“The Mysterious Radio-Active Man!”
Cover Date: June 1963
Plotter: Stan Lee
Scripter: Robert Bernstein (credited as R. Berns)
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Dick Ayers
Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers
What’s Going On?
After Thor foils a Chinese attack on India, he becomes a target of the People’s Republic. Knowing that conventional weapons cannot defeat Thor, they look into riskier solutions. One of the Chinese scientists working to defeat Thor is Dr. Chen Lu; he purposefully exposes himself to intense radiation to gain superpowers. Now known as the Radio-Active Man, he challenges Thor to combat! But Radio-Active Man’s powers prevent Thor from touching him — how can Thor defeat an enemy he can not touch?
Is It Good?
It’s not bad. The “you can’t touch me” twist, while nonsensical, gave Thor a new challenge, and the novelty was enough to make this readable.
- Thor was in India because Dr. Donald Blake was on a medical relief mission in the area.
- Radio-Active Man’s “radiations” can prevent Thor’s hammer from striking, and Thor’s lightning from doing damage.
- Radio-Active Man hypnotizes Thor and commands him to throw away his hammer.
- Radio-Active Man’s loses command of Thor when he reverts back into Donald Blake. This allows him to transform back into Thor, and continue the attack.
- Since he couldn’t hit his enemy, Thor created a tornado to carry him back to China.
- Thor is still tapping his hammer to access certain powers.
- Speaking of powers, Thor now has the ability to control avalanches and landslides.
- This is the first appearance of Dr. Chen Lu, the Radioactive Man. He has the ability to melt things, irradiate them, and other vague powers.
- This is the first appearance of Chairman Mao in Marvel Comics.
Comics Are Goofy:
- I don’t see the connection between being the God of Thunder and controlling landslides. Starting an avalanche? Okay, maybe, with some thunder. Controlling? No.
- I guess Communism has a hammer and a sickle, so they should be able to defeat Thor, right?
- Any doctor that uses terms like “limitless” is a bad one. That’s not the sort of talk that science condones.
- Most people would be happy with functional robot servants. The rest would be happy with the ethnic headgear on the robots. But Dr. Lu just can’t be satisfied!
- Why experiment on someone else first? Do I have to explain “trial and error” to a scientist?
- I’m pretty sure radiation isn’t like chicken pox, Dr. Lu.
- Yes, this is the action of a true Communist. Make sure no one else can duplicate your work, and that you are truly unique.
- Radio-Active Man sneaks into the country to battle Thor, and…still goes through customs?
- Radio-Active Man hypnotizes Thor with radiation? That’s…something, all right.
- How many people received an unexplained hour of radiation sickness after Blake casually bathed a ten-mile radius with these powerful X-rays?
- Let’s ignore that Thor created a tornado — an incredible destructive force that would have had to cross the continental US and the Pacific Ocean at a minimum — to act as a mode of transportation for Radio-Active Man. What we should focus on is how Thor doesn’t give a damn about Radio-Active Man going nuclear when he lands. That surely wouldn’t lead to a nuclear war with no winners, right, Thor?
Well, That Aged Poorly:
- Somebody please tell the colorist about India. Just because they were under English rule does not make them Caucasian.
- Somebody please tell the colorist (and Jack Kirby) to tone down the racism here: