Some good comics this week – and we’ll get to that – but did any of the others have Fin Fang Foom? No. No, they did not, so there are spoilers ahead for…
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Christian Ward
Cover: Esad Ribic
“The Starbrand, the Iron Fist, the Spirit of Vengeance.The Sorcerer Supreme. Doom is all these things. In addition to being Doom.”
In the days before the dawn of the Marvel Age of Comics, the company that would launch that era was primarily known for monster comics, featuring dangerous, gigantic creatures such as Xemnu, Glop, and a certain bit of alien flora known as Groot.
Many of them would eventually find their way into the Marvel Universe that sprung up after the introduction of the Fantastic Four – some of them, like Groot, would be redeemed after their initial villainous appearances, and make their way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe – and more were introduced throughout the years.
That fondness for monsters is built into Marvel Comics – indeed, one of the flagship characters of the Marvel Age of Comics is a hulking, green-skinned monsters – and the monsters even have their own island.
Of all the monsters in Marveldom, though, my all-time favorite is Fin Fang Foom. I can’t say why, exactly, but I’ve always had a fondness for the giant, alliteratively-named dragon who wears purple trunks. I used to joke about getting a Red Dragon-style full back tattoo like Frances Dolarhyde’s, except, of course, the dragon would be FFF.
After all, did William Blake’s Great Red Dragon ever do this?
With that’s said, let’s get to the issue at hand, in which we see the latest installment of a tale involving King Thor at the end of time. The last time I mentioned King Thor, he was off in search of confirmation of his suspicion that the moribund universe was not just dying but already dead, and during his travels he encountered an old friend and comrade-in-arms, the former Wolverine, now in possession – or possessed by – the Phoenix Force.
As is inevitable, given that heroes fighting heroes is as hardwired into the Marvel Universe as monsters are, the two got into a bit of a scuffle. Old Man Phoenix, it seems, didn’t appreciate Thor restoring life to Earth, as it’s time for the lights to finish going out, and also because the act would draw the attention of a certain someone whose attention no one wants.
On Earth, meanwhile, we witness the arrival of some of the remaining monsters, including FFF, but they don’t represent the real danger, as those monsters are in service of the greatest monster of all: the man called Doom.
In what had, countless eons ago, been Latveria, Doom looks upon the garden that Thor planted there, and does not at all approve of what the All-Father has done with the place. Two mortals are there to greet the strange visitor, and though they live in an idyllic, pastoral world free from want and injustice, they know evil when the see it, particularly when the evil they’re seeing starts burning everything down.
The two men begin throwing rocks and pitchforks at Doom, though they have, of course, no effect. Thor’s granddaughters arrive just in time to get the two men to safety, and as we had already learned that one of the men is named Adam, we learn the name of the other in a gag that made me laugh out loud when I read it:
The girls don’t present much of a challenge to Doom, but fortunately, King Thor and Old Man Phoenix talked/punched out their differences and arrive in time to take over the fight, leaving the girls free to deal with the other monsters bedeviling the planet.
Doom proves too much for the two, however, and after apparently dispatching Old Man Phoenix, Doom turns the Penance Stare on Thor, forcing him to relive all the pain he has caused throughout his very, very long life.
Old Man Phoenix is not completely out of the game yet, however, and he realizes that just as Doom has consolidated all of the powers mentioned in the opening quote, the solution is to do the same with the power of Thor and the power of the Phoenix. Finally bringing his own seemingly-endless existence to an end, Logan places the Phoenix Force into Thor’s hammer, and the All-Father rises to once again face Doom.
After Thor takes the battle underground, we get something of a montage showing that the fight rages on for generations, but, even as the Earth shakes and rumbles, and volcanoes constantly erupt, and there is the ever-present sound of battle everywhere that there are ears to hear it, life goes on, until the day that Thor, exhausted to the point of death, finally emerges from a river of lava and declares that it is finished.
As Thor dies, the Phoenix moves on to a new host, a little girl standing nearby, and declares that the true darkness is on its way.
One of the more significant storylines in Aaron’s run has been Thor’s fight against Gorr the God Butcher. It was a storyline that introduced the King Thor future, and showed us a great deal of Thor’s pre-Mjolnir past, and that led, ultimately, to the period during which Jane Foster took on the mantle of God of Thunder.
While Gorr was ultimately defeated, the evil, powerful weapon he wielded – All-Black, the Necrosword – could not be destroyed. King Thor used it to defend Earth from the appetites of Galactus, and with the Necrosword in his possession, Galactus transitioned from being the Devourer of Worlds to the Butcher of Worlds, until ultimately he made a losing attempt at butchering Ego, the Living Planet, who then became possessed by the evil of All-Black and transformed into Ego, the Necroplanet, taking on the task of butchering other worlds.
While all of the main action was happening with King Thor and his granddaughters, somewhere out in the vastness of space another battle was raging between Ego and…a worm? Yes, a tiny little worm was crawling around somewhere on and in Ego, taunting the Necroworld, and challenging the mighty planet to do its best to destroy the worm.
As King Thor’s battle with Doom ended, so too did the battle between Ego – a world now in tatters, having nearly destroyed itself in its vain attempts at crushing a single worm – and the war came to an end, with the worm obtaining the prize it had sought for so long: the Necrosword.
And, of course we know just who that worm was, don’t we?
Next issue will find us moving in something of the opposite direction, with an adventure featuring Young Thor before we return to the present and the ongoing War of the Realms, which, like the the King Thor stories are always a fun little interlude. The King Thor stories are particularly fun, as they tend to provide some hints about things that are yet-to-come for present-day Thor. We’ve seen it already with King Thor missing his arm and wearing the Destroyer’s arm as a replacement, which played out a while back with the current Thor, and we also see that, like his father, King Thor is missing an eye. Perhaps most notable is is the fact that King Thor’s hammer looks very much like the now-destroyed Mjolnir.
We’ll see whether or not we return to the future to find out how it all ends now that King Thor is gone and Necro-Loki is ascendant, but while this was a somewhat somber story about sacrifice and inevitability, it was a fun little break from the present-day story, with great art by guest artist Christian Ward, some interesting versions of known characters, and some hints of what is to come. And, of course, Fin Fang Foom!
What Else Ya Got?
Showcase Saturday is gone – and was never well-known enough to even be forgotten – but on the off-chance that anyone is interested in what the rest of the week’s haul was like, here’s a simple list: