web stats

CSBG Archive

Top Five Thor Battles

Here is an archive of all the past top five lists I’ve one over the years.

Today, I spotlight the top five Thor battles.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Thor has had a few notable battles with the Hulk, although they always seem to sort of pull back from just having the two REALLY go at it, presumably so that we don’t have to deal with a general “Who would win?” type of solution. In the second volume of the Ultimates, Ultimate Thor took on the entire team when they thought he was nuts and it was a heck of a battle. When Thor returned after Civil War, he and Iron Man had an epic fight drawn by Olivier Coipel.

I’ve actually changed my mind. I went back and forth over the #5 spot and I think I picked the wrong one. So now JUST missing the top five is…

Thor vs. Iron Man and Captain America

The three-part crossover “Standoff” involved Dan Jurgens’ Thor run where Thor became the Allfather of Asgard and Asgard began floating around Earth. The country of Slokovia started having churches worshiping Thor. The government wiped out the church, bringing Thor to attack to country in retaliation. Iron Man was sent in by the United States government to stop Thor. Captain America went in with the U.S. army to try to act as a peacekeeper between Thor and Iron Man. Iron Man built a “Thorbuster” armor and the two went toe-to-toe for a while. Slokovia is near Latveria and Doctor Doom wormed his way into the conflict, trying to goad the former friends into battling (Doom gave the Slokovian army weapons). Thor and Iron Man DO battle and after Cap manages to calm Thor down, Doom strikes by making it look like the Slokovians are attacking Thor. Thor is enraged and when Cap intervenes, Thor actually DENTS Cap’s shield!

Luckily, Cap eventually manages to get Thor to see reason and the conflict ends with a detente, with just the friendship between the three men possibly strained to the point of breakage. Alan Davis drew the whole story. He’a amazing.

and now the new #5 is…

5. Thor vs. Hercules

This fight started for some silly reason (I think Hercules might have been flirting with Jane Foster or something like that) but when Thor and Hercules actually got into it, Jack Kirby just went NUTS!

Check out this splash page!!

Holy crap! That’s awesome!

At one point, Hercules drops a freaking BUILDING on Thor!

4. Thor vs. Beta Ray Bill

Beta Ray Bill was a member of a race of people called the Korbinites, a people who were driven to near extinction when their galaxy was ravaged by the evil Asgardian creature Surtur. When Bill’s spaceship enters Earth’s orbit, Thor is sent by SHIELD to investigate. Bill’s ship detects Thor as being related to Surtur (they’re both Norse) and attacks.

Bill fights Thor pretty well, and in the melee, Thor loses his hammer and reverts back to Don Blake. Bill picks up Blake’s cane and accidentally taps it, becoming a version of Thor!

Odin then determines Bill and Thor should fight for who gets to be the wielder of Mjolnir. They have a brutal battle that ends with both being knocked unconscious – Bill wins by being the first to regain consciousness (due to his alien DNA he recovers easier in the circumstances they found themselves in – they were in Bill’s neck of the woods).

While he does not make Bill Thor, per se, Odin does create a brand NEW magic hammer just for Bill called Stormbreaker.

Bill has basically been an alien version of Thor from that point on. Walt Simonson (writer/artist on Thor at the time) felt Beta Ray Bill would be just the fresh start the book needed, so he featured Bill in his first storyline on Thor, #337-339. Fans quickly responded favorably to the off-beat new character.

3. Thor vs. Silver Surfer

For years, this was probably THE most famous Marvel comic book battle. Heck, I believe it was included in a trade collection Marvel did in the late 70s (when they did very few collections) called Marvel’s Greatest Superhero Battles.

In this issue by Stan Lee and John Buscema (inked by Sal!), Loki is looking for someone he can use to attack Thor. He considers Hulk, Hercules and the Thing, but ends up on the Silver Surfer. After first attacking the Surfer to test his mettle (nice pun, no?), Loki convinces the Surfer that Thor is an evil lout who is threatening the safety of Asgard – in exchange for the Surfer defeating him, Loki will grant Surfer the ability to leave Earth (where Galactus had stuck Surfer back in Fantastic Four #50) and travel in Asgard.

Surfer agrees, and travels to Asgard, where Thor tries to convince him he’s not a bad guy. But after some machinations by Loki (boy, is Loki good or what?), Surfer attacks Thor – and soon finds that he has more power than normal, as Loki has poured some of his own power into the Surfer.

The battle is fierce, but ultimately, Surfer is convinced Thor is not a bad guy and the battle ends.

Loki then sends Surfer back to his Earthly prison.

