Days of Thunder – February 1967: The Mighty Thor #137

The Mighty Thor “The Thunder God and The Troll!”
In all the unmeasurable universe, surely there be none, save Stan Lee and Jack Kirby who could create such wonderment! And, never again shall we see the like of Vince Colletta, Inker and Sam Rosen, Letterer

Thor 137

Thor and his new girlfriend Sif are enjoying time with each other, tossing weapons, talking like Shakespeare, doing the things one does when in the early stages of limerence. All too soon their reverie is interrupted by an assault at the hands of a squad of trolls manning a giant Bludegon-Bow. Thor does okay in the fight, but Sif disappointingly is captured by the retreating trolls. So much for a new type of love interest.

Thor gives chase until he runs into Ulik, a massive rock troll wielding giant metal pounders, which are like a combination between brass knuckles and truncheons, capable of shattering a mountain. The madder Ulik gets, the stronger he becomes, and Ulik is quick to anger. Ulik is not an interesting character, he is a big dumb violent troll, but there is something neat about his concept, which is that he is Thor’s opposite Troll number. It elevates the Trolls and reflects interestingly upon big, dumb, violent Thor.

While Thor and Ulik prepare to fight, Sif is brought to Geirrodur, King of the Rock Trolls, last seen briefly in the Tale of Asgard presented in issue #101. The Troll King decides to use her against Thor and so she is gassed with the Vapors of Quietude and teleported away via the Tunnel of Wind Currents.

More alarming than this hostage-taking is the fact that Geirrodur has become aware that Thor has the mortal guise of Don Blake when he is on Earth. This increasingly irrelevant fact is nonetheless a rare secret. How could he know such a thing?

Thor and Ulik tussle, a roughly even match. Thor is actually losing the match when Ulik is teleported away. Thor is then met with a projected image of Geirrodur, who tells him that Sif is being held on Earth by Ulik, giving Thor a standard hero’s choice to stay and protect Asgard, or, leave and save Sif. Thor chooses the latter.

With Thor preoccupied, the Trolls open the Invasion Shaft, a path leading to the heart of Asgard, the culmination of hundreds of years of effort on the part of the Trolls. The invasion has begun!

By the way, in this war with the trolls, it appears that “Troll” is shorthand for “rock troll” but it may be that there is a single Troll state that includes multiple types of trolls. These trolls are not led by Seidring (made Troll King in issue #128), so either he reports to Geirrodur or there are multiple trollen nations. It is not clear.

First Appearance: The Vapors of Quietude, The Tunnel of Wind Currents, Ulik, Grak

Days of Thunder – January 1967: The Mighty Thor #136 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods “There Shall Come a Miracle!”

Garnished with Glory in the Marvel Tradition by: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby/ Delineated by: Vince Colletta * Lettered by: Sam Rosen

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Thor defeats Fafnir and rescues Volstagg. Upon the dragon’s death a miracle occurs. Rain comes to Nastrond, which in time will lead to the return of life.

 

 

Days of Thunder – Thor Reflections: Middle Kirby

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Wow, with the departure of Jane, it feels like the end of a major chapter in the life of Thor. That was the sort of story often told at the end of a creative team’s run. And yet Lee, Kirby, Colletta, and Simek are still onboard next issue and beyond.  Let’s call this the end of “season 2″.

As this series has progressed, it has started as a story of a man who can turn into a superhero who is a Norse god, slowing transforming into the story of a god in love with a mortal woman. The series has increasing abandoned supervillains and the Earth itself, giving Thor more and more Asgardian and Cosmic threats and it has been a change for the better. With Jane gone, what is it that will now drive Thor?

Meanwhile, Tales of Asgard has abandoned its original premise as an anthology of myths and become a serial following the adventures of Young Thor and his friends. While the story of the cracked Oversword and the inevitable coming of Ragnarok was exciting and cool, those matters seem to have been dropped as ongoing concerns. What started out as an energetic new direction for the feature has fizzled out.   Furthermore, as the main feature has become more Asgard-focused, there seems little purpose for a backup feature with the exact same creative team and largely the same characters as the lead feature.

This was a run of amazing comics.  The stories of this period were made by the greatest creative team in comic book history at the height of their abilities. Thor in 1967 is as good as comics get.

 

Days of Thunder – January 1967: The Mighty Thor #136

The Mighty Thor! “To Become an Immortal!”
A Proud Phantasmagoria of Pageantry, Presented by: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby/ Delineated by: Vince Colletta/ Lettered by Artie Simek

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This is it! This is what the series has been building to from the beginning! Thor has taken Jane Foster to Asgard to become an immortal so that they two might wed!

And it all goes bad. Jane Foster freaks out over the hyper-aggressive weirdness that is Asgard, a city at war with Trolls. The violence, the monsters, the helmets, she pretty much finds everything about Asgard to be a point of anxiety. This isn’t the life she wanted.

Odin, wearing his largest helmet yet, gifts Jane the power of flight but her rational mind cannot handle the impossibility of flight-by-thought. Her doubt in Odin’s gift causes the gift to fail and for her to fail in the eyes of Odin.

