It would be extremely difficult for me to find a better comic in my collection than this one. Some might argue it isn’t the greatest story ever told, and I’d probably agree, but when you get a cover by Walt Simonson, and interior pencils by “Big” John Buscema you must agree it’s a top-tier issue! So, basically, that’s enough for me to call it one of the best issues I own. This tale involves the dark lord, Mephisto, as he attempts to use Ulik, the troll, to fight Thor. The first few pages show Mephisto plotting in his fiery realm. He tortures some of the tenants (stepping on them as he walks around), and the visuals are just dynamite!
Mephisto tricks Ulik into his service, and then he and Thor do battle. You see, Mephisto thinks he can get to Thor’s soul, now that he’s a bit sorrowful over his father’s death (recently, Odin died fighting the fire demon Surtur). Thor defeats Ulik after some back and forth, but this is only the beginning for Thor. Before he can even take another breath, he’s transported to Mephisto’s realm, and must match wits and brawn against this seemingly unbeatable foe.
The two spar verbally, and then physically, but Thor is no match for Mephisto in the demon’s home. The evil demon soon realizes though, that Thor has more resolve than he thought. Even after being tempted with the ghost of his dead father, and even his beloved Lady Sif, Thor will not be broken. Mephisto does show him that during his battle with Ulik, that a few bystanders were killed. Of course, Thor doesn’t believe him, as Mephisto is the father of lies. Mephisto releases Thor, but when he returns to Asgard, he realizes that Mephisto was telling the truth about the villagers. Thor then vows to use everything in his power to fight him forever. Mephisto laughs, as he basks in the hatred that flows from Thor this day.
Alan Zelenetz does tell a good story, and his contributions should not be understated. Honestly though, it’s tough to outshine masters like Simonson and Buscema, no matter who you are! See you in three days!