Journey Into Mystery (Vol. 1) #114

Credits:

Cover Date: March 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Chic Stone

“The Stronger I Am, the Sooner I Die!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Chic Stone

“Tales of Asgard: The Golden Apples”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Vince Colletta

What’s Going On?

Thor faces a villain that can do everything he can do, thanks to Loki!

In “Tales of Asgard,” we learn about the Norse version of Red Riding Hood.

Details:

In the main Thor story:

  • In his ongoing efforts to thwart Thor, Loki decides to give a mortal amazing powers to challenge the Thunder God. He selects Crusher Creel, a violent inmate. The newly empowered Creel breaks out of prison.

  • Donald Blake hears of the escaped convict with super-powers, so he transforms into Thor to investigate. He may have bitten off more than he can chew, though. The Absorbing Man (Creel) is able to absorb and replicate the power of both Thor and his hammer!

  • The Absorbing Man can also mimic Thor’s abilities. When Thor tried to blow away Creel’s weapon by spinning and creating a whirlwind, the villain was able to counter it.
  • At this point, a nosy reporter, Harris Hobbs, tries to force Creel into surrendering to the police. Hobbs threatens Creel with dynamite because how else would a normal person handle that situation? Only Thor’s whirlwind stops Hobbs from getting blown up by Creel.

  • Thor tracks down the Absorbing Man again and tries to defeat him with lightning bolts. Those get absorbed, too.

  • Thor tries to switch to hand-to-hand combat, but he is transported away to Asgard against his wishes. Balder has summoned him because Loki had kidnapped Jane Foster during the fight.

  • As Thor prepared to battle Loki in his stronghold, Crusher Creel was pretty proud of himself, back on Earth. He views Thor’s mid-fight disappearance as a forfeit, and he decides to hole up in a secluded country house while he plans his next moves. To be continued…!

In Tales of Asgard:

  • Iduna is on her way to deliver the Golden Apples of immorality to Odin; he then dispenses them to those worthy of immortality. Fenris Wolf tries to steal the apples from her.

  • Luckily, a passing hunter was nearby and hit Fenris with an enchanted axe, which sent the wolf god to a far-off place. According to Stan Lee, this is where the story of Little Red Riding Hood comes from. It’s not, but nice try, Stan.

Is It Good?

The “Tales of Asgard” story was bad, but the main feature was pretty good. It’s dumb, but definitely fun.

Why is it dumb? The opening fight with a random thief was boring and served little purpose. Harris Hobbs is obnoxious, idiotic, and clearly a danger to himself; naturally, he will become a recurring character soon. Creel breaks out of prison without knowing anything about his powers. But the worst part was when Loki abducted Jane Foster off-panel. There are ways to pull that off without showing Loki in the act, but interrupting an otherwise entertaining fight scene to do so is not the right way.

And yet, the Absorbing Man is a lot of fun. Part of it is the art; Jack Kirby gives Crusher some truly odd facial expressions, and I love them. The bigger reason is because Thor doesn’t fight his physical equal often. The fact that Crusher can mirror Thor’s abilities immediately makes him one of Marvel’s most powerful villains, and he seems to have fun being bad, which makes him a good fool for any hero. Honestly, this issue’s biggest flaw was that it didn’t have enough Crusher Creel in it.

Continuity:

  • This is the first appearance of Crusher Creel, the Absorbing Man. Loki slipped Creel an enchanted potion that gave him super-powers. He can change his body’s makeup to match anything he touches. He also (at least in this appearance) can absorb the power of superhumans that are nearby, without needing to touch them. When he absorbs something, it changes only Creel’s body, not the original object. His ball and chain can allegedly smash through anything.

  • This is the first appearance of Harris Hobbs, a reporter at an unnamed newspaper.
  • The cover corner box has changed slightly. Thor is no longer smiling.

  • Thor is still insisting that he has sworn to not harm any humans.

  • Loki has concluded that only Odin can take away Thor’s powers.

  • So now Thor’s hammer can sense “supernatural menace”?

  • This is the first appearance of Idunn, keeper of Asgard’s Golden Apples. She is called Iduna in this issue, but it’s Idunn on the Marvel Wikia.
  • This is the first appearance of Fenris Wolf, the Asgardian wolf god. He can change his size and shape, and appear as a man or wolf.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Loki puts the potion in the what now? Look, it’s already a magical potion. Why do you need pseudoscience to explain how it gets dispensed?

  • I’m not sold on the effectiveness of this tactic.

  • Why is a reporter bringing sticks of dynamite with to investigate a story?

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