Issue(s): Thor #391
The dangling plot point is from Amazing Spider-Man #283, the villain that the Absorbing Man and Titania failed to recruit into the Masters of Evil. We never saw the characters identity, and in the comments of that entry Kveto says that it was originally meant to be Dreadknight, which makes sense since the Masters were all established villains. But instead in this issue it's someone new, and conveniently enough he's been hanging out in his hotel room for "months" since arriving in the States in that issue.
Meanwhile, Thor is trying to settle back into his life on Midgard. We've seen him with the Avengers already so we know he doesn't have to maintain a secret identity or anything, but he seems to like to live among the mortals. However, when he goes back to the apartment he'd been maintaining under the name Sigurd Jarlson, he finds that it's been torn down, to be replaced by a Toys R Bucks.
So next he heads over to his friend and former boss at Sigurd Jarlson's construction job, Jerry Sapristi (and, also, he's Nick Fury's cousin and knows Thor's secret ID). And that's when we meet both Eric Masterson and Aloysius R. Jamesley.
Eric Masterson is an architect who in this issue will get a broken leg in the upcoming fight. But he'll later take Thor's place as the lead character of this book, and then he'll become Thunderstrike.
But for this issue, the attention is on Jamesley. Aloysius Jamesley is an inversion of James Owsley, who was the Spider-Man editor during the later half of DeFalco and Frenz's Amazing Spider-Man run. And you can see what DeFalco and Frenz thought about him. With these few panels, you could write this off as a harmless inside joke, but as we'll see, it goes on a little further.
Sigurd gets attacked by The Merciless Mongoose (gotta love the DeFalco Silver Age scripting there. What adjective do you use when you introduce yourself?)...
..and thrown off a building and caught by Spider-Man.
Ponytails were passe in 1988, at the height of the Power Ballad period? Never would have expected Spider-Man to give Thor a "Get a haircut, hippie."
Thor wonders if the Mongoose was sent by Set, after the assassins from last issue, and he transfers into Thor (classic transformation sequence)...
...and joins the fight already in progress between Spider-Man and the Mongoose, while Owsley/Jamesley tells Spider-Man how it should really be done.
What's interesting is that Thor is kinda dumb.
But it gives Spider-Man a chance to stick it to Jamesley.
It's a little difficult to assess how powerful the Mongoose is considering he's fighting two guys at vastly different power levels (with Thor also making some unforced errors like above), but the fight goes on for a while and ends when the Mongoose decides to flee, stating that his "master does not employ fools". To cover his escape, he takes out the support columns of the building that was being constructed, and Thor and Spider-Man have to hold it up long enough for everyone to clear out.
Meanwhile, in Asgard, it's said that the war with Set has been going on for "weeks" (which is good because it means i don't have to place all Thor issues going back to #389 in direct succession). The Asgardians decide that they need Thor's help, so Hogun is teleported to Earth.
I kind of snicker and am generally unimpressed by any villains with animal names that were created after 1970, and the Mongoose doesn't do anything to change that perception or really leave much of an impression on me at all. But it is a fun Silver Age-y fight.
The mocking of Jim Owsley sticks in my craw a bit, though. DeFalco and Frenz may have not liked the guy, but they (DeFalco especially) had won that fight already, with both Owsley and his boss Jim Shooter getting kicked out of Marvel editorial while DeFalco got promoted to Editor in Chief. Satirizing current members of the Marvel staff and doing some self-deprecating parodies has been a longstanding Marvel tradition (although generally not my favorite issues even then) but kicking a guy when he's reduced to freelancing Conan comics seems unnecessarily mean. They really must have wanted to get this off their chests. The other thing is that i can't imagine how this would have read to people not familiar with all the insider politics at Marvel; this Mad magazine style character that is way too over the top for what is otherwise a straightforward fight issue seems like it would have been really weird for a casual reader.
Christopher Priest himself is more sanguine about it, though:
After I left staff, there were issues of THOR that featured a guy named Aloysius P. Jamesley, who was blatantly and litigiously me. A mean-spirited Tuckerization that, even I have to admit, was really funny in an insider kind of way. Fans might not find Jamesly that funny, but it was a wicked rip at me, and largely deserved, so I didn't make a big deal about it.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Enough time passes between this issue and next for Eric Masterson to get out of the hospital with a cast on his leg, but at the same time Hogun begins teleporting to Earth at the end of this issue and arrives in Central Park next issue. I generally allow for an indefinite amount of time to pass with teleportations, especially from other dimensions, and in this case the destruction of the Rainbow Bridge may have slowed things down further. But we still have the question of Damage Control #1. This is one of those cases where the MCP has Spider-Man's appearance in Damage Control #1 prior to this issue, but Thor's appearance several issues after this issue (and they both appear in the same scenes). For individual character chronologies it really doesn't make a difference but for me i'm placing Damage Control after this since Spider-Man's Die Spinne costume is not seen in that issue (but still after Amazing Spider-Man #300 for Spider-Man thanks to the red and blue costume). The Die Spinne on the back of Spider-Man's costume is visible on the cover and a few times in this comic, if you squint:
Although other times it's not visible even when there's a clear shot of his back:
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showAloysius R. Jamesley, Balder, Fandral, Hogun, Jerry Sapristi, Mongoose, Spider-Man, Thor, Thunderstrike, Vizier, Volstagg
I was reading this title real-time then and was, of course, unaware of all the behind-the-scenes stuff. My impression on Jamesley was that he was just a goofy comic relief character. DeFalco would litter Thor with a lot of supporting characters over the next several years. Most (all?) of them are not fondly remembered today by many but, at the time, I enjoyed what he was attempting to do.
