Archive for the ‘Gods of Asgard’ Category

X-Statix #25

April 16, 2015

X-Statix 25Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
September 2004
***

The Avengers/X-Statix War ends in détente before a bigger enemy (of course it does). Milligan’s heart isn’t in this arc, whose guest stars smack of editorial edict. Even if not, the last-minute acceptance of X-Statix by the Avs feels rushed. Anyone else disappointed that Doop can speak English?

last issue: X-Statix #24
next issue: X-Statix #26

also indexed for Sept. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #3
Daredevil #62
Fantastic Four #516
The Pulse #4
Thanos #12

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Avengers/JLA #4 of 4

October 7, 2013

Avengers.JLA 4 of 4Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
December 2003
***

The crossover ends as it must: in an enormous brawl of punching & zapping. Still, the mag’s creative duo amazingly avoid even a whiff of the corporate avarice that must underpin this mini. The grand scope & casual confidence prove a good capstone to the super-teamwork dynamic that defines the Avengers run of Busiek & Pérez et al. Think of it as a victory lap AWA an impressive work of fan-service.

last issue: JLA/Avengers #3 of 4

also indexed for Dec. ’03
Alias #27
New X-Men #148

JLA/Avengers #3 of 4

October 6, 2013

Avengers.JLA 3 of 4Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
November 2003
****

JLA/Av retcons annual super-teamups btw Marvel & DC, a late-era Crisis (in DC terminology) complete w/ overlapping Earths. The art of mature Pérez is even better than in his ’80s Crisis. Busiek writes a tighter plot, tho it suffers from self-reference & (surprisingly for KB) a lack of central protag. For superhero lovers rather than casual readers, but those fanboys will be truly satisfied.

last issue: Avengers/JLA #2 of 4
next issue: Avengers/JLA #4 of 4

also indexed for Nov. ’03
Alias #26
New X-Men #146
New X-Men #147

Avengers/JLA #2 of 4

October 5, 2013

Avengers.JLA 2 of 4Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
October 2003
*****

The two superteams race to acquire cosmic artifacts. If the Avengers win, the DC supervillain Krona will destroy their ‘verse in a mad quest for knowledge! The simple, Gardner Fox-type plot lets comics counterparts compete (eg Superman v. Thor), w/ the creative duo staging the super-fights superbly. In an A+ twist, Batman recognizes he & Captain A. are too evenly matched, & strike an alliance.

last issue: JLA/Avengers #1 of 4
next issue: JLA/Avengers #3 of 4

also indexed for Oct. ’03
Alias #25
New X-Men #145

Avengers #55

October 2, 2013

Avengers 55Kurt Busiek // Patrick Zircher
August 2002
****

No surprise, one of the strongest of Busiek’s 80+ Avengers issues offers a slant perspec on superheroics. #55 pays respect to the death toll—in the Kang arc, quite a high one—and holds its heroes to a code, even in wartime. In a quiet way, it functions as a monument to 2001’s terrorist victims.

last issue: Avengers #54
next issue: Avengers #56

also indexed for Aug. ’02
Alias #10
New X-Men #127
New X-Men #128

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #12 of 12

February 13, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
April 1985
**
An anonymous roster of artists, betrayed by a diversity of styles, help Zeck complete issue #12 on time. The motives of the Beyonder (such a terrible name!) again get teased but remain obscure. Doom’s final battle w/ the entity is a sound-&-light show, while the heroes get resurrected offstage then return home via Kirbytech. And so the Wars wrap up patly, tying up ends left dangling since #1.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #11 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #11 of 12

February 13, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
March 1985
**
Rule #1: never show Doom’s face! Tho’ the now divine Doc has removed his mask, he hasn’t quite left behind his human desires. Presumably that’s why the heroes, chatting at a conference table <yawn>, get zapped by lightning. Plus, Colossus gets busy w/ an alien chick, to the fury of Pryde fans.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #10 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #12 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #10 of 12

February 12, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
February 1985
***
Shooter’s flaws (bad dialogue, brute combat) haven’t vanished, but he pulls a twist! While the heroes cower, Dr. Doom wins the Secret War! With Miltonic self-regard, he syphons off the cosmic power of Galactus then challenges the godlike “Beyonder”. Finally, the series’ scope equals its remit.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #9 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #11 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #7 of 12

February 9, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
November 1984
*
A new Spider-Woman in a black leotard walks out of the shadows. “I’m Spider-Woman!” she announces. The next panel: “Hello everyone! I’m Spider-Woman!” Then she wanders off for the rest of the issue. To think, Shooter is Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer! Another low point: She-Hulk gets a beatdown.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #6 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #6 of 12

February 8, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
October 1984
*
Colossus moons over an alien chick; the Wasp gets killed; Galactus constructs his enigmatic Kirbytech; combat resembles schoolyard tussling. Thankfully, Zeck has returned with his delicate line. His long shots of tiny figures, each carefully rendered & colored, are the only entertainment on view.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #5 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #7 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #5 of 12

