Friday, September 22, 2006

Holy Sacrifice (Marvel comics)
The Mighty Thor #465 When: August 1993
Why: Ron Marz How: Bruce Zick

The story so far...
When Adam Warlock took possession of the Infinity Gauntlet, he sought to attain ultimate indifference of judgment by expelling evil and good from his body.
These portions became the beings known as The Goddess and The Magus, respectively.

Though the Goddess was borne of good, she sought resolution against a sinful universe. Thus, she reached out to those mighty and of faith, and gathered them as her army against evil, and those who did not believe.

Though much of the Skrull race was persuaded by the Goddess' touch, the Super-Skrull was not so easily manipulated. Disgusted by the mania of peace that had been bestowed upon his people, he sets out on a mission of war.
A mission that would bring him into conflict with one of the Goddess' most powerful followers -- The Mighty Thor!

Previous Form:
Thor (#17): Thor's most notable opponent to date was Captain Marvel, from the DC Universe.
Super-Skrull: Super-Skrull has not yet been featured on Secret Wars on Infinite Earths.

Tale of the tape...
Strength: Thor 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: Super-Skrull 4 (Tactician)
Speed: Draw 3 (Trained Athlete)
Stamina: Thor 6 (Generator)
Agility: Super-Skrull 6 (Rubber)
Fighting Ability: Thor 6 (Warrior)
Energy Powers: Thor 6 (Mass Destruction)

Well, if it came down to being awesome, I think Super-Skrull would have this one.

The stats are really rather interesting. With the exception of agility, I've actually rated each of these characters exactly the same. The reason either/or is selected is purely a matter of supremacy within the parameters of the rating.

Obviously Super-Skrull's elasticity, a trait inspired by Reed Richards, gives him a numerical edge, but in combat this ability may serve to be little more than a distraction.

Thor is a God. There just aren't any two-ways about that.
Super-Skrull is the product of Skrull science, and certainly a truly impressive specimen, but Thor is a God. There's just something about that simple fact that really should tip the scales in favour of Thor, regardless of anything.

Of course, Gods can be quite subjective.
One wouldn't imagine the God of cheese would necessarily be very effective in combat. Unless perhaps he were to seduce his foe with a salty little number, and then knock them down with something that smells like unwashed feet. Hmmm...

Anyway, the point stands. Thor is a God, and a warrior God at that.
Though oft depicted as something of a dimwit, he has led Norse armies in strategic combat with many troll menace, and over time even proved to be worthy of the Odin power.

Super-Skrull is always going to put up a tough fight.
With powers comparable to the combined might of the Fantastic Four, as well as his own Skrull guile and military wits, he is a formidable foe. In this case, however, I think his ticket might be had.

Overall: Super-Skrull (+4)
The Pick: Thor

What went down...
So, Super-Skrull is flying through space going to kill The Goddess. Just minding his own business, when all of a sudden -- KRUUNK!
Mjolnir out of freaking nowhere!

Super-Skrull takes a second to come to his senses, and it's then that Thor makes his intentions known. Sent by Moondragon, also under Goddess' spell, Thor intends to punish Super-Skrull for being a non-believer.

Thor tosses his mighty hammer once more, which Super-Skrull dodges with ease thanks to his fantastic elastic powers. The dodge is almost non chalant, as the Skrull warrior hovers bug-eyed - stunned that Thor has succumed to the Goddess' charms.

Surprise soon fades, replaced by concern, and then by fury, as the enhanced Skrull seeks to enforce his will to fulfill his objective.

Thor wraps himself in his flowing red cape, surviving the barrage of flames as any good warrior God should.
He returns verbal assault, professing his own zealous beliefs in combat to the Super-Skrull's unwillingness to believe. But as he does, the Super-Skrull fades from sight!

Where other counterparts may have the edge to locate the invisible Super-Skrull, Thor is at the mercy of a stealthy super strong attack.

Kl'rt tosses the Norse God over his shoulders, and follows up with a barrage of rock-fisted rights and lefts. He batters Thor with each crushing blow, using his elastic body to ensure space does not carry the God into it's distant gulfs.

The verbal battery that accompanies Kl'rt's physical assault stirs Thor to action, and he catches the clubbing fist that struck down upon him - and with the aid of Mjolnir, shows the heretic what a real hit feels like.

Super-Skrull unravels, and quickly shifts his elastic arms into a strangling assault, lacing his arms with flames.
Thor struggles under the pressure and heat, but as has been the case many times before, it is Mjolnir that proves crucial to victory.

The mystic bolt leaps forth from Mjolnir, and fries even the tensile tissue of the rubbery Super-Skrull!

Unconscious and caught by floating meteor debris, Super-Skrull lies at the mercy of the zealot, Thor. Only by the intervention of Moondragon is Super-Skrull saved, as she delivers the message that Goddess is satisfied that the heretic has been pacified.

The hammer...
Well, I bitterly declare Thor the victor.
I don't know of a lot of people who like Super-Skrull, so he's kinda one of those characters I consider one of my boys. He loses first time up... It's Namor all over again.

Anyway, I'm three months behind again on updates, so forgive me if I'm brief.

This was actually a pre-schedulde entry that still managed to grab my attention. Obviously Super-Skrull and Thor are a part of that. Also it's a pretty good self-contained, one-on-one fight, which is perfect for this here site.

Also, there's something about Bruce Zick's art I really like.
Which is odd, because he's not what I'd really call a cutting edge, or master artist. I think a lot of it has to do with Mike DeCarlo's thick, uncompromising inks. Black and relatively certain, when they aren't following the less necessary lines in Zeck's pencils.

Zeck kinda dances between deliciously simple, stylized lines that I find very attractive. While also falling into dimensionally ugly shapes, that almost look like a lethargic Jack Kirby.

On the writing side of things, Ron Marz buys his way further into the top creator spot with a Super-Skrull appearance.
Really, this is probably the kind of issue that highlights what is so wrong with crossovers that force themselves on monthlies. Though not actually numbered as such, this Blood & Thunder prologue does little more than phone-in a villain of the month roadstop.

Sadly this issue lacks even the experimental nature of some more contemporay issues that fall into this same category. The Super-Skrull remains relatively two-dimensional, exploring his capabilities and motives in only the most superficial, and relevent ways. Ways that have already been canonized decades previous.

I was a huge fan of the things done in the Annihilation Super-Skrull mini-series, where Kl'rt is really fleshed out and explored in exciting new ways. His inherent Skrull ruthlessness combines with the powers of the Fantastic Four in new and interesting ways, while even themes that appear in this comic are built upon.
Themes of Kl'rts many failures dealt by the Earth heroes, and his deminished stature as a champion all make for a very interesting tale of a jaded jade warrior.

Marz doesn't come close to that, but this still remains a truly fun read.
Coming before the full fledged barrage of Blood & Thunder issues, I probably rate this as being even better. It's the fun of a superhero space slugfest, without too many strings attached.

The Fight: 4 The Issue: 3.5

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