20 times Thor was the best Marvel superhero

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1. When he fought Surtur the fire demon

Thor #340-353, or “The Surtur Saga”, is really more of a joint effort than anything else. It would have to be so when you’re facing such a powerful foe as the demonic Surtur.

Once again, much of the trouble begins with Odin. He imprisons Surtur inside the Earth after the demon tries to make an alliance with the Trolls and destroy the world. Can somebody had a sit-down with Odin and explain some of the flaws with his prison system? If he absolutely must throw somebody into whatever weird mythical jail cell he has at hand, can it at least not be at the center of important realms like Asgard and Earth?

Eventually, Loki comes along and frees Surtur in an attempt to overthrow the All-Father. This clearly does not turn out well, as the Asgardians and their allies are soon facing yet another potential Ragnarok. Even Loki, recognizing that he’s released an enemy far worse than Odin or Thor, joins in the fight against Surtur.

Several things make this particular world-ending event especially noteworthy. First of all, this is yet another grand example of Walt Simonson’s epic, intelligent, and vastly moving work. It also debuts another effective villain and one who would return time and again.

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Readers at the time may have even thought that Odin was truly done for – at the end of the saga, he falls into a dimensional abyss while battling Surtur. He was gone for a good, long while, leading some to believe that he had managed to become honestly dead, even in the Marvel universe.