February 7, 2012

Jim Shooter // Bob Layton
September 1984
*
In the latest wrinkle to this slow-moving mag, Galactus plans to eat the artificial world out from under the superhumans. But it’s a case of telling, not showing. Layton’s fill-in work shows him to be a fine match for Shooter, w/ dull pencils & conventional layouts contributing a lack of urgency.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #4 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #6 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #4 of 12

February 4, 2012

Jim Shooter // Bob Layton
August 1984
**
Despite being fill-in work, the cover to #4 is the series’ best: not a pin-up pose but a claustrophobic shot of the Hulk propping up a mountain. Finally, something happens! The rest, however, is down to MSHSW‘s usual level. Check that last page, meant to be a cliffhanger: Galactus raises his arms!
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #3 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #5 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #3 of 12

February 3, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
July 1984
*
A hurricane pounds the Kirbytech bases on the patchwork world, establishing—surprise!—a romantic mood! In a twist, the Wasp hooks up with Magneto! But Shooter has a tin ear even for strongly voiced characters like Spidey & Dr. Doom. His own creations, a pair of superwomen, have woefully generic powers.
[last issue: Marvel Super Hero Secret Wars #2 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #4 of 12]

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #2 of 12

February 2, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
June 1984
*
Zeck’s landscapes give this maxiseries a weird sense of place, and his trad three-tier grid keeps the action clear. But Shooter—Marvel’s creative chief!—writes such flat characters & brute superpowers! Only Dr. Doom is on model, as he audaciously aims above the series’ good v. evil battle royale.
[last issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1 of 12]
[next issue: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #3 of 12]

Marvel Super Hero Secret Wars #1 of 12

February 1, 2012

Jim Shooter // Mike Zeck
May 1984
**
The original event-comic maxiseries! A godlike entity kidnaps superheroes & -villains & demands they battle on an alien world. The hoary plot is as childish as the ’40s JSA formula, & lifted only a little by the moral ambiguities of Doom & Magneto, by the cosmic grandeur, & by Zeck’s rubber faces.
[next issue: Marvel Super Hero Secret Wars #2 of 12]

Journey into Mystery Annual #1: Thor

November 21, 2011

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
October 1965
A-story: ****
When Thor stumbles into Olympus, he starts a brawl w/ his counterpart, Hercules, Son of Zeus! Their fight’s pretext is contrived yet classic: who will yield to whom on a bridge? Low on plot & character, just a bout of heavyweight wrestling that ends in a draw—this is Jack’s show, Stan’s superfluous.
[continued in Journey into Mystery #121]

Journey into Mystery #120: Thor

November 20, 2011

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
September 1965
A-story: *****
B-story: ****
Lee’s editorial brilliance has sent Thor on one long, six-month adventure. #120 shifts the pace, seeding future plots while allowing the god to decompress on Asgard—& to find life has continued without him on Earth. The backup, on the other hand, just treads water (Thor’s space-boat launches).
[continued in Journey into Mystery Annual #1]
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #119]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #121]

Journey into Mystery #119: Thor

November 19, 2011

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
August 1965
A-story: *****
B-story: *****
Stan rips off Shakespeare! An obese braggart is among the colorful volunteers for Thor’s quest to prevent Ragnarok. That’s the backup; the lead sees Thor struggle to beat the Destroyer, an ancient artifact forged by Odin to fight unstoppable foes. Tho’ Thor wins, his hammer is broken in battle!
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #118]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #120]

Journey into Mystery #118: Thor

November 18, 2011

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
July 1965
A-story: *****
B-story: *****
Kirby invents a worthy foe for his divine hero: a giant, mystical suit of weaponized armor! Loki regrets siccing it on Thor & so, ironically, must save him by warning Odin. But the immortal father sleeps his annual rejuvenative sleep! Helluva cliffhanger. The backup involves an enchanted gauntlet.
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #117]
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #119]

Journey into Mystery #117: Thor

November 17, 2011

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
June 1965
A-story: *****
B-story: *****
Loki’s stashed his magic stones in Vietnam, hoping to entangle his step-bro in the war. The controversial locale allows the creators to spin a strong bit of anti-Red propaganda: a moving tale of fratricide. The B-story kicks off a multi-issue arc, as Loki & Thor team up to repair the Odinsword!
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #116]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #118]

Journey into Mystery #116: Thor

November 16, 2011

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
May 1965
A-story: ****
B-story: *****
JiM‘s fantasy backups are often stronger than the A-tale’s superheroics, so it’s no surprise Thor‘s getting more mythical. Here, Loki uses enchanted stones to win a footrace thru a hellish realm. Kirby also offers up a crazy, Incan-like headdress; Odin’s regal bathtub; & Balder in a suit’n’tie!
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #115]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #117]

