Saturday, August 30, 2014

Marvels: Journey Into Mystery #101

"The Return of Zarrko the Tomorrow Man" by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby & George Roussos
(February 1964)

Giving Thor an extra five pages really starts paying off with this issue. Stan & Jack are starting to follow their Fantastic Four model, where the first few pages are taken up with character development that let you into the characters a little more, rather than jumping right off into this issue's villain.

Thor is fuming from Odin's decree last issue that Jane Foster will never be allowed to marry Thor (Odin thinks Jane aided Mr. Hyde in defeating Thor, which she did in order to try to save Donald Blake). He's so enraged that he's throwing the Asgardian version of a fit.

It's so bad that his fellow Avengers--Iron Man, Giant-Man and Wasp--show up to try and calm him down and offer their help (rather than barking orders, screaming threats, and beating him up, which is what they would have done had it been the Hulk, just saying).

Odin and Loki are watching this unfold from Asgard, and with Loki at his ear going all Grima Wormtongue, Odin punishes Thor by halving his power, which becomes painfully apparent when Thor approaches Heimdall and demands entrance to Asgard. Heimdall defeats Thor, where once he would have been unable to withstand a hammer blow or Thor's fury.

With Thor at his lowest, Loki decides it's time to strike. He can't move openly against Thor, but instead uses the Well of Centuries to influence events in the year 2264. Way back in Journey Into Mystery #86, Thor fought Zarrko, the Tomorrow Man, a time traveler from centuries in the future. After their fight, Zarrko lost his memories of the incident. Now Loki restores them, and Zarrko is immediately set on a quest for revenge.

Zarrko appears in New York City and starts wrecking things with what he calls an indestructible mining robot. Where once Thor could have easily made short work of the robot, he's handily defeated. Odin has halved the power of Thor's hammer as well. Thor, unable to destroy the robot, surrenders to Zarrko to save the 20th century, agreeing to return to the 23rd century and help Zarrko conquer. Hey, he beat Zarrko the first time with probably the same amount of strength--it was before he recovered his belt of strength, after all--so let's see what his plan is this time.

Odin, however, is angered beyond reason and just about ready to disown Thor and take away his hammer. Which, of course, is Loki's plan...

To be continued.

Stray observation:

:: Why, of course Odin and Heimdall have different outfits.

Thor and Loki never change their clothes. Damn kids.

"Tales of Asgard: The Invasion of Asgard" by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby & George Roussos

Another in the "Boyhood of Thor" series, this short feature tells the story of a time when Thor helped save Asgard from invasion by the forces of evil. While Odin's forces build their defenses, Loki leads Thor to a hole in a tunnel through which the evil forces could attack--a hole made by Loki, who has informed the enemies of Asgard of its existence, hoping that they will overrun and kill Thor. So Thor stands alone against the Norn Hag, Ulfrin the Dragon, the Rime Giants, Skoll and Hati the Wolf Gods, Geirrodur the Troll, and the Last of the Ice Giants. Kirby's art here is bizarre and wonderful, and in some cases (above), unsettling.

Thor is able to hold the breach until Odin and his warriors arrive--but only barely--and the enemies are defeated. In the end, Thor has a little more strength to lift the hammer with. When he can hold it above his head, he will have the power of the God of Thunder.

As always, terrific stuff.

Next time: Johnny Storm's aquarium brawl; Baron Mordo returns!

2 comments:

Roger Owen Green said...

You just described white privilege: "his fellow Avengers--Iron Man, Giant-Man and Wasp--show up to try and calm him down and offer their help (rather than barking orders, screaming threats, and beating him up, which is what they would have done had it been the Hulk..."

Just saying.

SamuraiFrog said...

Very true.