JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #84-90 (1962-1963)

Okay, if we’re going to get through this “complete Marvel history” thing, we may have to keep focused on stories that either (a) are excellent or (b) “really matter.”  And sadly, most of these don’t. Stan Lee only takes credit for plotting these stories, and lets his bro write the scripts, and Kirby gets pencil credits but the art is not very Kirbyish in many instances. 

As for the supporting cast, Donald Blake is a boor—we only want to see him as Thor—and Jane Foster is troublingly shallow.  Like when she fantasizes about polishing Thor’s hammer–a double entendre that HAD to have been intentional.

And frankly, their love triangle is stupid.  We’ll see other relationships like this, with people admiring the hero and not the secret identity, and I guess Stan Lee wanted us to laugh at the irony…But we’d already done that with Superman-Clark Kent-Lois Lane.

Still, these issues can be interesting as perspective: Thor was clearly supposed to be Marvel’s Superman.  He comes from another world, is more powerful than anyone, is Godlike, etc.  But in these early issues we do get to watch the creators try to figure out what makes their character unique—what is Thor’s real purpose as a character?  For example, his power-set.  In issue #86, we learn he can time-travel and has super-breath.  (I don’t think this power ever reappeared.)

Still, not a whole lot worth looking at here.  No wonder Jack Kirby quit after half-a-dozen issues.

Creators:  Stan Lee (plot) and Larry Lieber (script); Jack Kirby (pencils) and Dick Ayers (inks)

First appearances:  Loki (#85), Odin (#86)

Grade: C

For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.

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