Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Marvel History Post 25: Journey into Mystery # 87

Issue: Journey into Mystery # 87 Writer: Stan Lee/Larry Lieber Artist: Jack Kirby Publication Date: December 1962 Brief Summary: A slew of American scientists are defecting to the Reds, and there is no discernible reason. Dr. Don Blake decides to set himself up as bait to see what's going on. After he poses as a scientist, a photographer comes by to take his picture, but actually hypnotizes him. Blake awakes with the rest of the scientists, all of whom were brought behind the same curtain the same way, and have thus far refused to work for the communists. Blake says, "Aw, hell no" (have I mentioned before that some of the things that happen in my summary don't happen in exactly the same manner in the issue?) and turns into Thor. Thor escapes a few traps, when he comes to face one of the communists who is next to a switch that would crush the scientists. Thor surrenders to save their lives. They chain Thor up, but take away his hammer, so after sixty seconds he returns to Don Blake, who is able to wiggle out of the chains. Thor locates the scientists and frees them, and then destroys the communists' citadel. Thor returns home with just a panel or two to spare for pining over Nurse Jane. Commentary: This one's got something different, with an issue focusing on communists as the villain. Right. Seriously, I hope it's becoming clear that the key to Thor is not fighting communists, but rather involving the Norse mythology and incorporating that into the Marvel Universe. Thor is still focused on keeping his identity of Don Blake a secret, and its causing quite the disconnect between him and Nurse Jane, who really hasn't done much to endear herself to readers, as she too easily dismisses Don Blake. Hopefully this will lead to a showdown where he reveals himself as Thor to her, but has already decided to marry Sophia Loren. I'm pulling for this in Journey into Mystery # 95 or so. Favorite Quote: "Just remember that even in a slave nation, the spirit of freedom never dies!" - Random man with mustache behind the Iron Curtain. Favorite Panel: This is a woman finding a letter from her scientist husband that he has left America and defected to communism. That's putting the scare back in Red Scare! I wanted to make some sort of Reds/Johnny Bench joke with this note, but it never came together for me. Next: Strange Tales # 103