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, which makes me think he was either overworked or letting someone else do the finishes.
The writing and stories are pretty dated, but they do have their moments. 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, and it will be done better in many other stories in the future. But I guess I should be kind since this is an early comic and one of the first of its kind.
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.)
But putting all that to one side, JIM#88 is one of the best Loki stories of all time: He goes to New York and does all kinds of silly and nasty pranking stuff. Most importantly, to escape Thor, he turns into a pigeon.
It doesn’t work.
Creators: Stan Lee (plot) and Larry Lieber (script); Jack Kirby (pencils) and Dick Ayers (inks)
First appearances: Loki (#85), Odin (#86)
Grade: C, with issue #88 rising to a B-