Archive for September, 2011

Journey into Mystery #95: Thor

September 30, 2011

Stan Lee & Robert Bernstein // Joe Sinnott
August 1963
A-story: ***
At his first anniversary, Thor is Marvel’s consummate do-gooder. As the God of Storms, he irrigates Asgard; as Dr. Blake, he performs scientific miracles. In this art team’s hands, even the love triangle w/ his alter ego is absent. Conflict comes courtesy of a nefarious inventor’s duplicating ray.
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #94]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #96]

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Journey into Mystery #94: Thor

September 26, 2011

Stan Lee & Robert Bernstein // Joe Sinnott
July 1963
A-story: ***
Sinnott’s well-mannered style recalls Curt Swan in the faces if not the panels, which are more kinetic. The plot too is very Action Comics: Thor, bonked on the head, turns evil & helps Loki destroy the world’s landmarks. What’s unique is that the god, like humanity, is a pawn of Loki & Odin.
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #93]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #95]

Journey into Mystery #93: Thor

September 25, 2011

Stan Lee & Robert Bernstein // Jack Kirby
June 1963
A-story: ***
Jack’s temporary return is also his finest work on Thor so far. Don Blake proves himself as much of a hero as his alter ego: working triage for India in last fall’s China; finishing an operation before fighting a radioactive Red; & skindiving to the Hudson River bed to retrieve his hammer!
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #92]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #94]

Journey into Mystery #92: Thor

September 24, 2011

Stan Lee & Robert Bernstein // Joe Sinnott
May 1963
A-story: ***
Plenty of filler: Thor thumping thugs & jobbing on a movie shoot. Then Thor’s back in Superman drag, foiling Loki’s attacks by thumping monsters w/ ersatz hammers. Only the mythic background whets your appetite, w/ Odin as an enormous Sky God-head & the arcadian, Oz-like fantasyland of Asgard.
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #91]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #93]

Journey into Mystery #91: Thor

September 22, 2011

Stan Lee & Larry Lieber // Joe Sinnott
April 1963
A-story: **
Joe Sinnott, inker extraordinaire, takes over Thor‘s pencils. His heavy ’50s realism offers an opportunity to imagine Marvel w/o the advances of Kirby or Ditko. The story, however, is also a throwback to DC’s clumsier plotting. Loki empowers a stage magician, so Odin supplies Thor w/ a belt of strength.
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #90]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #92]

Journey into Mystery #90: Thor

September 21, 2011

Stan Lee & Larry Lieber // Al Hartley
March 1963
A-story: *
Kirby departs Thor. His temporary replacement, Al Hartley, made his rep in teen romance, esp. Patsy Walker, but he’s a poor fit for superheroes (tho’ his pipsqueek Doc & his Nurse Foster have chemistry). What’s more, the tale of alien invasion is a wan xerox of FF #2, as Thor foils shapeshifters.
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #89]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #91]

Journey into Mystery #89: Thor

September 20, 2011

Stan Lee & Larry Lieber // Jack Kirby
February 1963
A-story: ***
Maybe the strongest Thor tale so far, tho’ it still feels generic.  Part of that is Lieber’s dull script, but it’s also the hokey ’50s-style tale. Our hero faces down a greasy mobster, both as the Thunder God & as Dr. Blake. But Kirby inserts sacred moments when Thor calls upon his father in Asgard.
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #88]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #90]

Journey into Mystery #88: Thor

September 19, 2011

Stan Lee & Larry Lieber // Jack Kirby
January 1963
A-story: **
The creators are searching for this mag’s voice & not finding it. The God of Mischief, in a redux of his debut, sneaks out of Asgard to torment his brother. It’s standard Silver-Age caped heroics, w/ low stakes & Loki as Thor’s Mxyzptlk. High point: in a surreal turn, Loki turns cars into ice cream.
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #87]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #89]

Journey into Mystery #87: Thor

September 18, 2011

Stan Lee & Larry Lieber // Jack Kirby
December 1962
A-story: **
Dr. Blake slips behind the Iron Curtain to rescue shanghaied scientists. The Cold War adventure doesn’t call for a Thunder God, which is partly why our hero feels poorly defined. Unlike Marvel’s other early heroes, Thor lacks a sense of alienation. Kirby seems to be getting bored with this series.
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #86]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #88]

Journey into Mystery #86: Thor

September 17, 2011

Stan Lee & Larry Lieber // Jack Kirby
November 1962
A-story: ***
At this stage, Thor is Marvel’s equivalent to Superman. It’s not just the red cape either, as his adventure is right outa Action Comics, c. 1962. A villain from the future steals a C-bomb, so Thor zips up a timeline to 2362 to retrieve it. The conventions are improved by some fanciful early Kirbytech.
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #85]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #87]

Journey into Mystery #85: Thor

September 16, 2011

Stan Lee & Larry Lieber // Jack Kirby
October 1962
A-story: ***
The debut of Asgard, a concept that will give Thor direction—but not yet. It’s a tantalizing idea: a citadel accessed by a rainbow bridge over deep space! Loki, God of Mischief, escapes to scurry thru a vividly-depicted NYC chased by Thor. In a bold filip, Kirby turns a mob photo-negative!
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #84]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #86]

Journey into Mystery #84: Thor

September 14, 2011

Stan Lee & Larry Lieber // Jack Kirby
September 1962
A-story: ***
New Frontier propaganda, Lee’n’Kirby style! Thor’s a one-man army, enforcing the Monroe Doctrine in the colorfully-named San Diablo. His hammer tears thru air & tank squadrons & ignites volcanos to defeat Red guerillas. Stan also sets up a standard super-love triangle btw Thor’s alter ego & a nurse.
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #83]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #85]

Journey into Mystery #83: Thor

September 12, 2011

Stan Lee & Larry Lieber // Jack Kirby
August 1962
A-story: ****
A blast of energy transforms a cripple into a handsome superhero just in time to rout an armada of Thing-like rock monsters. Kirby turns a pretty good SF tale of alien invasion into a great superhero debut. He seems esp. inspired by Thor’s powerful hammer: it summons storms & returns when hurled!
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #84]

Strange Tales #141: Dr. Strange

September 9, 2011

Stan Lee // Steve Ditko
February 1966
B-story: ****
The long arc of Dormammu’s attack on Earth ends as it must. The furious dark lord rages at his defeat & vents his petty anger upon the white-coifed girl. But Ditko & Lee retain their momentum by pulling on loose ends such as D’s henchmen, who stash an ordinary bomb in Strange’s Village sanctum.
[A-story: Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD]
[last issue: Strange Tales #140]
[next issue: Strange Tales #142]

Strange Tales #140: Dr. Strange

September 2, 2011

Stan Lee // Steve Ditko
January 1966
B-story: *****
Dozens of weird beings, only vaguely human, view the showdown btw Strange & the dread lord Dormammu! A triumph of the Ditko Dimension, the issue’s only realistic forms are the bodies, which grapple in a judo bout augmented by mystic wrist-pincers. Then a final, silent panel: Strange, at D’s feet!
[A-story: Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD]
[last issue: Strange Tales #139]
[next issue: Strange Tales #141]