2. Thor vs. the Midgard Serpent

In Norse mythology, Thor is destined to fight the Midgard Serpent (also known as Jormungand) and kill it, but die himself soon afterwards.

In the comics, Thor’s battle with Jormungand is basically the climax of Walt Simonson’s epic run on the title, although there are two issues afterward that serve as the ending of the run.

The dramatic battle happens after Jormungand disguises itself as Fin Fang Foom, and finally, we get to Thor #381, which is the last issue of Thor written and drawn by Simonson (he was not even the regular artist on the title at this point, Sal Buscema was, but he came back for one last issue).

The entire issue detailing the fight is done in full page splash pages.

It is epic and it is amazing, and when it is all over, the impossibly strong dragon is dead, and Thor seemingly is, as well (of course, things aren’t always as they seem).

1. Thor, Odin and Loki vs. Surtur

If you feel that this should be discounted since Thor is not solo, feel free to do so and just bump Thor’s first battle with Hercules into the top five and everything else up one spot.

All throughout the early issues of Walt Simonson’s run on Thor, we keep seeing someone (seemingly a blacksmith) forging a sword. Every time the sword is clanged on to continue the forging, we see a big “DOOM!” sound effect, showing that whatever this sword is, it is bad news for Thor. This continues for a number of issues (always for one page per issue) until slowly we learn that it is the gigantic demon Surtur, and we see that he is raising an army of dark elves to attack Asgard.

And again, we learn this slowly but surely over a number of issues, one page per issue.

Finally, in Thor #349, Surtur shows up on Asgard, and so begins an amazingly epic battle that involves Earth AND Asgard, and ends up ultimately with Odin, Thor and Loki being forced to team-up against their common foe, Surtur.

The defeat of Surtur would also result in a major status quo change in the Thor title, and one of the coolest panels of the 1980s….

Simonson’s art was extremely powerful throughout the story, adding the dynamic grand quality that the epic battles required. And it’s impressive as all heck that Surtur’s attack begins in #349, but it doesn’t feel dragged out, due to a whole ton of other little attacks and obstacles in between.

That’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

58 Comments

When I read the headline I predicted Surtur, Midgard Serpent, Silver Surfer (helped by the picture, there), Hulk (from the Defenders/Avengers crossover), and modern-story-I’ve-never-read. 4 out of 5!

Love slots 1-3…I’d also give honourable mention to his “imaginary” fight with Hercules in #356…a real charming, funny done-in-one!

I love the fact that 3 of the 5 battles took place during Walt Simonson’s run on THOR, which IMO was the best era of Thor…ever!

I wish there were some Hulk vs. Thor goodness on this list. INCREDIBLE HULK #300 had some awesome moments where they just go at it with each other. It’s really only on a few pages out of an otherwise pretty large comic, but they were some of Sal Buscema’s best art ever. In fact, I’d call that issue the gold standard of a Hulk/Thor fight.

The Thor-Surfer fight is interesting in that it reminds you who Stan and Jack considered top-of-the-heap back in the day. The cosmics were powerful, but the gods? They were, well, gods. Thor also drives off Galactus in a Lee/Kirby around the same era. Jack Kirby always treated the gods as a bit beyond anything else, even in his Fourth World stuff. And Stan? Well he’s always referred to Thor as a “god” and Galactus as a “demigod.”

As to Hulk vs. Thor, I alwasy like the original from Journey into Mystery #112, which makes the fight inconclusive and then suggests that ‘who’d win” is the wrong question anyway. It basically set the pattern for every other iteration of that battle anyway, and ends with Thor/Stan lecturing the fans about the difference between a story with stakes and a battle with invented stats.

Yeah, that’s it, exactly, Omar. That battle in #112 is the epitome of Thor/Hulk fights. They’ve never had that clear cut amazing battle to get into the top five. #112 would be my pick if I had to pick one of the Hulk fights for the list.

Also also, I’m not that big on “Standoff,” which kind of made it standard to do stuff like dent Cap’s shield or break Mjolnir or whatever to goose an otherwise pretty low-stakes or standard story. When the already-forgotten bad guy from “Fear Itself” smashes Cap’s shield because otherwise we won’t know it’s an Important Crossover — and it wasn’t, really, since all of its supposed consequences were undone within the year — it becomes clear that this sort of plot point has just enabled lazy writing.

(No, I don’t want to rehash the “Cap’s shield should be indestructible” argument from awhile back.)

