Episode #33 The Ballad of Beta Ray Bill
Original Airdate - May 20th, 2012
While searching for the fire demon Surtur, Thor is attacked by a powerful creature known as Beta Ray Bill, and the unthinkable happens when Bill lifts Thor's hammer as the two battle. Thor must ally himself with this strange warrior to save Asgard before Surtur and his demon army burn it to the ground.

Written by Michael Ryan
Directed by Steve Gordon
Review by RoyalRubble
Media by Marvel Animation

Beta Ray Bill is introduced in this episode. While I am not that familiar with him from the comics, I have seen his previous animated appearances (Silver Surfer, The Super Hero Squad Show and the Planet Hulk animated movie) and I know that he's basically an alien version of Thor. He has the same powers, a similar costume and his own hammer known as Stormbreaker. This episode does a great job at introducing this new character, and it gives enough backstory so that viewers who have never even heard of him before understand what he's all about. He is the champion of the Korbinites, a genetically altered alien who has to protect his people aboard the ship called Skuttlebutt from fire demons. Beta Ray Bill's design was pretty cool here, and his voice was done wonderfully by the great Steve Blum (who I hope will also get to play Wolverine whenever he'll appear on the show). The fact that the fire demons are actually the minions of Surtur makes this episode a new chapter in the Surtur story-arc (which started back in the episode "Acts of Vengeance"). And I'm glad Surtur wasn't defeated this week, because I feel that he is a threat big enough that the entire Avengers team should fight and eventually defeat, not only Thor. Even though he is an enemy from Asgard, that doesn't mean Thor should battle him alone; Loki was his greatest enemy but the Avengers fought him together in the epic season one finale. I'm hoping the Surtur saga will also have an awesome ending.

Even though this is Beta Ray Bill's spotlight episode, other characters also get their moments to shine. Most notably Thor, who personally I feel has been absent for too many episodes (the same could be said about the real Captain America) and I am glad he got an episode focused primarily on him, in the same fashion Iron Man and Ant-Man received their own episodes earlier this season ("Alone Against A.I.M." and "To Steal an Ant-Man", respectively). I was surprised however to see Sif also get some great moments here; from her fight scenes against the fire demons aboard Skuttlebutt, to her receiving some character development. By the end of the episode she understands how Thor feels being so far away from Earth and everyone he has made a connection with. She learns this after helping Beta Ray Bill protect his fellow Korbinites and offers to join him on his journey. When Beta Ray Bill refuses she returns with Thor to Asgard to prepare for the upcoming battle with Surtur. In Thor's case, the mortals he has made a connection with are obviously the Avengers, but perhaps even more so with Jane Foster. I suppose Thor will soon return to Earth to recruit the other Avengers in his fight against Surtur. Either that, or Surtur's attacks will reach Earth.

The Enchantress also returns in this episode, after the power upgrade she received at the end of "Acts of Vengeance", where she is reluctantly recruited by Surtur. This time she is too powerful for Thor to face alone, but alongside Beta Ray Bill he manages to defeat her. I figured she would rejoin the Asgardians by the end of this episode but apparently she was only temporarily free from Surtur's control. Seeing her plead Thor to "end it" while she is free was a pretty powerful moment. Unfortunately Surtur reclaims her and the scene where he is speaking through her was creepy. I wonder if she will be saved by the time the Surtur saga ends. I think it would be interesting to see a former villain forced to work with the heroes against an even bigger threat. Either way, Beta Ray Bill promised his "brother" Thor that when the final battle with Surtur will take place, he will be by his side, so we obviously haven't seen the last of him on the show.

And I thought the final scene with Surtur forging his sword was the perfect way to end this episode. There's no dialogue, but that just makes the scene more interesting. I'm looking forward to the inevitable confrontation between him and the Avengers. Overall, the episode was really good, and had some great moments. We are introduced to a new character from the comics, we get to see Thor in action again after a pretty long break and as always great fight scenes. It was a little weird seeing Thor as the only character appearing in the opening credits instead of the current team members though; even after the events of "Who Do You Trust?" there are still at least four other Avengers on the team so I wonder why Thor was alone this time. Other than that, there's also the fact that Eitri agreed to forge Beta Ray Bill's hammer only if Thor will do a favor for him in return. I think this will lead to something interesting. I'm looking forward to the next episodes, as always.


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