Episode 2: The Last Viking

BEHOLD: Thor #341-344! The vengeance of Fafnir the Dragon! The tragedy and triumph of Eilif the Lost! Balder the Brave’s worst day ever! And far beyond the fields we know, the sword… is forged!


As mentioned in this episode: Avengers Prime is the Alan Davis-penciled (and Brian Michael Bendis-written) miniseries co-starring Thor!

38 thoughts on “Episode 2: The Last Viking”

  1. Love the episode! A fun fact, the nordic myths speak of Sæhrímnir, a pid that every night is slaughtered and eaten by the warriors of Valhalla. So they don’t eat goat, but pig/boar (the translation is a bit vague.)
    The warriors also got mead from the teats of the goat Heidrun.

    The tales also say that Odin himself never eat this meat but gave it to his to Wolves, for he only needed wine to sustain him.

    1. Thank you for the clarification. I may be tempted to test out boar/goat recipes. For science!

    2. Fredrik best me to it!
      According to Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology:

      “They were eating boar meat, ladled out from an enormous cauldron. This was the meat of the boar Saerimnir: every night they would feast upon the boar’s meat, and each morning the monstrous beast would be alive again, ready to be slain later that day and to give its life and its flesh to feed the noble dead. No matter how many of them there were, there would always be enough meat.”

    3. LOVE the show! When I think of artists that got me hardcore into comics Simonson is on the top of the list with Byrne and Perez (didn’t discover the glory of Kirby until later). Will you also be covering Simonson’s Balder The Brave miniseries?*

      * If you’ve answered that quesiton already in rpevious posts please regard

  2. Malekith also graced the first Angela mini (Asgard’s Assassin) as one of the meanest twits ever.

    And if I already talk about fairly current comicbooks: I don’t like Jason Aaron’s Thor that much. I mean the art is amazing, the story is well plotted, and toys with interesting ideas, however I find it PAINFULLY slow. I mean, it’s building the epic War of Realms plot since, at the very least, Malekith’s escape from Hel, which was 30+ issues ago with no end in sight.

  3. Another cool podcast. I maintain that the death of Eilif is the saddest moment in Simonson’s run. Just beating the Executioner’s last stand.

    I know Miles is a metal guy, but I can’t believe you could reference CBGBs and not mention that Simonson used the great Debbie Harry as his model for Lorelei/Melodi.

    I also need to “um, actually” the best sound effect. It is clearly the “ping” that accompanies Jerry’s realisation that Sigurd is Spider-Man.

    1. It’s a “snap”. Why had I remembered it as a “ping”? I am an idiot, not worthy to clean the stable of Toothgnasher or Toothgrinder.

      1. Which would be worse? Cleaning the stable for Toothgnasher/Toothgrinder or cleaning the bathroom at CBGB?

          1. Nah, definitely there for the punk.

            ♪ Bleat on the brat ♪
            ♪ Bleat on the brat ♪
            ♪ Bleat on the brat with a web-fluid bat ♪

    2. I did not know that about Debbie Harry–that’s amazing! It also opens up new possibilities for our inevitable future Thor/Asgardian karaoke night (and no, I’m not kidding).

      1. I got that titbit from Simonson’s issue of Modern Masters from Twomorrows. Apparently he felt he wasn’t very good at female faces so he used specific photo reference to make them work. As soon as I read that he used Debbie Harry for Lorelei and Sigourney Weaver for Sif I couldn’t believe I hadn’t always realised. I now find myself wondering who he used for Hela and Frigga.

        1. Oh my god, I thought Sif looked like Sigourney Weaver! Thank you for the info, and the validation. 😉

    3. Yes. In fact Mr Simonson goes so far as to have characters in the story point out how Lorelei looks like Debbie Harry. He does a good likeness too.

  4. As far as Alan Davis and Simonson’s Thor are concerned, Davis also penciled Al Ewing’s “Ultron Forever” in which the armored Thor appeared alongside the Jane Foster version. (Plus 60’s Hulk was there… it’s a fun as hell mini that honestly should’ve been longer.)

