Scandinavia, where the Norse god Thor is currently in a tavern along with several locals, pouring mead into his mouth out of a horn. The mortals have come to him with boasts and challenges to drink, eager to test this purported God of Thunder. When they lose, they bray louder. Wounded pride, their senses atrophied by drink, they reach for their swords - but are easily tossed away by Thor. He would have it no other way. That is why he returns here. He enjoys the attention, and he enjoys fermented drink - for its consumption leads to fighting. Thor likes fighting. ‘What is it?’ a man suddenly calls out, wide-eyed as he stares at a figure looming up behind Thor. ‘It’s a giant!’ another man exclaims. ‘A demon…’ someone suggests.
But Thor thinks they are looking at him, and stands smugly, ‘Ha! I am no giant! And your companion was warned, Thor, God of Thunder, has never lost a contest to a denizen of Midgard!’ he boasts, before realizing that someone - or something - is standing behind him. He turns, as the larger figure declares that today is a day of firsts. ‘Today is the day you die at the hands of APOCALYPSE!’ the blue-skinned being wearing a strange yellow and black armor declares as he smacks Thor clear across the tavern, smashing the outer wall, and sending Thor slamming into a nearby barn, as the rain pours down outside. The attack is intended to remove Thor’s skull from his spine. Were it not for the limberness born of his inebriation, it would have.
‘COWARD!’ Thor shouts as he sits up in the mud. Rain beats down hard around him, while some farm animals rush away from him. ‘You strike with great force when your opponent’s back is to you! How will you fare face-to-face with Thor, God of Thunder?’ the Mighty Thor asks, holding up a large axe. A pyramid hovers in the air above Apocalypse who strides towards Thor and replies ‘Quite well, I imagine’, before telling the Thunder God ‘You are beneath me. The weapon you use to defend yourself is laughable, Odinson. It is a shame your father doesn’t respect you enough to properly arm you’. Apocalypse’s eyes glow red, and he states that he doesn’t fear Thor, nor his diminished clan of adulation-seeking “gods”. ‘You will not deter a servant of Celestial will!’ he booms, as energy pours from his eyes towards Thor, knocking him backwards towards the edge of a cliff.
Apocalypse announces that by killing Thor toady, he will prevent a great horror from befalling all people. ‘You speak in riddles - you offer nonsense - the grim weight of Jarnbjorn will west the truth from your crooked lips!’ Thor declares as he leaps to his feet and slams the axe into Apocalypse - but the wound simply heals up. ‘It will not. You are brash and arrogant, but beyond even that - you are not fit to survive!’ Apocalypse exclaims as he slams his own head against Thor’s, and the impact sends shockwaves for a hundred miles. Thor is knocked back through the mud, his spine will not endure another hit like this. He knows it, too. Beyond the deep fury, a small voice of reason. He decides that the villain hides behind indestructible armor, before leaping off the cliff.
Thor would never flee, this is only an intermission, he promises the rage in his belly. Apocalypse stands on the edge of the cliff and looks down, when suddenly, Thor appears on a glowing chariot drawn by two rams, he swoops past Apocalypse, ‘We are far from done, devil! You have stirred the great fury of an Asgardian!’ Thor warns the villain, and as he is pulled away on the chariot, warns Apocalypse that he will find out soon enough what his brethren are capable of. ‘Hmm. Do all your insect brethren flee so quickly, little coward?’ Apocalypse calls out, before muttering ‘Unworthy’ and returning to his floating pyramid, where a man sits on a recliner, attended to by women with bird masks on their face. ‘Killed him so quickly? You have evolved these past centuries, Apocalypse’ the man calls out.
‘You lead me on a fool’s errand, Rama-Tut - this minor deity poses no threat to me!’ Apocalypse retorts. ‘Not today, but I assure you, in the future, Thor terribly muddies your plans. And mine as well, obviously, or why would I bother helping you?’ he points out. ‘Be that as it may - he has fled’ Apocalypse reveals, before reminding Rama-Tut that he said there was another, the ancestor of a man who will undo his future. ‘Give me the name, fallen pharaoh, or I will forget our bargain - forget our treaty’ Apocalypse threatens. Rama-Tut claims that the man he will give Apocalypse next is worth twice their current deal, to which Apocalypse states that he has a unique method of renegotiating deals with hated enemies. Apocalypse looms down over Rama-Tut and orders him to give him the name, otherwise he will witness it firsthand. ‘This isn’t a skirmish you should lean into with such eagerness, old friend’ Rama-Tut replies, before offering, as a gesture, to give the name willingly: ‘The name of your enemy is Folkbern Logan’.
