How 'Thor' #3 Breaks a Bond Struck in Thunder
Spoiler alert! See how Thor's desperate alliance with Galactus tests the bonds of brotherhood!
Warning! This article contains spoilers for today's THOR #3, so read on at your own risk, oh frantic ones!
The Black Winter is coming to destroy the Marvel Universe as we know it. In January 29's THOR #2, readers witnessed the demise of distinguished champions from another Earth who fell to the Black Winter’s power. That’s why Thor and Galactus have made an uneasy pact. The recently crowned All-Father of Asgard has become Galactus’ new herald, and Thor has already led Big G to one of the previously hidden planets that may give him the power to stop the Black Winter.
Today's THOR #3 finds writer Donny Cates and artist Nic Klein crafting the opening pages to show us a previously unknown chapter from Thor’s past. These pages depict a lost battle that Thor waged against an implacable enemy that lasted for two full years. Thor’s never mentioned it because he may not even remember it. Two years, after all, is the blink of an eye to an immortal god.
It has to be said that the double page spread is particularly stunning, and it features Thor in his classic costume. This is the Thor of Jack Kirby, John Buscema, and Walt Simonson. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen him like this.
Speaking of Simonson, his legendary run informed most of the events in the current issue. Beta Ray Bill, the most popular addition from Simonson’s era, has tracked down Thor and Galactus. And Beta Ray Bill means to destroy the Devourer of Worlds. Ever since his introduction in THOR (1966) #337, Bill has been one of the few individuals worthy enough to wield Thor’s hammer, Mjölnir. Bill’s warrior heart was so pure that Odin himself ordered the creation of a second hammer, Stormbreaker, in THOR (1966) #339. Since then, Thor and Bill have regarded each other as brothers. Bill was even among the initial members of the Thor Corps in THOR (1966) #440.
Why is Bill so adamant about killing Galactus? The origins of that enmity unfolded in STORMBREAKER: THE SAGA OF BETA RAY BILL (2005). But the short version is that Bill’s people, the Korbinites, found a home on New Korbin. However, Galactus ate their world and left few survivors. That’s not a grudge that can be easily forgiven. Bill also has the mistaken belief that Thor is like the other heralds of Galactus. But he didn’t realize two things: Thor is now far more powerful than Bill, and he’s still in his right mind.
The revelation that Thor is willingly aiding Galactus led Bill to rage against his brother. In turn, Thor recalled Stormbreaker to his grasp and shattered the hammer against Mjölnir itself. Even mighty Mjölnir has been broken before, so perhaps Stormbreaker can be reforged someday. However, it will be much more difficult for Thor and Bill to repair their bond. By the end, Bill rejects Thor and says that they are brothers no more. But before Thor can slay his former friend...the Lady Sif intervenes.
Sif and Bill have a history as well, as they were once romantically drawn to each other. But that’s not the only reason Sif decided to step into the conflict. Since Sif inherited the sight of her fallen brother, Heimdall, she can see almost anything in the cosmos. Sif has witnessed Thor’s fall step-by-step, and she’s not willing to let him fall any further by striking down Bill. Now, Thor must face yet another one of his closest friends to save the universe. Never doubt that Thor can prevail. He has to, for the sake of everyone who lives. But the real question is whether the All-Father will ever be welcome back in Asgard after his actions in space.
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