Off to a bad start, Jane is given a test to prove her worth of being granted immortality. She is locked in a room with the Unknown, a dreaded monster of shadowy form. As Jane is a nurse and not an Asgardian warrior, she breaks down in abject fear, crying to Thor for help.

Thor rescues her, which is the final straw. Odin tells Thor that she has failed the test, that she is unfit to be an immortal. As Thor tries to argue her case, Jane interrupts,telling Thor off. “I won’t be a goddess! I won’t stay in Asgard! It is too horrible! Too unendurable! Don’t you realize how mad it is?!!” And with that final outburst, Odin teleports Jane far away from Asgard.

Before Thor can fully process the finality of what just happened, he is forced to deal with the fact that he accidentally let loose the Unknown. Odin sends him to Gundershelm, the only point where the Unknown can re-enter Asgard.

Indeed the Unknown appears. Thor fights the creature, but his heart is not in it. The creature is about to kill the god of Thunder when another warrior appears.

This newcomer’s blade turns the fight and together they defeat the monster. Thor greets his savior. It is Sif, last seen in issue #102’s Tales of Asgard. Since we last saw her, she has become a stern raven-haired warrior. Also, she is now apparently Heimdal’s sister, not Balder’s. Presumably, when Balder called her his sister in the past, he meant “like a sister” or possibly “sister-in-arms.”

Thor has not seen Sif since his youth, while Sif tells him plainly that she has loved him from afar. And Thor, who was earlier that day trying his damnedest to marry the mortal Jane Foster, is now apparently over that phase of his life. He tells Sif that he was a fool to turn his blind eye to her and the two walk off, hand-in-hand.

This is appallingly callous of Thor, but it really makes sense. Doctor Blake is the man that fell in love with Jane Foster, and very little of Doctor Blake remains in Thor. In fact, with Jane gone, there seems to be no reason left for Thor to ever revert to Blake.

And what of Jane? She finds herself in a hospital on the west coast, disoriented. After a moment she “remembers” that she is the new resident nurse at this hospital. She meets a Doctor named Kincaid who looks strikingly like Doctor Blake and it seems clear that Jane Foster, who fell in love with a shy doctor named Blake, not a bold warrior named Thor, has found herself in a new, better life, albeit one still defined by her relationship to a man. Goodbye Nurse Jane Foster.

jane

Days of Thunder – December 1966: The Mighty Thor #135

The Mighty Thor! “The Maddening Menace of the Super-Beast!”
A Stan Lee * Jack Kirby Feature Fantasy! Delineation by: Vince Colletta/ Lettering by Artie Simek

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Consider the Man-Beast: Combining of the intelligence of humanity in one million years time with the power of the wolves of a thousand millennia hence,  he has advance knowledge of future science and martial arts, psionic abilities, raw physical strength, and a hate of all life. He can destroy an adversary’s time sense, he possesses a field of mental repulsion so strong that Thor’s hammer cannot pierce it, and he can create anti-matter barriers.  The Man-Beast is a pretty serious threat.

The High Evolutionary tries to get the drop on the Man-Beast with his Discordion, a horn that is a gun, producing sounds scaled to bring instant death to wolves. The Man-Beast is injured by this sonic assault, but he retreats to the High Evolutionary’s genetic laboratory. Sealing himself in, he uses the equipment found in the lab to build himself his own army of evil New Men.

There is an epic battle between the noble Knights of Wundagore with Thor fighting on their side, against the New-Men of the Man-Beast. It all comes down to a mano-a-mano fight between Thor and the Man-Beast, which Thor wins by punching really hard.

Having defeated the New-Men, the Knights of Wundagore corral their fallen foes into the Star Chamber, a space-pod that they shoot into the uninhabited Dromisana galaxy, where they can form their own society, free from the need to destroy all life on Earth.

Once the villains have been dispatched, the High Evolutionary decides that his mad science, how ever well intentioned, is too dangerous for Earth and so he reveals to Thor and Jane that Wundagore is in fact a giant rocket ship.  As he bids Thor and Jane Foster farewell, he and his Knights depart to the unknown reaches of the universe.

First Appearance: The Discordian

Days of Thunder – November 1966: The Amazing Spider-Man King-Size Special! #3

“…To Become an Avenger!”
How’s this for a zingy combo? Scrip Writin’ by Smilin’ Stan Lee/ Layouts by Jazzy Johnny Romita/ Pencilin’ by Dashin’ Donnie Heck/ Inkin’ by Mirthful Mickey Demeo/ Letterin’ by Adorable Artie Simek

Spider Annual 3

It seems that even though he is no longer an active member of the Avengers, Thor still attends important meetings covering Avengers business, and votes on matters such as accepting new members. Since last we saw the Avengers, The Wasp and Giant-Man re-joined the team. Giant Man changed his name to Goliath after being forced to stay permanently 10 foot tall. The Enchantress ditched the Executioner. Rick Jones and his teen brigade seems to have fallen out of touch with the group.

