Behold the introduction of a fan favorite character as Thor takes center-stage in this solo tale!!
Credits & Solicit Info:
With Surtur having been released during the episode Acts of Vengeance, all of Asgard is on alert to stop his wicked menace. Though the thing is, the fiend is has hidden himself well. That is until Thor stumbles across an alien named Beta Ray Bill who has had a run-in with his fire demon forces and together they face a foe all too familiar to Thor: a Surtur-possessed Enchantress now calling herself the Demon Queen.
Oh my goodness, this episode was like a love letter to the Walt Simonson Thor run. The Easter eggs sprinkled throughout the episode and how well it adapts the whole Surtur story-line that happened in the run is just something to behold. Yes, this series is doing their own take by including the Enchantress on Surtur's side (she had no real big role during the event). But to see how well the stories were adapted was just amazing. So many little bits of character moments were laid out throughout the episode.
It's interesting how characters are getting stand-alone episodes this season. First, Hank Pym and now we've got this Thor episode and eventually a Captain America happening in two episodes (the real Cap, not the Skrull who's been posing as him all season). The downside is supposedly this is the last new episode of the show for a bit, as it'll be having a brief hiatus (supposedly until late June, but who knows). But if this is the last episode we see in awhile I can take that over one involving the Red Hulk. Though I have to confess this was the first episode since The Private War of Dr. Doom that I enjoyed beginning to end. Everything just worked so well and fit in perfectly.
So Beta Ray Bill, a fan favorite by many. So how did he fair in this episode? I'd say quite well. We see the real motivations on why Bill is doing what he's doing and why he's truly worthy to wield the hammer of Thor. I couldn't help but just chuckle gleefully when he was transported to Asgard and was just beating down Asgardians left and right until Odin had enough. If there was anything negative I have to say the access of using Steve Blum as his voice. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Steve Blum's version, it's just well. This is like the third important character he's voicing on the show (Red Skull and Wolverine being the other two). They couldn't just get someone else? Though yeah it's a minor flaw I have.
Another thing is the show this season has been introducing new characters left and right. Some not Avengers themselves, but it just shows how well populated this universe is. I have to give this show credit for that (along with Young Justice. THERE I GAVE THAT SHOW SOME PROPS!! I'm not totally against it). Comparing the others I have to say given the heroes showing up, Bill thus far has gotten the red carpet treatment. The only two coming as close to stealing the show from the actual protagonist being the Heroes from Hire aka Luke "Don't call me Power Man" Cage and Iron Fist. I'll probably catch flack for it, the Guardians of the Galaxy turned out the lowest in appearances. Though I fully admit seeing Rocket Raccoon and hearing Groot say, "I AM GROOT!" was pretty awesome. Just the story itself was kind of flat for me. Of course I'm not going to say where this ranks compared to the episode with Doctor Doom, since that be just unfair of me to rank anyone beside the glorious DOOM. But enough talk of special guest stars.
The other big character notes of the episode come from Thor and Sif. With Thor we have numerous dramas that are going on in his head. First with what's going on in Midgard aka Earth with the Avengers and he's also hungering for some Jane Foster time. All of which plays with his head enough to allow Bill to grab his hammer and beat him good with it. Still, even though beaten, Thor finds a kindred spirit in Bill and the two become comrades in arms at the episode's end.
Then there's Sif, who's totally oblivious to the nature of Thor's woes and really is the one who gets the most evolution in character in the key moments of the episode are done via her perspective for the most part. She gets to see just why Thor has such a passion for Midgard as she begins to care deeply for Bill and his people. Also she got some really nice action scenes in the episode, upstaging the team-up of Thor and Bill for me. I'm almost curious to see more of her character, but given what's to come in the second half of this season (the Jeph Loeb version of the show) I doubt we'll get that.
We also find out the fate of the Enchantress after the teaser of last we saw her during Acts, who is now an unwilling pawn in Surtur's war on the seven realms. I'm just wondering if they're doing this subplot to give us an actual showing of the Executioner's last stand (probably the second greatest moment of Simonson's run on Thor). If so I cannot wait for that. Until then, we don't get much on her front than her role as Surtur's front-line general as he's busy crafting something even more scary (well-known to those who read the Simonson Surtur Saga).
So we have the continued presence of the Surtur subplot to go along with the whole Secret Invasion. I just wonder how much longer Thor will be in Asgard and when Surtur will unleash the full extent of his forces against both Asgard and Midgard. Not to mention the impending presence of Jeph Loeb by episode thirteen has me scared like crazy this whole subplot will be just one and done after we get whatever finale with the Secret Invasion that's about to hit the show.
5 out of 5
Review by: Zechs