Journey Into Mystery (Vol. 1) #118

Credits:

Cover Date: July 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Frank Giacoia

“To Kill a Thunder God!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Vince Colletta

“Tales of Asgard: the Crimson Hand”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Vince Colletta

What’s Going On?

In the main story, Thor battles the one thing that can destroy him with ease: the Destroyer!

In Tales of Asgard, Thor and Loki prepare to search for whoever has damaged the Odinsword, but how can Thor ever trust Loki?

Details:

In the main story:

  • Knowing that Thor has recovered the Norn Stones and plans to return to Asgard to discredit him, Loki plots to defeat Thor.

  • Loki draws the attention of a nearby hunter to Thor. He fires an anesthetic shell and Thor falls unconscious.

  • Rather than sell Thor to an enemy, though, the hunter is goaded by Loki to explore the jungle for treasure.

  • Loki subtly guides the hunter to the hidden, ancient Temple of Darkness!

  • Inside, the hunter finds an imposing figure. Then a blast of light freezes the mortal, and the Destroyer lives again!

  • When Thor woke up, he followed the hunter’s trail to the temple. Thor recognizes it and knows what is inside. That knowledge doesn’t prevent the Destroyer from hitting Thor pretty hard, though.

  • Thor is actually in a tough spot. The Destroyer can wield his hammer, and has the power to kill the Thunder God!

  • In Asgard, Loki realizes that his plan might backfire. If Thor actually dies, Odin will be furious. When he inevitably learns that Loki is responsible, Odin’s wrath will be fearsome.

  • Loki decides to cut his losses and get Odin involved now, because Odin can stop the Destroyer. Unfortunately, Odin is in a mystical sleep, and cannot be awoken.

  • Loki desperately tries to wake Odin, but the guards lock him in a dungeon because they don’t trust the god of mischief.

  • Meanwhile, Thor is losing badly to the Destroyer. He has been trapped, and is waiting for the killing blow to fall.

  • To be continued…!

In Tales of Asgard:

  • Thor and Loki prepare for their voyage to seek the person responsible for damaging the Odinsword.
  • Thor goes to Marduk’s workshop to get a map that will help them traverse unknown lands on their travels. Marduk also gives Thor another gift: a glove that, when it touches someone else’s hand, forces that person to speak the truth. Handy for someone traveling with Loki, right?

  • Thor tests the glove out on the sailor Loki chose to captain their ship. The sailor admits that his plan is to slay Thor, so they fight and Thor wins.

  • Thor then tries to shake hands with Loki, but he is too clever to be caught by Thor’s trap. The two leave on their mission into the unknown.
  • To be continued…!

Is It Good?

This was pretty good. I am liking that these stories have been both fairly stand-alone, but are also advancing a serial narrative. We’re not talking about Claremont-level subplots here, but this title (and the Hulk’s feature in Tales to Astonish) has made its storytelling more engaging by tying its stories together.

I am also enjoying the world-building going on in this title. Earlier issues only hinted at some of the weird stuff in Asgard, but now we’re getting epic missions, ancient artifacts, and ongoing tales. This is honestly what I was hoping for from Lee and Kirby (probably mostly Kirby) on this title.

Continuity:

  • Thor lost to Loki in the Trial of the Gods (in Journey Into Mystery #116), but only because Loki cheated. Thor recovered the Norn Stones last issue to prove Loki’s treachery, and that’s where this issue picks up.
  • This is the first appearance of the Destroyer. It is powerful armor that apparently needs a human host to power it.
  • This is the first appearance of Morduk. He won’t make another appearance for twenty years, when Charles Vess includes him in an Asgardian-themed graphic novel.
  • The Destroyer is able to lift Thor’s hammer.

  • The Destroyer can destroy Thor’s hammer, too.

  • This is the first mention of the Sleep of Life. Odin enters this sleep for a full day every year to extend his immortality and recharge his powers. This will eventually be renamed the Odinsleep.

  • In “Tales of Asgard,” Thor and Loki were instructed by Odin to find who cracked the Odinsword last issue.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • A single shell can instantly knock out a herd of elephants?!? What is in it, and why doesn’t the military use it?

  • Also, I really like the idea of prize hunters wishing they could kill and mount Thor on their walls.
  • Why does Odin need to sleep to stay immortal, but the rest of Asgard just need to eat special apples (per Journey Into Mystery #100)?

Well, That Aged Poorly:

  • It’s interesting to me that the Vietnamese last issue were colored like Caucasians, but the hunter’s servants (who should also be Vietnamese) are given significantly darker skin and dress.

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