It is the matter of a new member that brings Thor to the Avengers now. The team is considering whether to offer membership to Spider-Man, a young, mysterious superhero with spider-powers. After some debate and checking of references, Thor tracks down Spidey and offers him the opportunity to test for membership.

Spider-Man’s test is to bring the Hulk to the Avengers but ultimately he doesn’t trust the Avengers to treat the monster-man well, and so he tells the Avengers that he couldn’t find the Hulk and passes on the membership.

As was the case with the recent Thor Annual, it is unclear when exactly this story takes place in relation to the stories in Thor’s own magazine.  One presumes it would slot-in during some near-future break in the action of Thor’s main title.  Within the Avengers timeline it takes place during a period when Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch were visiting Europe due to the temporary loss of their powers.

First Appearance: Spider-Man

Days of Thunder – November 1966: The Mighty Thor #134 part 2

Days of Thunder – November 1966: The Mighty Thor #134 part 2
Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods “When Speaks the Dragon!”
A Stan Lee * Jack Kirby Pictorial Presentation/ Delineation by: Vince Colletta/ Lettered by: Artie Simek

tales 134

Has the crack in the Oversword been forgotten? The threat of Ragnarok keeps getting more and more abstract. Thor and his three friends have now been dispatched to Nastrond, a land that was made completely uninhabitable to all life by the time Odin finished waging war on its people. In his wrath, he destroyed the people, the land, the water. The four heroes are to survey the land, determine if it is still desolate, and report back to Odin.

As the others sleep, voluminous Volstagg is visited by a stranger. This seeming hermit beckons Volstagg to visit the nearby Cave of The Ancients, where he will find knowledge fit only for the finest of warriors. Volstagg is flattered at being chosen for this side-adventure and eagerly follows his host.

Inside the cave, Volstagg learns the truth of the matter. This cave was the last refuge of the last survivor of Nastrond, its king. Within the cave is a pool of magic radiation. Over the years this pool’s rays have turned the king into a giant fearsome dragon. And now it is that dragon, Fafnir, that holds Volstagg in his clutches.

First Appearance: Fafnir

Days of Thunder – November 1966: The Mighty Thor #134

 The Mighty Thor! “The People-Breeders!”
A Stan Lee * Jack Kirby Fantasti-Classic! Inked by Vince Colletta/ Lettered by: Sam Rosen/ We have spoken!

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Several months prior to this story, in the pages of Stan and Jack’s other fantasti-classic series, Fantastic Four, a character named Galactus was introduced. Galactus is a giant cosmic presence beyond good and evil from the other side of the center of the universe. This being travels from world to world, feeding on the energy of planets, reducing them to lifeless husks. Galactus had intended to feed upon Earth in this manner, but Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four threatened to destroy the universe if Galactus tried, and so the cosmic devourer agreed to forever leave Earth in peace.

Thor and his buddy the Recorder return to Rigel, where the Collectors honor their agreement to mark the Earth as off-limits. As they leave the Black Galaxy, they unwittingly pass Galactus as he heads into the Black Galaxy, intending to feed upon Ego.

Thor returns to Earth as Tana Nile departs it. She may have lost the Earth, but she returns to Rigel, where she has been chosen by the High Commissioner to be his wife. Thor, meanwhile, has been left with a Psyche-Search Gauge with which to find his hypnotized beloved.

He finds her in a bizarre compound in Europe known as Wundagore, which is guarded by animal-people riding rocket sleds. The leader of these people is known as the High Evolutionary, a man who has developed a technique to re-write the genes of animals, advancing their evolution one million centuries, which turns them into humanoids with animal heads. Since this is not remotely how evolution actually works,  I would suggest that that this explanation is meant as a metaphor for the actual process at work.   A lie-to-idiots, if you will.

The Knights of Wundagore attempt to restrain Thor from barging into their compound, but the God of Thunder will not be restrained.  Thor finds Jane,  who has taken a job teaching the animal-folk created by this weird science. Thor mistrusts this science stuff, but Jane is a woman of science, and assures him that there is nothing inherently evil about experimenting on animals to create a race of New-Men. Good on her.

Thor’s breaking and entering and shouting and fighting has distracted the High Evolutionary at a critical moment,  and he has accidentally over-evolved a wolf! This combination of supreme man and supreme beast has created a hate-fuled Man-Beast, enemy of all that is living!

First Appearance: The High Evolutionary, Wundagore, the New-Men, The Man-Beast, Psyche-Search Gauge

Days of Thunder – October 1966: The Mighty Thor #133 part 2

Tale of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods “Valhalla!”
A Stan Lee – Jack Kirby Production/ Inked by: Vince Colletta/ Lettered by: Sam Rosen (May their armor never tarnish!)

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Haroken is placed on the Black Stallion of Death as Hela, Goddess of Death and her Valkyrie Guard come to collect him. All present stand solemnly as she takes the barbarian away. Eventually, Hela takes her leave as the Valkyries lead the stallion into Valhalla where Harokin shall forever revel in eternal battle.

