Kevin Masterson was the child of divorced parents, living with his architect father Eric Masterson. Circumstances brought Thor into their lives and saw his father become increasingly involved in a world of gods and super-villains. This went so far as to have Eric become Thor when the actual God of Thunder disappeared. However, all of this strained Eric's ability to be a father to Kevin, and it was not long before custody of him was taken by his mother and her new football star husband Bobby Steele.
Kevin Masterson was created by Tom Defalco and Ron Frenz and first appeared in Thor Vol. issue 392 (1988) as a supporting character during the period that saw Eric Masterson fill in for the God of Thunder.
When the true Thor returned and Eric Masterson became Thunderstrike, Kevin Masterson then carried over to Eric's spin-off series Thunderstrike for the duration of its run.
Years after the end of Thunderstrike, Kevin's story continued in the MC-2 Universe, an alternate future of the Marvel Universe most famous for being the home of Spider-Girl. There, the character was an adult and absorbed the powers of his father's mace to become the new Thunderstrike. He was also a founding member of the next generation's Avengers. He would appear several times during the MC2 Universe's long run of comics for over a decade.
Shortly after the end of MC2, a new Thunderstrike limited series began, starring a fifteen year old Kevin in the main Marvel Universe. This interpretation of Kevin depicted him as being far more angry than his older, MC2 counterpart and had him wield the Thunderstrike mace rather than absorb its power.
Major Story Arcs
Son of Thunder
Tragically, Eric had to sacrifice his own life to save the world from the power of the Bloodaxe after wielding it to destroy the god Seth, and Kevin lost his father. Despite everything that had happened, he was proud of his father for being such a hero. His mother and stepfather decided to move him away from New York to California, where Bobby was contracted to play for a new team.
The following years were not kind to Kevin's perception of his father's death. More and more, feelings of resentment thrived inside of him. These feelings weren't directed at his father, but at the other superheroes who were not there to save his father and the idea of heroes in general. He had become an angry young man with a lot of unresolved issues surrounding his dad's death.
For further details: the Heroic Age
At the age of fifteen, Kevin's family moved back to New York and his inability to control his anger led to him having trouble fitting into his new school. Surprisingly, he was contacted by Sharon Carter and brought to the Quincarrier to meet with Steve Rogers, who presented him with the Thunderstrike mace. It had been recovered recently and now appeared powerless, so Rogers believed Kevin should have it in remembrance of his father, Eric. Kevin was disappointed that the mace had no power for him and was dismissive of Rogers' sentiment, still resenting him and the other Avengers for his father's death.
Later, Kevin chanced upon the Rhino attacking a prison transport and causing a terrible traffic accident involving a woman and her child getting trapped in their turned over car. Kevin felt compelled to try to help and was stuck trying to pry open the car door to save the baby when the fuel caught fire. In that moment, the mace awoke and transformed him into an identical version of his father as Thunderstrike with all of the power. Kevin used his new powers to save the baby and fight off the Rhino to a standstill but his appearance both shocked him, the Avengers and his mother. In a panic, Kevin was able to transform back to his normal self and the Thunderstrike mace turned into a walking cane. Kevin immediately admitted what had happened to his mother and stepfather. While they were both in shock, they accepted Kevin's powers but Kevin himself felt he was not meant to be a super-hero.
The next day, Kevin tried to return to his normal school life but found himself either ignored by fellow students or having ones he bullied tried to reach out to him since his stepfather was Bobby Steele. Not long after, the Spartans attacked Kevin and Bobby while they were stuck in traffic. The Spartans were trying to claim the artifact which was the Thunderstrike, when Kevin was rescued by Gruenhilda of the Valkyrior. She was sent by Sif and the Asgardian gods to train Kevin in the use of his powers. Kevin transformed into Thunderstrike and joined his "teacher" in fighting off the Spartans, but they were able to steal the mace and left a building to collapse on Bobby. With his powers failing, Kevin tried to rescue his stepfather while Gruenhilda ran to their aid before Kevin's powers faded completely. Gruenhilda succeeded in rescuing them both in time, before Gruenhilda and Kevin sought out the Thunderstrike and soon discovered it in the hands of Adam Mann, a well known athlete and millionaire who believed himself to be a demigod and wanted to wage war on both Olympus and Asgard. Kevin eventually reclaimed the Thunderstrike and made himself look like a video game avatar and attacked Mann who was in his new battle suit. Mann succeeds in overpowering Kevin but it was soon revealed that Mann had been using the mystical mace as a power source to reach into the Void and, in doing so, unleashes Mangog on Earth. Mangog attacked everyone and soon decided to claim Mann as his own and devoured him, adding his power to his own. He then attacked New York as his way of drawing out Thor. In the process, Kevin realized what his father's life was like and that he needed to stop blaming others for his own problems and, in doing so, recreated his look and powers and gathered the Avengers to fight off Mangog. After the defeat of Mangog, Kevin and Gruenhilda went after the Rhino for some much needed payback.
During the events of Fear Itself, Kevin Masterson, along with X-23, Power Man, Amadeus Cho and Spider-Girl are brought to the Hell-Carrier, a helicarrier that was used during World War II. Amadeus and Kevin were initially antagonistic towards each other and would have likely come to blows except for the intervention of Power Man, who separated the two, at least for a time, until Amadeus managed to cause the Thunderstrike mace to tap the ground, thus changing Kevin back to his non-powered state. Angered, Kevin struck Amadeus's head, changing back into Thunderstrike. Spider-Girl tried to step between them while X-23 watched, but they were all interrupted when Power Man screamed in pain. Power Man explained that he had tried to use his powers to absorb the ambient chi in order to power up but, due to the fact that there was no actual ambient life force around them, he instead suffered a backlash. He did, however, detect a message in a bio-electric frequency being transmitted in a language he had never heard before. The message was translated for them by the sharkmen (just prior to their attack) as:
"In their Dread House the warriors of the king of darkness wait dreaming."
