Monday, December 24, 2012

The Things That Pop In My Head At 3:00 In The Morning: Thunder Strike

This is what The Geek Brew is all about. Total Geek.
All from my collection. 

Issue 2: Underrated Heroes and Villains

Good evening everybody out there in Internet Land! I was just sitting around the house at 4:24 in morning and you know what popped in my head? There are a lot of comic book heroes and villains out there that don’t get the credit that they deserve. So you know what I said to myself? I said, “Self, I’m going to make it my mission to get the word out there about these little-known heroes and villains.” (And yes, I do talk to and answer myself. Here at the Geek Brew we try to entertain as well as educate.) So tonight we will talk about one of my favorite heroes, Thunderstrike (a.k.a. Eric Masterson).

Let me take you back to a simpler time.  Picture it: The Bronx, May 1988.
I was 11 years old, and in between hanging out and getting in trouble, I would try to find the money to buy comics. At the time I was reading more DC than Marvel (which I, to this day, have always seemed to switch between). Some of the comics read most back then were Iron Man, Thor, & Fantastic Four from Marvel, and Batman, The Flash and Green Lantern from DC. One day, as I was reading The Mighty Thor vol.1, issue 391, I was introduced to Eric Kevin Masterson.

Eric was working as an architect when he met Thor. Masterson was injured by falling girders, and Thor took him to the hospital. After getting out of the hospital, Eric, now on crutches, was attacked by Quicksand (a villain, not the wet sand you find in a jungle!) Thor was able come to his rescue.

At a later time, Eric stumbled upon a fight between Thor and the Mongoose, who was using a new high-tech laser which had proven dangerous even to Thor. When Mongoose stood over Thor and was about to deliver the killing blow, Eric grabbed Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, without thinking and charged at Mongoose. Unimpressed, Mongoose proceeded to blast Eric, nearly killing him. However, the distraction allowed Thor to recover and defeat Mongoose.

Thor felt guilty for what happened to Eric, especially after he had shown such courage. So Thor begged Odin to save Eric's life. Instead, Odin merged the two together; similar to how Thor was bonded with Donald Blake. Later, Loki attacked and Thor ended up killing him. As punishment, Odin banished Thor, leaving Eric whole again.  However, he kept Mjolnir and Thor’s powers. Afterwards, Eric began a long quest to find Thor and bring him back. When Eric traveled to Mephisto's realm, he saw a bag with a glowing image of Thor on it before he was brought back from the realm by Doctor Strange.

Eventually, Eric discovered that Thor was not banished to Mephisto's realm, but inside his own mind. He also learned that Loki had manipulated Odin into banishing Thor, and when the truth came out, Odin restored both Thor and Loki to their own bodies. Finally free, Thor decided to remain in Asgard, but allowed Eric to keep Mjolnir and be Earth's protector. However, when the Enchantress  manipulated Eric into attacking Thor over Sif, Thor defeated Eric and took back Mjolnir; but since it was not Eric's fault, he asked Odin to create a weapon for Eric. Thus the enchanted mace, Thunderstrike, was created.

Now around 1993, Thunderstrike (Eric Masterson) had such a big following in The Mighty Thor comics that Marvel decide to give Thunderstrike its own comic book.
Thunderstrike had a short series, only 24 issues, but he had some pretty wild adventures along the way. Bloodaxe was a regular villain throughout Thunderstrike's career, eventually being defeated and revealing that Bloodaxe was actually Eric's love interest, Jackie Lucas. She had succumbed to the ruthless nature of the Executioner's Axe, another enchanted Asgardian weapon. Thunderstrike eventually keeps the Executioner's Axe.

At the end of his series, when things were at their worst, Eric succumbed to the power of the Executioner's Axe, which transformed him into a menacing shadow of himself. After a confrontation with Seth the Egyptian god of death, Eric realizes the only way to defeat him is to succumb to the curse contained with the Bloodaxe and increase his strength. After his supposed slaying of Seth, Eric is confronted by the Avengers, who attempt to arrest him for murder. Eric defeats the Avengers and is confronted by Thor. Eric pleads with Thor to kill him to prevent the curse of the Bloodaxe from taking him over completely.
However, even Thor could not defeat Eric while he was under the influence of the axe. Realizing that his friends could not stop him and that he would probably kill them all, Eric began to fight the bloodlust and control of the axe. Aided by the spirit of Akivasha, the original owner of the axe, Eric managed to turn Thunderstrike against the Executioner's Axe, destroying it in a tremendous explosion. When the dust settled, nothing remained of the axe, the mace, or the man. 

Thunderstrike had destroyed the evil of the Excecutioner's Axe, at the cost of his own life.
He found himself in a Viking great hall and Thor greeted him, explaining that for such courage and honor Eric had been awarded a place in Valhalla, the Viking heaven. Claiming that Valhalla is not where he belongs, Eric is sent into the afterlife by Odin.
Thor returned to Earth and visited Eric's grave. He grieved for his fallen friend and as he said goodbye, he lifted his hammer to the sky and lightning struck the headstone, leaving the same words that had been carved into Eric's mace, words as true in our world as they were in his."The world still needs heroes." At a later point Kevin Masterson, Eric’s son, would pick up the Thunderstrike mace and become his own version of the hero. 
Thunderstrike (Kevin Masterson)

He also has 5 team affiliations Asgard, Avengers, Secret Defenders, Thor Corps & Legion of the Unliving.

Thor Corps from left to right Beta Ray Bill, Thor, Thunderstrike & Dargo Ktor.


Thunderstrike was also in two video games. Cameo appearance as a non-playable character with the rest of the Avengers at the end of Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage (1994). He was also a playable character in the 1995 arcade "beat 'em up" fighting game Avengers in Galactic Storm.


Well. there you have it. I hope was able to enlighten you about the great character that is Thunderstrike.  I hope I didn’t make this too long . If any of you out there want to hear about any comic character, just leave a name in a comment and I will post about them. The sun is coming up; I guess it’s time to get to steppin.’ Before I go, I want to give credit to Marvel, my comic collection,, and for the info. Also thanks to sampae32 for the great video of the Avengers game.  (Steptoe waves good-bye as he rides off on Thor’s chariot being pulled by two war goats, Tanngrisnir and Tanngnj├│str, on the Rainbow Bridge…)


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