A Thunder God Among Us
Part 1 of JSA: A Thunder God Among Us
by JSAGL and Vendikarr DeWuff
Odin has been forced to confront a very troubling truth: his son Thor, god of thunder, is a drunkard. What is an All-Father to do? Can the mortal Justice Society of America offer a chance of redemption for the thunder god? And can a dead hero have a second chance at life?
It shone brightly across the end of the Rainbow Bridge. Spires seemed to reach to the heavens and beyond. Lonely Heimdall stood guard lest Asgard’s enemies came calling.
Inside the largest of these structures was the royal palace, home to Lord Odin and his wife, the Lady Frigga, as well as Odin’s son Thor, god of thunder — or, more often than not lately, the god of inebriation.
In the great hall, Odin One-Eye sat and stared at the globe that rested upon the table. He had created it many moons ago to see if Asgard could survive the coming of Ragnarok and Surtur who, legend had it, would destroy them all. Lord Odin had not been pleased with the results. Inside his little Ragnarok, the forces of Asgard had been defeated by Surtur. It was disheartening, to say the least.
Odin had called an assemblage of the gods of Asgard. Lord Balder, Lady Sif, and even his blood-brother Loki had all been in attendance. Odin shared the news of his experiment and challenged his subjects to prepare themselves for Ragnarok. The recent earthly Crisis had shown that it could come at any time, and they would have to be prepared. The heroes of Earth had won their Ragnarok. It was unconscionable that they would not be able to do the same. He had left the globe on the table of the great hall as a reminder.
Unbeknownst to Odin at the time, his blood-brother Loki had taken the opportunity to play a game with the heroes of Earth. If his father thought so much of these earthly heroes, then perhaps it would be best to bring them to Asgard and hold them until they were needed to fight Surtur. Tapping into the magicks conjured by Adolf Hitler in 1945, Loki used the power of the Spectre to bring about the end of Earth and force the Justice Society of America into action.
Loki was denied his victory and was defeated by the JSA, but not before angering the Lord Shaper, a fraction of whose essence was contained in the Earth hero called the Sandman. Loki was imprisoned in Odin’s globe and destined to die a painful death over and over again at Surtur’s hands for all eternity. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Justice Society of America: Ragnarok.]
His son a drunkard, and his blood-brother an abomination. Where had he gone wrong? Was he that poor of a father, or of a leader? Well, no more. Even if Loki was beyond redemption, Thor was not. It was time for a change.
Striding through the hallways of his castle with great purpose, Odin headed to the chambers of his renowned son. As he turned the corner, he spied the Lady Frigga leaving Thor’s room.
“My wife, what purpose dost thou have in Thor’s chambers?”
Frigga was speechless for a moment, swallowed, and then put a smile on her face. “Tis nothing, dear husband. Thy son is not feeling well, and I didst bring him a potion to soothe his stomach.”
Odin stared into his wife’s eyes, and his face became contorted with anger. “Woman, I do not suffer falsehoods lightly, especially from she who is my wife. Speak the truth. I command it.”
Frigga suddenly stiffened; as she began to match the angry look on Odin’s face and took her finger and started poking him in the chest, she said, “Taketh not that tone with me, O high and mighty one. Your subject I may be, but as thy wife, I shall certainly dig thy remaining eye out of its socket and feed it to the dogs of death.”
“My wife, I-I…”
“If thou must knoweth, I was once again dragging thy drunkard of a son to his chambers as to spare him from your all-consuming wrath. But if this is the thanks that thou dost bestow upon me, then I must say to stick it up thy royal posterior!”
With that, Frigga stormed off, leaving an even angrier Odin in her wake. He pushed the doors apart to Thor’s chamber. There on the floor laid his son, the god of thunder, covered in his puke and urine. The stench was overwhelming. Odin kicked his son.
“Arise, Thor, that I may have a word with thee…”
Thor grumbled and turned over.
Grabbing him by his tunic, Odin lifted Thor up and yelled directly in his face, “Awaken, Thor! I would have words with thee!”
Thor’s eyes fluttered open, and he mumbled, “Fa… ther… I… I…” And he puked all over his father’s clothes.
Thor fell back onto his bed as Odin’s face became crimson with rage. “Thou darest?!”
Without thinking, Odin called down the lightning from the heavens. The room exploded in a bright, white light.
Meanwhile, downstairs, Lord Balder and Lady Sif raced into the palace, having seen the lightning strike. They were confronted by the lady Frigga at the entrance.
“Milady, what in the name of Odin is happening?”
“Calm yourself, Balder. Odin is merely having a discussion with his son.”
The Great Hall, an hour later:
With his clothes newly changed, Odin sat on his throne with his son Thor standing before him.
