Journey Into Mystery #107-108
Issue(s): Journey into Mystery #107,Journey into Mystery #108
In #107, Thor fights the Grey Gargoyle, who was a French chemist who gained the ability to turn himself into living stone and others into stone statues for 1 hour.
Thor is turned into a statue when fighting the Gargoyle, but he manages to turn back into Don Blake (by falling and landing on his hammer), and he's able to defeat him by using Tony Stark's image projector to lure him into the ocean, where he sinks. Blake's heroics gets him back on Jane Foster's good side after she was mad at him for 'betraying' Thor to Cobra and Hyde in the previous issue.
Odd inconsistency that could be considered a major plot hole: it's repeatedly said that the Gargoyle petrification power lasts one hour. But when Thor is turned to stone but manages to turn back into Blake, Blake says that he can't turn back to Thor again because the Gargoyle's spell lasts 24 hours. We'll have to assume that the Gargoyle touched Thor "extra hard" or something, and Thor somehow knew it. It's also interesting that turning back to Don Blake breaks the spell, but only for Blake, as if Blake is actually displacing Thor on Earth and Thor's stone body is sitting somewhere in Asgard or Limbo, rather than Thor actually transforming into Blake and vice versa.
Anyway, prior to that, Thor pretends to show up at Blake's office, acting angry due to the betrayal, and Jane tries to intervene, telling Thor that she loves Blake. This causes Thor to do some very ungodly hootin' and hollerin' once he's out of Jane's hearing range.
There's also an odd scene where a paranoid looking man is sitting in his apartment listening to the radio while Thor listens in. These flying super-heroes have no respect for people's privacy.
It's nice to see the police not being completely ineffective. They come after the Grey Gargoyle armed with flame throwers, because flame can turn stone into lava. Why not? If comic book science can work for the super-powered folks, why not for cops as well?
Also right before sinking into the ocean, the Gargoyle figures out that the projected Thor image is a hologram. The reason he figures it out is because Thor throws his hammer and remains in the air. The Gargoyle states that Thor can not fly without his hammer. I'm going to chalk that up to the Gargoyle's ignorance (he's also after Thor because he thinks the hammer will give him immortality), since as far as i'm concerned Thor can fly with or without the hammer. At the very least, he can fly the way Storm does, by commanding the winds to keep him aloft.
I wasn't impressed with the art in the earliest issues of Journey Into Mystery starring Thor, but i'm starting to see the awesomeness of Jack Kirby's style poke through. There seems to be more detail in the panel as well as the unusual poses and odd angles that one associates with The King.
#108 starts off with Thor destroying a city block in order to save a child from getting run over by a truck.
Then he answers a summons by Dr. Strange, who is weakened after an attack from Baron Mordo (where is Wong?).
Strange tells Thor that he "drove Mordo back to the shadows".
Thor takes Strange to the hospital where Blake operates on him, but he has to rely on Thor's supernatural knowledge in order to save him.
While he's in surgery, Blake gets a call from Odin asking for help in an Asgardian battle. Blake ignores the call because he's kind of in the middle of something, but Odin's not one for reason and in his blind rage he causes a storm that knocks out power in the hospital. Dr. Strange pulls through regardless.
In return for saving him, Dr. Strange helps Thor (indirectly) fight Loki later in the issue.
On his way to the Loki fight, the Avengers show up, but Thor tells them to butt out because "they would be no match for the immortal Loki".
It was one month ago that Thor and Loki appeared in Dr. Strange's book drawn by Ditko in Strange Tales #123. I guess it was time for Kirby to return the favor.
In the Tales of Asgard for these issues, Loki finds out from the Norn Queen that the one thing that can hurt Balder is mistletoe, but the Norn Queen prevents Loki from using it because other than mistletoe, all living things swore to protect Balder, and that includes the Norn Queen.
Also, Thor is deliberately captured by the Dwarves so that he can be sent to the Trolls...
...who have been keeping Asgardians as slaves. Thor frees his people from the Trolls and declares "nevermore shall men make slaves of others" Considering this event is occurring very soon after Mirmir first created humans, Thor didn't exactly live up to that oath. These stories present the young Thor as earnest and noble, which of course does not mesh with the real Norse mythology, but also doesn't mesh with how Thor's pre-Don Blake days are generally represented. The idea was that Thor was sent to Earth and merged with a human by Odin so that Thor might learn humility as well as a love and sympathy for humanity. Perhaps the answer is that Thor originally started down the right path but grew more arrogant and distant as he grew older, and Odin's punishment was a way to bring him back to his roots.
Quality Rating: C-
Historical Significance Rating: 6 - first Grey Gargoyle.
Chronological Placement Considerations: It's worth noting that Captain America doesn't show up when the other Avengers do. In terms of publication dates, this is well past Cap's first appearance in Avengers #4, so he must be a member of the team by now, but i guess he just doesn't show up when Thor's on a rampage. This justifies my reasoning on Journey into Mystery #101.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Thor vol. 1
Inbound References (9): show
uh...what part of Dr. Strange is Blake operating on? Strange collapsed from mystical fatigue. is Blake replacing his organs with less tired, new ones?
and if it's a "mystical" surgery, how the hell is he managing that with all those witnesses? there's like 8 people "assisting" in the operating room and a bunch of people observing from the gallery.
Posted by: min | July 7, 2012 1:43 PM
where's the apology for Kirby drawing Ditko's Dr. Strange?
Posted by: min | July 7, 2012 1:44 PM
Well you're wrong.
It isn't in the Marvel Comics at the time that Thor NORMALLY can fly unassisted by the hammer, let alone simply levitate on his own.
In the cartoons he can.
Posted by: Blue Spider | June 22, 2014 11:39 PM
He can control wind...
Posted by: roythegreenboy | August 17, 2015 2:01 PM
there's a reason Thor was unimpressed by Storm's powers in the Secret Wars. Anything she can do, he can do better (with the weather).
Posted by: kveto | August 14, 2016 3:33 AM
Will ever be explained how does Grey Gargoyle manage not to turn his gloves into stone?
Posted by: JTI88 | October 4, 2016 10:42 AM
Stolen unstable molecules?
Posted by: Michael | October 8, 2016 3:02 PM
The Handbooks claim he wears a specially treated glove with a flap on the palm that he can open or reseal.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 8, 2016 4:44 PM
Thanks. We just need to understand how he created the glove in the first place. But having read the comment regarding his "right hand only" power, we can speculate that he just created the glove with his left. Tricky, but we've seen worse.
Posted by: JTI88 | October 9, 2016 6:40 PM
Does the one glove bit put him in with Michael Jackson and O.J.Simpson?
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 29, 2016 7:38 PM
The proto-Bullpen Bulletins page in Amazing Spider-Man #13's letters page announces that Marvel will now refer to Journey into Mystery as "Thor," and Tales of Suspense as "Iron Man." Stan writes as if the actual titles of the comics are changing. Unfortunately, since the current issue of ToS is #55, it'll only be a few months before Captain America is a co-feature there.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | May 21, 2017 7:16 AM
Are we not going to talk about how the Grey Gargoyle is really just a rough statue of the Mole Man come to life? I mean look at that. The visor. Really.
Posted by: squirrel_defeater | January 15, 2018 11:38 PM
It's nice to see, given the Grey Gargoyle's French heritage and from the appearances I've seen of him, that the writers didn't lapse into writing his dialogue and thought bubbles with Pepe Lepew-like phrasing, a la Batroc, Cyclone, or Le Peregrine.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | February 12, 2018 12:58 AM
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