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Jul 12 09 10:54 PM
Jul 12 09 11:05 PM
Jul 13 09 9:53 PM
"You call thyself a chef??" - Odin the All-Wise
This is my favorite Journey into Mystery story since Tales of Asgard's "The Defeat of Odin!" and the most enjoyable "Thor" story
since JiM 103 when Jane walked in on Don and the Enchantress. There was a lot to ponder in this momentous tale, so let's go ahead and take a closer look at
"A World Gone Mad!"
_Odin reads Thor the riot act this time, virtually uncreating him!! He consigns him to perpetual Dondom.
Odin is a sort of otherworldy Peeping Tom. He seems to be a victim of empty nest syndrome, exacerbated by the fact that he's just enjoyed some fleeting
All-Father/Son time by bonding with Thor at the expense of the Demon Men of Jotunheim.
Odin would like to celebrate with a couple brewskis and fire up the grill, but Thor's nurse fetish rears its head again, setting the stage for Odin's
tantrum. At first Thor tries to get away with presenting it as a devotion to duty: "There is much that remains to be done on the planet of mortals! My
mission is not yet finished!" But when Dad calls him out on it, he admits the truth: "I cannot deny that she has won my heart...so, unless you give
me a direct order to remain here..." So Thor was lying about his motives!! Is this "honor"?? His "mission" stands revealed.
Thor and Blake (are they one person or two? I'm still unclear) finally decide(s) to give up godhood for the sake of some red hair. I found this
extremely surprising and entertaining since it seems to be the first instance in the Marvel Silver Age where a hero revealed his secret identity to a
longtime sweetheart. (Hank doesn't count since Jan learned his secret so soon after meeting him.) The only other example that comes to mind is
"Turning Point!" in Amazing Spider-Man #11 when Pete decided to clue Betty in. But events conspired to change his mind. Don actually goes
through with it! And the results are hysterical!!!
It's stunning that at such a risky and pivotal moment in their relationship, Don would be more interested in the reader's reaction than in Jane's -
he actually faces away from her during his crucial revelation and tells us instead! An ultimate and slyly embedded example of Lee's
patented solicitation of the reader.
(He looks like Steve Rogers there, who coincidentally also shares his secret this month, albeit not concurrently.)
Of course, Odin looks upon this "pernicious" decision with disfavor. Loki, for once an innocent bystander, is first treated to some of Odin's
food (thrown into the hallway in a precursor to Star Trek's "Amok Time") and then to Odin's rantings.
__Loki's expression is certainly quite amusing here...watch out for that headgear!!
______________________________________Speaking of Loki, we get a couple nice illos this issue...
...this one was etched into me as a child through Fireside's Bring on the Bad Guys. The second consecutive JiM which ends with Loki staring at us.
"The Boyhood of Loki" in ToA contributes to making this such a worthwhile issue, and the adult Loki has the most fun since nine issues ago when he
exulted on Odin's throne with some of Odin's physical power in "Giants Walk the Earth!". He settles for a bit less this time: "...with
Thor is disfavor, it is Loki who now speaks for our monarch!"
But getting back to Odin...he has a bad case of sour grapes. He views Thor's bi-species lust as a personal abandonment. "As for the one who has
forsaken me (italics VF's), I wash my hands of him! From this moment hence, his power is gone! If he would remain a mortal, then so
be it! There is no Thunder God!...How d'ya like them apples??"
The resulting scenario is eerily reminiscent of the early scene in the Hebrew Scriptures' Torah when _____ regrets creating humans and destroys all but a
couple of them. It's also recast in the film Superman II when Kal-El tells Jor-El and Lara that he's giving up his powers in order to marry Lois
Lane. (Which of these is the more important allusion, only you can decide.)
It's interesting that Thor's power stems from Odin. We already knew this as recently as last issue (or Avengers 3, depending on how you look at it)
when Thor requested that Odin allow him to remain a god without holding his hammer. But this month's story really drives it home - Thor will never reappear
if Odin doesn't change his mind. Even running away from home wouldn't help. A couple questions arise though. Why is Odin able to remove
Thor's godhood from galaxies away, but he must send Honir to physically touch Thor to return it?? Also, if Thor's power (his very existence) stems from
Odin, from whence does Odin's power originate? If from his own father, is there a line of gods going back through an infinity of time?
Are we presented with the conundrum of a First Cause? And if Odin does have a father (presumably himself immortal), where is he? I confess I don't
remember much about Odin's origin from JiM 97 and don't have Thor Masterworks V1 handy. Maybe Odin spontaneously arose or was created without an
antecedent. (Was he birthed from the Tree of Life, Yggdrasil?)