  5. While I don’t have firsthand experience with it, I believe Miles was specifically referring to the Nintendo DS version of Thor: God of Thunder, developed by Wayforward. It seems the Wii version was average while the XBox 360/PlayStation 3 version was far too buggy.

    I can empathize about Malekith. Thor: The Dark World was my introduction to the character and that was bland. I find Jason Aaron’s version to be a much more credible threat.

  6. Our hosts’ comment about Donald Blake having friends, a life, etc., was something that I’ve never really thought about before.

    Does it ever get addressed what happened to all that when he disappeared?

    In particular, what happened to all his patients in Chicago? Were there people turning up in intense discomfort for their 11.15 am appointment on Tuesday who discovered that he was not there and ended up suffering for several more days? What about his receptionist(s), administrative assistant(s), nurse(s) etc. – did they all suddenly find themselves without a job?

    1. Exactly! Was he forever known as a flaky doc who went off the grid? Although Donald Blake became a character in his own right, right? *Goes to Google*

      Okay! From Marvel Wikia: After Thor’s death at the hands of the Serpent, Donald Blake somehow became a separate entity from Thor. When the Odinson returned to life, Blake was distressed to discover that his life had never happened.

      . . . Is Donald Blake the Madelyn Pryor of Thor?!?!? Discuss!

      1. At least as currently stands he got a better ending than Maddie. (Not killed off (sorta), not turned evil, etc.)

      2. Clearly, being a redhead with questionable morality, Lorelei is only an Alex Summers away from being declared the rightful Madelyn of Thor. Next X-Men visit to Asgard for sure.

    2. This is addressed to a degree (the staff part, not so much the patient part) a bit ahead of where we are!

      But man, that Serpent thing later was wacky… and also kind of awesome.

  7. I feel Eilif’s HELMET MADE OF SNAKES got short shrift when it came time to discuss the arc’s haberdashery. Look at that thing!

    1. If only he hadn’t been in an arc that also featured Karnilla! Eilif’s awesome, don’t get me wrong – and so is his snake-hat – but when Karnilla’s around, it’s best to gracefully accept a silver medal.

  8. You asked what they eat in Valhalla, and they eat of. It’s a whole thing. The of is called Guldbørste, which means something like golden pelt. Do I guess it’s pretty hairy

  9. Eilif’s story reminded me of Thor: God of Thunder #12 from Jason Aaron’s run where Thor attends the last meal and execution of a death row inmate. They both show what great care and love for humanity that Thor has as part of his inner core.

    I think that’s where Marvel Thor really branches off from the Thor of Norse mythology. When he was forced to walk in the mortal world, he grew into more than an arrogant and dim witted warrior-god, he became the paragon we came to know and love.

  10. Love this show. Miles you as eservexent on this podcast as you you are on X-plain the X-men. Also I love Elisabeth, she add such dynamic to the show. So I have a question, how does Thor and Asguard rationalize the Marvel Mutliverse? I know they mention the world tree(?), but how does that work with other realities and demensions? Are they like branches or something?

    1. In my experience (I know, I wasn’t the one you asked ^^;), they mostly practice weapons grade denial and ignore dimensions outside of the nine (or ten) realms of the world tree. If they absolutely must acknowledge their existence they either group them as sub-dimensions of Midgard, or make an exception for a sentence or two then go back ignoring the elephant.

      1. I’m anticipating how they handle this in Thor: Ragnarok. The Doctor Strange movie had the capital M Multiverse, Doctor Strange will be in a Thor movie and the Thor movies thusfar have been very bad at explaining Yggdrasil. In the first one, they avoided it because Jane fell asleep while Thor talked. It was like the Kryptonian amnesia kiss, but with more directly unsatisfying storytelling. Thor: The Dark World had an explanation involving shoes which, while that had the Stan Lee cameo, it was nearly as useful as the “Analogies” comic from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. Hopefully, Stephen Strange schools Thor on this matter (or tries to).