Posted by: Robert | May 30, 2014 12:12 PM
I think you're being too harsh on DeFalco and Frenz- they'd been working toward the big reveal of the Hobgoblin's and Rose's identities for three years, and it was ruined thanks to Owsley. It's hard to blame them for blowing off steam. That being said, DeFalco's tendency to bash other creators would eventually get out of hand- in a later issue of Thunderstrike, he's trying to stop a vigilante, and we see a list of pedophiles the vigilante intends to kill and the first four names are Lee, Larsen, McFarlane and Liefeld.
Posted by: Michael | May 30, 2014 7:36 PM
Mongoose is in pretty good shape for a guy that hasn't left his hotel room in months.
Posted by: Alex F | August 28, 2014 3:22 AM
Alex - you should see his hotel bill with all the hours of the personal trainer he hired & gym equipment he rented while he was there.
Posted by: clyde | August 28, 2014 10:14 AM
One of the things he ordered from room service was an elliptical trainer.
Posted by: Alex F | August 29, 2014 4:08 AM
Published date for this one is currently May 1989, but I think it should be May 1988.
Posted by: TCP | September 6, 2014 9:47 PM
Posted by: fnord12 | September 6, 2014 9:59 PM
is Jim Owsley and Christopher Priest, who wrote the Black Panther ongoing series, the same person? Can anyone explain this connection?
Posted by: Ryan | December 18, 2014 6:18 AM
They are the same person. He changed his name in 1993 for reasons he mostly doesn't discuss.
Posted by: fnord12 | December 18, 2014 7:38 AM
I think if your name sounds like a Stan Lee super-villain secret identity already, you don't need any further reason to change it. My problem is there was already a British science fiction writer by that exact name. His 1974 "Inverted World" is one of the great New Wave novels. Do some research, Owlsley.
Posted by: Andrew | March 17, 2015 5:04 PM
Here, Thor knocks down a building by hitting the floor, an issue after nearly sinking Hydrobase by doing the same thing. Doesn't he learn? I think i twigged at the time that the guy's name was a parody of Owsley's, but I was too young to guess it was mean spirited, I just assumed Marvel was one happy family and Owsley didn't mind it. And how could they hate a guy who'd done those cool Power Man & Iron Fist comics? Interesting that Priest doesn't object much and says it was deserved. In the Back Issue magazine feature about Hobgoblin, DeFalco says he kept trying to put Richard Fisk in the comic and Owsley kept removing the scenes(?), but he didn't want to tip Owsley off as to who Hobby was, so he didn't complain too much. DeFalco also blames Owsley for continually changing their schedules and putting in fill-ins, while claiming DeFalco was running late even when he was way ahead, which resulted in the Firelord battle sitting unpublished for a few months. (That would explain why the aftermath in the Avengers comic was printed before the actual battle.) Also, Ron Frenz pointed out on this site how his artwork was tampered with in Amazing 283. (That out of place splash page had bothered me since I first saw it, so I could understand if it bothered Frenz.) And if memory serves, Peter David claimed Owsley told him he killed Ned Leeds just to piss DeFalco off. So it is kicking a man when he's down, but it may have been deserved. Priest himself says he was young at the time and shouldn't have been in that big a role.
Posted by: Jonathan | June 1, 2015 12:37 PM
One has to admit that the masdive misdteps in regards to the secret identity of the Hobgoblin made it possible for Roger Stern to easily correct the mistakes by interim writers.
It was almost a stroke of genius by Peter David and Alan Kupperberg in ASM #289 to have the impossible scene of one of the Foreigner's assassins breaking the Hobgoblin's arm.
Priest is one of the creators I haven't run into - I'd love to dialogue with him for an hour or so.
As for Mongoose, maybe writers should call it quits on trying to create the next Wolverine and just concentrate on making good comics.
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | July 9, 2015 8:58 AM
I don;'t think of Mongoose as the next Wolverine; he seems to me more like DeFalco and Frenz trying to create a version of the Cobra who can actually credibly take on Thor.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 26, 2015 7:11 PM
The Mongoose was introduced in Amazing Spider-Man and was likely intended to be a Spider-Man villain. DeFalco had bought a set of animal cards and had already created Silver Sable, Black Fox and Puma already during his run, seems likely Mongoose was probably intended to be the next of the batch.
As his debut appearance claimed that Mongoose would threaten Spider-Man's life, I guess DeFalco & Frenz felt that someone better tie up their loose end and had Spider-Man guest in this Thor issue against Mongoose, probably increasing the level of power they'd intended to make him a credible opponent to Thor.
Shame really, I don't believe he's appeared much - he doesn't really suit Thor's roster of villains, but he could have become a fun recurring Spider-Man villain.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | September 19, 2016 1:28 PM
Conan never caught my eye back then, and there was little cohesion post-Thomas, but Owsley's first year on CTB marked a new template mixing Howard, Claremont and Dirty Harry, as he put it, in a damn satisfying fashion that makes me want his two years with Semiek! I often thought it too bad the Hyborean Age is so far before continuity because I enjoy Fnord's write-ups!
Posted by: Cecil Disharoon | February 11, 2018 2:02 AM
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