Journey Into Mystery #104-106
Issue(s): Journey Into Mystery #104, Journey Into Mystery #105, Journey Into Mystery #106
Review/plot: We start with Loki berating the Enchantress and the Executioner for failing to defeat Thor in the last arc.
But Loki's got lots of irons in the fire. He's still manipulating Odin who is mad at Thor for loving Jane.
He convinces Odin to head out to Earth and confront Thor directly. Odin leaves Loki in charge. As soon as Odin heads off, Loki sits on the throne and releases Skagg the storm giant and Surtur the fire demon.
Heimdall sees them and sends Balder to alert Odin (this is Balder's first proper appearance, not counting a silhouette in JIM #85 and a brief Tales of Asgard appearance in JIM #102).
Odin sends all the people on Earth into another dimension (!)...
...and he, Balder, and Thor battle the two mega bad guys.
Surtur is only human sized in this appearance. Thor leaves him stuck to an asteroid in deep space, which is, interestingly, where Surtur will launch the horde of demons that sets off Ragnarok in Walt Simonson's run many years later.
After the tough fight, Odin decides that it's not the right time to talk about Jane Foster. But luckily, Odin finally figures out that Loki is a nutcase that needs to be locked up, so he sends him to the trolls.
Next, after an Avengers meeting (i love that they have these regular formal meetings, and i love this time it happens in Thor's book just to show how it's all connected (and to promote the Avengers, ofc))...
...Thor flies off and winds up in a fight with the Cobra. The Cobra hides in an apartment that turns out to belong to Calvin Zabo - Mr. Hyde.
The two of them form a lasting partnership (although it's a very abusive relationship because Hyde has a bit of a temper) and go against Thor. They locate Thor using a crazy device that lets them view events that have recently occurred in the past, and they trace him back to Don Blake's office. Luckily they don't actually see him transform into Blake, and they don't make the connection.
It's a really rough, two-issue fight...
...and at one point Thor gets turned into Don Blake with his walking stick stuck in a mechanical device. Don has to 'betray' Thor in order to change back, which Jane Foster hears about on television and gets mad about. But it's really about getting his cane back; i love this scene with the Cobra having to snake his way through the device. He ultimately fails to retrieve the stick and Hyde simply smashes it open to get the stick.
Thor does win the fight, and both Cobra and Hyde go to jail.
Tales of Asgard: The story of how Heimdall got his job guarding the rainbow bridge...
...a story about when Heimdall once didn't see an air sprite fly past him but warned Odin anyway...
...and a story of how Baldur got his invulnerability.
Per min's comments, here's some pictures of the awesomely-dressed Nedra from the Tales of Asgard back-up in #105.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: Essential Thor vol. 1
Inbound References (1): show
Balder, Captain America, Cobra, Enchantress, Executioner, Heimdall, Henry Pym, Iron Man, Jane Foster, Loki, Mr. Hyde, Odin, Skagg, Surtur, Thor, Wasp
"Skag" was also 1960s slang for heroin.
Odin is such a chump. how many times is he going to let Loki trick him with these obvious ploys?
so, when the Cobra tries to sneak up on Zabo, Zabo says "Someone behind me! It can only be an enemy!". sometimes fnord12 comes up behind me. now i know i should just turn around and start swinging.
the Heimdall getting picked to guard the Rainbow Bridge story is weird in that Heimdall "reveals" his abilities to hear and see everything as if nobody was aware of this previously. is Heimdall the new guy or has he been keeping his skills a secret all this time?
let's face it, we all love it when Kirby draws Asgardians and all of their enemies because of the awesome costumes he dresses them in. in the "When Heimdall Failed" story, Kirby's got Queen Nedra in the most awesome fur head thing. and he dresses her in these fuzzy booties that look like slipper mops to me.
the last Tales of Asgard story is another weird one where Odin has a bunch of his warriors try to kill Baldur whilst secretly making sure those attempts fail. he reveals it at the end after each of the warriors have begged Odin to not have to kill Baldur. then it's all "Ha Ha! That's great! Odin, you're the best!". i think Odin just enjoyed the power of making them all do something they really didn't want to. crazy old man.
Probably would bump it up a Significance Number for Surtr's first modern appearance (outside Tales of Asgard) and, as you mentioned, essentially setting up for the Surtwar 20 years later.
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