The Small Lebowski:
Journey Into Mystery #94-96
Issue(s): Journey Into Mystery #94, Journey Into Mystery #95, Journey Into Mystery #96
Even with Thor under his control, Loki acknowledges that he can't defeat all the other Asgardians. So he threatens to take the Earth hostage instead. Odin seems more than willing to be at Loki's mercy.
The two of them then go on a rampage on Earth...
...but Odin and his buds eventually put a stop to it and erase the entire incident from humanity's memory. I hate stories like that.
In the next story, Don Blake has created an indestructible synthetic man. HUH??? How?!? He's supposed to be a doctor! And... WHY would you create an indestructible synthetic man??? For some reason, Thor is helping to display the synthetic man at a seminar.
The other demonstrator, Doctor Zaxton, sabotages the experiment and the synthetic man is about to explode, but Thor throws him away so no one is hurt. The poor synthezoid stands patiently and encourages Thor to hurry so that he can die without killing others. Nice guy. Suddenly, the story switches gears and now the plot is that Zaxton has a duplicator ray...
...and he wants to duplicate human beings but Don Blake won't help him. Zaxton duplicates Thor and the two Thor's fight, but Mjolnir can not be duplicated so the real Thor wins. Zaxton then duplicates himself and then dies, leaving his duplicate, who happens to be a nice guy, behind.
In #96, a museum opens up a casket and releases Merlin the wizard.
Except he's not actually a wizard. He's an ancient mutant who uses his telepathic and telekinetic powers to simulate magic. It's kind of weird timing; with X-Men #1 coming out for the first time this month, the only previous appearance of mutants (that i'm aware of) was Amazing Adult Fantasy #14. Before fighting Merlin, Thor checks with Loki to see if he's involved, but Loki assures him that he's not. Then Thor defeats Merlin by tricking Merlin into believing he is a shapeshifter by transforming into Don Blake. Somehow, turning into a lame doctor is enough to convince Merlin to go back to sleep.
"Merlin" is basically an alias. In his return appearances, he will go by the name "Maha Yogi".
The beginning of issue #96 has Donald Blake standing up a waiting room full of sick patients while he performs some rescues as Thor. Eventually the patients all leave and Jane Foster is rightfully upset with Blake. There's no denying that he's doing good work as Thor, but he shouldn't be running a medical office if he is turning away sick people who have an expectation to see a doctor.
Terrible stories all around.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Thor vol. 1
this might only be true in the black and white version - when Loki and Thor are going around wreaking havoc, there's this incredibly weird panel that's supposed to be Loki's riding on Thor's back (er..?) as Thor's flying and striking the ground with his hammer. it's a silhouette so all you get is this black blob with no details and it looks like some sort of flappy, three-legged monster.
Posted by: min | December 2, 2011 2:35 PM
I added the silhouette image (in color).
Posted by: fnord12 | December 2, 2011 2:58 PM
That picture is fantastic. Now all we need is to get Marvel to put in a Loki/Thor piggy-back ride scene into Thor 3, and I can die happy.
Posted by: ParanoidObsessive | August 28, 2014 8:20 AM
Donald Blake's indestructible synthetic man should have been brought back to fight Bruce Banner's indestructible body armor from Tales to Astonish 60.
Then they'd both fall apart, because a medical doctor and a nuclear physicist shouldn't know how to build indestructible machines.
Posted by: Mortificator | May 11, 2016 11:58 PM
Was talking a bit about Mad Merlin/Maha Yogi in the X-Men #1 review, and I sort of just feel sorry for the guy thinking it over. For all unintended purpose, he basically did first what Apocalypse would do many years later: be a mutant threat who came from the past, woke after a long slumber and then tried to make a name for himself in the modern age. Then again, the reason you feel sorry for Maha Yogi is simply while he may have had the strategy, he didn't have Apocalypse's vast resources and whatnot. (or the Simonseons supporting him as a major player from the start whereas Maha Yogi is just a weird one-off who happened to be a mutant who picked the wrong month to reawaken)
Posted by: Ataru320 | April 20, 2017 10:33 PM
Odin and some other Asgardians go to Earth to save Thor. A few issues later, when Odin is about to go to Earth, he's like "it's been so long since I've last been there!"
Posted by: Enchlore | April 20, 2017 10:43 PM
The Mad Merlin also has the disadvantage that he slept through a millennium and a half.
Oddly,m he's a character whose origin keeps getting retconned. Here, he's a n early mutant. Int he 1980s, it's stated that he got his immortality and powers from the Bloodgem fragment. And then in the 90s a Book of the Vishanti backup will suggest that his powers are from experiments by the Caretakers of Arcturus.
And then there's Alan Moore hinting that all of the various Marlins are guises of the Merlyn of Otherworld....who may or may not also be an incarnation of the Doctor from Doctor Who per yet another story that Moore is referencing....Marvel's Merlin characters are a headache, and that headache starts here.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | April 21, 2017 12:48 PM
I actually like the Synthetic Man/Duplicator ray story. The art on it is kind of neat in a Golden Age way -- especially with the duplicated stuff that's just been traced or mimeographed.
Granted, it's pretty weird that Donald Blake woke up one day and decided he was going to be the next Phineas Horton -- but that just makes it more endearing to me. It kinda feels like a half-decent Superman story that was just redrawn.
Posted by: FF3 | November 28, 2017 8:46 PM
FF3, if the writer was Robert Bernstein (not Richard as listed above) then the story may indeed be a repurposed Superman adventure. Bernstein had worked in Super-editor Mort Weisinger’s stable of writers in the 1950s, and may have been put on Thor for that reason. In a few of those early JiMs during the Kirby-Lee hiatus, Marvel seemed to be content to let “Superman retread” be Thor’s direction. That changed (!) when Kirby returned to the character, and greatly enlarged Thor’s universe.
Posted by: Chris Z | November 28, 2017 9:31 PM
The demon duplicator ray reminds me a lot of the bizarro duplicator ray from the silver age Superman stories. From the days when rays could do anything and everything, from healing people instantly to giving them super-powers.
Posted by: Holt | November 28, 2017 10:51 PM
It was Robert, not Richard. Thanks Chris. Bernstein did a fair amount of scripting for early Marvel (also on Iron Man, Human Torch).
Posted by: fnord12 | December 4, 2017 2:29 PM
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