The Small Lebowski:
Journey Into Mystery #98
Issue(s): Journey Into Mystery #98
Odin is so upset by the lack of restraint that he summons Thor to Asgard to tell him to forget about Jane, which Thor refuses to do.
Returning to Earth, Don Blake decides to travel to India to distract himself. In India, he finds himself on the trail of the Cobra, who got his powers when he was bitten by a radioactive cobra. You think i'm kidding, dontcha?
The Cobra has killed a colleague of Blake's and has since traveled to NY. Thor follows, and they fight.
The Cobra's main power is the ability to bend and contort his body, and in this issue he slithers all around walls and ceilings. But he's also got a bunch of gadgets. He shoots poisoned darts, and also wraps Thor up in an unbreakable "cobra-cord". Thor escapes in the usual way, by transforming back into Don Blake, but the Cobra has already broken into the office of the new doctor Jane Foster is working for. The doctor gives in to all Cobra's demands, making him look even weaker than Don Blake to Jane. Jane sees Thor passing by and throws a beaker out the window to get his attention. Thor rescues Jane, who goes back to work for Dr. Blake, but the Cobra escapes.
The quality of writing is somewhat better than recent issues, which may be due to Stan Lee taking both plotting and scripting duties. Unfortunately, Kirby isn't on art this issue.
The Tales of Asgard from this issue describe Odin's battles with Ymir and the Frost Giants.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
after reading this comic, i'm pretty sure i need a bag of post-its with "OMG!" written on them so i can mark all the crazy that's so prevalent in 60s comics.
1) i think the professor must have been a total dick to work with. he tells Thor the Cobra was his "untalented" assistant. untalented?? are you kidding? dude fashioned a costume and all those gadgets (the poisoned darts, the bombs filled with gaseous snake venom, and an unbreakable cord that constricts and even Thor can't get out of. and he did it in a matter of days. sounds pretty damned talented to me.
2) Thor exhibits a total lack of concern for people throughout the issue. his hammer (the same hammer that can take him through space) is too slow to catch a plane, so he whips up a typhoon??! yeah, that didn't cause millions of dollars of damage and kill any people. all the way from India to the States.
3) Doctor Andrews likes to do his doctoring in style. no boring suits to the office for him. he only treats his patients in a tuxedo.
4) disgusted by Dr. Andrews' cowardice, Jane Foster tells him he isn't half the man Dr. Blake is, even if Blake is "lame and unglamorous". thanks, Jane. you say the sweetest things.
crazy sauce. awesome.
Posted by: min | February 26, 2012 5:31 PM
Cobra would make a great villain for Spidey, DD, or Cap. But Thor?
Posted by: Chris | August 1, 2012 12:47 AM
I agree with Chris. This is one of those ones (like how Sabretooth first appeared in Iron Fist) that I look at and think, that can't be right. He first appeared as a Thor villain?
Posted by: Erik Beck | December 9, 2014 5:01 PM
I did make mention of it in another post but I do find it rather interesting that Thor is just treated that much like any other hero in the earlier issues other than the fact that "he's a god". The fact that he does fight the likes of Cobra, Mr. Hyde and the Grey Gargoyle may seem bizarre especially since they become notable fighting many other heroes and making their name elsewhere, but they really weren't playing up the Norse angle at this point and so to have them when Thor was just "the superhero who has Norse God powers" isn't that so bizarre. (not as bizarre as Daredevil getting lucked into starting off with the Purple Man considering how many duds his rogues gallery had early on)
Posted by: Ataru320 | December 9, 2014 10:34 PM
Cobra's origin is bizarre. He's an ex-con who wants to murder the scientist he's working with so that he can pass off the scientist's discovery of an antidote for cobra venom as his own. So he lets a cobra bite both the scientist and himself (a big bag of WTF there), only to find out the cobra was radioactive. This being the Silver Age that means he gets powers and must immediately don a costume and give himself a supervillain name. Also he apparently creates weapons for his outfit, despite the earlier impression in the story that he's not particularly talented or bright. He's a poor fit for Thor, for sure. He probably would have been a better fit (at that time) for Spidey or maybe even Ant-Man.
Heck's art here is just terrible. You've included some of the better pieces and that's saying something. I'm not just bashing the guy, either, because the work he was doing on Tales of Suspense at the same time was way better than this. Anyway, while the A story sucks the Tales of Asgard backup is a great hint at how good the book would become once Kirby was on it full-time.
Posted by: Robert | February 1, 2016 5:12 AM
The Cobra mentions taht he now has the "cunning of a serpent", so I guess that improved his inventive skills. Perhaps before being bitten he had the knowledge but lacked the spark to make use of it.
Posted by: Benway | March 13, 2016 2:13 PM
Up to this point, Don Heck as penciler has been working from full scripts provided by Larry Lieber, Robert Bernstein (as R. Berns), or Ernie Hart (as H. E. Huntley). Here, Stan Lee takes credit as writer instead of plotter, which means he is probably using the "Marvel method," where there is only a plot and no script for the penciler to follow.
In interviews Stan has said that, at first, Don was not one of the better artists to use the Marvel method, and only caught onto it later. This obviously is not one of his better attempts at it, leading to a lot of forced exposition on Stan's part, where he goes back to fill in the dialog and narrative blobs after the pages were penciled.
By this particular point in time, late 1963, only about half the Marvel Age stories to date have used the Marvel method. The other approx. half of them had full scripts from one of the 3 writers mentioned above, or Steve Ditko, or Jerry Siegel, who provided 2 scripts for Strange Tales. Siegel scripts were tailor-made for DC artists, but Dick Ayers seemed to have problems with them. Understandably.
Posted by: James Holt | August 8, 2016 2:07 AM
I've always wondered if the Cobra (Klaus Vorhees) is Jason's father?
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 25, 2016 7:21 PM
I like Benway's explanation for the inconsistency regarding Cobra's inventive skills and the professor's comment about his lack of talent. An alternative explanation is that he simply did not invent the gadgets, he might have gotten them from, say, the Tinkerer.
As for Cobra being an unusual antagonist for Thor - I actually like this, because I think it makes sense in a shared universe. I mean, it would seem too convenient for super-heroes to only keep finding super-criminals in their own power class, right? So it makes sense for Spider-Man to fight someone like Juggernaut once in a while, for example.
Posted by: Rick | July 14, 2017 9:37 PM
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