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The Wrong Side: A Sniper vs. Thor

by  in Comic News Comment
The Wrong Side: A Sniper vs. Thor

In this feature, I examine comic book fights that were particularly notable in the wrong side winning (or at least that the fight wasn’t won the “right” way). This really isn’t a big deal, of course, as it doesn’t really matter if the “wrong” person won a fight. But it’s fun to talk about!

If you want to suggest a fight for future inclusion in this feature, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com. Don’t suggest a fight in the comments!

This week, based on suggestions from a bunch of readers, I tackle a surprisingly controversial topic among comic book fandom, namely whether or not Thor can be taken out by a sniper.

As always, the first page spotlights their power levels and the second page examines the fight itself.

And as always, the first question we need to ask is…

How did these people do when they fought Spider-Man?

As I noted in an earlier edition of The Wrong Side, Spider-Man and Thor really have never had a normal fight. Some mind-controlled fights, an Eric Masterson as Thor fight and a fight when they were both Hulk creatures, but no fights between them as just their standard selves.

So how about Spider-Man and snipers?

In Amazing Spider-Man #538 (by J. Michael Straczynski, Ron Garney and Bill Reinhold), we see that Spider-Man’s Spider-Sense is pretty useful when dealing with snipers. It is not as helpful, though, for poor old Aunt May…

Now let’s look at Thor’s history to see if he is bulletproof.

Famously, Thor often uses his hammer to deflect bullets. This would seem to suggest that he is NOT bulletproof, as why else would he bother deflecting bullets away from him? Like this scene from Journey Into Mystery #100 (by Stan Lee and Don Heck)…

Here he is deflecting bullets in Costa Verde in Thor #246 (by Len Wein, John Buscema and Joe Sinnott), but note that Jane Foster is right beside him, so that seems to suggest he is more concerned with protecting her than anything…

In Journey Into Mystery #117 (by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta), a mortar shell knocks Thor out…

I don’t know which side of the debate that that helps (pro-bulletproof, because a mortar shell doesn’t break Thor’s skin, but just knocks him out, or pro-not-bulletproof, because it shows Thor falling victim to modern ordinance).

The other most famous example suggesting that Thor is not bulletproof is the fact that a fellow Asgardian, Hogun the Grim, is not bulletproof. As seen in Thor #393 (by Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz and Brett Breeding)…

and then in Thor #395 (same creative team), as Hogun goes into emergency surgery…

However, that only proves that HOGUN is not bulletproof. Perhaps some Asgardians are and some are not? Are there other examples to suggest Thor was bulletproof over the years?

In Journey Into Mystery #89 (by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers), Thor appears to throw himself in front of a hail of bullets to protect a woman, although it might just be that the bad guy missed them entirely, as the bullets aren’t shown bouncing off Thor exactly…

At the same time, he doesn’t look like a guy who is afraid of being hit by a bullet, either.

More importantly, in Thor #315 (by Doug Moench, Keith Pollard and Gene Day), gun blasts bounce off of Thor (they’re making “blam” noises, but it is unclear if they’re actual bullets or not)…

In Thor #480 (by Roy Thomas, MC Wyman and Mike DeCarlo), bullets bounce off of Thor…

In Thor #486 (by Thomas, Wyman and DeCarlo), bullets bounce off of Thor…

In more recent issues (as in, after the sniper battle that we’re looking at today, so it isn’t really applicable except to note that modern writers sure seem to be under the impression that Thor is bulletproof), Thor does well against bullets in the fourth issue of J. Michael Straczynski and Olivier Coipel’s Thor run…

And I’m not even positive what Esad Ribic drew here in Thor: God of Thunder #21 (by Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic), but I’m PRETTY sure he’s drawing Thor shrugging off machine gun fire…

Or is the machine gun fire just hitting nothing? It’s really kind of unclear. I think the intent seems to be that it is hitting Thor and he is not reacting to it .

On top of these examples, there’s the general “Thor shrugs off hits that are much more powerful than projectile bullets frequently” thing, like Thor’s possible most impressive attack to be survived, when he took an attack from a CELESTIAL in Thor #300 (by Ralph Macchio, Mark Gruenwald, Keith Pollard and Gene Day)…

All told, I tend to lean towards the notion that Thor is effectively bulletproof, but naturally does not like being struck by bullets, so if he can deflect them, he’s going to deflect them.

With that in mind, let’s check out the time he was taken out by a sniper…

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