Journey Into Mystery 84

journey into mystery 84

Synopsis

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.

Comment

 

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.

Details

Writer – Stan Lee

Artist – Jack Kirby

Cover date – September 1962

Financials

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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Journey into Mystery 83

journintomys83

And so we get to the introduction of the Mighty Thor, but not in his own title. Instead, he first appears in the pages of an anthology title, Journey into Mystery, which had already run for 82 issues.

Synopsis

The story begins in Norway, where a frail Dr Don Blake is on holiday. Unbeknownst to Don, an alien spaceship (there seem to be plenty of aliens landing on Earth in 1962!) lands behind him carrying seemingly rock-like creatures from Saturn. The atmosphere on Earth appears to give these creatures greater strength than they have on Saturn, making it all the easier for them to conquer.

A lone fisherman spots the creatures as they try out their new found powers. The fisherman runs off to a nearby village to warn the locals, but nobody believes him. Nobody except Dr Don Blake, who overhears the men talking. The next day, he goes to investigate.

He soon finds the creatures. He turns to leave, but steps on a twig and the sound alerts the rock-men. Unfortunately,. Don’s frail form does not allow him to run fast enough to get away, and he soon trips, stumbles and falls into a cave. He ventures deeper into the cave, hoping for another exit, but his way appears blocked. Just when he is about to give up, a wall he is leaning on gives way.

A secret chamber is revealed, and lying inside is a gnarled looking cane. Don picks up the cane to see if he can use it to lever himself out.  When he is unable to move the rock blocking his path, he slams the cane down, which causes a magnificent transformation. Don suddenly feels powerful, and the can has turned into a mighty hammer. That is not all, written on the hammer are the following words:

“WHOSOEVER HOLDS

THIS HAMMER, IF HE BE

WORTHY, SHALL

POSSESS THE POWER OF…

THOR”

Don know who Thor is, the legendary God of Thunder! He is easily able to move the boulder blocking his path now, and on leaving the cave he transforms back into the frail Don Blake. When he picks up the hammer again, he is again transformed into Thor. He tests his powers, and finds that his hammer returns to him when he throws.  He also appears to be able to control the weather.

Meanwhile, at a nearby NATO base, a fleet of flying objects is detected. The invaders notice the imminent interception and and fire a “monster image”. Soon a huge three-dimensional dragon appears in the sky and disperses the air force. Rockets are then fired at the ships, but they are not able to get through the force fields protecting the ships.

Don notices the attack, and fearing that NATO will not be able to stop the invaders,. strikes his cane on the ground and turns into Thor. The rock-men instantly note that the sky is no longer clear. Thor then flies into the air using his hammer and takes the attack to the rock-men. Thor is able to repel everything the rock-men throw at him, causing them to unleash the “Mechano-Monster”. The monster is ordered to destroy Thor.

Thor takes one swing of his hammer and obliterates the monster, causing the rock-men to abandon their attack and flee. Thor then notices soldiers approaching, and not wanting to be noticed, taps his cane again and turns back into Don Blake. Don is seen, but ignored by the soldiers, allowing him to slope away.

There are three other stories in this issue (The Perfect Crime, When the Jungle Sleeps and Discovery) but they are not covered in this blog.

Comments

The most interesting aspect of the introduction of Thor is his alter-ego, Don Blake. This will be particularly of surprise to fans of Thor who only know him through the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But in keeping with the other Marvel super hero Hulk, the human alter-ego seems the exact opposite of the hero.

This is the shortest story we have covered to date, as it appears in an anthology title. In fact, it is not for another year before Thor makes an appearance in a full story.

Details

Writer – Stan Lee

Artist – Jack Kirby

Cover date – August 1962

Financials and further reading

Cover price – 12c

At the time of publishing, the most expensive listing for Journey into Mystery 83 on eBay is £10,709.

This issue can be read digitally at Marvel here, and in hardcopy in Marvel Masterworks: The Mighty Thor volume 1 (collecting Journey into Mystery 83-100), available from Amazon here.

Coming next

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ComicRetrospective 2016

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