Issue(s): Thor #179, Thor #180, Thor #181
The basic plot here is a body-swap, with Loki stealing Thor's face and costume (by the second issue it's pretty clear it's a full body swap despite Loki using a magic mask to initially swap faces; since it's magic i don't think we have to call that an error)...
...forcing Thor to fight his friends Balder and Sif...
...and then, after they're convinced he's really Thor, go after Loki.
Thor is surprisingly adept at using Loki's body to channel spells...
...but ultimately he defeats Loki by using the old standby of tricking Loki into dropping Mjolnir for 60 seconds, which not only makes Loki easy to beat but also forces their souls back into their original bodies (which makes the "It's magic!" explanation all the more necessary; otherwise, since this arc Thor has actually been walking around in Loki's polymorphed body)
Loki avoids capture and flees at the end of the issue.
The middle portion of the story has Odin banishing Loki (really Thor) to "Hades", which is an odd thing for Odin to call it, and it's really Mephisto's realm.
Sif and Balder recruit the Warriors Three to help Thor.
They're unable to talk to Odin because he's currently "brooding" and no one wants to go near him when he's like that.
I'm following the MCP and listing the above panel as an appearance for Galactus, although really it could be that Odin likes to watch old footage of Galactus eating planets when he's in a bad mood.
While Thor-Loki is trapped in Mephisto's realm, Loki-Thor goes to the UN to demand ownership of the world.
I was pretty annoyed when the UN rejected the Sub-Mariner's petition for membership in Sub-Mariner #25 but they must deal with some super-powered nutwit showing up once a week to demand something and i guess they're just sick of it at this point.
The face-swapping mask was designed by Loki's henchman Igron. Loki thanks him by sending him to the trolls of Asgard. Ass.
Balder recovers from his premature aging at the beginning of issue #179. Sometimes it occurs to me to wonder who exactly the old dudes are that wander around the royal court.
Neal Adams' art is cool...
...but i feel like we're not getting the FULL Adams here. The panel layouts are very traditional and the art is generally more subdued. A result of working directly with Stan Lee?
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Issue #179 was pretty clearly meant to take place directly in the aftermath of issue #177, with the Asgardians surveying the rubble of the big battle with Surtur.
But it's feasible that #178 could fit in between, with the Asgardians first having their feast and then going back out to look at the damage.
Thanks to an extremely long run of interconnected Thor stories running more or less from #182-205, the next issue of Thor has been placed well over a year later in publication time, between Avengers #100-101.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showBalder, Fandral, Galactus, Heimdall, Hogun, Igron, Loki, Mephisto, Odin, Sif, Thor, Vizier, Volstagg
Adams inked by Sinnott weirdly looks like John Buscema.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 16, 2013 4:30 PM
The best part of these issues are the poses and expressions. If you look at the body language and expressions you can practically see that there's been a body switch, more so in Kirby's art but Neal Adams does a great job too. My favorite two panels are the ones in which Loki/Thor is walking away from a fallen Balder. Just look at him, he's practically skipping!
Posted by: Silverbird | July 31, 2014 10:39 AM
Man, Igron gets no love from his co-conspirators, does he? (Okay, that's spoilery for an upcoming Igron story. But I can't resist.)
Posted by: Dan Spector | August 1, 2014 6:34 AM
Had to laugh at the panel with Loki wearing Thor's winged helmet! I'll never be able to unsee that.
Posted by: James Holt | November 1, 2016 11:06 PM
Adams talked about working with Lee in an interview in COMIC BOOK ARTIST #3, which can be read at http://twomorrows.com/comicbookartist/articles/03adams.html . If his recollection is accurate the plot idea was his.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | November 2, 2016 4:45 AM
Loki looking like Thor makes him worthy enough to lift Mjolnir, which proves that worthiness is all about how one looks. Wait, what?
Kirby leaves Marvel for DC. Meanwhile, DC's Neal Adams takes Kirby's place on Thor. Marvel and DC: just like one big happy family! :) (:
Posted by: Holt | October 9, 2017 10:23 PM
To be fair, it's supposed to be a body swap, not just a transformation. Arguably that should bypass the worthiness enchantment.
Posted by: Michael | October 9, 2017 10:39 PM
Verily, it must be magic. Even so, that means Thor's body with Loki's mind is worthy, implying that worthiness is somehow physical, as opposed to mental or spiritual. Oh well, the whole worthiness thing has always been pretty mind-boggling to me anyway. Great story device. It's what made me really sit up and take notice of Walt Simonson when he used it in the Beta Ray Bill story. That was the most imaginative use of the idea I had ever seen at that time.
Posted by: Holt | October 9, 2017 11:14 PM
On further thought, maybe this was just Kirby peeing in the bosses' corn flakes on his way out the door. This was his last issue of Thor, and he left an unfinished story for Marvel to clean up after he left.
Think I'll regard this story as out of continuity, rather than as a continuity gaff. Can't remember Loki ever picking up the hammer under any conditions before or after this.
From this John Buscema interview, which I read a long time ago, but later forgot:
'Well, Jack Kirby was very fast. Martin Goodman was upset that Jack Kirby was making so much money. He felt, "Kirby's turning out so much work, let's cut his rate." That's when Jack left Marvel and went over to DC. This is the story that was told to me.'
Posted by: Holt | October 10, 2017 2:08 PM
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