Journey Into Mystery (Vol. 1) #120

Credits:

Cover Date: September 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Vince Colletta

“With My Hammer In Hand…!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Vince Colletta

“Tales of Asgard: Set Sail!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Vince Colletta

What’s Going On?

Thor finally returns the Norn Stones to Asgard and begins a new adventure. What kind of adventure? The kind that treats Jane Foster like a missing persons case and also brings back the Absorbing Man in the same story, that’s what!

Details:

In the main story:

  • The story opens with Thor successfully repairing his broken hammer and returning to Asgard.

  • On Asgard, Odin accepts the Norn Stones as proof that Loki cheated in the Trial of the Gods. Thor is the default winner now.

  • With Loki being punished and his honor restored, Thor returns to Earth. When he arrives at the office of Dr. Donald Blake, though, he finds it locked and empty! The office is in shambles, the rent has not been paid, and Jane Foster is missing!

  • Thor tries to enlist the help of the Avengers to find Jane, but is surprised to find the roster almost completely changed! He opts to not ask for help from these strangers.

  • Elsewhere in the city, Jane Foster is worrying about Donald Blake. So, while the janitor and landlord of Blake’s office may not know where she is, we now know two things: she is in the presence of a mysterious man, and she has access to a window.

  • Meanwhile, Loki tires of his punishment and uses a potion to incapacitate his supervisor, Ularic.

  • Left to his own devices, Loki doesn’t try to escape. Instead, he puts into motion a plot to usurp Odin’s throne and destroy Thor. He creates a device that locates a special and dangerous enemy of Thor’s…

  • …none other than the Absorbing Man! Loki sends the villain back to Earth to get his revenge on Thor.

In Tales of Asgard:

  • With their crew assembled, Thor and Loki’s boat sets sail through space.

  • There is a moment when Magrat and Kroda consider suddenly attacking Thor, but Hogun the Grim dissuades them.

  • Back in Asgard, Odin and his Grand Vizier discuss whether Odin made the right choice. Could there be some secret about Thor and Loki’s mission that Odin has kept from them?

Is It Good?

It’s not very good, actually. I like that the feature story doesn’t have a clean ending, and they continue the issue-to-issue plotting. This was just a transition issue from one storyline to the next, and it really feels like Stan and Jack were just trying to set up the next story, regardless of how much sense anything made. On the bright side, it looks like we’ll have Absorbing Man around for a few issues, so at least Thor should have some cool battles soon.

Tales of Asgard continues it’s Odinsword storyline, and it continues to move very slowly. I don’t know if Stan and Jack have figured out the right rhythm for these backup stories. I like the high concept, it’s just dragging.

Continuity:

  • This issue pretty much acts as the 7th and final chapter of the featured Trial of the Gods storyline. It also marks the first part of the next storyline, presumably about Loki’s revenge.
  • Thor’s hammer was broken by the Destroyer in Journey Into Mystery #118.
  • The Trial of the Gods took place in Journey Into Mystery #116.
  • Jane Foster last appeared in Journey Into Mystery #117, where Balder wiped her memory of being attacked by the Enchantress and Executioner.
  • The Absorbing Man last appeared in Journey Into Mystery #115, when he was dispersed into space when Thor transformed him into helium gas.
  • The mysterious man with Jane Foster will turn out to be Harris Hobbs. His last appearance was in Journey Into Mystery #115.
  • Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch all last appeared in Avengers #20.
  • Apparently, at this point in continuity, you don’t need special or magical furnaces to forge Asgardian weapons.
  • We have a Kirby collage! This time, it looks like just a photograph of a metalworks behind Kirby’s drawings.

  • Thor obtained the Norn Stones in Journey Into Mystery #117. He gives them to Odin in this issue, although he accidentally left one stone on Earth.

  • Now that Thor is the official winner of the Trial of the Gods, that means Odin no longer believes Loki’s lie about Thor bringing Jane Foster to Asgard (in Journey Into Mystery #114 and #115) to make her immortal.
  • Loki was assigned to be Ularic’s apprentice as punishment for releasing the Destroyer last issue.
  • This is the first time Thor has met Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch; it is also the first he learned of the Avengers’ roster change. Since he doesn’t rejoin the team or ask for their help, this is the closest thing to an official notice that Thor is no longer an Avenger. It was assumed he had quit the team in Avengers #16.
  • This is the first appearance of Odin’s Grand Vizier. He is an adviser to Odin.
  • This is the first appearance of Hildegund, Volstagg’s wife.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • What does being the God of Thunder have to do with metalwork?

  • Realistically, the only thing proved by Thor handing over the Norn Stones is that Thor found the Norn Stones. How does this prove that Loki ever had them or used them anywhere, much less during the Trial of the Gods?

  • Shouldn’t all mortals seem like “youngsters” to Thor?

  • Didn’t you literally just —- as in, last issue —-try to save Thor from the only creature in the universe who can destroy Thor? And since when is Crusher Creel more dangerous than the Destroyer?

Well, That Aged Poorly:

  • Great. Another redhead who constantly talks trash about his wife. I get the impression that Volstagg is one of those guys who call watching their own kids “babysitting.”

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