Honir reassures Odin, "You may set your mind at ease, sire! Thor still lives!" Would Thor have permanently ceased to exist if Blake had died?? Again
we're reminded of the magazine's central "Mystery": how and why Thor and Blake were merged, and the exact metaphysical nature of this
joining. (And did Larry Lieber make use of the mystically-minded William Blake's surname when naming Thor's alter ego?) Along similar lines, Odin
reveals that Thor has "spent many long months on the planet Earth". Is he referring to everything since JiM 83? How and why did Thor leave Asgard
in JiM 83??
Kirby helps young readers grasp the cause and effect nature of the plot by showing Odin's decree and its effect on Don all on the same page. These two
panels were the highlight of the story for me. I. laughed. out. loud.
And Stan and Jack made sure earlier in the story to show new readers what the "cane change" looks like when working properly, in order to make sure
we know that it's messed up when he tries it for Jane. Jack even gave Thor and Don the exact same pose to make it "doubly" clear.
Needless to say, Don's ineffectual stamping doesn't foster belief for Jane. I don't remember laughing so hard or appreciating the plotting so much
in many a Marathon month. (Am I starting to talk like Stan?) "Don's delusion" elicits some uproarious dialogue later, too, as the Grey Gargoyle
moves in for the kill: "Oh, Don - my darling! If only you really were Thor!" (A page and a half later, the lame Blake collapses into
Jane...knocking her unconscious!! Thor
wouldn't do that.) And then in the final row of story panels, it gets even better. "The madness has left you!" "Yes! The madness has left
How interesting that Thor prefers human love to godly power while Don Blake prefers the power to the...pretty woman. (That wasn't the exact alliteration I
wanted to employ, but I settled for family-friendly.) In other words, the grass is always greener. The whole rigamarole begins with Thor giving in to his
romantic desires: "Neither man nor godling can do less than follow the urgings of his heart!...Even an immortal can renounce his destiny in the
name of love!" But after being grounded a while, the human Blake begins to rank romance slightly lower: "...my power has been restored to
me! I can feel it, surging through my enchanted cane! How can I again give up so precious a gift - even in the name of love?" If we
didn't know better, we might think Odin knew his son would come to this conclusion (but in fact Odin seemed none too sure of it).
For her part, Jane loves Don instead of Thor, which continues to surprise me, being such a reversal of the tried-and-true Lane Syndrome.
Don uses the ruse of a "medical seminar" when in Asgard. We have no evidence of a secretary and he appears to have only a small practice with no
other staff - does Jane not help make such business-related appointments? (If she were Betty Brant, she would check up on him to see if he was really at the
seminar or cheating on her.)
As to Paul Duval and his "special touch...!", it was good to see him back and his survival explained to our satisfaction. The
effect of his power is limited to sixty minutes - I don't recall whether that was the case in his first appearance, but since his power is chemical and
non-magical, why aren't people dead anyway after it wears off??
At one point he boasts, "...my stone wings give me the power of limited flight!" First of all, that doesn't make sense. Secondly, what
wings?? All I see is a cape, evident in many rear-view panels.
It was of course poetic justice that the Grey Gargoyle was immobilized in the end just like his victims, but would electricity really fuse stone? I guess that
was the Uru energy's "special touch". A fitting finish to Thor's half-minute victory!
It wasn't until I read the issue the second time that I noticed the Asgardian sailing vessel is airborne on the splash. I need to be more observant and
look below the credits.
On top of everything else in this issue, they tossed in an ad for the Marching Society. "Product placement"?
This cover was recolored and used for the third Thor Annual, and indeed why not.
It's been some time in coming, but finally we have another entry in our series "What Is Wrong With This Picture?".
Jul 13 09 11:20 PM
Jul 14 09 6:54 PM
"I am mightiest of the mightiest!" - Dread
I'm relieved to see Mordo and Dormammu back after a couple humdrum stories. Mordo was only gone for four issues - the Ancient One was wrong when he claimed
of Mordo in #125, "He will not dare attack us again - not for a long, long time!" AO failed to take into account Mordo's ability to contact
otherdimensional beings for assistance. Strange and the Master are caught completely flatfooted. That in itself is surprising and makes for good
characterization - even these two can be overconfident. In their defense though, I'm not sure who they could appeal to for enough power to fight off the
combined might of Mordo and Dormammu, unless they were to form a coalition of magical beings such as Mordo himself begins to do in this story (not only with
Dormammu but "all the practitioners of black magic throughout the world").
I like the portent-filled splash.