Journey into Mystery #115: Thor

November 15, 2011

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
April 1965
A-story: ****
B-story: ****
Loki’s hatred gives #115 its theme as well as its engine. In the backup, he betrays the gods by rescuing a hunted giant. In the A, he incites Thor into a furious attack to draw him into a Trial of the Gods next ish. But first Thor takes leave to transmute his human foe, a super-jailbird, into helium!
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #114]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #116]

Journey into Mystery #114: Thor

November 14, 2011

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
March 1965
A-story: ****
B-story: ****
Kirby can’t quite top his medias res opener: Thor smashing a superspy’s racer! His & Lee’s new supervillain, a plug-ugly convict who steals powers & texture at a touch, elaborates on Thor’s gargoyle foe. Loki springs this twist then kidnaps Blake’s good nurse (again). Also: a myth echoes Riding Hood.
[previous issue: Journey into Mystery #113]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #115]

Journey into Mystery #113: Thor

October 26, 2011

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
February 1965
A-story: ****
B-story: *****
Stan’n’Jack weave a complex A-tale. Dr. Blake reveals his secret ID to his nurse, which causes Odin to withdraw Thor’s divinity—just as his petrifying foe attacks! As a thrilling chase ensues on Earth, warriors look to help from Asgard. Also, flash back to boy Loki, resentful of his perfect bro.
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #112]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #114]

Journey into Mystery #112: Thor

October 25, 2011

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
January 1965
A-story: *****
B-story: ****
A title bout: Thor v. Hulk! With no clear victor, I give Thor the match on points. Stan’n’Jack slip this spectacular slobberknocker btw. the gutters of Avengers #3. Colletta’s inks skew another great Tale of Asgard. Odin, ridding the ‘verse of monsters, adopts a giant-king’s bantam son: Loki!
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #111]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #113]

Journey into Mystery #111: Thor

October 24, 2011

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
December 1964
A-story: *****
B-story: ***
Lee & Kirby are stretching this mag in cosmic directions as Thor stops time to save his love! They elaborate on a standard ’60s confrontation w/ foes & deathtraps by crosscutting w/ the high fantasy of Asgard. More rollicking action after as Thor wrestles w/ a troll, a riff on Herakles & Antaeus.
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #110]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #112]

Journey into Mystery #110: Thor

October 23, 2011

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
November 1964
A-story: *****
B-story: *****
In a spectacular panel, Loki reveals his splendor to mortals! The gods of Asgard are no mere superpeople, even when it’s Thor fussing w/ his usual foes Cobra & Hyde. Like Loki, Odin plays a cunning game: he orders the retreat before a human army on a boiling plain—to show that all is possible.
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #109]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #111]

Journey into Mystery #109: Thor

October 22, 2011

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
October 1964
A-story: ****
B-story: ***
The X-Men hover just off-panel as Thor easily outclasses their archenemy. The mighty Magneto scrambles to jettison the god from his kirbytech sub—not knowing that he’s fighting Dr. Blake instead! Kirby slides a couple of A-1 panels into the formulaic B-tale (Thor leads giants into a bushwack).
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #108]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #110]

Journey into Mystery #108: Thor

October 21, 2011

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
September 1964
A-story: ****
B-story: ****
Last month, Dr. Strange fought Loki in Strange Tales; this month, he helps Thor do the same in JiM. But first, he’s revivified by Dr. Blake in the operating room—a snazzy 2/3 splash! For his part, Kirby seems to be the creative drive for “Asgard”, which sees Thor lead a slave revolt against trolls.
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #107]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #109]

Journey into Mystery #107: Thor

October 20, 2011

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
August 1964
A-story: ****
B-story: ****
Once Lee & Kirby took over Thor in its second year, even the god’s conventional Silver Age adventures have shone. Take this one: it’s not the caped hero who defeats a French scientist w/ a medusa’s touch, it’s brave Dr. Blake. Or the backup, which sees Balder protected by a witchy “Norn Queen”.
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #106]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #108]

Journey into Mystery #106: Thor

October 19, 2011

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
July 1964
A-story: ****
B-story: ***
To draw Thor out, two supervillains spark a riot at an industrial expo. The triple face-off inspires several bravura action sequences, incl. a 60-sec hammer-free match btw Thor & the ugly Hyde. Colletta’s hackwork squanders a fine B-story that highlights the infinitely compassionate godling Balder.
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #105]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #107]

Journey into Mystery #105: Thor

October 18, 2011

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
June 1964
A-story: ****
B-story: ***
The mag dumps its C-story to be Thor in all but indicia. And Kirby’s evolved his familiar Marvel style: foreshortened poses, inky shadows, baroque hypertech. He & Stan set up a rematch against a tag-team of villains, the ogre & the cobra. In the backup, the guardian of Asgard catches a sprite.
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #104]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #106]

