father Odin decided to teach his son a lesson in much- needed humility by stripping him of his memories and merging him with Donald Blake, who later became a prominent physician. Years later, Odin was satisfied that Thor had matured and willed Blake out of existence. This occurred in Thor (Vol. 1) #340. Fandral was sent to Blake's offices in Chicago to give his staff their severance pay - Asgardian gold - and remove their memories of Blake. This occurred in Thor (Vol. 1) #354

The battle with the Destroyer and merging with Jake Olsen occurred in Thor (Vol. 2) #1 - 2

One of his hammer's enchantments - cast by Odin himself - is to return to its master when thrown.