Thunderstrike (Eric Masterson)
Thunderstrike #1, art by Ron Frenz
|First appearance||Thor vol.1 #391 (May, 1988)|
|Created by||Tom DeFalco (writer)
Ron Frenz (artist)
|Alter ego||Eric Kevin Masterson|
Legion of the Unliving
Superhuman strength, speed, agility, reflexes, and endurance
Eric Masterson is a fictional character in the Marvel Comics Universe, a superhero that has appeared as Thor and later Thunderstrike. The character was introduced as a supporting character in the Thor title, but continued in several other comic books, including the self-titled series Thunderstrike in 1993. Later interpretations of Thunderstrike would appear in both the MC2 and Heroic Age Marvel Comics storylines, featuring the character's son, Kevin Masterson, as the hero.
Publication history 
Eric Masterson first appeared in Thor #391, as a supporting character. Thor #408 featured the merging of the character Eric Masterson with Thor, Masterson being utilized as the God of Thunder's alter ego until issue #432. Thor #432 featured the character assuming the role of Thor, and appearing as the title character until Thor #459.
Following Thor #459, Masterson was introduced as "Thunderstrike" in the eponymous series starting in June 1993. The series lasted approximately two years. Thunderstrike ran for 24 issues, the series canceled in September 1995. Creator Tom DeFalco has often claimed that the book outsold Thor and The Avengers combined at the time of its cancellation; although this has been shown to be extremely unlikely. Masterson also appeared in the mini-series Thor Corps as Thunderstrike, and appeared as a guest star in the Thor series.
The character was featured in the Avengers from issue #343 until issue #374, and crossover series Operation: Galactic Storm. Masterson also appeared in the mini-series Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity War. Outside the many appearances in Thor and Avengers, Thunderstrike was used to launch an ongoing series Blackwulf, and a limited series. Code: B.L.U.E.
It was announced that the Thunderstrike character would be returning in a new miniseries by co-creators Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz in November 2010. Promotionals leading into the event began in August depicting the mace stating "One will rise..." and "The World Still Needs Heroes." Ultimately, the new Thunderstrike miniseries featured Eric Masterson's son, Kevin, in the role once inhabited by his father.
Fictional character biography 
Eric Kevin Masterson was working as an architect when he met Thor. Masterson was injured by falling girders, and was taken to the hospital by Thor. Now on crutches, Masterson was attacked by Quicksand, but saved by Thor. Masterson was then abducted by Mongoose. Masterson accompanied Thor to the Black Galaxy, where he first met Hercules. Masterson was mortally wounded by Mongoose, and is given Thor's form and powers after the original is sealed in Eric's mind, by Odin, to save Eric's life. Recognizing that his new life as Thor was too dangerous for a child, Masterson gave up custody of his son Kevin to his ex-wife Marcy, reasoning that Kevin would be safer with her even if she was relatively ambivalent about her role as a mother. Masterson was then separated from Thor by the Red Celestial. Shortly thereafter, Masterson saved Thor's life, and was merged with him again. Masterson's son Kevin was captured by Ulik for Loki. Thor freed Kevin and seemingly slew Loki in battle. Heimdall separated Thor from Masterson, then banished Thor, and transformed Masterson into a new Thor. He then met the Enchantress as Leena Moran, and battled Ulik.
Eric continues in the role of Thor, after having been given Mjolnir by Thor, who tells Eric to carry on as Earth's protector. Eric then returns to Earth and joins the Avengers in Thor's place. Masterson revealed his double identity to Captain America. He then first visited Asgard, where he fought the Warriors Three, Balder, Heimdall, and Sif, while trying to discover the whereabouts of the real Thor. Masterson then helped rescue the sleeping Odin from Annihilus. He teamed with Beta Ray Bill and Dargo Ktor as the "Thor Corps" against Zarrko and Loki. During his time with the Avengers as Thor, he aids them in such battles as the Kree/Shi'ar war and the Infinity Gauntlet crisis, being one of only three heroes at the conclusion of that battle to remember the entire confrontation (the other two being Doctor Strange and the Silver Surfer) as he had briefly witnessed Warlock's soul during the fight.
