Journey Into Mystery (Vol. 1) #106

Credits:

Cover Date: July 1964

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Chic Stone

“The Thunder God Strikes Back!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Chic Stone

“Tales of Asgard: Balder the Brave”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Vince Colletta

What’s Going On?

The fight between Cobra, Mr. Hyde, and Thor continues! Meanwhile, in “Tales of Asgard,” we learn about Balder the Brave.

Details:

In “The Thunder God Strikes Back”:

  • At the end of last issue, a machine had grabbed Thor’s hammer, so he had only sixty seconds before he transformed back into Donald Blake. However, he also had to deal with Cobra and Mr. Hyde, as they prepared to attack. Thor’s solution: distract the villains and run into the crowd so he can turn into Blake unnoticed.

  • Thor’s plan worked, and no one noticed his transformation. Unfortunately, when his hammer transformed back into a wooden cane, it slipped inside the grappling machine that had been holding the hammer. Donald can’t reach his cane, which means he can’t turn back into Thor!
  • Mr. Hyde tires of hunting Thor down, so he threatens to attack the crowd. Donald Blake offers to help him find Thor, if he can get Blake’s antique cane from the grappling machine.

  • Cobra and Hyde are able to get Blake’s cane. As soon as he gets it, Blake runs into the crowd and turns back into Thor.

  • Thor makes quick work of Cobra, and is ready to defeat Mr. Hyde, when the police arrive. That provided enough of a distraction for Hyde to transform back into Calvin Zabo and blend in with the crowd.

  • Thor leaves the crime scene on foot, and Zabo follows him until they are on a deserted street. There, he transforms back into Mr. Hyde and attacks, knocking away Thor’s hammer. Thor decides to try to defeat Hyde quickly, rather than attempt to recover his hammer.

  • Thor wins the fight, and Cobra and Hyde go to jail. When Donald Blake finally returns to his office, he finds Jane Foster watching the news about Thor’s fight. She is very upset with Blake for offering to help Cobra and Hyde find Thor.

In “Tales of Asgard”:

  • When Odin learns that Balder turned away from battle to save a baby bird, the All-Father sentences him to death.

  • Balder accepts his fate, and faces his executioners without flinching. However, when deadly projectiles are sent his way, miracles occur and spare his life.

  • But they weren’t really miracles; this has all been a test of Balder’s bravery! For facing his death so bravely, Odin rewards the gentle Balder with invincibility.

Is It Good?

Not really. I liked the “Tales of Asgard” piece, even if it makes Odin look like a real jerk. The main story was just a little too dumb for me. I liked the final Thor/Hyde fight, though, quite a bit. The rest of the issue, with Thor and Hyde changing in and out of their civilian identities, didn’t do a good job building suspense of any kind.

Continuity:

  • This story continues from Journey Into Mystery #105.
  • Cobra’s snake powers now include the ability to wriggle into small places, which raises a lot of questions about his skeletal structure.

  • This is the first appearance of Honir, brother of Balder.
  • Balder the Brave last appeared in Journey Into Mystery #104.
  • Tyr last appeared in Journey Into Mystery #85.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • In this issue, Thor transforms twice in the middle of a large crowd. Is it really possible that no one saw him do it?

  • And how about that crowd? Mr. Hyde is threatening to kill random people, unless Thor is revealed, and they unanimously give Donald Blake crap for stepping forward? If they were all willing to die on Thor’s behalf, that’s very brave…but I don’t have that much faith in crowds.

  • So…Thor’s hammer can dispense “naked” energy…through wood only, maybe, and this…can cause explosions? Did I get that right?

  • I prefer it when villains are actually loyal friends, but every so often I get a good laugh when villains are dicks to each other. TOO BAD, COBRA!

  • These sort of lines are way more effective when someone else says them about you, instead of saying them yourself. Mr. Hyde, you need a hype man.

  • I like the idea of Thor casually strolling through neighborhoods. Like, sure, he could fly, but why not take some time and enjoy the day?

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