Thunderstrike (comics)

Last updated
Eric Masterson
Thunderstrike #1 (August 1993). Art by Ron Frenz.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Thor #391 (May 1988)
Created by Tom DeFalco (writer)
Ron Frenz (artist)
In-story information
Team affiliations Asgard
Secret Defenders
Thor Corps
Legion of the Unliving
Notable aliases Thor
AbilitiesFormidable hand-to-hand combatant
Highly skilled architect
Superhuman strength, speed, agility, durability, reflexes and endurance
As Thunderstrike:
Dimensional travel
Energy blasts

Thunderstrike is the name of two fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.


Eric Masterson has appeared as Thor and later Thunderstrike. The character was introduced as a supporting character in the Thor title, but continued in several other comic books, including the self-titled series Thunderstrike in 1993.

Later interpretations of Thunderstrike would appear in both the Marvel Comics 2 and Heroic Age Marvel Comics storylines, featuring the character's son Kevin Masterson as the hero. [1]

Publication history

Eric Masterson first appeared in Thor #391 (May 1988), as a supporting character. [2] Thor #408 featured the merging of the character Eric Masterson with Thor, Masterson being utilized as the God of Thunder's alter ego until issue #432. [3] Thor #432 featured the character assuming the role of Thor, and appearing as the title character until Thor #459. [4] Following Thor #459, Masterson was introduced as "Thunderstrike" in the eponymous series starting in June 1993. [5] The series lasted approximately two years. Thunderstrike ran for 24 issues, the series canceled in September 1995. Creator Tom DeFalco has often claimed that the book outsold Thor and The Avengers combined at the time of its cancellation; [6] although this has been shown to be extremely unlikely. [7] Masterson also appeared in the mini-series Thor Corps as Thunderstrike, and appeared as a guest star in the Thor series. The character was featured in the Avengers from issue #343 until issue #374, [8] and crossover series Operation: Galactic Storm. Masterson also appeared in the mini-series Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity War. Outside the many appearances in Thor and Avengers, Thunderstrike was used to launch an ongoing series Blackwulf , and a limited series Code: B.L.U.E.

It was announced that the Thunderstrike character would be returning in a new miniseries by co-creators Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz in November 2010. [9] Promotionals leading into the event began in August depicting the mace stating "One will rise..." and "The World Still Needs Heroes." [10] Ultimately, the new Thunderstrike miniseries featured Eric Masterson's son Kevin Masterson in the role once inhabited by his father.

Fictional character biography

Eric Masterson

First encounter

Eric Kevin Masterson was working as an architect when he met Thor. Masterson was injured by falling girders, and was taken to the hospital by Thor. Now on crutches, Masterson was attacked by Quicksand, but saved by Thor. [11] Masterson was then abducted by Mongoose. Masterson accompanied Thor to the Black Galaxy, where he first met Hercules. Masterson, mortally wounded by Mongoose, was given Thor's form and powers after the original was sealed in Eric's mind, by Odin, to save Eric's life. [12] Recognizing that his new life as Thor was too dangerous for a child, Masterson gave up custody of his son Kevin to his ex-wife Marcy, reasoning that Kevin would be safer with her, even if she was relatively ambivalent about her role as a mother. [13] Masterson was then separated from Thor by the Red Celestial. [14] Shortly thereafter, Masterson saved Thor's life, and was merged with him again. [15] Masterson's son Kevin was captured by Ulik for Loki. Thor freed Kevin and seemingly slew Loki in battle. Heimdall separated Thor from Masterson, then banished Thor, and transformed Masterson into a new Thor. [16] He then met the Enchantress as Leena Moran, and battled Ulik. [17]

Surrogate of Thor

Eric Masterson as the new Thor on the cover of Thor #433. Art by Ron Frenz Thor433.jpg
Eric Masterson as the new Thor on the cover of Thor #433. Art by Ron Frenz

Eric continued in the role of Thor, after having been given Mjolnir by Thor, who then told Eric to carry on as Earth's protector. Eric then returned to Earth and joined the Avengers in Thor's place. [17] Masterson revealed his double identity to Captain America. He then first visited Asgard, where he fought the Warriors Three, Balder, Heimdall, and Sif, while trying to discover the whereabouts of the real Thor. Masterson then helped rescue the sleeping Odin from Annihilus. [18] He teamed with Beta Ray Bill and Dargo Ktor as the "Thor Corps" against Zarrko and Loki. [19] During his time with the Avengers as Thor, Masterson aided them in such battles as the Kree/Shi'ar war [20] and the Infinity Gauntlet crisis, being one of only three heroes at the conclusion of that battle to remember the entire confrontation (the other two being Doctor Strange and the Silver Surfer) as he had briefly witnessed Warlock's soul during the fight. [21]

Thunderstrike is born

Eric's role as Thor was relatively brief, as the Enchantress manipulated Eric into attacking Thor for Sif's affection. During a confrontation with Thor, Eric struck Sif. This provoked Thor, leading him to defeat Eric and reclaim Mjolnir while Odin revealed the Enchantress's manipulations. [22] Odin then ordered the creation of a new mace for Eric, called Thunderstrike. [23]

