THOR #189-190 (1971)

Hela tries to claim Thor for herself, being cheated out of claiming Odin. 

She wants him bad.

Loki, bitch that he is, tattletales that Thor is on Earth. 

What we get next is a neat chase.  And Hela in a big furry hat.

Hela comes to Earth and makes short work of some street hoods-which is interesting.  Until now, my understanding was that Hela was the Goddess of the Norse dead.  But here she claims mortal souls-which, until now, I thought were the purview of Mephisto.

Marvel’s gotta work out its underworlds, eh?

Anyway, Thor chooses to die rather than be forced to kill mortals after Hela puts him in a Sophie’s Choice situation.

So Thor agrees to die so no one else has to.

Another nice touch: Odin has the power to prevent everyone, everywhere from dying.

He does it to save Thor but in doing so he effectively kills Hela.  As she is dying, Thor tells his father that he cannot allow Hela to die because that will unleash plagues on Earth (why?  It’s not explained), so Odin tells his son he is proud of him and restores death.  But then he refuses to kill Hela to save his own son.  Lots of musings on the power of immortals over death.

And Thor dies.

But then Sif convinces Hela to restore Thor’s life, and he lives.

Fastest superhero death-and-return in history.

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