Meanwhile in Asgard, Thor enters Odin’s throne room, ‘To your feet, father! A black beast encased in nigh invulnerable armor has beset upon your son!’ Thor exclaims, adding that he felt a grave evil in his presence, and that this monster must be put down. Odin tells his son to be still, and admits that he saw his skirmish, and that he knows his foe - Apocalypse, evolutionary caretaker of the Celestials. Odin explains that it is the Celestials’ armor that Apocalypse wears. ‘Fine. Tell me how to pry this crustacean from his warm shell - tell me how to splinter this cosmic armor!’ Thor demands. Odin replies that that is not an option, as during the years between the Celestials hosts, the sky fathers of the pantheons of Earth made a pact never to interfere with the Celestials. ‘Pantheon heads be damned!’ Thor shouts, declaring that this Celestial demon hunts Asgardians. ‘Who knows what other evil schemes move him?’ Thor asks.
Thor continues, telling his father that if he knows of something that can pierce his armor, then to be done with this bureaucracy, and aid him. Odin gets to his feet and tells his son ‘You forget yourself, boy. You must for once heed my warnings. In winning the fight today, you would create a far greater catastrophe in the future’ Odin explains, turning from Thor, tells him that he will not aid him in this, and suggests he abandon his revenge.
With Odin gone, a figure emerges from the shadows - Loki - who remarks ‘Odin is infuriating, isn’t he?’ But Thor tells his brother that he is in no mood for his games. ‘Ah, well. I only meant to offer you the solution to your dilemma. Accept my deepest apologies for the interruption’ Loki replies and starts to leave. Wide-eyed, Thor tells Loki to wait, and tells his brother that he is sorry. ‘If you know of a way - of anything that can help me crush this Apocalypse… I would be eternally grateful’.
Shortly, in a very large library, ‘Here it is!’ Loki explains as he hovers high in the room and locates a book. He explains that he discovered it before being banned from father’s library for “snooping”. ‘Can you imagine? Me?’ he remarks, before telling Thor that he made special note of it, given how well it was hidden. ‘Fortunate for you I have a special memory for well-protected secrets’ Loki adds. ‘Secrets you share out of the goodness of your heart?’ Thor asks. ‘No. I will probably want payment in some form. Let’s say you owe me a favor’ Loki replies as he drops back down to the ground, a scroll in hand. Thor replies that on few other occasions he would concede to such a pact, but points out that Loki has him at a special disadvantage. ‘I do, don’t I?’ Loki agrees, before explaining that it is a simple enchantment, one that can only be cast by Odin, or his blood.
Thor examines the scroll as Loki leans over him. Thor states that it is a safeguard, only to be used should the Celestial executioner arrive to pass judgment. Loki tells him that if he performs the enchantment on his axe, Jarnbjorn, and kisses it, then it will be able to pierce Celestial armor evermore. ‘Kiss it?’ Thor asks. ‘I added that bit. But I can’t hurt’ Loki jokes as Thor turns and walks away - meaning he doesn’t see Kang the Conqueror reveal himself, disguised as Loki. ‘No need to thank me’ Kang grins.
In London, the moon shines down over the city, where some guards are patrolling the bridge, one of them remarks ‘The woman has a kettledrum for a back end!’ He adds that, as a lad, it was the thing he prayed for and his dear betrothed is graced with one. ‘You have slept with her?’ another guard enquires. ‘Well, I certainly… I’d… no. Not yet’ the first guard responds. ‘Roman Catholic?’ the other guard smirks. ‘Yes’ the first confirms. ‘Tends to move forward the date of the nuptials with some haste, does it not?’ the second guard asks. ‘Ha - Folkbern you godless cynic. Last pagan in London’ the first guard replies.
The bearded Folkbern tells the first guard that tonight, while he is going blue and holding hands with his betrothed, he will be deep in a dozen wenches and a crate of ale. Folkbern tells his comrade that he should come with him, adding that the Norse invaders will be upon them soon, and he may never get the chance to know his sweet Catholic’s touch. ‘You’re the pagan, Folkbern, not me. I worship right. Worship the true God, and am thus blessed by large-bottomed women and the luck of -’ the first soldier begins to reply, before he, and other guards on the bridge are struck by beams of energy which incinerate them.
Folkbern looks up, ‘I’ll stick to the luck of my old Gods’ he remarks, as he sees a pyramid floating in the air, and four strange beings. One woman rides a decaying bear with wings. She carries a bow, while another man rides and equally decaying horse with wings. The third being appears hidden by tattered cloaks, and the fourth has large wings, and a very large eye-ball where his head should be. ‘Pray to them now, frail body! For your face the FOUR HORSEMEN OF APOCALYPSE!’ the eye-ball being shouts, as he casts energy direct from his eye-ball head down towards the bridge. ‘Phantom bats of the twelve minds - bring this human your red plague!’ the strange being remarks, while Folkbern plummets to the river below.