The caption establishes a couple facts. Stephen Strange has now grown more powerful than the Master himself, but Mordo has just become stronger than either of
them the very moment his power is supplemented. Since we know that he used to be weaker than Strange, the caption is uncommonly concurrent with events. Mordo
only became more powerful than Strange a few inches ago when he said "It is agreed!", and then the caption immediately reports the result of his
power level leapfrogging Strange's. Dormammu didn't waste any time. I also love how Ditko creates a bit of an optical illusion by having Mordo actually
stand on the physical caption (he even casts a shadow on it) while the highest point of the caption nevertheless rears above the corner where the floor meets
The title of the story is certainly dramatic and exciting and reminiscent of Lee's and Ditko's "The End of Spider-Man!" This is only
"the start" of a "spectacular", implying a continued story. In fact, the Grand Comic Database lists this story as "Part 1 of
I like the Ancient One's architecture - he can use it as a slide when he gets bored. And that's a pretty decent illo of Mordo, complete with a new
skullcap for the occasion.
An even better panel here, even if his henchmen look like refugees from the Circus of Crime.
Strange is forced to make a run for it with AO in tow, and we get these two consecutive awesome panels, separated by a pageturn. In this page-ending illo, the
secret exit resembles a watching eye - an impassive witness to Strange's retreat. The "eye" closes, implying despair for Strange's chances
and also hinting that few will see the events to follow.
Wonderful use of shadow in this one.
Luckily, Strange is able to escape Mordo by...hiding behind a cliff ledge (a "trick", according to Mordo). Is this an example of Dormammu's
"power without limit"?? I would have thought something like "Find Magic-User" would be no higher than a 3rd-level spell.
Anyway, it's at this point that DD himself is revealed. Hopefully this page-ending sequence was originally on a right-hand page so that the suspense was
retained for a few moments. Sometimes I suspect that Kirby and Ditko were competing to see who could come up with the most original and unique three-panel
progression. Ditko wins this month, hands...down.
Dormammu conveniently misremembers his promise to Strange. "I pledged my word to attack Dr. Strange no more!!...Once Strange is destroyed, there will be
none remaining who can stop my conquest of Earth..." Actually, what he originally agreed was to "never invade the Earth!" I guess this
reneging is an example of "his own moral code". He proceeds to browbeat the "mortal bungler" Baron Mordo, who foolishly invites destruction
by talking back: "Have a care...not even you can speak to Mordo in such a manner!!" Please.
DD sends "inhuman spirits of the netherworld" to track down Strange. With large eyes, turbans, and scarves over their mouths, they're the
spitting ectoplasmic image of Mordo's own disciples from the second page of his previous appearance ("Mordo Must Not Catch Me!", ST 125), who
ironically were easily dispelled in that story when Strange called upon the name of...the Dread Dormammu.
Strange leaves the Ancient One in the care of a Tibetan hermit. For some reason, the combination of Mordo's and Dormammu's power can't locate AO.
We next get this old-school illo of Mordo's face. The "eyes" on his tunic remind me of Ditko's Mysterio.
And then a much more detailed closeup. Uni-brow Incarnate.
We meet Sen-Yu, the keeper of the Master's wealth. "Wealth"? He has wealth?? Finally we have some clue as to how Strange is able to pay for that
Greenwich Village apartment.
It turns out that Sen-Yu tried to become AO's disciple after a near-death experience, much like Stephen did, but Sen-Yu just didn't have
Strange's latent ability. This seems an important addition to the Strange mythos. Not just anyone can turned into a mystic by the Master. Strange's
nature really was a unique blend of talent and character. The question remains though - is Sen-Yu skimming off the top? Probably not, I'm sure "Find
Embezzlement" was one of the first spells the Master mastered.
At this point we get one of the most personal and dramatic "Doctor Strange" panels since "The Origin of Dr. Strange". He slumps,
Parker-like, weighed down by anxiety. (This posture is also akin to Tony Stark's more desperate moments with regard to his heart condition.) That's a
decent closeup in the second illo, and the reader is invited to imagine Strange slowly lifting his head between panels.
Jul 14 09 7:00 PM
This panel could've been as splash, but it looks pretty sweet like this as well. I didn't know there were so many "dabblers in the mystic
Jul 17 09 12:23 AM
Jul 17 09 12:28 AM
Jul 17 09 2:25 AM
Jul 17 09 2:27 AM
Jul 17 09 8:59 AM
And speaking of Foggy, was it Wood's decision to make him thin?? Or Lee's?
Jul 17 09 10:06 AM
Welcome to the boards, Man of Tomorrow, and thanks for that info!
Jul 17 09 10:24 AM
Jul 18 09 3:39 PM
No Ditko characters were invited to the party...But where the heck is Dorrie Evans?
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