Mighty Thor 344 opens with a massive wolf, a creature of Odin, sent to the Nornkeep to find Balder. But for what purpose still remains unknown.
We return to Asgard and Odin. The king of the god reveals that his ravens’s quest in to the burning galaxy went poorly, though he fails to reveal how this relates to his recall of Balder from the land of the Norns.
Odin’s mission is simple: Balder must deliver a message to Loki, the god that only recently tried to kill him (in the issues proceeding Walt Simonson’s run). He agrees to the mission but only if he is allowed to continue his vow of pacifism.
Oh, and this guy is still at it:
(Can you imagine anybody doing this kind of thing nowadays for eight issues? Just a one page subplot over and over again with no link whatsoever to the current narrative?)
Anyway, Balder fights some trolls and invariably gets captured by Loki. There he meets an important figure in the coming issues of Mighty Thor, but let’s let Loki give the introductions (with a little commentary by Balder):
As Balder tries to reason with Loki, Thor plays comic relief back on Midgard as he makes his foreman think he might be a superhero of somekind:
Makes sense to me.
Balder battles it out with the troll minions of Loki, and in the process compromises himself, with consquences most dire for the Shining Realm.
Next time, Thor is back to center stage in “Dinner For Two or That Was No Lady!”