Thursday, February 6, 2014

Thor’s Day – Thor #345

Today we’ll be looking back at a classic comic from my collection.

Series:                                Thor (Volume 1)
Issue:                                  345
Title:                                   “That was no lady!”
Art & Story:                       Walter Simonson
Colors:                                Christie Scheele
Lettering:                            John Workman, Jr.
Editing:                                Mark Gruenwald
Editor In Chief:                   Jim Shooter
Cover:                                 Walter Simonson

We open in the office of Dr. Willis as he calls his blonde secretary, Miss Ordway, into his office, where he promptly grabs her and ties her to a chair.  Once bound and gagged, Dr. Willis expounds on the nature of mortals and the tastiness of McBurgers, although he prefers the fries.  Dr. Willis ungags Miss Ordway, pinches her nose and force feeds her the McBurger.  We cut to two cops walking down the street in front of the office and talking about how a woman who pushed a man in front of a train for leering at her will get acquitted because of her great legs where they hear a scream.  The bust into the office and find Dr. Willis, alone, but the room shows signs of a struggle.  Miss Ordway’s clothes, identified by the janitor, tied to a chair and covered in dust.  The janitor says that he didn’t see her leave and Dr. Willis is arrested on suspicion of murder.

Later that day, in Central Park, Sigurd Jarlson (aka The Mighty Thor) and Melodi (aka Lorelei) are taking in the sights and a carriage ride.  Thor has no idea of who Melodi really is, but she knows Thor all too well, and is plotting on how to get him to drink her Golden Mead and fall under her spell.

At the police station, Willis is in a cell and one of the cops, an Officer Rosie Grier, talks to him and then calls someone.  It seems that she is in cahoots with Miss Ordway, whom she calls Sheila, and they had Willis under observation.  Grier is given new orders, which she doesn’t like, and then brings in cookies for the rest of the precinct.  Willis suspects Grier because of her aura and she confirms his suspicions.  It turns out that she, Ordway and now the rest of the cops are now soulless slaves to Willis’ deadliest enemy.  Her master, however, has decided to be merciful.  If Willis eats the “unmortal wafers” and becomes a slave, he will not be killed.  Otherwise, the Wild Hunt will be called down upon him.  She leaves Willis to make his decision.

Across town we look in on Mr. Strother, of the Law Offices of Strother and Martin, as he receives news of Dr. Willis’ arrest.  Strother is concerned that no one knows where Willis is being held and asks his secretary to get a courier to deliver a package to Long Island.  It turns out that Strother, an old friend of Willis, has instructions to carry out if Willis were ever to disappear.  He goes to his safe and takes out a package, hoping that he’s not too late.

In Asgard, Balder has reached the endless desert and has let Silverhoof, his horse, free to go home.  He makes his way down a cliff and into the sands, but not alone.

Back on Earth, Sigurd and Melodi arrive at Melodi’s apartment and she has turned it up to eleven.

On Long Island, the messenger has delivered the package to Roger, a gentleman in his late 50’s.  He reads the letter, from his father, about what needs to be done.  It appears that they have never been close, but Roger is believed to be “…the kind of man who will see what must be done … and do it.”  Roger takes out a semi-automatic pistol, puts it in his belt and heads for the Long Island Railroad to go into the city.

Back in his cell, Willis has discovered a misplaced French Fry and forms a plan.  He tosses the cookies out the window and tricks Grier into thinking that he’s now one of them.  This gets him close enough to stick the fry in her mouth and she combusts, leaving her clothes and, more importantly, her keys.  Willis takes a bus out to Long Island to see Roger.  He is hopeful that he has lost those after him, but as the bus pulls away a car starts and the chase begns.

In Melodi’s apartment she goes to prepare Sigurd a special drink.  He takes the opportunity to call Avengers’ Mansion to check his messages, and Jarvis tells him that a Mr. Strother called and left a message for Thor.  The message included a name that greatly upsets Sigurd and he rushes out.  In an alley he takes Mjolnir out his bag and slams it on a wall, changing into the guise of Thor once more.  Thor takes to the skies, wondering who could have broken Odin’s enchantments.

On Long Island, Willis is being chased by a number of men in two cars.  He goes into the back yards of the houses and they chase on foot.  Just as they are about to catch him a woman in a convertible pulls up.  He jumps in the car and they speed away.  She tells him to call her Angel and that “People in distress are her specialty.”

Back in Manhattan, Thor has arrived at Strother’s office.  As he flies down, he is musing to himself about the Casket of Ancient Winters and its banished keeper.  Thor doesn’t have time for explanations, for Strother has “…spoken the name of Malekith the Accursed!”

In Roslyn, on Long Island, Angel is driving Willis along, and the radio is playing music that seems to be having a hypnotic effect on him.  She stops the car and seduces Willis, promising him forbidden pleasures in exchange for his secrets.

We cut to the Smith, who holds aloft the sword Twilight.

Back on Earth, Angle exits the car, changing shape into Malekith!  He flies off and we see the desiccated husk that used to be Eric Willis.

Where it comes from: This is the true beginning of Simonson’s second big story arc.  Malekith is on his way to retrieve his stolen property.  The Smith that has been forging the sword since way back in Issue 337 has completed his work.  And Thor is aware that something is terribly wrong on Earth.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much to say about what is going on here without spoiling the issues coming up.  All I’ll say here is that Simonson is pulling in a lot of Norse Lore into this storyline, and he does it quite well.

Next time The Wild Hunt!

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