Of course, in issue #117, Valhalla was said to be the name of Odin’s ceremonial chamber, not a paradise for fallen warriors.  This is  a separate location Clearly Odin named his chamber after this netherworld.

Days of Thunder – October 1966: The Mighty Thor #133

The Mighty Thor! “Behold… The Living Planet!”
Star-Studded Script: Stan Lee/ Planet-Pounding Pencilling: Jack Kirby/ Real Rigellian Rendering: Vince Colletta/ Lots of Little Lettering: Artie Simek

Thor 133

This one’s strange. Thor and his new android buddy land on a sentient planet and fight it. It is a visual spectacle in full-on Kirby weirdness mode.

ego

Ego is a planet who had decided to leave the Black Galaxy and conquer the outside universe. However, after Thor unleashes the full power of the storm upon him, Ego has second thoughts and  decides never to leave his little secluded corner.

While Thor fights an entire planet, Jane Foster has found herself in Europe, compelled to send herself there by her ne’er do well roommate. She ends up  in the company of two men named Porgia and Tagar. They ask her to be part of some larger scheme to solve the eternal secret of life itself, at which point she realizes that these guys might be nuts.

Meanwhile Tana Nile is notified that her claim on Earth has been revoked.

First Appearance: Mr. Porgia, Tagar

Days of Thunder – September 1966: The Mighty Thor King-Size Special! #2

The Mighty Thor! “If Asgard Falls…”
Scripted in solemn splendor by: Stan Lee/ Illustrated in idealistic imagery by: Jack Kirby/ Delineated in delicious delicacy by: Vince Colletta/ Lettered in living luminescence by : Sam Rosen/ Unaffected by the unabashed utterances of: Irving Forbush

Annual 2

It is time for the Asgardian Tournament of Titans. This is a competition of warriors held in Asgard and Judged by Odin, with a suit of golden armor as the prize.   Odin  declares that it is to be fought for by every warrior from every land but how far that invitation extends is unclear. Thor reports that warriors pour into Asgard from galaxies without end, so it seems like a pretty big deal.

Thor enters the competition alongside grim Hogun, dashing Fandral, and valorous Volstagg, the first time these three have shown up in a story set  in the modern day 60’s. The Asgardians clash with a pack of friends visiting Asgard from the world of a Thousand Galaxies: Brok the Crusher, Tyr of the Blinding Blade, Galp of the Steel Arm, and Drom the Spirit-Weaver. The budding rivalry in this story is established early but it does not go very far.

Meanwhile, formless Loki, who had been floating in space alongside the Absorbing Man all these many months, has discovered that he can project his mind into the body of the Destroyer, buried in the ruins of the Temple of Darkness. It is odd, Loki’s self, which is formless remains in space while his mind is projected out of that self into the Destroyer like a radio signal.  What that self actually constitutes is an unanswered metaphysical question.

Now commanding a body so powerful that it can cut Thor’s hammer in half by pointing at it, Loki sends the Destroyer straight to Asgard. It makes short work of poor Heimdall, who was already bummed about missing the tournament.

The Destroyer wades into where the tournament is being held, seeking to kill Odin, but Thor leads a mighty defense against the all-powerful foe. While Thor does that,  Odin sends Balder to astrally project himself into space, seeking Loki, who Odin reasons is the only possible culprit. Thor can only hold off the Destroyer for a short while, but it is enough for Balder to find Loki’s self. With that, Odin sends a Beam of Forgetfulness to Loki, closing the villain’s mind to all thought and memory. The Destroyer falls to the ground, immobile. If Loki no longer had physical form and he no longer has a functioning mind, it is unclear to me what remains that can said to be Loki.

The story of Thor has been moving at a breakneck speed for a number of issues. Since issue #114, Thor has moved immediately from the events of one issue to the next, leaving no room for a break. That makes for exciting comics, but it also leaves it unclear when this story takes place. Certainly not immediately before or immediately after #132. Perhaps it takes place after the recuperative period in issue #128 but before Thor returns to Jane. Perhaps it takes place some time after the events in the current Thor narrative.

First Appearance: Brok the Crusher, Tyr of the Blinding Blade, Galp of the Steel Arm, Drom the Spirit-Weaver

Days of Thunder – September 1966: The Mighty Thor #132 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods “The Dark Horse of Death!”
Script Writing: Stan Lee/ Picture Drawing: Jack Kirby/ Panel Inking: Vince Colletta/ Word Lettering: Sam Rosen/ Armor Polishing: Irving Forbush

thor 132

Having defeated Harokin and secured the Warlock’s Eye, Thor and his compatriots free the people of Muspelheim. Soon they hear the Drumbeat of Mourning. This  percussion means that the death of a mighty warrior is at hand, for the drumbeat will draw the Black Stallion of Doom.

Soon the dark horse arrives. It is drawn to Harokin, graceful in defeat and near death. It stops outside of Harokin’s room, as Thor reflects upon the respect he has gained for the man he has mortally wounded.

