“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.
- 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.
- 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?