What If... Loki Had Found the Hammer of Thor?

This is it, the last issue of the original What If? series... and the end of a Golden Age. Featuring another strong Peter Gillis story and some very early Kelley Jones art, it would make a beautiful Thor tale regardless of which universe it happened in and is about death and rebirth, which is fitting. Or is it? The letters page tells us that the stories for the next few issues aren't ready yet and that #48 will go out when it's ready. However, we never got that Stan Lee/Butch Guice "What if Doctor Doom Had Kept the Power Cosmic?" nor Gillis and Ordway's two-part X-Men story. "Rebirth" was going to wait a little longer. It was almost 4 years before we got a What If? special (see it next week) and then another year after that before What If? went back to series. And yet it was never really got as good as it did in the early 80s. Sigh.

What If Vol.1 #47 (October 1984)
Based on: Journey Into Mystery #83
The true history: Odin punished both his sons for fighting. Loki was imprisoned inside a tree, and Thor was exiled to Earth in the human form of Don Blake. When he had learned humility, Thor/Don felt compelled to to go to Scandinavia where he found strange aliens from Saturn scouting for an invasion. He ran from them to a cave where Thor's hammer Mjolnir was hidden as a wooden stick. Striking it against the cave walls turns Don Blake into Thor and a myth is reborn. Soon after, Loki tricks Heimdall into shedding a tear "for him" by angling a leaf into it. He is freed to cause more mayhem on the Marvel Universe.
Turning point: What if Loki had been freed before Thor?
Story type: Momentary difference
Watcher's mood: Close encounter of the third kind
Altered history: Somehow, Loki gets himself released fractionally faster and starts looking for his bro'. He finds Don Blake instead and the Uru hammer transformed into a wooden cane. He escapes Asgard, gets the hammer and throws it into the woods to become part of the forest.
If he can't use it, no one can. Poor Don Blake runs into the yonder cave and finds... nothing of interest. The Saturnians don't waste time with him.
It's a death that Odin feels all the way back to Asgard, so if you thought the Saturnians were now free to invade Norway, think again. An All-Father's grief is a powerful thing indeed.
Thor wakes up in the Land of the Dead without his memory and happily wrestles other men for pleasure. Who are we to judge Viking Heaven? Odin, however, won't let his son go without a fight and he mounts an expedition to wrangle him from Hela's grasp. She's not moving.
While the Warriors Three and Heimdall are with him, Balder thinks this is against the natural order of things and sits out. It's a grave mistake since Loki has discovered the ancient prophecy that Balder's death will spark Ragnarok. All he needs is a weapon tipped with mistletoe, the only thing in creation not to have taken a vow never to harm Balder. Oh, and he has it.
As the forces of evil awaken to battle a defenseless Asgard, Balder meets up with Thor in Valhalla.
Seeing his little friend jogs Thor's memory and together they start fighting Hela's forces to get the Hel out of there. Without Thor, Asgard will surely fall and instead of the assured mutual destruction/cleansing/rebirth prophesied, we're gonna get a billion years of evil rule in the universe. The Warriors Three follow Heimdall's nose to the forest where Loki threw Mjolnir and Loki fails to stop them from acquiring the Uru hammer in branch form. Odin turns it back into a hammer and hopes to deliver it to Thor himself, giving his life in exchange for his son's. Someone has other plans, however, and it's the Lady Sif who walks into the Land of the dead to take her love's place.
Balder is also freed, and we only learn later what toll was paid for his life, once Ragnarok is averted. It's Odin's usual get out of jail free card - his eye.
You know what they say, when you lose the use of a sense, your other senses get sharper. Odin's fashion sense, for example.
Books canceled as a result: None. Thor's been through so many permutations over the years that it all comes out to the same. I'm sure the next page would have shown a more humble Thor choosing to return to the life of Don Blake, for example. Loki's still on the run, so he can create the Avengers.
These things happen: Loki has never been able to lay a finger on Thor's hammer. Other things did come to pass, such as Sif's death (and later, rebirth), Odin losing an eye and Thor getting divorced from his Don Blake persona.

Next week: What if Iron Man Had Been a Traitor?
My guess: Poker night with the Crimson Dynamo and the Titanium Man every Friday.


~P~ said...

"Poor Don Blake runs into the yonder cave and finds... nothing of interest."

I laughed out loud at that.

Was that "[he] finds... nothing of interest" a deliberate homage to the D&D adventures and vid-game RPG's of old?

I can't tell you how many times I braved some dark cave in an RPG only to find... "nothing of interest".

Nice review though.
I have NO idea how you manage to maintain such high-quality posts in the sheer volume you produce them.

Either way, they are appreciated.

Siskoid said...

Thanks for the kind words. Imagine if I actually took the time to write something good. ;)


Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zine