First Appearance:  The Drumbeat of Mourning, The Black Stallion of Doom

Days of Thunder – September 1966: The Mighty Thor #132

The Mighty Thor! Rigel “Where Gods May Fear to Tread!”
Astonishing Script: Stan Lee/ Awesome Artwork: Jack Kirby/ Artful Delineation: Vince Coletta/ Amazing Lettering: Sam Rosen/ Alien Translations: Irving Forbush

thor 132

Thor arrives on Rigel where he makes short work of the Colonizers. Their mental powers and their robots are no match for his Asgardian might. He demands that their claim to the Earth be dropped and that the Space Lock, which is slowly pulling the Earth from its natural orbit, be released.

The Grand Commissioner of the Colonizers makes a deal with Thor. There exists an area of space known as the Black Galaxy. None can see what lies within it and all attempts to enter it end in failure. The Rigelians for some unexplored reason believe that there is a powerful evil that lies within it that will soon grow powerful enough to enter our area of space, threatening all it encounters. If Thor will neutralize the threat within the Black Galaxy, the Colonizers will leave Earth in peace.

Thor approaches the Black Galaxy in a spaceship with a robot called a “recorder” as his sole companion. As they enter, they discover that the Black Galaxy is actually a Bio-verse, a giant, bizarre biological entity. Before they can get their bearings they are greeted by a giant, cosmic photomosaic face who says “I have been waiting for you! I am Ego!”

First Appearance: The Grand Commissioner, The Black Galaxy, Ego, the recorder

Days of Thunder – August 1966: The Mighty Thor #131 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods “The Warlock’s Eye!”
Lee wrote it! Kirby Drew it! Colletta inked it! Simek lettered it! No wonder it’s another magnificent Marvel Masterwork!

tales 131

Thor’s plan to impersonate Harokin works and two guards eagerly rush to retrieve the Eye. Unfortunately, voluminous Volstagg was not let in on the plan, and he fights those guards and many others before claiming the eye and turning it against his remaining foes.

Days of Thunder – August 1966: The Mighty Thor #131

The Mighty Thor! “They Strike From Space!”

Script.. Smilin’ Stan Lee/ Art… Jolly Jack Kirby/Inks… Vivacious V. Colletta/ Lettering… Affable Artie Simek/ Celestial Guided Tours… Honest Irving Forbush

thor 131

Thor returns from Greece and one last time asks his father to be allowed to marry Jane Foster. To his astonishment, Odin at last gives him permission. Odin has observed the depths of love that the two share and he now gives Thor his blessing. Overjoyed, Thor leaves to tell Jane the good news, unaware that she is on a cross-country bus headed for parts unknown.

It turns out Tana Nile is a space alien. A member of a race of beings known as the Colonizers, Tana has identified Earth as a plum pick for conquest. She has been posing as a human long enough to do some scouting and has now formally registered a claim with home office. An inspection team has been dispatched to finalize things.

When Thor finds Nile at the apartment that she and Jane shared, now in her natural giant-headed, tv-screen-on-chest state, she drops the pretense. She, along with the inspection team, capture Thor in a cage of proton coagulation, to be taken back to Rigel for study. The inspectors leave with Thor, eager to avoid unpaid overtime. After they leave, Nile activates the Space Lock, enveloping the Earth in Astral energy from the Rigel constellation.

Thor busts loose from his proton cage and knocks out his captors. Alone in the autopiloted space ship, he awaits arrival in Rigel.

First Appearance: The Colonizers, the Space Lock, Irving Forbush

Days of Thunder – July 1966: The Mighty Thor #130 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods “The Fateful Change!”
Script: Stan Lee/ Art: Jack Kirby/ Inking: Vince Colletta: Lettering: Sam Rosen/ Costumes: Asgard Haberdashery

thor 130

Thor and his friends sneak into the garrison where Harokin is staying. Thor finds Harokin in his quarters, and quickly dispatches him. However the Warlock’s Eye is not in the room. It is only then that Thor notices that this felled warlord bears a strong resemblance to himself and thus he hatches a scheme involving hair dye and a costume change.

Days of Thunder – July 1966: The Mighty Thor #130

The Mighty Thor! Thunder in the Netherworld!
Let us proclaim a proud pean of praise for Marvel’s most prolific purveyors of peerless pageantry– Stan The Man Lee, Writer/ Jack King Kirby, Artist/ Vince the Prince Colletta, Delineator/ Artie Pussycat Simek, Letter

thor 130

On behalf of Hercules, Thor beats on the teeming hordes of the Netherworld. He does untold damage to the Underworld itself as he fights, which drives Pluto crazy.  Finally,   Pluto can no longer handle watching that which he has carefully tended be smashed, and he agrees to let the Lion of Olympus out of the contract that he legally signed.  I don’t think Pluto is the bad guy in this story.  Thor and Hercules part as friends.

Meanwhile, Jane Foster’s roommate Tana Nile decides that Jane is too dangerous of a wild card and could disrupt her as-of-yet unrevealed plans.  For this reason she hypnotizes the young nurse to hide so that Thor may never find her. To Tana Nile, Jane Foster is merely “a pawn in a far greater game of celestial chess.”