Eric first used the Thunderstrike mace against the villains Bloodaxe and Carjack, but he was promptly defeated. Afterwards, Eric created his own costume to distinguish himself from Thor, while keeping Thor's reputation intact. Eric renamed himself Thunderstrike, after the mace itself, operating as an adventurer and crimefighter. [24] Eventually Eric defeated Bloodaxe, only to discover that Bloodaxe was actually Jackie Lukus, his current love interest. [25]

Final conflicts and death

After a confrontation with Seth the Egyptian god of death, Eric realized that the only way to defeat him was to succumb to the curse contained with the Bloodaxe and increase his strength. [26] After his supposed slaying of Seth, Eric was confronted by the Avengers, who attempted to arrest him for murder. Instead, Masterson defeated the Avengers, and Thor confronted him. Eric pleaded with Thor to kill him to prevent the curse of the Bloodaxe from taking him over completely. But Eric was eventually forced to fight the Bloodaxe subconsciously, which manifested in Eric's mind in the form of Skurge. Eric eventually defeated the Skurge duplicate, causing a psychic backlash that killed him and destroyed the two weapons. Claiming that Valhalla was not where he belonged, Eric was sent into the afterlife by Odin. [27]

Returns from and to the dead

Eric was temporarily resurrected by the Grim Reaper several years later, along with several other deceased Avengers. After overcoming the Grim Reaper's control, he and the other undead Avengers were returned to the afterlife by the Scarlet Witch. Before he returned to the afterlife, Eric asked Thor to check in on his son Kevin for him. [28]

Kevin Masterson

Kevin Masterson (Eric Masterson's son) first appeared in Thor #392 (June 1988).

An embittered adolescent, Kevin is featured in the 2011 Thunderstrike limited series. The character previously featured as an idealistic child is shown to have anger, behavioral problems, and disillusioned outlook on "spandex-covered glory hounds." He is given his father's enchanted mace by Commander Steve Rogers but, to their mutual disappointment, it doesn't trigger a transformation into Thunderstrike. On his way home, however, Kevin tries to save a mother and child from a rampaging Rhino and is transformed. Kevin briefly battles the Rhino as Thunderstrike, but, shortly after he is defeated, he realizes that he is actually in his father's body. Mangog, a foe of Thor, resurfaces and threatens New York City. The young hero teams with Thor, to battle the monster. Kevin accepts his new identity as Thunderstrike, along with a new image, and continues his adventures under the mentorship of the Valkyrie Gruenhilda. [29]

During the Fear Itself storyline, Thunderstrike ends up teleported onto a station in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with Amadeus Cho, X-23, Spider-Girl, and Power Man. They end up fighting a bunch of samurai Shark Men. [30] Kevin briefly appeared as part of the new class of students when the Avengers Academy moves to the former headquarters of the West Coast Avengers. [31] He later joins the Asgardians of the Galaxy. [32]

In the Marvel Comics 2 alternative universe, Kevin Masterson is a founding member of A-Next after absorbing the powers of the Thuderstrike mace. When Galactus destroys Asgard, Thunderstrike seemingly loses his powers in Last Planet Standing . He is kidnapped by Ulik and Sylene, daughter of Loki, as part of a plan to restore Asgard; [33] but Kevin Masterson struggles against his captors. Ultimately he is responsible for turning the tables on the villains. Thena, daughter of Thor, who had also taken part in the battle against her cousin, is able to restore Kevin's power, allowing him to become Thunderstrike once again. [34]

Powers and abilities

Eric's abilities are derived from the enchanted mace Thunderstrike, made of mystic uru metal, which is nearly indestructible, crafted by the Asgardian dwarves Brokk and Eitri, and given the following enchantments by Odin:

As Thunderstrike, Masterson's appearance is identical to that of Thor, hence his superhuman form possesses Asgardian physiology. While his superhuman abilities were significantly above those of most Asgardians, his strength, stamina and durability were only a fraction of Thor's. He is a formidable hand-to-hand combatant, and has received some combat training from Captain America and Hercules. As Masterson, he is a highly skilled architect, with a master's degree in architecture. He is near-sighted, and wears eyeglasses.

Kevin Masterson manifests the same powers as his father when using his mace, but learned to make his appearance as Thunderstrike a modified form of his own visage. In the MC2 universe, he has the same powers, but he is not reliant upon the mace.


In his comic series, Thunderstrike has fought an array of enemies:

In other media


Eric Masterson / Thunderstrike makes a non-speaking cameo appearance in the Avengers Assemble episode "Into the Future" as part of a resistance against Kang the Conqueror in a possible alternate future. [48] Additionally, Jane Foster takes on the Thunderstrike moniker in the present day after helping the Avengers destroy Battleworld and obtaining an enchanted mace.

Video games

Collected editions

TitleCharacterMaterial collectedPublished dateISBN
Thor: ThunderstrikeEric MastersonThor #431-433 and #457-459, material from #408, and Thunderstrike #1.June 2011 978-0785156383
Thunderstrike: Youth in RevoltKevin MastersonThunderstrike (vol. 2) #1-5 and material from Thor SpotlightJune 2011 978-0785152712

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