Journey Into Mystery (Vol. 1) #88

Credits:

“The Vengeance of Loki!”

Cover Date: January 1963

Plotter: Stan Lee

Scripter: Larry Lieber

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Dick Ayers

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers

What’s Going On?

Loki returns to Earth with a plan to defeat Thor: he will keep Thor away from his hammer long enough to force Thor to transform back into Donald Blake! Having accomplished that successfully, Loki then puts a magic barrier around Thor’s hammer to prevent Blake from transforming back into Thor.

Loki then proceeds to go on a victory lap, causing as much mischief as possible. Can Donald Blake, without Thor’s hammer, stop Loki before that mischief becomes deadly?

Is It Good?

Sadly, no. I was looking forward to Loki’s inevitable return, but this issue underwhelms.

Sub-Plots:

  • While in Asgard, Loki uses magic to spy on Thor. He discovers that Thor transforms into a mortal if he is without his hammer for long.

  • Loki escapes Asgard and sets a trap for Thor. He places Jane Foster in harm’s way and Thor has to choose between retrieving his hammer and saving Jane. He saves Jane, and transforms into Donald Blake.

  • Donald Blake uses a mannequin to trick Loki into removing the spell protecting Thor’s hammer.

Continuity:

  • Heimdall apparently doesn’t yet have the all-seeing vision that the character is famous for. Loki transforms into a snake to sneak past him.
  • Loki’s powers are vaguely defined, but he appears to be able to do practically whatever he wants.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Apparently, after escaping his imprisonment in Journey Into Mystery #85 and being defeated by Thor, Loki was punished with…house arrest? He broke out of prison, and is given more privileges than he had before? Huh. Asgardian law is weird.

  • Loki, God of Mischief and practitioner of magic spells, apparently uses rubber masks for disguises.

  • Based on this panel, it Jack Kirby cleary thinks Blake is a scientist, rather than a doctor that sees patients.

  • Loki is less a mischievous illusionist here than he is a petulant child with the ability to warp reality. If he can change reality, why doesn’t he destroy Thor’s hammer?

  • There are a few weird things about this sequence —- why would a God of Mischief ever disarm a bomb? Why were Soviets testing bombs near North America?—- but my favorite bit is that the pilots of the bomber fear retribution for a dud bomb. How will the pilots face Nikita now?

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