Marvel has decided to produce shorter animated films reminiscent of classic scenarios from comics past. Amongst them a famous encounter between Thor and a wild homicidal Hulk back in What If #42. After the Hulk killed numerous heroes, Thor snapped his neck. He is a Norse God after all.
That was before the days of the Hulk’s power being exaggerated to the point where he single-handedly takes out the entire Marvel universe. That is lame and undermines many of the Marvel heroes who are unaffected by strength or use means the Hulk cannot “smash”.
The cool Dr. Strange once opened a dimensional portal and let the Hulk walk right through. Problem solved. Also, there is more than one hero who could fly/transport the Hulk to the center of the sun. What then greenie? “Hulk smash sun!” You do that. See if it works for ya. Digression over.
One sentence synopsis time: Evil Loki intended to kill his half-brother Thor by transporting Bruce Banner to Asgard, separating him from the Hulk, and controlling the brute through a spell that eventually fails causing Thor and Loki into an unlikely team up in order to reunite Banner with the Hulk before the raging beast sweeps though all of Asgard’s defenses (and the women who love Thor) and kills the slumbering all-father Odin.
The 45 minute piece is good quality. The opening credits are pretty and the choral strains remind us of the excellent Mask of the Phantasm. The entire Asgardian cast is featured. Thor’s Norse buddies Baldar, Volstagg, Vandral and the humorless Hogun are there. His loves Sif and Amora trade barbs.
The fights favor the Hulk. He is battling a society whose warriors use spears and swords after all. Thor did not use his whole arsenal, but at least added lightning. While he held his own, the Hulk eventually smashed him down. We think it should have been more of a draw.
It is an age old argument amongst geeks. It is our opinion that Thor’s full arsenal can defeat the Hulk. Flying, lightning, intelligence, and especially dimension spanning with his mighty hammer Mjollnir. The two are of comparable strength. Thor may be only one who is.
Also we think the formidable magic of Asgard should do more than a few commonplace energy blasts. What about all that famous trickery? Why not surround the Hulk in darkness, or do something else. He is only a mortal in the land of the gods, albeit a very strong one.
Still, the story was paced well enough, moved along nicely and built to a decent climax. It was entertaining the whole way. The dramatic story and music fit the serious Asgardian Mythos.
The art direction was bold. Their take on Asgard was more city-like than I envisioned or remember, but it worked. (See top pic.) The character art varied. On Thor’s buddies it was very traditional and true to the comics. Thor’s girls, especially Sif were more hard-edged and angular. She and Thor were the most stylized.
It was good to see Sif and the Enchantress (Amora) in action. Sif lived up to the warrior reputation you would expect out of Thor’s sometimes girlfriend.
A nice touch during the battle between Thor and the Loki-controlled Hulk was when the brute tries to use Thor’s hammer. Comic fans know that ancient magics on that hammer will not allow it to be lifted by anyone “unworthy”. (Hence the surprise when Beta Ray Bill did so years ago in Simonson’s seminal Thor 337.) Only the inscription saying so appearing on the hammer would have made it better.