Journey into Mystery #104: Thor

October 17, 2011

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
May 1964
A-story: *****
B-story: *****
Thor inspires Kirby & Lee to the heights of creativity. When Odin visits Earth (dig his derby!) to chasten his son, he unleashes his dizzying cosmic powers to defend the realm from ancient enemies. Bonus backup: due to his divine hyper-senses, a warrior earns the post of Asgard’s sentinel!
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #103]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #105]

Journey into Mystery #103: Thor

October 16, 2011

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
April 1964
A-story: *****
B-story: *****
Even when both are superb, the B-story outdoes the A. On an epic journey in 5 pages, Thor delivers a switch of the World Tree to a sorcerer-king, who fashions the first humans! In contempo superhero mode, Thor faces a pair of gods: a blonde sorceress who even Loki distrusts & her paramour thug.
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #102]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #104]

Journey into Mystery #102: Thor

October 11, 2011

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
March 1964
A-story: ****
B-story: ****
Thor saves the future from a petty despot. Revisiting the 23C gives Kirby the chance to imagine a wild techno-vista (w/ a robo-octopus!), an early model of his gift for endowing setting w/ character. And at age 18, Thor faces Death herself to rescue a friend’s sister & earn his enchanted mallet.
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #101]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #103]

Journey into Mystery #101: Thor

October 10, 2011

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
February 1964
A-story: ****
B-story: *****
Kirby’s back on the book fulltime, his burly style adding emo heft to the god’s adventures. Thor, denied the chance to romance his nurse, sulks so petulantly his Avengers pals intervene & his father halves his powers! King K’s even better on the backup, pitting the godling against fantastical evils.
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #100]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #102]

Journey into Mystery #100: Thor

October 9, 2011

A-story: Stan Lee // Don Heck
B-story: Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
January 1964
A-story: ***
B-story: ****
JiM hits issue #100 for Thor’s inaugural two-parter. Plot threads stay loose, offsetting a brawl w/ a gentleman brute aboard a Polaris sub & a romantic tangle w/ Nurse Foster. In the flashback backup, teens Thor & Loki steal golden apples from giants. Valor, it seems, will earn Thor his hammer!
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #99]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #101]

Journey into Mystery #99: Thor

October 8, 2011

A-story: Stan Lee // Don Heck
B-story: Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
December 1963
A-story: ****
B-story: *****
Thor’s 1st two-parter sees him facing a powerhouse inspired by RL Stevenson’s Hyde. But more crucially, the god hopes that his dad will grant his g’friend immortality. The backup is classic Kirby, a saga for the Space Age! Odin’s battle w/ craggy trolls & a titanic fire demon sets the Earth spinning!
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #98]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #100]

Journey into Mystery #98: Thor

October 7, 2011

A-story: Stan Lee // Don Heck
B-story: Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
November 1963
A-story: ***
B-story: ****
Heck’s lean, angular style & individual panels gives Thor a moddish look. The adventure—a face-off w/ a scientist bitten by a radioactive cobra—seems almost a parody of Ditko’s Spidey. Kirby’s B-story, which follows Odin’s epic battle w/ ice giants, has a rugged thrill unlike anything in Marvel.
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #97]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #99]

Journey into Mystery #97: Thor

October 6, 2011

A-story: Stan Lee // Jack Kirby & Don Heck
B-story: Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
October 1963
A-story: ***
B-story: *****
Lee & Kirby take the mag & mint a fantastic new creation mythos for Marvel in the new backup, “Tales of Asgard”, echoing Prince Valiant by eschewing dialogue. Kirby mainly provides layouts on the superhero A-story. But even that’s more keen, as Nurse Foster walks out on Dr. B after he flees a lava man!
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #96]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #98]

Journey into Mystery #96: Thor

October 5, 2011

Stan Lee & Robert Bernstein // Joe Sinnott
September 1963
A-story: **
A cameo from JFK & daughter can’t save this silly Gardner Fox-style face-off btw Thor & Merlin in downtown DC. The goofy robes & bushy beard of the mage from Camelot make it hard to take his threat seriously. The prologue is more compelling: Dr. Blake’s practice suffers cuz he’s out saving a bus.
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #95]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #97]

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]

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 #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 #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]

Strange Tales #123: Dr. Strange

July 30, 2011

Stan Lee // Steve Ditko
August 1964
B-story: ****
Stan brings Strange into the greater Marvel Universe (his linewide goal in mid-’64) by guesting the Gods of Asgard in Strange Tales—a good fit as both they & Strange are rooted in magic. In a coruscating duel, the Doc is outmatched by Loki, Thor’s evil brother. He only barely escapes w/ his life!
[A-story: The Human Torch]
[last issue: Strange Tales #122]
[next issue: Strange Tales #124]