He pulls himself out of the river and onto land, ‘Gods…gods of the sky and Earth - please do not leave me in this dark hour to these fiends. Bring to me a guardian -’ he calls out, but the Four Horsemen are waiting for him. ‘The spirits of the old gods dare not face us’ the woman on the bear declares. ‘The old gods do not listen for your prayers’ the eye-ball being remarks. ‘That is untrue -’ a voice calls out - ‘Some old gods listen still!’ Thor declares as he descends with the speed of a comet. His deep thirst for revenge a real and physical aching. He slices the head off the decaying bear with his axe, and the eye-ball head looks up - just in time to see Thor bring the axe down into the eye-ball, causing green gunk to splatter everywhere. The ghoulish being hidden by the cloak soars towards Thor, ‘Come to me, ghoul. Meet Thor in battle!’ the God of Thunder calls out. The ghoulish Horseman replies that it is good, Thor will linger forever in this poison nightmare. ‘Oh, the dreams - the terrible dreams!’ the Horsemen declares.
‘Terrible dreams will see a warm comfort once you’ve nuzzled at Hela’s bosom!’ Thor retorts as he slices the axe through the ghoulish Horseman. This is watched on a monitor by Apocalypse, ‘He has killed him’ the uber-mutant remarks, frowning. ‘He has killed my Horsemen!’ Apocalypse declares, raising his voice. He turns to Rama-Tut, ‘You told me you could see the future - yet you never foretold of this!’ Apocalypse exclaims. ‘No. I did not. But to be fair…I never told you many things’ Rama-Tut replies, before vanishing. ‘I will not forget this, Time-Jumper’ Apocalypse swears, but knows that, for now, his rage must be directed elsewhere. ‘The ancestor of my greatest future enemy is in London’ Apocalypse tells himself, before slamming his fist on a red panel.
Energy bursts forth from the pyramid and strikes the city below. ‘Tonight London burns’ Apocalypse declares. However, Thor has made his way into the pyramid, ‘What low integrity you have - to kill so many to save yourself a future battle’ Thor calls out as he throws his axe towards Apocalypse, asking him what manner of coward kills a babe to save himself from a future war. Apocalypse catches the axe, ‘Only a fool doubles his efforts on a failed attack, young god, Your axe cannot harm me even when you manage to hit me with it’ Apocalypse points out as he then throws it back at Thor, ‘But it can harm you’ he adds, as the blade strikes Thor in his chest. Apocalypse shifts his hand into a mallet and thanks Thor for saving him the trouble of hunting him down. ‘Victory will be mine when all is said and done. There was never a doubt of one thing -’ Apocalypse begins.
But, Thor gets to his feet, and grabbing the axe, ‘Let me guess - only the fit may survive!’ Thor shouts as he brings the axe down on Apocalypse’s arm, slicing it at the shoulder and causing the uber-mutant to scream as blood spurts into the air. Apocalypse drops to his knees, ‘Your victory is hollow. You’ve cheated - I know not how, but I know it was some desperate maneuver, insect lord. And I know that regardless - this will be your tomb!’
Apocalypse slams his fist against a panel, and an alarm sounds. ‘Not today’ Thor replies as he boards his chariot and departs, as explosions resonate throughout the pyramid. Soldiers down below look up at the explosion, as one of them tells Folkbern Logan that he is the finest there is at what he chooses to do. ‘But what you do be not very kind’ the soldier adds as he and Folkbern look around at the bodies of the Horsemen.
In Asgard, ‘And then, when the cosmic beast came at me - with great Jarnbjorn I cleaved him open!’ Thor declares, jug of mead in hand, as he tells of his exploits to some warriors. ‘All hail, Thor!’ someone shouts. ‘Bravest among us!’ another declares, when suddenly, a door slams open, ‘You great FOOL!’ Odin booms as he enters the hall. ‘If you understood what you have set in motion today, you would not celebrate. Your brash choice will cost Asgard, and Midgard greatly’ Odin tells his son. Thor turns to his father and tells him that he worries about future problems, while he has solved the troubles of today. ‘I defeated evil - I saved lies’ Thor points out. Odin arrows his eyes and reveals that the axe is a curse, a wrecker of worlds, and that it will remain Thor’s burden to bear it. ‘I cannot help you now. The lesson is yours to learn. And do not misrepresent your motives to me. Thunder God - you cared only for REVENGE!’ Odin shouts, telling his son that he has doomed all to have it. ‘Be it tomorrow or a thousand years from now…the mistakes you’ve made this day will haunt us all’.
Brazil, deep inside a cave, Kang arrives in a tomb. ‘Ah, my poor Baron Mordo. It was a calculated risk but it was much easier to wait until Thor lost his axe to you than yo try and take it from him myself’ Kang remarks as the Conqueror stands over Baron Mordo’s body which has been placed on a table, Jarnbjorn the axe sticking out of his face. ‘You came so close to winning Jarnbjorn’ Kand remarks, before pulling the axe out of Baron Mordo’s face, ‘And, in a way, I suppose you did’ he remarks. Kang removes his mask, stating that he had already arranged the pieces to his suiting, ‘Your task was damned from the start’ Kang adds, revealing his Rama-Tut appearance beneath his mask. ‘The Seven must be One. The termites eat upon my foundation. But now, thanks to you, thanks to this… Kang is fittest of all!’ he declares, before vanishing with the axe….