The issue starts with an image of Thor looking at an oncoming army and saying, “Only I and my hammer stand between the Executioner’s legions and … disaster!”
We are then taking on a recap of the last issue and how Dr Don Blake found the hammer that transformed him into the thunder god. Back in the present day, we see Dr Blake at work treating patients. He is being assisted by a nurse called Jane, and we find out that Dr Blake is very fond of her, but cannot bring himself to tell her due to his injuries and the fear that she would not feel the same.
However, Jane does feel the same way about him but feels as though he never offers her any affection. Meanwhile, both Dr Blake and Jane are in a car together and Jane is informing Dr Blake of the political situation that occurred whilst he was in Europe (the events covered in the last issue), namely a revolution in San Diablo. We learn that there are warring factions in San Diablo, one democratic and the other pro-communist and run by a vicious warlord known as “The Executioner“.
The following week, Dr Blake is attending a medical meeting and he learns about the medical crisis that has resulted from the revolution. There is an urgent need for volunteer doctors and Dr Blake puts himself forward. Jane insists on accompanying Dr Blake. Whilst on board a ship heading for San Diablo, they come under attack from fighter plans with orders from the Executioner to prevent the doctors from helping the locals.
Dr Blake notices the attack, and when nobody is looking he taps his cane to transform into the Thor. He flies into the air attacking and destroying all the planes. He returns to the sea and transforms himself back into Dr Blake, before appealing for help from the ship. He is saved and is told by Jane that a handsome god-like figure saved the day.
In San Diablo, the Executioner is informed by an officer of the failure, and is promptly executed. He then orders the rest of his army to make sure they stop the doctors from helping the “sick peasants“. They soon spy the doctors approaching and open fire. Dr Blake taps his cane twice this time, creating a thunderstorm to beat the army back. Once all the doctors are safely through, he taps his cane three time to quell the storm.
The doctors are soon in danger once more though, when tanks start to approach them. Don again turns into Thor and fights them, including using a tree he just upended to lever one of the tanks into the air and onto another tank. The tanks are destroyed but the army manage to capture Jane and take her to the Executioner. Thor changes back into Don and confronts the Executioner, who is unrepentant and orders him to face the firing squad. Jane appeals for his release and the Executioner asks what she would do to save him. Would she marry the Executioner? Jane agrees to but Don is not about to let this happen.
Don calls the Executioner a coward and demands that he is given his cane to fight him. The Executioner gleefully agrees and with one tap, a flash blinds the soldiers before revealing Thor standing there. He throws his hammer to a nearby supply tent, and it returns to him with the tent in tow. He drops the tent onto the soldiers before the Democratic army appears in the distance. The Executioner and his remaining troops flee, but not before Thor taps his cane again – sending lightning bolts at a volcano, causing into to erupt into their path.
In the confusion, the Executioner attempts to escape with bags of gold, but he is seen by the deserting army and in an ironic twist of fate, is executed by firing squad. This allows Don and Jane to finally treat the people of San Diablo. Jane asks Don where he was when all the fighting was happening. He explains he was hiding and Jane ruefully wishes that he was as brave as Thor.
This issue sees the introduction of Thor’s long-time love interest Jane. We also see that Dr Blake is a hero at heart, even if he cannot show it. And typical of the times, we get a communist villain based in a South American-like country.
As with the Hulk, Thor’s powers are not at their maximum yet. It is particularly jarring that he decides to turn back into Don Blake when Jane is captured rather than fighting as Thor. We’ll put it down to a newbie learning the ropes.
Writer – Stan Lee
Artist – Jack Kirby
Cover date – September 1962
Cover price – 12c
At the time of publishing, the most expensive listing for Journey into Mystery 84 on eBay is £846.81.
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