“The Demon Duplicators!”
Cover Date: August 1963
Plotter: Stan Lee
Scripter: Robert Bernstein (credited as R. Berns)
Penciller: Joe Sinnott
Inker: Joe Sinnott
Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers
What’s Going On?
Professor Zaxton, a colleague of Dr. Donald Blake, created a device that can instantly duplicate anything it is pointed at.
Zaxton is not a nice guy, though. He kidnapped Jane Foster to persuade Blake to help him perfect the duplicator for use on biological creatures. His ultimate goal: absolute power! But can Thor stop Zaxton when Zaxton makes an evil duplicate of Thor?
Is It Good?
No, this is another dumb one. Thor facing off against a human scientist is never the most fertile ground for good stories, but when you have such obviously ridiculous “science” employed in the story, the suspension of disbelief breaks.
- Donald Blake built an advanced android. The jealous Zaxton sabotages it, and it is destroyed.
- Zaxton witnesses Blake’s transformation into Thor, so he creates a duplicate Thor to protect him. Zaxton also duplicates Mjolnir, so the duplicate has two hammers.
- Zaxton falls off a bridge after being duplicated. Thor figures that the villain’s “evil” twin will be a good guy, so he basically shrugs and calls it a win.
- Thor is still tapping his hammer to access his powers.
- Asgard is referred to as a separate dimension. Is this the first time that’s happened?
- Donald Blake has crafted artificial life.
- That artificial life is brilliant and incredibly durable, too.
- Thor has a “code” to only harm humans in self defense. To be fair, that’s more generous than most gods.
- Zaxton discovers Thor’s secret identity! Good thing the evil Zaxton dies, so there are no repercussions.
Comics Are Goofy:
- Look at this splash page. The evil duplicate looks pretty great here, but the rest is just…bad. There’s no sense of motion, despite being mid-air, Sinnott draws Thor’s hammer like a croquet mallet, and Thor’s pose looks like Sinnott used a Ken doll for a photo-reference.
- Donald Blake, who is a surgeon, built an android. Sure, why not? He has no history of mechanical experiments or artificial intelligence, but yes, I believe he created advanced artificial life. Will this ever be mentioned again? I’m guessing not.
- Zaxton needed Donald Blake’s Help to perfect his duplicating machine for living creatures. Apparently, though, he is well aware that any living duplicate he makes will be evil? How could he know that? Is it a feature? How would you even make that work?