They continued their message saying that now that the stars were right, they rise with the king and make them their first sacrifice to him. Differences momentarily set aside due to the emergence of a common enemy, the five young heroes join together to fight off this new threat. While they fight, Amadeus explains to them that the sharkmen came into being after they sensed the presence of the one they called the "Dark King" and worshiped him. They became the enemies of the Atlanteans, and were defeated by Namor during World War II and driven back to their city, where they waited for their dark god to return.
Amadeus managed to convince the others to follow his lead as he directed them in combat. They managed to defeat the initial wave of enemies, only to realize that the carrier is picking up speed. Lamenting that they should all be elsewhere, Amadeus reveals to them that the five of them are each the latest manifestation of an eternal archtype and that they were meant to be together as a team. He also reveals that his research has uncovered that the Hell-Carrier was trying to complete its final mission and that they needed to work together to stop it. At that point, the other four realized it was Amadeus himself who had pulled them from where they were and brought them to the carrier. As they seized him, he quickly explains that the carrier is on a collision course for Honolulu and will crash there, killing everyone on board unless they stop it.
Realizing they have no other choice, Spider-Girl asks Amadeus how to proceed. He informs them that the whole ship is powered by a kind of anti-life force called "Vril". Power Man detects that the source of it was directly below them but that since none of them could fly, they had no way of getting to it. X-23 then begins to rip into the ship with her claws. Amadeus then directs Power Man to try to use his powers to power up X-23, which he does, causing another painful backlash on the both of them but allowing them to get below deck quicker.
While X-23 and Power Man continue to make their way to the source, Thunderstrike, Amadeus, and Spider-Girl were forced to repel another attack of the Sharkmen. Despite their best efforts, the three would have been overwhelmed but X-23 and Power Man reached the source in time. Power-Man unloaded all of his remaining Chi energy into it, causing it to explode before it could hit Honolulu and the five landed themselves into a media frenzy, which it turned out, Amadeus knew would be there and it was why he had chosen that particular moment to bring them all together. Amadeus says that they had scored a major P.R. victory and that the people wanted them to stay together, at which point X-23 kicked him in the groin from behind. The four of them walked away, leaving Amadeus and the question of whether or not the five would continue as a team unanswered.
- Height: (Masterson) 5'6", (Thunderstrike) 6'6"
- Weight: (Masterson) 140 lbs., (Thunderstrike) 640 lbs
- Eye Color: Blue
- Hair Color: Blond
- Identity: Known to certain Asgardians and Avengers
- Place of Birth: Manhattan, New York
- Citizenship: U.S.A.
- Education: High school student, Avengers Academy
- Occupation: Adventurer, student
- Known Relatives: Eric Masterson (father, deceased), Marcy Masterson-Steele (mother), Bobby Steele (adoptive father)
Powers and Abilities
Wielding the Thunderstrike mace, Kevin can transform into a being blessed with a slightly diminished version of the power of Thor. Thunderstrike has superhuman durability, stamina and strength. He can fly by throwing the mace and holding onto the metal chain. He can summon other hammer-bearers when he holds a hammer. Kevin is a skilled athlete with training in multiple sports.
In the alternate future of MC2, Eric's son, Kevin Masterson was granted the Thunderstrike Mace by Jarvis, the Avengers butler, as per his father's will. As the mace was made for his father alone, Kevin was unable to use it as his father had. The mace was later stolen from Kevin and eventually came into the possession of Loki, who had created a spell to tap the dormant power within the mace. Kevin leapt into the midst of the spell, absorbing the mace and the magic it contained into his body. He became his own version of Thunderstrike and would go on to reform the Avengers. Kevin thought that he could use his powers to in some way connect with his deceased father's memory. Kevin made friends with teammate J2, as they both had inherited their superpowers from their missing fathers, and worked well with Stinger and Mainframe. When his team gained new members, he tried to form friendships with them, but he wasn't as close with them as he was his original teammates. Kevin tried to do some good as just his normal self, by volunteering at a housing project with his childhood friend Maria. But he found himself embroiled in a battle with the Sons of the Serpent. However, Kevin couldn't change without revealing his secret identity to Maria. The intervention of Blacklight helped hold off the Serpents, but when the building Kevin and Maria were hiding in collapsed he had to change, making Maria swear to keep his secret. Thunderstrike's biggest challenge though, was when the Avengers travelled to a dark parallel dimension, where he encountered a dark version of his own father. But when the alternate Eric Masterson recognized Thunderstrike as Kevin, Thunderstrike learned that in this reality, his counterpart had died, not Eric (as in Thunderstrike's reality). The alternate Eric and Kevin bonded, and once the Avengers defeated the dark dimension's ruler, Kevin stayed behind to be with his "father". Kevin returned to his home reality, and rejoined the Avengers to aid in the battle with Seth. But When Galactus destroyed Asgard, Thunderstrike seemingly lost his powers in Last Planet Standing. He was kidnapped by Ulik and Sylene, daughter of Loki, as part of a plan to restore Asgard. During the course of the series, Kevin Masterson struggled against his captors, and ultimately was responsible for turning the tables on the two villains. Thena, daughter of Thor, who had also taken part in the battle against her cousin, was able to restore Kevin's power, allowing him to become Thunderstrike once more.