Journey Into Mystery (Vol. 1) #91

Credits:

“Sandu, Master of the Supernatural!”

Cover Date: April 1963

Plotter: Stan Lee

Scripter: Larry Lieber

Penciller: Joe Sinnott

Inker: Joe Sinnott

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers

What’s Going On?

After his last battle with Thor, Loki is confined to Asgard. That doesn’t stop him from causing problems, though; he decides to give supernatural powers to Sandu, a carnival mind-reader. Sandu starts with petty theft, but quickly ramps up to commanding that the United Nations make him ruler of the Earth. This puts him on Thor’s radar. But can Thor foil Sandu’s evil plans?

Is It Good?

Nope. This is a dumb issue. It’s got a dumb villain with a ridiculously misused power. Aside from the historical curiosity of seeing some very off-prototype Valkyries and a belt that makes Thor super-duper-strong (that he then doesn’t wear frequently), this issue doesn’t have much going for it.

Sub-Plots:

  • Sandu’s new powers include limited telekinesis (limited because he can only levitate objects) and the ability to teleport objects.
  • Donald Blake immediately assumes that Loki has something to do with a bank building vanishing. He’s correct, but what are the odds?

  • Sandu manages to knock Thor out and bury him underneath a building, but Odin sends Thor his Belt of Strength and Thor escapes.
  • Sandu manages to separate Thor from his hammer by teleporting it (and Sandu) to another dimension. He then wastes this advantage by trying to lift Mjolnir. Sandu uses every bit of his super-powers to try and lift it, but his powers short out before it budges.

Continuity:

  • Appearances to the contrary, this is not the first comic to have the classic “corner box” on the cover. For some reason, Marvel Unlimited (where I grab my images from) shows a corner box on this issue, even though physical copies do not. I don’t know why they edited the cover, but they clearly did.

  • This issue has the first appearance of the Valkyries, although they are beneficial ghost-like creatures, rather than warriors on winged steeds.

  • This is the first appearance of Thor’s belt of strength, Megingjord. It effectively doubles Thor’s strength, but Odin keeps it in reserve most of the time. It is not named in this issue.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Sandu is the least subtle identity thief ever.

  • Nice save, Blake. Very smooth.

  • Loki decides to increase Sandu’s natural mental powers a thousandfold. How he does this is not explained. Is it permanent? Who knows? It’s just a thing Loki does sometimes.

  • Sandu’s new powers are levitation and teleportation. Why would he ever bother levitating something when he can just teleport it? Isn’t that redundant?
  • Donald Blake’s office is in New York City. Where is the nearest “lonely mountain”?

  • Sandu, you realize that Midas isn’t an aspirational figure, right?

  • Where else would he hide things?

  • Side note: wouldn’t it have been awesome if the Fantastic Four found one of these buildings when they visited the moon in Fantastic Four #13?
  • Keep in mind that Sandu can teleport things into space. He’s just not a bright guy.

  • Sandu can teleport things to otherdimensions. Why did he even fight Thor at all?

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