“My son, thou hast been a great source of disappointment to me. Thou hast spent the better part of two millennia, now, in a constant state of inebriation. ‘Tis most unfitting for the scion of Asgard, he who shouldst be prepared to take his father’s place as ruler of the golden realm. This must change.”
Looking down at the floor, Thor was silent. His head was still ringing, in part from his sudden sobriety thanks to his father’s lightning, and in part from the loudness of his father’s voice.
“Thou must learn what it means to be a god of thunder, to be a protector of the realm and its subjects. Thou must learn to live without mead.”
“Without mead? All-Father, surely you jest. Thou hast…”
“It has been decreed,” Odin continued. “From this day forward, thou art banned from the consumption of mead, and woe be any that provide thee with such, as they shall find themselves in the realm of Hel. Furthermore, it is decreed that thou shalt be banished from Asgard until such time as thou learneth the meaning of being a protector and worthy of the title thunder god.”
“All-Father, no — please, do not banish me. I will do anything thou asketh.”
Standing, Odin gestured to the globe sitting upon the table. “Thy choice is a simple one. Either thou joineth Loki in his unending punishment, or thou accept thy banishment with the hope of returning to thine rightful place. Choose.”
“I… I accept… banishment. Do as thou wilt, Father.”
“Very well. Thine teachers wilt be the mortals who visited here not so very long ago — the Justice Society of America. If they cannot teach thee what thee needest to knoweth, then no one can. I send you now to the one known as Wesley Dodds, he who is linked to Lord Shaper of the Endless.”
Thor vanished before he could answer. Odin looked about the chamber. His home was suddenly very empty. From behind the throne, the Lady Frigga emerged through a secret doorway, having listened to the exchange between father and son. She took her husband’s hand.
“Thou hast done what is necessary, my love.”
“I know, wife, but I cannot help but wonder if I shall ever see my son again.”
Sitting on his throne, Odin spent a few more hours once more gazing into the endless Ragnarok. Finally, he sat up and, looking forward, said, “Enough. Come to me, little spirit.”
A costumed spirit appeared before Odin, a spirit wearing a tunic with a large emblem displaying the words Fair Play.
“You called for me, Odin?”
“Yes, spirit. I wished to tell thee it has been done. I have sent mine son to thine friends, and I pray thine counsel was correct. I pray they can help him redeem himself.”
“I know they can. If they cannot, then he is beyond redemption,” replied the spirit.
“I trust thine words, spirit. Now, I have a question for thee. Why hast thee remained in Asgard when all the others who were brought here have long since departed? Thou knowest thee cannot remain here forever.”
“I realize that, sir. I hoped that I could redeem myself and be passed on to Valhalla.”
“Ah, thou seest thine self a deserving warrior?” said Odin, scratching his beard. “Seeing thine life, I would have been proud to admit thee, had it not been for your end.”
“Yes; when thou passed on, thou wast filled with doubts of thine abilities and self worth. Thou kept to yourself when thee should have confided in your fellows. And that ledst to thine death. Thou were slainest not in battle but with trickery — a sad end to a great warrior.”
“I see,” said the spirit, matter of factly. “What is to happen to me now?”
“I must send thee away from here. Thou canst returneth to the waiting place called Purgatory, until thine god summons thee to him.” Odin paused, then added with a thoughtful look on his face, “Or…”
“Or what, sir?”
“Thou can redeemest thine self on Midgard. I see one near the end of his time. I can send you back, to continue to live. Thou canst redeemeth yourself, and if thee remaineth worthy, thou can pass on to Valhalla one day. I leave the choice up to thee.”
“Thank you,” said the spirit.
The spirit once known as Terry Sloane walked the halls, deep in thought. He knew he missed his family and friends. And he so wished to atone for the mistakes he had made. He had learned his true value here in Asgard. And he desperately wanted another chance.
“The time is now, spirit. The chosen soul leaves. Dost thee wisheth to live again?”
Terry spoke up quickly. “Yes, Odin, I do.”
“Very well. Stand before me, spirit.” Terry moved before Odin. “Know this — thou wilt have life, but thee canst no longer be Terry Sloane; his time is past. Thee will have thine memories, as well as memories of the one whose body thee taketh, but they will seemeth to thee as if a faraway dream-life. In time, the memories may fade, if thou wisheth it. Now go and earn your place in Valhalla. And seek out my son. He, too, can use thine guidance.”
“No — wait!” screamed Terry. This was not what he had expected. To be someone else, to lose so much of what he had been on Earth, was more than he could bear.
The spirit faded from Odin’s sight. “Say goodbye to thine life, Terry Sloane, and welcome thine new life… Michael Holt.”