I haven’t read it in probably twenty years but I remember the fight with the Celestials in Thor 300. Thor was hopelessly outmatched but kept on going, eventually putting the Odinsword through a Celestial’s chest. This was the climax to a loooooong run of issues started by Roy Thomas that folded Kirby’s Eternals concept into the Marvel Universe ( amistake, in my opinion).

with out the final battle between the past, present and future thor’s fighting gorr the god butcher from aaron’s godbomb arc drawn incredibly by esad ribic, this list is a utter failure.

the fight from CHAOS WAR: THOR with thor fighting glory the embodiment of a entire pantenon of evil alien gods, where thor blast his way in to the creatures innards and suddenly the souls of the many gods within glory, start tearing in to thor’s soul and yet the still musters the power to blow glory apart from the inside. deserves mention.

What about Thor versus The Thing and Hulk during Fear Itself? I think that one was great.

@SALVADOR VELAZQUEZ
agreed that was a kick ass fight scene. bless stuart immonen

I thought for sure Thor taking on the forces of Pluto to rescue Hercules (in Thor in the 1960s, around #125 to #130) would make the list.

Out of curiosity,what were the Great and Amazing Nothing Will Be The Same Ever consequence of Fear Itself? I missed it.
Hoosier, I thought of that one too. Awesome fight (more because of Hercules having been such a jerk to Thor), and an ending that makes Pluto more than just a generic evil god.
And yes, yes, yes to having three Simonsons. Didn’t he also have an epic battle or two during the period of that one that he was turned into a frog?

The Thor vs. Thing/Hulk fight in Fear Itself was very disappointing. That crossover really ended up falling flat (which is a shame as it opened up strongly).

As for the God Bomb fight. It was fine. But I don’t believe it’s one that we’ll be remembering years from now. The arc as a WHOLE perhaps, as it was definitely a good arc, but not the fight specifically. It’s like how popular that JMS/Coipel Thor vs. Iron Man fight was right after it happened. As time goes by, it faded from memory.

I went back and forth over #5 on the list and now I’ve changed it as I think the one that JUST missed really should have been #5.

I always liked the Thor vs. the Absorbing Man battle from Journey into Mystery, 120-123. It had some cool moments (Creel briefly becomes a man of uru and throws Thor’s hammer at him, Creel transforms into a colossus of steel and concrete, Thor rips open a bank vault, the assault on Asgard, etc.). The ending was a little weak (Odin dispatches the threat easily), but overall I think it is a good story.

I loved the Hulk/Thing vs Thor fight from Fear Itself. It’s the only reason to read that storyline.

The IDEA behind the fight was great. And the art from Immonen was good. But it lasted, like, four pages. Very disappointing. Not as bad as the end battle of Fear Itself, of course.

Thor vs the Celestials deserves to be in the top 5. It’s a lot better battle than the choices for 2 – 5. I find that the Thor vs Silver Surfer battle was included only based on it being from such an iconic cover. Great art from Buscema, but nothing out of the ordinary. Thor vs Hercules – great art from Kirby, but hardly his best.

The Thor vs Celestials battle was not only drawn amazingly well by Frenz, it was written extremely well and highlighted the strong personality traits of Thor ( the warrior, an inability to give in, and most of all, self- sacrifice ) that are largely absent from choices 2 – 5. The Frenz era Thor is often an overlooked gem of the franchise.

Still, all-in-all, a pretty good (but pretty obvious) list of great Thor battles.

Out of curiosity,what were the Great and Amazing Nothing Will Be The Same Ever consequence of Fear Itself? I missed it.

Thor died and was replaced by a guy called Taranis (a thunder god from Celtic mythology in real life). that turned out to be a short-term story and Taranis was just Ulik using some magic to rewrite everyone’s memories.

Bucky/WinterSoldier/Captain America died, but then he wasn’t actually dead in an epilogue issue.

Iron Man sacrificed his sobriety to Odin, and that one actually kind of did matter in Matt Fraction’s Iron Man…but then it turned out the Mandarin was at least influencing Tony’s mind for some time prior to and during the crossover, so who knows how culpable Tony actually is, and anyway, that plotline ended with Fraction’s run on the title.

Oh, and Sin/Skadi and Nul of the Worthy caused trouble in two year-long miniseries plotted by Fraction, too, but no one else picked those characters up again after he was done with them.

I, too, would have liked to have seen Thor vs. Celestials from Thor 300.

As for the Thor/Hulk fights, they’ve always been disappointing in the comics. But seeing it in “real life” in The Avengers… sweet. THAT’S my favorite Hulk/Thor fight.

Brian,

I’m currently re-re-re-re-re…reading JLA/AVENGERS by Busiak & Perez, once again grateful it was returned in good condition after lent.

