Journey Into Mystery (Vol. 1) #98

Credits:

Cover Date: November 1963

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Sol Brodsky

“Challenged By the Human Cobra”

Writer: Stan Lee

Penciller: Don Heck

Inker: Don Heck

“Odin Battles Ymir, King of the Ice Giants”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Don Heck

What’s Going On?

In “Challenged By the Human Cobra,” Thor battles —- you guessed it —- the Cobra. When an amoral science assistant stages a lab accident as part of a plan to get fame and fortune for an experiment, he winds up with the abilities of a cobra. His plan is to develop an army of snake-powered men to do his bidding. Can Thor defeat someone with snake powers?

“Odin Battles Ymir, King of the Ice Giants” is the first true installment in the “Tales of Asgard” back-up feature. As the title suggests, we learn how Odin defeated the Frost Giants in ancient times.

Is It Good?

It’s okay, I guess. It was nice to see the Jane Foster subplot continuing from last issue, and Don Blake’s frustration was a welcome change for his normally bland character. The Cobra is not a good Thor villain, though, so that balances out the character moments.

The “Tales of Asgard” feature didn’t impress me at all. The feature is so short (5 pages total), and an entire page is devoted to a splash page. Sure, it looks pretty cool, but it’s tough to convey an epic battle in 4 pages.

Sub-Plots:

  • Donald Blake is upset after Jane Foster’s departure last issue; he is increasingly frustrated with the complications that being Thor causes him.
  • Professor Shecktor has developed a cure for snakebites. His jealous lab assistant, Klaus, thinks that he would credit for the experiment if the professor tragically died. To make it look like an accident, Klaus decides to infect them both with deadly snake venom, but make sure that only he takes the antidote.

  • Unfortunately, the snake that Klaus used had been used by the professor in some radiation experiments. The antidote saved Klaus from the venom, but not the radiation. Now he has the powers of a snake!

  • Professor Shecktor, Donald Blake’s onetime teacher, presumably dies off-panel.
  • Cobra handles himself admirably against Thor. His various snake-themed weapons don’t do much damage, but he does manage to throw a bound Thor out of a window.

  • After escaping Thor, Cobra goes to the first doctor office he can find. His plan is to force the doctor to generate more snake-serum, so he can infect others and build a snake-man army (I think? It’s not explicit).
  • The office Cobra chooses happens to be that of Dr. Bruce Andrews, the man Jane Foster just started working for. Andrews agrees to manufacture the serum, regardless of who might be harmed by it.

  • Thor followed Cobra to Andrews’ office, where Cobra takes Jane hostage. When given the choice to save Jane or apprehend Cobra, Thor opted for Jane and Cobra escaped.

Continuity:

  • This is the first appearance of Klaus Voorhees, the Cobra (although we don’t learn his last name in this issue).
  • Cobra claims to have many snake-related powers, but it is unclear what they are. He appears to have super-strength, fast reflexes, and the ability to climb walls and ceilings. Cobra claims to have super-speed, but this appears to be referring to his fast reflexes.

  • Cobra also has a variety of snake-themed weapons.

  • Jane Foster rejoins Dr. Blake’s practice, after quitting at the end of last issue.
  • Contrary to last issue’s “Tales of Asgard” story, it seems that Odin did not kill the Frost Giants. He simply trapped them for eternity in Surtur’s realm.

  • Similarly, Ymir was not killed, but trapped somewhere in Asgard.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Not pictured: the filing cabinet flying through a window, killing someone in the adjacent building.

  • “I have the cunning of a serpent! And also the cunning of a human! Perhaps I should have made a list of my attributes so I could have avoided repeating them!”

  • Apparently, the narrator conveniently forgot that Odin is the sole cause of the rift between Jane and Donald.

Well, That Aged Poorly:

  • India: land of caucasians.

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