Days of Thunder – June 1966: The Mighty Thor #129 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods “The Hordes of Harokin!”
Fabulously Written by… Stan Lee/ Fantastically Drawn by… Jack Kirby/ Fastidiously Inked by… V. Colletta/ Finally Lettered by… Artie Simek

tales 129

After the revelations of Ragnarok, Loki is dragged away to the Well of Eternal Sleep by guards even as he wails protests of innocence. It seems Odin is punishing his son for his future crimes that have yet to be perpetrated. He is dumped into a hole, where he is suspended in a state of Kirby Crackle.

This whole quest to discover who cracked the Oversword seems to have lost focus. After accomplishing nothing at sea, Odin now charges Thor, Hogun, Volstagg, and Fandral to visit Musphelheim to collect a powerful magic helmet known as the Warlock’s Eye. Odin wishes to keep this artifact out of the hands of the forces of evil in the face of the coming Ragnarok.

However, a warlord named Harokin has already claimed the Warlock’s eye as his own.  Its mighty power is enabling him to  conquer Muspelheim. With the Eye, he can unleash a deadly beam from his eye-shaped helmet, decimating any forces before him.

First Appearance: Kirby Crackle, Harokin, Muspelheim, The Warlock’s Eye

Days of Thunder – June 1966: The Mighty Thor #129

The Mighty Thor! “The Verdicts of Zeus!”

thor 129

Harken, ye!  Stan Lee, Writer/ Jack Kirby, Penciller/ Vince Colletta, Inker/ Arite Simek, Lettere/ Yea, Verily!

This issue begins with Thor taking a taxi to Jane Foster’s apartment. Not Don Blake, but Thor. Thor hasn’t reverted to Blake since he told Jane about his dual identity.  For some time now, Thor has become more and more dominant, and now that Jane knows the truth, it is as if he has no further use for Blake.

Thor and his cabbie spend some time bantering. The hack’s theory is that Thor is basically just an ordinary guy, same as anybody. Thor likes what the cabbie has to say and shakes the man’s hand as he departs. What he does not do is pay the man. Thor is not a good person.

Thor greets Jane and also her new roommate, Tana Nile, who seems nonplussed that she is sharing a room with Thor’s secret girlfriend. In fact, there is something weird about the lady: Thor cannot help but kneel before Ms. Nile, compelled as if she were royalty.  Obviously Nile is going to turn out to be a supervillain or something but it is nice to see Jane have a life outside of Thor.

Thor and and Jane catch up. He is no longer avoiding her because the reason he was avoiding her was dumb. He tells her that if they are to wed he will have to renounce Thor and become Blake permanently. Jane wisely says that this is a big step and that Thor should not make it lightly. Thor is god of action and so he shrugs off that advice and leaves to Asgard to tell Odin his decision.

However, once he arrives, Balder reminds him that it is the Day of the Three Worlds, a day prophesied in the Book of Enchanters.  On this day, Thor must enter limbo to await a noble cause to champion at the risk of his own life.  He must do this because it was prophesied that he would do this.

Meanwhile, Hercules has been trying in vain to find someone willing to champion his cause at the risk of their own life. The only way he can get out of his bargain with Pluto is if another hero would fight on Hercules’s behalf but nobody likes him enough to do that. As Pluto taunts, he has only made enemies, never friends. Or has he found a friend… in Thor?

First Appearance: Tana Nile, Ares, Hermes, Dionysus,

Days of Thunder – May 1966: The Mighty Thor #128 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods “Aftermath!”
Script: Stan Lee/ Pencilling: Jack Kirby/ Delineation: Vince Colletta/ Lettering S. Rosen

tales 128

Volla, the prophetess continues her prophesy.

9. The remaining Asgardians, including Thor, battle the unspeakably huge Midgard Serpent.
10. So great is the battle against the serpent that Asgard is torn asunder, “shaking the foundations of infinity itself.”
11. All are dead. All is silent.
12. At last, Surtur, unable to live when all others have died, sears everything with his great sword in a final act of fury, reducing Asgard to a cinder.
13. Eons later life returns and a new race of young gods emerges to build a new civilization.

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Having completed her prophecy, the assembled gods stand in humble silence. Unable to bear it, Loki sneers at the prophesy, claiming it shall never come to pass. Odin rebukes his son and tells Loki that he shall himself be the cause of Ragnarok.

Days of Thunder – May 1966: The Mighty Thor #128

The Mighty Thor! “The Power of Pluto!”
Conceived in grandeur and procured in glory, by: Stan Lee, Writer/ Jack Kirby, Penciller/ Vince Colletta, Inker/ Artie Simek, Letterer Verily, we have spoken!

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Thor spends most of this issue in Asgard, recuperating from his battle of the previous issue. He gets a lot of bed rest and he goes fishing for beast-fish with Balder. This downtime is the first time Thor has been shown wearing clothes other than his normal Thor clothes. He looks much cooler out of them.  This story has  Thor just being a guy and it really makes Blake look redundant.

