Monday, November 14, 2016

Real Name: Thor Odinson
First Appearance: Journey Into Mystery #83 (August, 1962)
Fight Club Ranking: #22

Featured Fights:
- vs GHOST RIDER: Avengers #214 (Dec 1981)
- vs BETA RAY BILL: Thor #337 (Nov 1983)
- vs DR. STRANGE & AVENGERS: What If...? #4 (Oct 1989)
- vs SUPER-SKRULL: Thor #465 (Aug 1993)
- vs CAPTAIN MARVEL: Marvel versus DC #2 (Mar 1996)
- vs AVENGERS: Avengers #1 (Nov 1996)
- vs HULK: Avengers #5 (Mar 1997)
- vs DR. DOOM: Heroes Reborn: The Return #4 (Dec 1997)
- vs THE DESTROYER: Thor #1 (Jul 1998)
- vs SUPERMAN: JLA/Avengers #1 (Sep 2003)
- vs RED HULK: Hulk #6 (Nov 2008)
- vs JUGGERNAUT: Thunderbolts #150 (Jan 2011)

We've known for quite some time Thor will return to the big screen this time next year in Thor-: Ragnarok. It'll be Chris Hemsworth's third outing in a Thor solo film, this time guided by cult New Zealand director: Taika Waititi (What We Do In The Shadows). We don't know a whole lot about the film itself, but fans were treated to an early glimpse in a mid-credits cameo scene in Doctor Strange!

Rumors abound that Thor and Loki will be together in Midgard, seeking the aid of Dr. Strange along their journey to find missing Odin. How significant The Sorcerer Supreme's contribution will be remains to be seen, but for a viewer who's found the past two Thor films to be among Marvel's least interesting, the crossover will be welcomed!

Thor: Ragnarok is also expected to feature Hulk in the gladiatorial guise found in 2006's Planet Hulk. This might be the workaround to Marvel's difficulties creating another Hulk solo film, said to be tied to licensing agreements with Universal Pictures. How exactly it compliments a Thor film is a big question. Fans of Marvel animation will remember a Thor cameo in the animated Planet Hulk movie, with Beta Ray Bill substituting for Silver Surfer in the story's centerpiece arena battle. The Surfer was another casualty of tangled film rights, which will inevitably interrupt any adaptation.

Planet Hulk begins when The Illuminati resign themselves to ejecting the rampaging beast into space. They are: Mr. Fantastic, Iron Man, Professor XPrince Namor, Black Bolt and Dr. Strange. Mr. Fantastic and Professor X are characters tied up at FOX, but the rest are within the Marvel Entertainment pantheon, Namor's rights becoming clearer earlier this year.

There are several ways the Marvel movies may attempt to adapt Planet Hulk. Jeff Goldblum will appear as a version of The Grandmaster. This Elder of the Universe is best known for his interest in high stakes games. The best known of these is the original Contest of Champions, which saw various heroes plucked from their lives and pitted against one another in competitive combat.

Turning a Thor film into a version of Contest of Champions could be a terrific way of shaking off the monotony of past installments' weak villains. Characters confirmed to be in the film include: Hulk, Loki, Heimdall, Hela, Valkyrie, Skurge, Miek and Dr. Strange. Could these be combatants in a grand tournament scenario? Might we see more characters cameo in a test run for Avengers: Infinity War?

It's an exciting concept. Almost too good to be true! Marvel have a lot of cost effective options if they need to populate a tournament bracket, though. Ways of avoiding the expense of big name stars!

CG creations like Iron Man, Groot or Abomination could be transplanted from other films with or without recorded actor dialogue. Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 is another movie filming this year, with characters like Drax, Gamora, Nebula or Star-Lord suitable for the game. Especially when you consider Benecio Del Toro's Collector is another Elder of the Universe, who previously appeared after the credits of Thor: The Dark World in what seemed like a preview to Guardians of the Galaxy, but may have far greater implications. Indeed, all of these details could be building to the much anticipated arrival of Thanos, Infinity War, and the gathering of the Infinity Gems!

If Thor: Ragnarok does go down this path, I'd love to see Beta Ray Bill among the warriors introduced! The original Walt Simonson issues that introduced the hero [eg; Thor #337] could arguably be a Thor film unto themselves, but opportunities may be scarce as the Marvel movies move in new directions. Any Beta Ray Bill is probably better than none. A character who could be a major find for Disney, with potential to spin-off into Guardians of the Galaxy, Infinity War, some future Thor film, or perhaps even a CG movie all his own!

The Kree Captain Marvel could be another character introduced in a cosmic tournament - a way to introduce elements that will ultimate construct the Carol Danvers version in a 2019 starring film.

All wild, unfounded, fanciful fan theories -- but a whole lot more exciting than anything the last two Thor films threw down for anticipation! Thor: Ragnarok arrives in theatres November 3, 2017. You can catch a glimpse of the God of Thunder in theatres now in Doctor Strange!

Can't wait that long? November has been all about Dr. Strange! Follow links littered throughout this Hero of the Week update to find more Marvel moments, battles, and spotlights! Go even deeper into the Secret Archives to search featured fights by publisher, series and issue number! Stay tuned to Secret Wars on Infinite Earths as we wrap up the month with a forgotten classic Thor battle!

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