I propose that you amend your list…
and include SUPERMAN vs THOR as “Best Fight #0″
The crap they talk is as good as the action…then the payoff when Supes can hold Mjolnir???
Thanks!

Kriya Shakti,
Rev Sully

Eric O’Sullivan
Boston, MA USA

Which Superman/Thor fight do you mean? The first one in issue #1 where Thor knocks Superman in the face? Or the one in #2, where they fight and Superman wins (but was so exhausted by Thor that the remaining Avengers finish him off)?

Patrick Lemaire

October 10, 2013 at 4:06 pm

The first one that came to my mind, vs Mangog, didn’t make it. What at travesty!

Tom Fitzpatrick

October 10, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Wasn’t there some epic Thor battle from when he was a frog, during Simonson’s run?

At any rate, the fact that three of Walt’s scenes made the top 5, definitely makes him the top dog. ;-)

There was a Thor vs. Hulk in 1987 in the Thor comic back then. When I think of Thor fights that’s the one that always sticks out as my favorite, and as someone said above no love for Thor vs Superman?!!

Number One is Thor versus Hercules. No question. Jack Kirby at his best.

Oh, I’d forgotten JLA/AVENGERS–good choice.
Thanks Omar. The only part I knew was Bucky’s resurrection as it’s the prologue to the Coldest Winter TPB I checked out from my library recently. Of course at this point I assume nothing that happens in any big event is going to make a difference, so I’m not surprised.

And if you asked Walt Simonson he would probably say Thor versus Hercules too. Just check out the cover to Thor versus Beta Ray Bill.

Which Superman/Thor fight do you mean? The first one in issue #1 where Thor knocks Superman in the face? Or the one in #2, where they fight and Superman wins (but was so exhausted by Thor that the remaining Avengers finish him off)?

Yeah, by the very nature of the event (it having to fit in SO much stuff) there really wasn’t much of a Thor/Superman battle. Some good lines, to be sure, but not really much of a battle. In fact, that’s what really kind of irked me about the Thor vs. Thing/Hulk fight. You shouldn’t tease a battle like that and not give it at least a full issue of the crossover, especially when that crossover ended up having three or so issues where not a whole lot happened.

If I recall correctly, Thor vs. Silver Surfer was not included in the MARVEL’S GREATEST SUPER HERO BATTLES Treasury Edition. Silver Surfer vs. Spider-Man from the Surfer’s own book and Thor vs. Hulk from JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY were included instead, although the Thor/Surfer battle definitely belongs on the list. When I think of Thor’s greatest battles, I also recall one from the Tom DeFalco/Ron Frenz run where Thor manages to defeat a Celestial by destroying its brain from the inside. Thor actually takes out a CELESTIAL…wow!

Am I the only one who thought Thor fighting against the Ultimates in Vol. 2 should have made the list?

” Am I the only one who thought Thor fighting against the Ultimates in Vol. 2 should have made the list? ”

No. That was a superb fight with a lot of great character work, as Thor desperately tries to convince his former comrades that he’s right, while they use increasingly dirty tactics to bring him down by any means necessary. It was also a genuine shock when he got depowered by Quicksilver taking his high-tech harness, even though we knew he’d eventually be revealed as godly all along.

It was also helped by the setting, in a cold, gloomy forest where Thor is treated like (and eventually fights like) a rabid animal.

Must agree with @dhole: Thor vs. Hulk from Defenders #10 is a true classic! Should have gotten an honorable mention at least!!

Am I the only one who thought Thor fighting against the Ultimates in Vol. 2 should have made the list?

It got an honorable mention!

Should have gotten an honorable mention at least!!

Thor/Hulk fights in general got an honorable mention!

If I recall correctly, Thor vs. Silver Surfer was not included in the MARVEL’S GREATEST SUPER HERO BATTLES Treasury Edition.

It was.

[...] Top Five Thor Battles | Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources Comics Should Be Good @ Comic Book Resources [...]

I loved the first year of Jurgens/JRJR’s run on Thor. There was a great fight against the Destroyer in the first issues, and then the big battle against the Dark Gods was really awesome too.

My favorite Thor vs Hulk fight is the one in Incredible Hulk 255 drawn by Sal Buscema. But it does randomly end with no winner when they get distracted by endangered bystanders.

Fear Itself was pretty much a waste of time except for Stuart Immonen’s incredible art. I should probably re-read it actually, maybe with some distance it holds up better than when it first came out.

There’s a fight between Thor and Mr. Hyde near the end of Essential Thor v1… Thor gets separated from Mjolnir as usual and, for the first time iirc, instead of fretting over the hammer he hunkers down and says “if I can’t beat this guy in 60 seconds, I don’t deserve to be Thor”. He then thrashes Hyde hand-to-hand within the sixty second limit (and Hyde was being billed as the most scary, evil man ever at the time).

