Review by Win Wiacek
This is a Thor anthology collecting stories with godly overtones. The mythic mayhem commences with Michael Carey and Michael Perkins’ ‘Wolves of the North’ set in an embattled Viking village under constant assault by hellish forces. When chieftain Thorvald is mortally wounded, he puts his daughter Einar in charge and order the warriors to never surrender. This angers the priests who believe the way to end the conflict is to sacrifice the bellicose young woman to Death Goddess Hela.
Thor falls from the sky from an Asgard under siege, and his journey has depleted him. To be effective on Earth he needs a mortal anchor. Einar offers herself, knowing full that what harms one now will injure both.
Alan Davis and Mark Farmer’s ‘The Truth of History’ opens with archaeologists debating the puzzling climate of ancient Egypt and odd, post-construction alterations to the monolithic Sphinx. Answers come by plunging back four thousand years when Thor and a trusty band of Asgardians had to retrieve their companion Volstagg from an accidental trip to Midgard. When they land in ancient Egypt their pale skins mark them as demonic invaders, while the Northmen are appalled by signs of drought, slaves toiling to build pointless monuments and enfeebled peasants starving under the pitiless gaze of fat priests and bestial halflings. In ages past Earth’s pantheons divided up humanity, each caring for their worshippers in their own way.
Wryly funny, fast and furiously old-fashioned, it perfectly counterbalances the darker fare which follows: a chilling, poignant tale of modern vintage.
‘The Hand of Grog’ by Peter Milligan, Mico Suayan, Tom Grindberg, Stefano Gaudiano, Edgar Delgado and J. Roberts, occurs after the Siege of Asgard and starts as Egyptian Death God Seth hears glad tidings from his seer.
Despised Thor has suffered emotional collapse after being tricked into slaying his own grandfather. He is broken, ready to accept his ending, but although eager to make it so, Seth is cautious and first dispatches Grog the God-Slayer and a pack of monsters to test the ailing warrior. On Earth Thor has vanished. The spirit-sickened hero has taken refuge inside Dr. Don Blake, a pale ghost hiding from his responsibilities, but that changes as soon as the horror squad arrives and attacks innocent mortals to draw out their prey.
The content here is frantic and furious, but this blast of fantasy frenzy will appeal most to action-lovers.