Continue through #339! Simonson started his run off with a bang by having a worthy alien grasp Thor’s hammer and transform into Beta Ray Bill! But rather than becoming one of Thor’s adversaries, Bill proved to be one of the most loyal allies an Asgardian could hope for.
Where would Thor be without Malekith the Accursed? Simonson introduced the malevolent dark elf in this issue, which put the spotlight on Balder the Brave. Although Balder had sworn never to raise a sword in battle again, he was forced to break that vow on a secret mission for Odin as the build up for Simonson's first epic came to a head—and we mean a severed head!
“The Surtur Saga” was easily one of the highlights of Simonson’s era. He slowly built up Surtur into a Ragnarok-level threat that forced Thor to assemble several of his allies, including Beta Ray Bill. However, it’s the climax in issue #353 that made this story a legend, as Thor, Odin, and even Loki stood against Surtur’s final assault. And then the All-Father falls in battle...
Believe it or not, this was a Secret Wars II tie-in! The Beyonder transformed one of Thor’s former foes into Kurse, an incredibly powerful warrior. And yet Kurse’s innate nobility meant that he and Thor would eventually end up on the same side.
Read through #366! This is the famous (or infamous, depending on who you ask) Frog Thor story—no list of Simonson’s best Thor issues would be complete without it! Loki finally thought he had the last laugh when he transformed Thor into a frog. Unfortunately for Loki, Thor was still formidable as a frog and he didn’t let his new body stop him in the end.
This issue marks the debut of Thor’s full body armor, which gave him a very distinct look in the middle of the decade. Thor’s bones were brittle and easily broken thanks to Hela’s curse. However, the armor allowed Thor to reclaim his vitality and continue his heroic exploits. It’s a great design, too!
Because of Thor’s ongoing defiance and the fact that he kept her from stealing souls, the goddess of death, Hela, had ensured that he could not die. In this issue, Thor went into battle against the Midgard Serpent, which was always destined to end with his death. It’s a confrontation that outshines many of the Odinson’s legendary fights. But Simonson still had an even grander card to play before his final issue...
All good things come to an end, and so too did Simonson’s run with the 300th issue since the title of Thor took over from Journey Into Mystery. Thor had his climactic showdown with Hela, while also getting the last word on Loki in a very definitive way. It was a grand finale to the Simonson era, and we’ll always remember it fondly!