The Justice League vs. the Black Winter
The new series’ first issue introduced a brand new villain in the form of the Black Winter, a cosmic plague that devours entire universes. Even Galactus is powerless against the Black Winter. Thor has now formed a reluctant alliance with the Devourer of Worlds. He’s become Galactus’ new herald – gaining new powers and a new costume in the process – and is helping guide Galactus to five energy-rich worlds that contain enough power to destroy the Black Winter.
Thor #2 opens with a glimpse of another universe being consumed by the Black Winter. We see the heroes of that Earth rising up to battle this foe, including a “sun god” in a red a blue costume, a “god of emerald light,” a “dark god” and other members of a “league of gods.” This passage is clearly referencing members of the traditional Justice League lineup – Superman, Green Lantern, Batman, Aquaman, Flash and Wonder Woman.
Even the Justice League aren’t strong enough to stop the Black Winter’s warpath. Their world, and the entire DC Universe, is quickly destroyed by this merciless foe. Can even a turbo-charged Thor succeed where Superman and his team failed?
Obviously, this story doesn’t represent an official collaboration between Marvel and DC. The two publishers haven’t given fans a true Marvel/DC crossover since 2003’s JLA/Avengers. However, there have been numerous allusions to and outright parodies of the competition’s characters in the two publishers’ various books. Marvel has introduced several incarnations of the Justice League-inspired Squadron Supreme, including a new version that recently debuted in Avengers #700. Meanwhile, the final issue of Doomsday Clock recently teased a 2030 conflict called Secret Crisis, where Superman battles Thor and Hulk dies defending the Man of Steel.
Thor Battles Beta Ray Bill
The death of the Justice League (or a Justice League, anyway) isn’t the only tragedy unfolding in Thor #2. Thor quickly learns what Silver Surfer long ago realized – that it’s nearly impossible to be a Herald of Galactus and retain one’s goodness and humanity. Thor clashes with his new master, refusing to let him feed on his meal before they transport the world’s inhabitants to safety. Mjolnir, which has been growing steadily heavier in Thor’s hand, begins acting with a mind of its own and attacks Galactus.
Thor and Galactus seem destined for a battle to the death at this point, but their feud is interrupted by the arrival of another unexpected enemy. Beta Ray Bill has come to end the scourge of Galactus once and for all, even if it means fighting his blood brother Thor.
Bill’s return is appropriate, given that he has kind of a thing against cosmic destroyers. In his early appearances in Walt Simonson’s run on The Mighty Thor, Bill was revealed to be a cybernetically enhanced alien charged with protecting his people after their home galaxy was destroyed by Surtur. Bill proved to be the first non-Asgardian worthy of carrying Mjolnir. And given Mjolnir’s apparent distaste for Thor these days, perhaps it may find a more welcome home in an old friend?
We’ll find out how the latest clash between Thor and Beta Ray Bill plays out in February’s Thor #3. Until then, let us know what you think of Thor’s new status quo and this Justice League cameo in the comments below.For more big Marvel Comics developments, find out what to expect from Marvel’s upcoming Black Widow series and learn why Moon Knight may be the next great threat to the Avengers. Then see our most anticipated comics of 2020.
Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.