Eric Masterson was a humble architect who stumbled upon a fight between Thor and the Mongoose, who was using a new high tech laser which had proven dangerous even to Thor. When Mongoose stood over Thor and was about to deliver the killing blow, Eric grabbed Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, without thinking and charged at Mongoose. Unimpressed, Mongoose proceeded to blast Eric, nearly killing him. However, the distraction allowed Thor to recover and defeat Mongoose.
Feeling guilty for what happened to Eric, especially since he had shown such courage, Thor begged Odin to save Eric's life. Odin instead merged the two together, similar to how Thor was bonded with Donald Blake. Later, when Loki attacked and Thor killed him, Odin banished Thor as punishment, leaving Eric whole again, but with Mjolnir and the powers of Thor. Eric began a long quest to find Thor and bring him back, even traveling to Mephisto's realm, where he saw a bag with a glowing image of Thor on it before he was brought back from Mephisto's realm by Doctor Strange.
Eric Masterson was created by Tom Defalco and Ron Frenz and first appeared in Thor issue 391 (1988).
Mayor Story Arcs
Eventually, Eric discovered that Thor was not banished to Mephisto's realm, but inside his own mind. He also learned that Loki had manipulated Odin into banishing Thor, and when the truth came out, Odin restored both Thor and Loki to their own bodies. Finally free, Thor decided to remain in Asgard, but allowed Eric to keep Mjolnir and be Earth's protector. However, when the Enchantress manipulated Eric into attacking Thor over Sif, Thor defeated Eric and took back Mjolnir, but since it was not Eric's fault, he asked Odin to create a weapon for Eric. Thus the enchanted mace, Thunderstrike, was created.
Eric took Thunderstrike back to Earth and continued to act as Thor, but when he was soundly thrashed by Bloodaxe because Thunderstrike bestowed on him lesser strength and powers than Mjolnir, he decided to change his name and costume to prevent Thor's reputation from being tarnished. As he was confronted by police after his first outing with his new identity, he responded to being called Thor with, "No. He's the other guy. My name is ... er ... Thunderstrike." when he couldn't think of anything better.
The Life and Death of Eric Masterson
Thunderstrike had some pretty wild adventures along the way. He had a slug fest with Juggernaut but eventually talked him down and they parted on friendly terms. He helped Crusher Creel, the Absorbing Man, convince Titania to give up crime so they could get married and settle down. Creel even considered Eric a friend, giving him the nickname "Sparky". Thunderstrike also teamed up with Luke Cage and Spider-Man on separate missions. Bloodaxe was a regular villain throughout Thunderstrike's career, eventually being defeated and revealing that Bloodaxe was actually Eric's love interest, Jackie Lucas. She had succumbed to the ruthless nature of the Executioner's Axe, another enchanted Asgardian weapon.
Eric was followed and later aided by Stellaris, who developed a crush on him. However, she left Earth after the Absorbing Man had a mental breakdown trying to absorb her powers and Seth, the god of death, tried to destroy her but couldn't because she wasn't truly alive. During their fight with Seth, he put the mark of death on Eric, which remained even after he had transformed back into his normal self. Throughout all this, he also had to deal with important personal issues, like keeping his job, trying to spend time with his son, Kevin, training with the Avengers, trying to live up to Thor's reputation, and even worrying about insurance and who would pay for the damage he caused as Thunderstrike.
At the end, when things were at their worst, Eric succumbed to the power of the Executioner's Axe, which transformed him into a menacing shadow of himself. With axe and mace in hand, he attacked and killed Seth's physical form in their dimension. However, Captain America witnessed what he thought was cold-blooded murder and the Avengers were called in to stop Eric. But with the power of both Asgardian weapons, he proved too much for the Avengers to handle. When Thor arrived on the scene, Eric said, "Hey, buddy, you've got to stop me." However, Even Thor could not defeat Eric while he was under the influence of the axe. Realizing that his friends could not stop him and that he would probably kill them all, Eric began to fight the bloodlust and control of the axe. Aided by the spirit of Akivasha, the original owner of the axe, Eric managed to turn Thunderstrike against the Excecutioner's Axe, destroying it in a tremendous explosion. When the dust settled, nothing remained of the axe, the mace, or the man.
Eric had destroyed the evil of the Excecutioner's Axe, at the cost of his own life. He found himself in a viking great hall and Thor greeted him, explaining that for such courage and honor Eric had been awarded a place in Valhalla, the viking heaven. But it was not what Eric wanted, and so Odin came and led him into a glowing doorway of light, telling Thor that he should honor Eric's wishes and keep him alive by remembering his life and deeds. Thor returned to Earth and visited Eric's grave. He grieved for his fallen friend and as he said goodbye, he lifted his hammer to the sky and lightning struck the headstone, leaving the same words that had been carved into Eric's mace, words as true in our world as they were in his."The world still needs Heroes."
Rest in peace, Eric Masterson. You will be missed.
- Height: 5'10", (as Thunderstrike) 6'6"
- Weight: 160 lbs, (as Thunderstrike) 640 lbs
- Eye Color: Blue
- Hair Color: Blond
- Identity: Known
- Place of Birth: USA
- Citizenship: United States of America with no criminal record
- Education: Masters degree in architecture
- Occupation: Adventurer, crimefighter, Architect
- Known Relatives: Marcy Masterson Steele (wife, divorced), Kevin Masterson (son)
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 vortexes 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 didn't 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.
Due to his relatively brief time with it, Thunderstrike never fully mastered his weapon. Hence, the full abilities of his enchanted mace remain a mystery. However, the Thunderstrike mace was unable to control weather as Mjolnir did through similar action. Thunderstrike was able to create dimensional vortexes/portals through rotation of his mace as well as projecting blasts of incredibly powerful and destructive magic energy known as a Thundersblast.
Thunderstrike is able to draw energy into the mace and redirect it to his target allowing it to charge the ground with Electricity. Thunderstrike's mace ability to draw in energy also allowed Eric to track and locate energy signatures.
Thunderstrike is capable of creating light ranging from being bright enough to either temporarily or permanently blind an individual down to light of a much lower level which could be used to as a light source similar to a torch. The mace can also be used to create a signalflare, though when used this way it has the side effect of creating a mild EMP capable of disrupting the SHIELD-used tech of an entire Helicarrier.
Thunderstrike could, by tossing his mace and holding on to the strap/handle, simulate flight.
By stamping his Mace/Cane, Eric was able to completely heal nearly any wound, malady or injury when he changed between his mortal self and his godly-powered self.
The Mace similar to Mjonlir would return to Thunderstrike's hand when tossed.
As part of the Avengers and throughout his superhero career Eric was constantly trained by one of the arguably best fighters in the Marvel Universe; Captain America.
Captain America's training regiment allowed Eric Masterson to become a competent hand-to-hand fighter during his time as Thor and as Thunderstrike, Eric was also furthered tutored by Hercules in combat as well as the godly nature of his abilities when Eric was a stand in for Thor.
Thunderstrike's speed reaction allowed for Thunderstrike ability to casually dismiss and swat multiple bullets out of the air as well as reach sniper bullets already in flight by flying.
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 (1994). He was also a playable character in the 1995 arcade "beat 'em up" fighting game Avengers in Galactic Storm (1995).