Odin sits in the Judgment Seat and passes sentence on Seidring. Odin’s old friend begs for mercy, crying that he was maddened by the power given to him by Odin. Unmoved, Odin sends him to another part of the universe, where he is to forever more be the ruler of the monstrous rock trolls.  A terrible punishment because rock trolls are boring.

Meanwhile on Earth, Hercules signs a contract agreeing to rule the Netherworld for all eternity because he is kind of dumb. After the pen is put to paper, Pluto and Hyppolita, queen of the Amazons reveal themselves for who they are and they gloat. Once Hercules realizes what he has gotten himself into, he starts a futile fight against Titan Warriors commanded by Pluto.

It is while Hercules is caught up in this fight that a recovered Thor asks his father leave to return to Earth to settle his stupid score with Hercules. Odin readily agrees and sends Thor straight to Hollywood where Hercules is already in mid-battle.

Thor jumps to Hercules’s aid and the combined might of the two gods is enough to turn the tables on the titans. Pluto and Hyppolita retreat, teleporting to Olympus to bring the contract before Zeus. As Hercules fills in Thor on what is going on, Thor agrees that their little squabble can wait while Hercules deals with this larger crisis.

First Appearance: Rock Trolls, Titan Warriors, The Netherworld

Days of Thunder – April 1966: The Mighty Thor #127 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Gods The Meaning of… “Ragnarok!”
Script: Stan Lee/ Pencilling: Jack Kirby/ Delineation: Vince Colletta/ Lettering: Artie Simek/ We have spoken!!

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The crew of the Odinship have returned home to Asgard.  They listen to Volla the Prophetess foretell Ragnarok that is to come.

Here is what will happen:

1. An everlasting frost storm will cover the land.
2. As imminent doom approaches, brother turns against brother.
3. Some Asgardians buckle under the pressure and join the forces of evil in an ultimate act of betrayal. They will be led by Loki.
4. To defend Asgard from this assault, the Asgardians will shatter Bifrost, forever destroying the road to Earth.
5. Heimdell will be felled as he sounds the alarm one final time.
6. Odin will lead the final charge.  Amongst his followers include Thor and Fandral.
7. Thor and Loki battle one final time as their world is consumed.
8. At last shall appear the Midgard Serpent, the ultimate destroyer.

First Appearance: Volla the Prophetess, The Midgard Serpent

Days of Thunder – April 1966: The Mighty Thor #127

The Mighty Thor! “The Hammer and the Holocaust”
Possibly the most magnificent chronicle of Thor ever presented, by… Stan Lee, writer/ Jack Kirby, artist/ Vince Colletta, delineator/ Sam Rosen, Letterer

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Spurred forward by Odin, Jane tries to be there for Thor, to let him know that she loves him no matter what. Thor will have none of it. He will not allow a woman to feel sympathy for him, let alone pity. Thor is a total jerk.

Thor storms off a second time, but before Jane can go after him again, she sees a man get hit by a car. She has no choice but to set aside the  pursuit of the man she loves, so that she may  use her medical training to help this man. Her choice to help this stranger at the cost of losing the man she loves is a more heroic act than any Thor has performed in this book to date.

Thor returns to Asgard, ready to turn himself in for his actions in the previous issues. When he arrives he finds Heimdall frozen in place by ethereal energy, a type of energy that only Odin can control. He soon finds Balder and many others in a similar state. When Odin gave his Odin-power to Seidring the Merciless, Seidring found he could not bear to return it. Seidring is now mad with power, trying to establish himself as the new king of Asgard.

Seidring tries to recruit Thor to his side, but the thunder god will not have it. Half-powered Thor throws himself into battle against Odin-powered Seidring. Thor knows he cannot win, and indeed is battered badly by Seidring, but he has a plan. He makes his way to the Odinsword and hugs it tightly. He tells Seidring that he would rather see it all end than bow before Seidring and that he will pull the sword if the Odin-power is not returned to the rightful owner.

Seidring gives up and it is a sad defeat. Odin lets him wander away, perhaps out of deference to their past friendship, perhaps out of worry for his son who has passed out from the fight.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Stardust studios is preparing for the arrival of Hercules. They are preparing to make a movie about his legendary exploits and have hired a special producer for the film. That producer is Pluto, lord of the underworld. Pluto hates being ruler of the netherworld but he has a plan to free him of his obligations. That plan seems to be to get Hercules to sign a Hollywood contract with a “also you have to rule the underworld” clause in it. He also has installed a strange Kirby gizmo in the studio and enlisted the aid of the as-of-yet unnamed queen of the Amazons, so there may be more to this plan..

First appearance: Pluto, The Queen of the Amazons

Days of Thunder – March 1966: The Mighty Thor #126 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods! “Summons!”
Script: Stan Lee/ Art: Jack Kirby/ Inking: V. Colletta/ Lettering: Artie Simek/ So be it!!