        1. I’m sort of expecting that Thor will insist on “sufficiently advanced science” while Loki and Strange won’t interact despite being the only qualified people. :/

          1. In the comics, I think it is, obviously, best addressed by having a large man with an enormous bald head, wearing only a toga, on the first page.

            In the movies they’ll probably leave it unaddressed entirely. I’m more-or-less expecting the Doctor Strange appearance to be not too much more than a cameo, anyway, so they probably won’t need to bring up weird Ditkoesque other realities. He’ll just be “magical expert who’s there for entirely cross-promotion reasons.”

  11. Hi! Another great episode filled with your enthusiasm and your entertaining bits. I especially enjoy the voices.
    Did you decide to put the ‘beyond the fields we know’ sections between the issues for narrative ease (like you did with combining the Balder story) or is there a version of the publication where the pages are ordered like this? It’s not the sequence of pages in the original comics.
    In addition to the other stories mentioned there’s a Thor annual or mining series Alan Davis does set in Egypt. He Neal Adams it up a bit, as I recall.
    The glancing mention of Secret Wars reminds me that this run of Thor establishes the ‘Simonson Test’ for the contention that Shooters regime was too creatively confining to create good work.
    So, is it just me, or does Thor look cute with glasses? I mean, he’s clearly good looking at all times, but does Simonson soften his features when he’s in glasses?
    Karnilla and Haag are one of my favourite double acts. It says a lot about Karnilla that her closest companion and counsellor is almost always questioning her judgement.
    I was surprised that we don’t see Balder making the decision to accept Karnilla’s invitation. It kind of deflates the scene in #342 to imagine him going ‘Sod it, okay, fine’ or the Asgardian equivalent.
    Balder’s journey to Loki’s castle calls to mind other journeys he’s made for Odin. I think he does something similar in Avengers #1. Elisabeth? The rigours of the trip force me to accept that, however mean it is to hunt trolls, Lorelei and the other troll hunters are not dilettantes. Either that or the know a short cut.
    It’s telling that the climax of #343 is not the defeat of Fafnir, but Eilif ascending to Valhalla. These are comics with all the heart.
    It’s pleasant to see that Terry Austin’s inks work so well with Simonson’s pencils. His chunkier line brings out somewhat different things in comparison to Simonson’s finer line, but doesn’t seem to fight his intentions. Also, we welcome Christine Scheele as colourist from #342. I think I’ll miss Roussos’s popping pinks and lively limes, but she does a fine job.
    Also noted that Malekith and his boss (I’m trying not to spoil this 30 year old comic…) both know who Odin’s second son is. Oh-din.

    1. Awesome commentary, and some excellent points!

      To answer your question: it was indeed a conscious choice to move the “beyond the fields we know” sections around. It became clear as Jay and I were figuring out how best to do X-Plain the X-Men that comic pacing and podcast pacing don’t particularly work the same way – in a podcast, it works better to minimize the jumping back and forth between scenes that comics can do so well. Similarly, recurring segments like the BtFWK can work well as issue-dividers in podcasts like this one – or at least that was our logic in structuring things this way!

  12. Looked at MU. The Alan Davis written and drawn Thor story I was referring to is ‘Thor: Truth of History’. Also was reminded that Davis draws fours parts of a crossover between the Fraction written The Mighty Thor and the Gillen penned ‘Journey Into Mystery ‘. TMT #18-#21

  13. Fantastic! If course I gravitated over to this podcast after power listening to you and Jay on X-Plaining X-Men for 2 straight weeks at wor (all caught up in that and of course I sent an email telling y’all how much I loved it without realizing you were on hiatus because I hadn’t got to that episode at the time). It was only logical to listen to The Lightning & The Storm as well.

  14. Thanks for the show! I’m listening and reading trades with my young son. Coincidentally I’ve been rewatching Samurai Jack just saw a great episode (season 1 episode 10 – jack and the lava monster) that borrows heavily from the Last Viking.

    It’s on hulu:


    Or put the episode on an Amazon wishlist and I’ll buy it for you. If you’ve never seen SJ before don’t worry about it dude he explains everything in the intro:


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