Notable scene early in Thor’s history. Not Top 5 caliber, but was kind of hoping for an honorable mention.

Thor # 380 was written by Walt Simonson, penciled by
Sal Buscema and inked by Walt Simonson. What a classic!

What Omar Karindu said!

If I recall correctly, Thor vs. Silver Surfer was not included in the MARVEL’S GREATEST SUPER HERO BATTLES Treasury Edition.

It was.

You must be referring to the TPB book. I was thinking of a Treasury Edition, which includes Surfer vs. Spidey and Thor vs. Hulk (as well as Namor vs. Thing and Captain Amemrica vs. Daredevil). It was called GIANT SUPERHERO TEAM-UP–an odd title, since every story reprints super hero BATTLES and not team-ups.

You must be referring to the TPB book. I was thinking of a Treasury Edition, which includes Surfer vs. Spidey and Thor vs. Hulk (as well as Namor vs. Thing and Captain Amemrica vs. Daredevil). It was called GIANT SUPERHERO TEAM-UP–an odd title, since every story reprints super hero BATTLES and not team-ups.

Oh, the GIANT SUPERHERO TEAM-UP? Yeah, it wasn’t in that. But it was in MARVEL’s GREATEST SUPER HERO BATTLES.

This fight started for some silly reason (I think Hercules might have been flirting with Jane Foster or something like that) but when Thor and Hercules actually got into it, Jack Kirby just went NUTS!

I may be in the minority, but Stan Lee is killing it in those panels too. He’s the only guy to me that can make that modern day pop-Shakespeare dialoguing work. And boy how it works!

Thor versus the Destroyer the first time was cool too, because the Destroyer’s specifically identified and treated as someone who can’t be beaten.

And yes, Stan Lee did remarkable work on Thor too.

“As for the Thor/Hulk fights, they’ve always been disappointing in the comics. But seeing it in “real life” in The Avengers… sweet. THAT’S my favorite Hulk/Thor fight.”

When Thor summoned his hammer and laid that uppercut on the Hulk’s chin, sending him flying the length of the hanger, I just about lost my fanboy mind.

Some decent choices. But as a previous poster said, Thor’s battle with Perrikus and the Dark Gods in the Jurgens/Romita Jr. was pretty incredible. Perrikus slices Thor’s hammer in half for Odin’s sake. It’s the first fight I think of when I think of Thor throwing down.

I also think the aerial battle between a young Thor and Gorr the God Butcher in Thor: God of Thunder issue #2 should make the list. That’s easily one of the most spectacular Thor fights ever.

Thor v. Midgard Serpent but from #273.

Art (and cover) by Big John Buscema, words by Roy Thomas. For me, Marvel’s winningest team.

That said some nice choices, and glad to see The Hulk not mentioned.

As much as I love the Hulk/Thor fight in Hulk#255, there was a very of issue where a group of kids who were fans of Thor clashed in the street with a group of Hulk fans. Thor happened to pass by and tell them about their greatest battle. Maybe it wasn’t the greatest Thor/Hulk fight but it was the craziest.

My favorite Thor vs Hercules fight was the fairly recent one from Incredible Hercules where they’re each impersonating the other one and the fight involves purple nurples and atomic wedgies. That was such a great run of a comic.

I can’t believe everyone forgot Thor vs everybody (I mean every frickin’ bad guy) in Secret Wars 3. Thor takes on the Wrecking Crew and a boatload of baddies and commences to whippin some ass. Everyone, I’m sure, thought Thor was dead when Dr. Doom had Ultron fire that disintegrator beam. Also, the fight featured some of Thor’s best dialogue ever! And the prelude with the Enchantress was as poignant as it gets. Brian. Mayhap thou shouldst reconsider thy list!

What Omar said about the shield denting. So I’m all for the switch around, which makes this list just about perfect.

Not list worthy, but one I hadn’t seen mentioned yet was Thor #385 with the Hulk. Hulk makes him throw the hammer away and they go at it. An interesting look at the Thor is stronger but Hulk gets madder and even stronger, and the Thor beats Hulk with the hammer and storm powers but loses in a fist fight ideas.

[...] Top Five Thor Battles (goodcomics.comicbookresources.com) [...]

[...] Top Five Thor Battles (goodcomics.comicbookresources.com) [...]

Honestly, THIS is the true list of Thor’s top 5 greatest battles…respect.

http://hero-envy.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-top-5-greatest-battles-of-thor.html

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives