Friday, April 28, 2017

DRAX versus THOR
The God and The Brute (Marvel)
Warlock and The Infinity Watch #21 When: October 1993 Why: Jim Starlin How: Tom Grindberg

The Story So Far...
Across the Earth and beyond; heroes have begun to fall under the spell of a being called The Goddess! She is the expelled good from Adam Warlock manifesting in sentient form, and she's on a crusade to eliminate evil from the universe - by any means necessary!

Among the ranks of The Goddess' religious zombies is the mighty Thor of Asgard! The thunder god's mind is already clouded with madness. He sees enemies where once there were friends, making him one of the most dangerous pieces in the cosmic game!

High above the Earth; the incredible Hulk and Drax the Destroyer confront the mad thunderer. Under other circumstances they could've easily overwhelmed the god, but with Hulk sent hurtling earthbound, it's up to The Destroyer to stand alone against the power of a god gone wild!

Tale of the Tape...
Strength: Drax 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: Thor 4 (Tactician)
Speed: Drax 4 (Olympian)
Stamina: Draw 6 (Generator)
Agility: Draw 2 (Average)
Fighting: Drax 7 (Living Weapon)
Energy: Thor 5 (Lasers)
Total: Thor 32 (Super)

A showdown of super-heavyweights finishes a massive month of cosmic action!

Drax The Destroyer appeared in the Secret Wars on Infinite Earths just a few weeks ago, battling his resurrected arch-nemesis: Thanos!

As human Arthur Douglas, he was killed by The Mad Titan while driving in the desert. His daughter Heather survived, while Arthur's spirit was captured by the Titans Kronos and Mentor, who placed it in a body designed specifically to destroy Thanos! Thus, Drax begins his life's goal to destroy his nemesis!

Drax was gifted phenomenal strength, durability, and endurance in his artificial body, which at the time of today's fight reached hulking proportions. Similar to the classic Hulk, Drax also possessed greatly diminished intelligence. That was partially resolved in the mid-2000s when he was reborn as a leaner, meaner fighting machine with now iconic red markings.

This sleek version of Drax succeeded in fulfilling his life's mission at the worst possible time, killing Thanos in Annihilation #4! It was a kindler, gentler period for The Mad Titan, but none the less an impressive feat!

Thor wasn't exactly himself at the time of today's battle, either.

The god of thunder is fighting in the grip of madness! Upheaval in Asgard has driven him berserk, worsened by the manifestation of The Goddess: An entity created from Adam Warlock's expelled "good", whose holy war against evil has made crazed zealots of an army of the universe's greatest heroes!

Thor's a power player at the best of times, but in his mad state he's a warrior of scant mercy! This is the same Thor we saw destroy Super-Skrull in Thor #465, and similar to the Heroes Reborn version who fought The Avengers with Loki [Avengers #1], and went toe-to-toe with Hulk [Avengers #4]!

The might of Mjolnir and command of lightning gives Thor a unique edge in the fight, but Drax is in possession of the Power Infinity Gem! That means nigh limitless strength, similar to that once supplied to Champion of the Universe!

Drax was made to destroy a "Mad Titan", does that mean he can beat a mad god? Thor's comparable to Drax in so many ways, but feels like he has the edge. Let's drop the speculation and get ourselves some answers!

The Tape: Thor Ranking: Thor (#25)

What Went Down...
A wave of kinetic force ripples through space as titans clash! Even the incredible Hulk watches in awe, drifting helplessly away from a fight that could decide the fate of Earth's stand against The Goddess and her religious zealots!

Drax The Destroyer is a simple being, but he takes his fellow green goliath's words to heart. He must stop "hammer man" Thor! A goal he attacks with unwavering certainty - even as the hammer Mjolnir crashes across his face!

In a state of madness, Thor takes umbrage with the presumed arrogance that fuels Drax's efforts. The dim-witted warrior's confusion only provokes Thor's ire further as he buries his fist in Drax's stomach and sends him hurtling in space!

As his opponent drifts from sight, Thor's troubled mind turns to thoughts of other friends he would now call enemy. His dedication to The Goddess has blinded him in many ways. He hardly notices the shadow looming over him...

Drax returns from the void with a massive purple-gloved fist leading the way!

The Destroyer smashes Thor flat against the space rock that has become their ground. The thunder god marvels at his opponent's phenomenal strength and tenacity - even as Drax rains down against the back of his head with two fists!

Physically powerful in his own right; Thor shrugs Drax off his back and leaps to his feet! He now plans to punish The Destroyer for returning to continue their battle. His old world tongue inspires Drax to attempt to shut him up with a devastating right cross! He follows with a left - but Thor ducks it!

Displaying superior combative finesse, Thor looks to his enchanted hammer to demonstrate another key to victory -- what he calls "mystic guile and strategy"!

When the lightning clears Drax is somehow still standing! He returns "guile" in kind with blasts of energy from his extended fist!

Once again Thor recognizes he faces a uniquely worthy opponent! Undeterred he launches at his new nemesis, who responds in kind in a spectacular collision!

As the two behemoths brawl through space - Thor is visited mentally by Drax's daughter: the telepath Moondragon! Working under the spell of The Goddess she warns Thor he cannot defeat Drax so long as he possesses the Infinity Power Gem. She orders him to abandon the fight, summoning his impressive godly power to The Goddess' cause on distant Earth.

Thor clobbers Drax with a Mjolnir-wielding uppercut - freeing himself to refuse Moondragon's telepathic demand! Torn between his vow to The Goddess and the pledge of righteous combat -- the mad god becomes lost in his own thoughts of Odin and rotating Asgardian rule. Driven deeper to madness he renounces The Goddess -- a choice her representative swears he will come to regret!

Moondragon's threat is soon forgotten as Thor launches himself back toward his stunned opponent! He hurls his enchanted hammer like a missile - momentarily launching Drax through space again!

Thor follows as his foe plummets to the rocky surface below. Identifying the hammer as a deciding factor: Drax instantly recovers and pounds his hulking fists to the ground! The disruption staggers Thor, and Drax catches him with another blow with inter-locked fists! His tactic: to take control of Mjolnir!

Like so many before, Drax tries in vein to lift the hammer. Its enchantment ensures only they who is worthy will succeed, and although Drax fights for the side of good, he is not so fated. Thor allows him his futile chance, before beckoning the hammer to return to its rightful wielder.

Slightly confused and none the wiser, Drax decides he'll just beat Thor with or without the hammer. Their battle resumes, the two charging to one another once again!

Thor breaks the deadlock, toppling Drax with another Mjolnir uppercut! Drax clutches at the space rock as he lands, wrenching a massive boulder he catapults across the battlefield! Thor endures the shattering rock and swings his hammer in a circle above his head to clear the debris!

Drax charges toward the thunderer, but Thor knocks him back with a right hand. Drax returns fire with a right of his own, slamming it into Thor's trunk! He follows it up by driving his knee into the hunched god's vulnerable stomach!

Thor reverses the chain, nailing Drax on the side of the head with his hammer! He pounds Drax again like a smith working steel! They tumble together and Drax turns the tables with a kick. Thor retaliates - burying Mjolnir in Drax's stomach! Even then - The Destroyer doesn't back down!

Seemingly inseparable, the two gladiators break and stare intensely at the other. They have fought hard, but neither seems willing to yield. It may be one of the most intense battles the galaxy has ever played host to, but it will not be decided by weapons or brute strength.

Thor sees something amiss with "Midgard's star". Drax senses the temperate starting to rise. In the distance, Earth's Sun suddenly begins to flare and swell!

Mortal enemies become idle equals as they gaze into the cosmic magnificence of The Sun going nova. Each warrior is helpless as its fire expands to completely engulf them! They disappear in the blinding light!

The Hammer...
If you've ever found yourself wondering who would win in a fight between Drax and Thor - there's good news and bad news. The good news is: you now have an entire issue's worth of empirical evidence to satisfy your curiosity!

The bad news is: Warlock and The Infinity Watch #21 ends with an inconclusive draw brought about by the impending apocalypse. Bummer!

Fortunately, there are twenty pages of all-out super-heavyweight smackdown before the fight ends. An epic showdown worthy of two powerhouses from the Marvel pantheon! There's an ebb and flow, but even in the character moments, the unique style of artist Tom Grindberg gives every panel critical mass!

We featured Grindberg's work from Secret Defenders #10 last week, but didn't really get a chance to dwell on the visuals all that much.

He's a very interesting artist. Divisive, I imagine. Even in the early nineties, I never quite knew how to feel about his unique style. It's so consistently exaggerated - I can't imagine criticizing his anatomy - yet there are times when proportions warp beyond credibility, details fade into insignificance, and bulk blurs into the indistinct and implausible.

Rob Liefeld sometimes cites the influence of Jack Kirby on his work, and it's easy to imagine similar inspiration filtering into Grindberg's pencils. In fact, if I could compare Grindberg to any other artist, it would probably be Mike Mignola -- another self-confessed Kirby acolyte, with slightly more obvious references.

Grindberg is much less inclined toward the square features and gnashing mouths of Kirby characters. When his figures project out of the page, often they're jumping legs first -- unlike Kirby's forward lunging heroes.

In fact, legs may be the most exaggerated part of Grindberg's anatomy, more consistently over-sized than the arms or trunk. When it gets away from him, sometimes you're left humming Fat Bottomed Girls, but it's a rare exception. A single panel from this issue, featuring Moondragon, comes to mind. You'll know it if you see it. Physically large characters typically fare better.

In 1993, they didn't come much bigger than Drax The Destroyer. This is Drax a decade before the 2005 revamp that cut back on bulk, and streamlined his mind. This was a time when Bruce Banner kept his smarts in any shade of green and Drax was more Hulk than Hulk!

In fact, the very first pages of Warlock and The Infinity Watch #21 show the intelligent Hulk drifting away in space, as if seceding to Drax. He had the wherewithal to impress upon Drax the importance of beating Thor, but couldn't find a way to change his trajectory. I guess even Hulk claps need atmosphere.

Hulk was present because of the events of Infinity Crusade, which saw half of the Marvel Universe fall under the spell of The Goddess. That meant a whole lot of oddball pairings of brainwashed heroes fighting heroes. It was a sequel event to The Infinity War, but in the bigger picture, it fits somewhere between the high-concept pitches for 1984's Secret Wars, and 2006's Civil War.

I'm sure we'll endeavor to take a closer look at some of those interesting battles sometime in the future. For now, we commit this entry to the records and look forward to what's ahead!

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 officially hits screens next week (May 5th) and is the inspiration behind this month's crammed card of cosmic collisions! If you see the movie in theatres, you may also catch a preview of Thor: Ragnarok - a sequel that promises to pit Thor against Hulk in a battle not unlike today's!

Want to see the full fight for yourself? Check out the Amazon link provided to pick yourself up a copy. Amazon will support Secret Wars on Infinite Earths at no extra charge if you do -- and you'll be able to bask in that amazing last page!

Still craving more action? Check out links scattered throughout this post (or labels below) to find more featured fights and articles about your favourite heroes!

Dive deeper into the Secret Archive to scan past battles organized by publisher, series, and issue number. Or subscribe on Twitter and Facebook to get daily links to fights inspired by the topics of the day! A like and share also helps a lot!

Winner: Draw (Inconclusive)
#25 (--) Thor
#125 (+15) Drax The Destroyer

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