Journey Into Mystery (Vol. 1) #104

Credits:

Cover Date: May 1964

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Chic Stone

“Giants Walk the Earth!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Chic Stone

“Tales of Asgard: Heimdall the Guardian if the Rainbow Bridge”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Don Heck

What’s Going On?

When Odin visits Thor on Earth in the main story, he makes a mistake by leaving Loki in charge of Asgard. Loki immediately frees some of Asgard’s most powerful foes and sends them to battle Thor and Odin, in an attempt to win Asgard’s throne.

In “Tales of Asgard,” we learn how Heimdall became the sentry of the Bifrost.

Details:

In “Giants Walk the Earth”:

  • In Asgard, Odin is still troubled by Thor’s love for Jane Foster, so he asks Loki for advice.

  • Loki suggests that Odin visit Earth in person to discuss things with Thor. Odin agrees, and leaves Loki in charge of Asgard.

  • Of course, Loki has no intention of being the lord of Asgard temporarily. He uses the power Odin lent him to free Skagg and Surtur, two of Odin’s oldest foes, to fight Odin on Loki’s behalf.

  • Loki’s action does not go unnoticed. The all-seeing Heimdall takes note and sends Balder the Brave to Earth to warn Odin and Thor. Odin decides that what comes next should not be witnessed by mortal eyes:

  • The Frost Giant Skagg is the first to attack the gods, and Balder is the first to face him. He does pretty well.

  • Sensing that they are outmatched, Skagg and Surtur decide to increase the stakes; instead of simply defeating the Asgardians, they will destroy the Earth instead.

  • Even with subtle help from Loki, Skagg is eventually defeated by Odin. The effort exhausts the All-Father.

  • Thor takes up Odin’s enchanted sword to handle Surtur, though the villain is far away.

  • Thor then uses the sword to send Surtur into space, where he is trapped on an asteroid, forever.

  • As punishment for treason, attempted assassination, and trying to destroy the Earth, Loki has to work for the Dwarves for a while.

In Tales of Asgard:

  • We learn how Heimdall auditioned to become the sentry for the Rainbow Bridge. (Hint: is had to do with his excellent hearing and vision)

Is It Good?

Yes, this was a pretty good issue. I liked how quickly Loki proves himself to be untrustworthy, and I liked the scope of Skagg and Surtur’s threat. It was also nice to see another Asgardian fighting. The “Tales of Asgard” story wasn’t great, but I liked that it spotlighted Heimdall, rather than Thor or Odin.

I even liked how stupid Odin was to leave Loki in charge of Asgard. That is the choice of a distracted parent, and, with that perspective, I find it all too plausible.

Continuity:

  • Check out the new title design! This is the first time “Thor” has been stylized, as well as the first time “Journey Into Mystery” has been smaller than “Thor.”

  • This is Skagg’s only appearance.
  • The captured Frost Giant king is Brimer. This is his first appearance.
  • This is also the first appearance of Agnar the Fierce and Gotron the Agile.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Possibly not.

  • While I can explain away the carelessness with which Odin left Loki in charge, it does leave me with some questions. Does Asgard not have a chain of command? After Odin and Thor, the next in line probably shouldn’t be the mischievous villain that keeps getting imprisoned by the king.
  • How does Donald Blake know that Loki was behind last issue’s trouble with the Enchantress and Executioner? That seems awfully presumptuous. Sure, he’s correct, but still…

  • Look, buddy, I’ve got some bad news for you: Loki is a god, so him dying is probably not in the cards. Even if it was, you’d probably have to be the one to kill him, and you haven’t bothered to be physical with him in the past. I’m just saying that you’ve got quite the vigil ahead of you.

  • Find yourself someone who loves you like Loki loves this throne.

  • Thor needed to prove himself worthy to lift Mjolnir, but he just needs to be his dad’s son to use the far more powerful sword of Odin? That doesn’t seem very well thought out.

  • Thor defeated Surtur by…sending him into deep space? That doesn’t seem very Norse-like. And Surtur is stuck in space because he is being held to the asteroid through magnetism? Is Surtur made of metal?

  • Doesn’t the phrase “cloaked in truth” imply that he’s hiding something?

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