Journey Into Mystery (Vol. 1) #112

Credits:

Cover Date: January 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Chic Stone

“The Mighty Thor Battles the Incredible Hulk!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Chic Stone

“Tales of Asgard: The Coming of Loki!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Vince Colletta

What’s Going On?

In the main story, Thor tells some random kids an untold tale about him fighting the Hulk.

In Tales of Asgard, we learn how Loki came to be adopted by Odin.

Details:

In the main story:

  • Thor was flying through NYC, when he came across a group of Hulk fans arguing with a group of Thor fans about which hero is strongest. Thor felt the need to interrupt their argument and tell them a story…

  • Apparently, the Hulk and Thor fought during the events of Avengers #3, and just never told anyone about it —- until now!

  • Wanting to see for himself who was the strongest, Thor convinced Odin to suspend the enchantment that changes Thor back into Donald Blake if he is without his hammer. Odin grants Thor five minutes without his hammer to prove his superiority over the Hulk.

  • The two begin to fight, and it seems pretty evenly matched.

  • The Hulk appears to have an advantage in brute strength, but Thor is much quicker.

  • It is also worth noting that Thor is still very strong, even when compared to the Hulk.

  • Ultimately, the tunnels the Hulk and Thor were fighting in collapsed and separated the two. Back in the present, Thor concedes that neither won the fight, and neither is clearly stronger than the other.

In Tales of Asgard:

  • In a battle against the Frost Giants, Odin faces off, one-on-one, with King Laufey of the Frost Giants.

  • The two kings are evenly matched, until Odin breaks Laufey’s war club.

  • Seeing their king in danger, the Frost Giants attacked; the Asgardians responded in kind to protect Odin.

  • The Asgardians triumph in battle, and Laufey is slain. Among the wreckage, the Asgardians find Laufey’s infant son, Loki. Odin decides to adopt Loki.

Is It Good?

This was fun. It’s a big, dumb fight issue, and it was done well. It’s kind of silly —- why would Odin lift his enchantment here, but not in other instances? —- but it’s entertaining. I’m not a huge fan of “untold tales” that shove a story into existing continuity, but this didn’t make anything more convoluted than usual.

As for the Tales of Asgard story, it was a little underwhelming. I still think they should be doing multi-part stories in this back-up feature, rather than squeezing entire stories into five pages.

Continuity:

  • The Hulk last appeared in Tales to Astonish #62.
  • This is the first Hulk vs. Thor fight we’ve seen. Thor did try to fight the Hulk in Avengers #3, but the two never came to blows.
  • The events of the main story take place off-panel, during the events of Avengers #3.
  • This is the first time we’ve seen Marvel tell an “untold tale,” a story that is retroactively shoved into existing continuity. These aren’t exactly the same as retcons, since they don’t necessarily undo the events of a previous story, they just tell readers what happened in between what they’ve already read.
  • Thor’s hammer can cause a “dimension disruption,” which appears to be an impenetrable shield. Or something.

  • Without its enchantment, the Hulk is able to lift Thor’s hammer.

  • This is the first appearance of (and death of) Laufey, the Frost Giant. He doesn’t look like the blue-skinned Frost Giant that I would have expected; I wonder when he (and the Frost Giants) became blue?

  • Laufey is Loki’s father.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • The last time the Hulk was in New York City, it took the combined night of the Fantastic Four and Avengers to stop his rampage, and Hulk caused massive property damage. Naturally, he has rabid fans in NYC.

  • What do you think the Hulk’s crotch smells like? I’d have to assume sweaty broccoli.

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