From character retrospectives to a look at memorable storylines and interviews with key creators, the Essentials will act as the perfect guide for fans both old and new! Look for new Cap Essentials every Monday and Thor Essentials every Thursday as we head toward the release of each film!
|Introducing Volstagg the Voluminous|
By Matt Powell
This week in Essential Thor we take a look at a group that epitomizes both courage and camaraderie: the Asgardians Hogun, Fandral, and Volstagg, collectively known as the Warriors Three. Serving amongst the highest of Asgard's royal court, the Warriors Three have proved a fearsome trio to their enemies, truly living up to the motto of "All for One, and One for All." Inseparable in battle as well as in leisurely pursuits, the Warriors Three remain unwaveringly loyal to Asgard's kingdom, citizens, and ideals.
The Warriors Unite
|Fandral the Dashing makes his entrance|
When Thor prepared to set sail into the unknown to learn of what evil power caused a crack in Odin's Oversword of Asgard, the Thunderer sent out a call for Asgard's finest warriors. Among the men assembled, the Warriors Three outshined them all.
The silent yet stoic Hogun the Grim answered. Hailing from a land at the foot of the Skornheim Mountains, Hogun united with his compatriots and Thor to defeat Mogul, a ravenous dictator who sought to conquer his homeland.
With a glint of excitement in his eye, Fandral the Dashing joined the ranks next. Born in a city outside of Asgard, the young swashbuckler's desire to serve Odin hurled him into battle with Volstagg in order to earn a place in the Allfather's court. Impressed by Fandral's fighting spirit, Volstagg agreed to train the warrior, in time creating a centuries-spanning friendship.
|The first appearnace of Hogun the Grim|
Causing a commotion so raucous as to attract the attention of even Thor, Volstagg the Voluminous rounded out the band of adventurers. The eldest of the Warriors Three, Volstagg's heroic adventures are legend within and outside the walls of Asgard. Although past his prime, Volstagg remains a fearsome combatant whose appetite for battle is nearly as insatiable as his desire for a fine meal.
For the story of Thor's first adventure with the Warriors Three, look to the Tales of Asgard features from JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #119-125 and THOR #126, collected in ESSENTIAL THOR VOL. 2 as well as THOR: TALES OF ASGARD.
The Blood Oath
|Thor and the Warriors Three|
During a seafaring adventure, the Warriors Three unknowingly killed Holth, a shape-shifting son of a giant under the guise of a whale. Charged with murder in a grand court held by Odin, the Warriors Three sought to make reparations to the slain giant's father. Motivated more by revenge than remorse, the mammoth set the heroes on a dangerous quest to retrieve various items from different lands, each filled with inescapable peril. Joined by Thor, the Warriors Three scaled the realm-connecting World Tree, Yggdrasil, conquered an enchanted spear consumed with bloodlust, and even engaged in a ground-shaking battle with the son of Zeus, Hercules. Trusting their bond as brothers and warrior instincts forged from countless battles, the trio triumphed over their adversary and found their redemption.
For the full story of the Warriors Three and their journey through the Nine Realms, read THOR: BLOOD OATH #1-6, collected in the THOR: BLOOD OATH trade paperback.
Ragnarok and Rebirth
|The Warriors Three reborn|
As the worlds-ending cataclysm known as Ragnarok ravaged Asgard, the champions of the land found themselves besieged by an army of enemies led by Surtur that ultimately separated the brothers in death--but thankfully not for long. Upon his own return from beyond, Thor set out on a mission to restore Asgard and its people. Three soldiers on a mission in Africa--Trevor Newly, Leo Kincaid, and Rolf Mueller--confessed to Thor's mortal guise, Donald Blake, a series of seemingly coincidental events that linked them, most notably their continued partnership. Sensing familiar spirits in the bodies of the mortals, Thor commanded the heavens to transform the soldiers back to their immortal forms of Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg, respectively. Proving that their bond can outlast even death, the Three stood reunited and eager to find the rest of their brethren.
The Warriors Three fought their seemingly last battle in THOR #80-85, collected in AVENGERS DISASSEMBLED: THOR, and found new life in THOR Vol. 3 #4, which may be found in THOR BY J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI VOL. 1.
The Secret Invasion and Siege of Asgard
|The Warriors Three under Siege|
The shapeshifting Skrulls' planet-wide assault on Earth left no one safe, and their attack against Asgard's new home on Midgard outside Broxton, Oklahoma united Thor, Beta Ray Bill, and the Warriors Three. Volstagg played a particularly instrumental role in the aliens' defeat, creating a diversion at a critical moment by distracting a Super-Skrull from killing Beta Ray Bill and allowing Donald Blake to transform into his super heroic guise.
After the Skrull invasion, Norman Osborn maneuvered himself into a high position of power in the superhuman community. Allied with Thor's brother, the trickster Loki, Osborn strategically used a naive Volstagg to spark a tragic incident that would demand a swift response. Seeing Asgard as a threat to his power, Osborn commanded a siege on the realm to destroy it. In a final stand to protect their land, the ever resilient Thor and Warriors Three were aided by their fellow Asgardians and the Avengers to end Osborn's plot and expose his insanity, causing him to lose his grip on power.
The Skrulls' assault on Asgard took place in SECRET INVASION: THOR #1-3, collected in the trade paperback of the same name, while the you can read more about Norman Osborn's attack on Asgard and the role the Warriors Three played in the ensuing conflict in SIEGE #1-4 and THOR #607-610, collected in SIEGE and THOR: SIEGE, respectively.