Appearing in "The Stronger I Am, the Sooner I Die!"
- United States of America
Synopsis for "The Stronger I Am, the Sooner I Die!"
Thor battles a criminal who attempts to elude him inside of a modified bucket racer. Thor pulls him from the vehicle and throws him to the ground. Watching the melee from Asgard is Thor's evil half-brother, Loki. Loki decides to assist the criminal by teleporting a vial of poisonous vapors to the battlefield in the hopes of weakening Thor. The tactic fails however and Thor manages to capture the criminal.
Frustrated, Loki decides to strike at Thor in another way. He elects to empower an Earth mortal with the ability to defeat Thor. Loki creates a special serum and teleports it to Earth inside the water glass of a convict named "Crusher" Creel. Upon drinking the water, Creel feels himself rippling with power. He has the ability to absorb the properties of any physical material that he makes contact with. He begins causing a ruckus in the prison cafeteria, and the guards rush in and start shooting at him. Creel absorbs the impact of their bullets, and transforms into a man of solid lead. Using his weighted ball and chain, Creel smashes his way to freedom.
Back at his office, Donald Blake patches up an injured reporter named Harris Hobbs. Hobbs tells him that he is chasing a story involving a superhuman escaped prisoner. Blake grows curious and breaks off a dinner date with Jane Foster to investigate.
Blake changes into Thor and flies out towards the Black Mountain swamp area. There he finds Crusher Creel and the two pit themselves against one another. Thor's hammer strikes against Creel's iron ball, but to no avail. With each blow, Creel absorbs more and more of the Thunder God's strength. Thor creates a whirlwind hoping to blow Creel off his feet, but this too fails.
The reporter Hobbs reaches the scene and tries to help Thor by throwing sticks of dynamite at Crusher Creel. Creel mimics Thor's whirlwind and blows the dynamite back at him. Thor snatches Hobbs to safety before the sticks can explode.
Creel manages to escape and drives off in a stolen car. While gassing up the vehicle, he begins fantasizing about all of the things he can accomplish with his new powers. Creel destroys the gas station with his ball and chain, and then drives off towards a safe house.
Thor tracks him down and the two begin fighting once again. The fight continues for hours, with neither man showing any sign of slowing down. Suddenly, Thor's Asgardian ally Balder the Brave appears before him. He brings Thor to the Rainbow Bridge and tells him that Loki has gone after Jane Foster. Thor decides to abandon his fight with Creel, citing that Loki represents a more menacing threat. As the two Asgardians vanish, Creel, in his arrogance, believes that he has beaten Thor.
Appearing in "Tales of Asgard - The Golden Apples"
- Iduna (First appearance)
- Fenris, the Wolf God (First appearance)
- Odin (Behind the scenes)
Synopsis for "Tales of Asgard - The Golden Apples"
The goddess Iduna walks the forests of Asgard carrying a bundle of golden apples. These "Golden Apples of Immortality" are for All-Father Odin, and Iduna brings them to him every year. Along her journey she meets Haakun the Hunter. Haakun greets her warmly and tells her to go in peace.
As Iduna continues further down the path, she next comes upon "a frail stranger". The stranger offers Iduna protection along her journey, but she declines the offer. The stranger takes a strong interest in Iduna's basket and begins asking her questions. She quickly grows suspicious until she discovers that the stranger is actually Fenris the Wolf God in disguise. Fenris shape shifts into his true form and attacks her. Haakun the Hunter arrives and drives Fenris away with his enchanted battle axe. The axe strikes Fenris, spiriting him off to the shadowy land of Varinheim.
- This issue's main story features the first appearance of Carl Creel as classic Marvel villain Absorbing Man.
- This issue also features a new corner box cover image which replaces the previous Steve Ditko art, which has been in use since issue #92, and will continue to be used until Thor #138. It's recycled Jack Kirby and Chic Stone art from the cover of the previous issue, Journey Into Mystery #113.
- "Tales of Asgard - The Golden Apples" is actually the basis for the fairy tale of "Little Red Riding Hood". Fenris serves in the role of the Big Bad Wolf. In the DC Universe, Fenris is an analog to Bigby, the Big Bad Wolf from the Vertigo series, Fables.