Journey Into Mystery (Vol. 1) #119

Credits:

Cover Date: August 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Vince Colletta

“The Day of the Destroyer”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Vince Colletta

“Tales of Asgard: Gather, Warriors!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Vince Colletta

What’s Going On?

Thor must battle the Destroyer —- one of the few beings that Thor cannot defeat!

Details:

In the main story:

  • Picking up from last issue, Thor was trapped in an ancient temple, about to be disintegrated by the Destroyer’s force blast!
  • But somehow, Thor became ethereal and was able to escape! He returns to his normal, solid state after a few minutes.

  • Thor’s good fortune was the doing of none other than Loki. Imprisoned in Asgard, Loki cast a spell to assist Thor. The distance (or something) put a great strain on him, though, and he passed out; that’s why Thor became solid again.

  • Meanwhile, Thor is doing what he can to slow the Destroyer down. It’s not very effective.

  • Back in Asgard, Loki reaches out to the Norn Queen for help. He knows that, if Thor dies, Odin will learn of his involvement and punish him severely, so he asks the Queen to wake Odin from his slumber.

  • She agrees to use her magic to wake Odin from his mystical slumber. Odin awakens and quickly realizes what is happening on Earth.

  • Odin offers to help Thor, but the Thunder God refuses! He has tracked back through the temple and found the hunter’s body (remember him from last issue?); the hunter’s consciousness is powering the Destroyer, so Thor uses the body as a shield, hoping that the Destroyer won’t destroy its host. And what do you know? Thor’s bet pays off!

  • The hunter’s mind is now back in the proper body, and the Destroyer is inert once again. Thor then collapses the temple containing the Destroyer so no other human will find it.

  • After the battle, Thor uses the Norn Stones to start looking for a forge that will help him repair his broken hammer.

  • Back in Asgard, Odin was preparing to punish Loki for his part in the day’s misdeeds, but his guards testified that Loki had tried to wake Odin and help Thor. Odin recognizes this for what it is —- Loki acting out of self-preservation —- so, he gives a lesser punishment. Loki must serve as an apprentice to the warlock Ularic.

In Tales of Asgard:

  • Thor & Loki’s mission gains some fellow adventurers! Before departing from Asgard, Fandral and Hogun join the party. Kroda and Magrat do, too, but Balder suspects that they will be trouble.

  • Also joining is Volstagg.

  • Meanwhile, back in Odin’s palace, someone has vandalized a wall with the message “Ragnarok is coming”!

Is It Good?

I enjoyed this issue. The main story was more than a little strange, with some unexplained plot points (Why, exactly, didn’t Thor accept Odin’s help? Did Loki try to use magic to wake Odin? Will waking up from the Odinsleep impact Odin?) and the over-convenient timing of magical spells in the plot. Still, it provided Thor with an unfamiliar challenge and unusual allies. I am also glad that Stan and Jack are paying more attention to continuity; Thor using the Norn Stones and wanting to fix his hammer are both things that would have been fixed between issues not too long ago, but here they are fueling future stories.

I have a slight problem with the Tales of Asgard back-up feature, though. While I like that the feature has evolved into a serial format, it is not being given much room to tell a story. This month, there are five pages, with one being a splash page. I want to see more of Asgard and the various out-of-time adventures that Thor goes on, but at five pages per issue, it feels like there is little plot progress each month.

Continuity:

  • This is part 6 of the ongoing main story in this title. Thor has been briefly sidetracked in his mission to prove that Loki cheated in the Trial of the Gods.
  • Thor’s hammer was damaged by the Destroyer last issue. It still works…kind of.

  • The Destroyer is activated when someone gets within a certain distance of the inert armor. It wasn’t clear last issue, but the person’s mind that is powering the armor does appear to exert some control; maybe not enough to decide to not destroy stuff, but some.
  • This is the first appearance of Ularic, the warlock. What makes his magic different from Loki’s, I don’t know.
  • Odin’s punishment for Loki is to have him act as an underling for Ularic. There is no set duration for this punishment.

  • This issue is part 3 of the ongoing Tales of Asgard story. Thor and Loki are putting together a team to discover who is damaging the Odinsword.
  • Balder the Brave last appeared in Journey Into Mystery #117.
  • This is the first appearance of the Warriors Three (although this term is not used in this issue): Fandral the Dashing, Hogun the Grim, and Volstagg the Enormous.
  • Remember, Volstagg is fat. This needs to be mentioned to readers, because comics are not a visual medium.

  • This is the first time Volstagg’s large family —- a wife and fifteen kids (!) —- is mentioned.

  • This is also the first appearance of Kroda the Duelist and Magrat the Schemer.
  • This is the first mention of Ragnarok, the “twilight of the Gods.”

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Are Asgardians sworn to not harm mortals, or simply not kill mortals? This issue uses both words interchangeably, and I’m confused.

  • Two things: First, you didn’t “suddenly remember” this, you mentioned it only a few panels earlier when you were in the Destroyer armor. Second, it sounds like you’re fetishizing your comparative weakness to Thor. Please stop that.

  • Why didn’t Loki use his magic to try and wake up Odin?

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