Eric's role as Thor is relatively brief, as the Enchantress manipulates Eric into attacking Thor for Sif's affection. During a confrontation with Thor, Eric hits Sif, which provokes Thor, leading him to defeat Eric and reclaim Mjolnir while Odin reveals the Enchantress's manipulations. Odin then creates a new mace for Eric called Thunderstrike.
Eric first uses the Thunderstrike mace against the villains Bloodaxe and Carjack and is promptly defeated. Afterwards, Eric creates his own costume to distinguish himself from Thor, while keeping Thor's reputation intact. Eric renames himself Thunderstrike, after the mace itself, operating as an adventurer and crimefighter. Eventually Eric defeats Bloodaxe, only to discover that Bloodaxe was actually Jackie Lukus, his current love interest.
After a confrontation with Seth the Egyptian god of death, Eric realizes the only way to defeat him is to succumb to the curse contained with the Bloodaxe and increase his strength. After his supposed slaying of Seth, Eric is confronted by the Avengers, who attempt to arrest him for murder. Eric defeats the Avengers and is confronted by Thor. Eric pleads with Thor to kill him to prevent the curse of the Bloodaxe from taking him over completely. Eric is eventually forced to fight the Bloodaxe subconsciously, which manifests in Eric's mind in the form of Skurge. Eric eventually defeats the Skurge duplicate, causing a psychic backlash that kills him and destroys the two weapons. Claiming that Valhalla is not where he belongs, Eric is sent into the afterlife by Odin.
Eric is temporarily resurrected by the Grim Reaper several years later, along with several other deceased Avengers. After overcoming the Grim Reaper's control, he and the other undead Avengers are returned to the afterlife by the Scarlet Witch. Before returning to the afterlife, Eric asked Thor to check in on his son for him.
Powers and abilities 
Eric's abilities are derived from the enchanted mace Thunderstrike, made of mystic uru metal, which is nearly indestructible, crafted by the Asgardian dwarves Brokk and Eitri, and given the following enchantments by Odin. Stamping the mace reverts Thunderstrike back to Eric's mortal human form, dressed in whichever clothes he last wore in that form, with any physical damage fully healed with the exception of certain mystical spells such as Seth's Mark of Death, while the mace Thunderstrike transforms into a wooden cane. By stamping his walking stick on the ground Eric Masterson transformed back into his superhuman form, bearded and dressed in the garb of Thunderstrike, while the cane again becomes the mace.
The mace itself can be thrown over great distances and return to the point it is thrown from. By throwing the mace and gripping it strap, Thunderstrike can fly (although the comic emphasizes that this is much rockier and less steady than Thor's flight). He can use the mace to fire powerful concussive blasts of mystical energy. The mace magically enables him to survive the adverse conditions of outer space, including its lack of oxygen. The mace can also be used for tracking various energy sources and has the ability to create mystical vortices to travel from one place to another.
Thunderstrike's physical abilities are enhanced to superhuman levels, including his strength, speed, durability, agility, reflexes, and endurance. As Thunderstrike, he was one of the strongest heroes in the Marvel Universe, though his strength did not approach the level of Thor. He can survive in space without the need for oxygen. He is a formidable hand-to-hand combatant, and has received some combat training from Captain America.
As Masterson, he is a highly skilled architect, with a masters degree in architecture. He is near-sighted and wears glasses.
In other media 
Video games 
- Thunderstrike makes a cameo appearance as a non playable character with the rest of the Avengers at the end of Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage.
- Thunderstrike appears as a playable character in the arcade fighting game Avengers in Galactic Storm.
- Comics Should Be Good: Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #10!
- Marc Steven Sumerak (w), Eric Eng Wong (p), John G. Roshell (i). "An A-Z Compedium of Earth's Mighiest Heroes" Avengers Casebook 1999 1 (1) (Feb 2000), Marvel Comics
- Thor #391-392
- Thor #405-408
- Thor #421
- Thor #423
- Thor #425
- Thor #431-432
- Thor #433
- Thor #434-435
- Thor #439-441
- Thor #445
- Infinity Gauntlet #1-6
- Thor #458
- Thor #459
- Thunderstrike #1
- Thunderstrike #22
- Thunderstrike #22-23
- Thunderstrike #24
- Avengers vol. 3 #11
- Eric Masterson at the Comic Book DB
- Thunderstrike at the Marvel Universe wiki