I WENT TO SEE "Thor" with friends at the movies. It is a must-see for any self-respecting comic-book fan from the Lee-Kirby era of Marvel Comics. We were a privileged lot, no doubt about it.

My friend John and I would never have dreamed that the super-hero comics that we voraciously read in our youth would ever have received such fabulous treatment. It was beyond the pale.

But here we are. And there you have them - Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor and (soon!) Captain America. It is great fun and, beneath fun's veneer, a large measure of truth.

My friend is gone, having suddenly passed a couple of years ago, so I watch the films with John in my heart, if not by my side. He would have loved them!

Marvel opened an entire world of plot, character and vocabulary to us, one from which we gleaned both pleasure and profundity. It was, well . . . marvelous - no pun intended.

We read that Spider-Man was actually a troubled adolescent who suffered from pimples and girl problems. Scripture teaches us that in Jesus, who became fully human, "we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin" (Hebrews 4:15).

The X-Men were different from other people; they were mutants who suffered from the misunderstanding and mistrust of others. Many can well relate to the feelings of rejection or social maladjustment. God's Word teaches that Christians are different:

"You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God" (1 Peter 2:9). We are not always understood; all the more, we are instructed to "live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify the Father on the day He visits us" (1 Peter 2:12).

Thor was Odin's son, a thunder-god of great promise, who was exiled for disobedience. We know the story too well, having been thrust into a world very much the antithesis of the idyllic ambience of Eden. Yet Thor was restored to Odin's favor, and so were we!

The Bible revels in its narration of our redemption, as in this scriptural snippet: "He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians 1:13, 14).

Tony Stark, a/k/a Iron Man, suffered from alcoholism. Captain America grew disheartened by our government. Daredevil rejected an offer of restored sight in the recognition that his blindness helped to accentuate other senses that he applied to the good of humanity.

The Fantastic Four's Reed Richards saved the universe by sacrificing his baby. His wife divorced him. Sound familiar? "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

There is a magnificent rainbow-like bridge that connects Asgard with Earth in "Thor." The film brings forth its celestial beauty, but my friend didn't live to see it; then again, he has already crossed another kind of bridge, one that was established by the Son of God at Calvary:

"I tell you the truth, whoever heard my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life" (John 5:24). Where John now resides makes Asgard look like a shantytown. Praise God for such a privilege!