Journey Into Mystery (Vol. 1) #84

Credits:

Cover Date: September 1962

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Joe Sinnott

“The Mighty Thor vs. the Executioner!”

Writer: Larry Lieber

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Dick Ayers

What’s Going On?

The small, presumably Central/South American nation of San Diablo is being torn apart by revolution! The communist faction, led by the bloody Executioner, has the advantage over the democratic faction.

Doctor Don Blake and his nurse, Jane Foster are among the medical professionals that choose to visit the war-torn nation to provide medical aid. The Executioner does not like that — he wants the civilians weak, so they can be conquered with ease — so he sends his army to attack the the doctors. To protect his fellows, Doctor Blake transforms into Thor and (more or less) defeats the evil communists.

Is It Good?

Not really, no. The story is pretty hokey, the art is only interesting when Thor is on the page, and the overall message made my eyes roll. It is interesting that, at this point, Marvel is treating Thor like an alter-ego for Don Blake; they clearly are not two separate beings, which means that this isn’t the Thunder God that modern Marvel recognizes.

Sub-Plots:

  • Don Blake is secretly in love with Jane Foster, but he is too self-conscious of his disability to express himself.

  • Jane Foster secretly cares for Doctor Blake, but wants him to make the first move.

Continuity:

  • This is the first appearance of Jane Foster.
  • The Executioner in this issue is unrelated to the Asgardian villain, who has yet to debut.
  • This is the first Silver Age Marvel super-hero story where Stan Lee does not have a writing credit. Not that this comic was done without Stan’s knowledge or input; Larry Lieber is Stan’s brother, after all.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • I rather enjoyed Jane’s Madeline Kahn impression here: “Flames…on the side of my face…”

  • The Executioner certainly has some well-trained troops.

  • I like that the communist forces don’t even bother to have their own logo.

  • First of all, it’s funny to see Thor swing his hammer and get a “TWANNNNGG!” sound effect. Second, I like that we are being led to believe that Thor can casually split apart a jet fighter with his hammer, but a tank is far too tough. Third, the description of what happened in these panels does not match the art. That is all.

  • One of the nice things about lecherous villains in the 60’s is that they value consent.

  • I am not a geologist, but I don’t know how scientifically accurate this is. Can lightning cause volcanic eruptions?

  • Yes, Jane, if only the intelligent, unarmed man with mobility problems had been braver when given the chance to escape an execution squad. Yes, then he might be worth some affection!

Well, That Aged Poorly:

  • Don Blake is very self-conscious of the unspecified disability that necessitates that he use a cane to walk. Of course, this being 1962, the writers opts to describe him as “lame” instead.

  • Yes, this seems like a likely turn of events! This is why America will win the conflict in Asia!

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