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“NO, WE’RE NOT GONNA ****ING DO STONEHENGE!” – The Mighty Thor #209

March 12, 2012

No one knows who they were, or what they were doing…

If you had to pick one real-life obelisk prop that’s been done to death in fiction, you’d probably have to go with Stonehenge. The assemblage of rocks that so fascinated Nigel Tufnel seems to be trotted out by every fantastical tale that traipses through the U.K. countryside, with any number of ludicrous theories on their origins to go along with their appropriation. But has any of them ever incorporated a giant blue-skinned guy with white hair and an affinity for spandex? I think not.

This comic, scripted by Gerry Conway with art from John Buscema and Vince Colletta, posits an origin that may take the ludicrous cake. AND IT HAS THOR. AND COCKNEY GITS. Pagan symbolism clashes with Norse mythology within. It’s a dream come true. Or something.

To let us know that yes, indeed, we are in jolly ol’ England, here’s Thor (on one of his many Odin-bidden exiles) flying high above London’s Tower Bridge:

In case readers are slow on the geographic uptake, Parliament and Big Ben and other landmarks are thrown in to drive home the locale. WE ARE IN LONDON, YOU DOLTS.

One of the most obnoxious things — and it’s possibly the best — about this issue is the thickly accented and slangified verbiage of Britannia. Conway crams in every last bit of it, like a man dying of thirst wringing out the last drops of moisture from a wet towel. You can get a glimpse of this barrage here, as Donald Blake, so hungry he can’t even include the “e” in “sandwiches,” orders some of that famous beige English cuisine:

Believe me, there’s more. Just about every character in this story not named Thor or Druid talks like a Victorian chimney sweep. I’m not complaining, mind you. But there’s a lot of it.

Ah yes, the Druid (Full Name:Demon Druid). He was awakened by Thor’s hammer strike when our hero transformed into the famished Blake, and comes crashing up out of the Earth:

“Gor blimey! E’s enormous!” You see what I mean.

The next pages are littered with Thor getting his godly ass handed to him, as the Druid strides toward an unknown destination and slaps and batters him into unconsciousness on multiple occasions. A Lieutenant Prichard helps the God of Thunder back to his feet after the first beat-down, and this member of London’s constabulary, upon seeing the design on the Druid’s chest and getting a clue (convenient) from a passing astronomer that the rock that held him is 3,000 years old(?), pursues his own line of inquiry.

While Prichard  runs off to quickly consult a dusty book, Thor battles on, and finally remembers (before the three knockdown rule comes into play and Mills Lane stops this thing) that he has this mystical hammer called Mjolnir that can do all sorts of neat stuff:

The Druid is felled near Stonehenge, but Prichard, instantaneously arriving there (perhaps he has one of those handy 24 teleporters) has a few crackpot theories to stay Thor’s hand. Here’s the good Lieutenant filling the Thunder God in about his half-baked ideas on the Druid’s origins — with a “Next Issue” tease reassuring readers that next month they’ll be getting back to the real storyline:

The Druid is an alien. Who landed on Earth. Who had a design on his form-fitting togs. Said design was seen by primitive people who erected stones based on it. On his launching pad. They worshipped him. He was encased in the belly of the Earth for thousands of years only to be awakened by a jolt from Thor’s hammer. And all he wants to do is get back to his launching pad to blast off into space.

[Takes breath/Flexes fingers]

That this fine gentleman is remarkably close to the mark — the Druid was later established as a Kree warrior stranded on Earth — in no way mitigates that this is an EXTRAORDINARILY lucky guess. If this were a math problem, I’d ask Prichard to show his work. You know how science can take a bone unearthed by a paleontologist and extrapolate from it the shape of an entire animal? That’s what this Detective Chief Superintendent Lieutenant Whatever Prichard did, except he didn’t have much of a bone to start with. A toe bone. Maybe.

Perhaps his tweeds give him superhuman mental acuity. Perhaps he smokes a special Columbo/Dr. House/Kreskin/Erich von Däniken blend of tobacco in that pipe of his. Or pure crack cocaine laced with acid. YOU DECIDE.

As for the issue’s merits, if you remember the old X-Files “Monster of the Week” episodes, this feels a lot like one of those. Thor flies into town confronts a menace that isn’t a menace, and next week it’s back to the overarching storyline and this week’s grand threat will be gone and forgotten. It’s filler, though Conway’s “Cup ‘o’ tea, gov’ner?” dialog has its charm, as does the Buscema/Colletta artwork. Buscema’s Thor could never match Jack Kirby’s (examples here, here, here, here, and here), but with longtime inker extraordinaire Colletta backing him, it’s a smooth transition. Buscema has a knack for drawing oversized, serious men (see Conan), and his efforts here are no exception to that rule.

And Stonehenge. We all remain fascinated by it. It’s the pyramids without the mummies and the sand. I’ll never be able to look at the slabs the same way ever again, though. I wonder if any wide-eyed tourist walked through those ruins and thought “Wow, so this is where the Demon Druid had his launching pad. Neat!” Doubtful. But that’ll be in my head.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 13, 2012 4:30 am

    What I want to know is, how did the guy in the pub know Don Blake was American the second he walked through the door? Telepathy?

    • March 16, 2012 1:01 pm

      Good point, one that I missed as I drowned in the slang. Perhaps Mr. Blake flashed a smile as he entered and teeth were too well-aligned?

  2. Thelonious_Nick permalink
    March 14, 2012 1:58 pm

    Nigel Tufnel! Good reference. This is the funniest scene in the movie. What amazes me about Spinal Tap is that the songs are actually high quality. Big Bottoms even makes it on the Heavy Metal box set.

    • March 16, 2012 1:02 pm

      Like Tenacious D, you find yourself singing along with the fake band’s tunes.

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