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Queen Ula holds Loki captive in her hive kingdom of Thryheim. Thor seeks her out, demanding the return of his brother. She wishes to make a trade: Loki’s freedom for Thor’s hand in marriage.

Before Thor can make a decision, there is an unexpected burst of anti-energy, filling the room and knocking out all the flying trolls, while the two Asgardians remain fine. This was the hand of all-powerful Odin at work, and once the brothers return the ship, a giant image of Odin fills the sky, commanding that the crew to return home at once. The danger is in Asgard!

First appearance: Anti-energy

Days of Thunder – March 1966: The Mighty Thor #126

The Mighty Thor! “Whom the Gods Would Destroy!”
They said it couldn’t be done! And there are the guys who almost couldn’t do it– Stan Lee, the literary lion! Jack Kirby, the pencilling pussycat! V. Colletta, the delineating dragon! Artie Simek, the lettering looks it!

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After 42 issues, of Thor starring in the lead feature of Journey Into Mystery, and eight issues of being the clear star of the backup feature, this book finally sheds the old title and is now simply called “The Mighty Thor”, although it keeps the established numbering.

This issue starts with the following note of recap: “Hercules has come to Earth! He’s got the big eye for Thor’s chick! Goldilocks is bugged, but good! So, they’re fighting it out!” And indeed, they fight.
It is an epic slobberknocker, starting in the diner, moving to the street, smashing into the subway, and ending in a construction site.

As the two brutes beat the tar out of each other for no real reason whatsoever, they do epic property damage, and send civilians running in fear as they smash small businesses, vehicles, and the streets themselves in the name of their petty vendetta.

There have been many Thor stories that are little more than Thor and some other foe beating the crap out of each other, and this is another one of those, but damn, it is a gorgeous one of those.  This is my favorite era of Kirby and he draws the hell out of this fight.

Remember how in issue #101 Thor’s strength was halved and that there was never an indicator that it had returned? Well, apparently, at some point it was returned because at the height of this battle, Odin, who is still super-mad at Thor,  decides that Thor’s punishment is to now have his power halved. He cannot bear to enact the punishment himself, knowing that Hercules might kill Thor, and so he gives the Odin-power to his most trusted adviser, Seidring the Merciless so that Seidring can perform the deed.  It is made clear that this reverts his power to the level it was when he conquered the 23rd century, not halving it a second time to one-quarter strength.

At this power level, Thor is no match for Hercules and the Greek hero beats the shit out of him all while begging Thor to yield. Thor will not stay his hand, but eventually is battered into submission.

A crowd forms around the victorious Hercules, celebrating his win. A Hollywood agent is part of the crowd, and he offers Herc the chance to be a movie star, which appeals mightily to the god’s ego. He departs for Hollywood, Jane Foster seemingly forgotten.

As Thor staggers to his feet, Jane rushes toward him, trying to assure him that Hercules meant nothing; that she only wanted to make Thor jealous. Thor cares not. Thor tells Jane that having been bested in combat, he is no longer worthy of her love. He departs, telling his love that they cannot meet again until he has regained his honor.

But as he leaves, Jane hears a voice inside her head from her most powerful enemy, Odin. He tells her that Thor’s defeat is his fault and that now more than ever his son needs Jane Foster. Odin commands the mortal to go be with his son and she proclaims that she will.

First appearance: Seidring the Merciless

Days of Thunder – February 1966: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #125 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods! “The Queen Commands”

None but Marvel’s Stan Lee could tell such a tale! None but Marvel’s Jack Kirby could draw such a tale! None but Marvel’s Vince Coletta could ink such a tale! None but Marvel’s Artie Simek could be such a pussycat!

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The Argonauts of the Odinship find themselves surrounded by flying trolls. It is a standoff, one which Thor tries to defuse. He is making headway in this tense situation when Loki bombards the trolls with a blast of poison vapor.

Thor yells at Loki while the knave claims victory. As the poison fog disperses, the trolls come back for a second pass, seizing Loki with grappling rings. The trolls take the villain back to their hive while Thor and the crew of the Odinship pursue.

Days of Thunder – February 1966: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #125

The Mighty Thor! “When Meet the Immortals!”
Bombastically written by Stan Lee/ Brilliantly drawn by Jack Kirby/ Beautifully Inked by Vince Colletta/ Bashfully lettered by Artie Simek

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Thor easily dispatches the Demon and his army in the first few pages of this issue.  Let that be a warning to any other military that Thor decides he does not like. Everyone should be afraid of Thor.

Thor takes the errant Norn Stone back to a very angry Odin on Asgard. Thor has crossed a line by telling Jane his secret in defiance of Odin. Now Thor is to face the Ritual of Steel, and if he survives, he is never to set foot on Earth again.

The Ritual of Steel apparently is fancy talk for a shit-ton of Asgardians whuppin on another one. Thor fights an Asgardian horde, shouting his defiance all the way, “Even a thunder god has the right to love!”

While Thor fights for his love on Asgard, Hercules is playing a guitar and hitting on ladies in a supper club in New York. Everyone is having a good time when Pulp Fiction-style, the wrong robbers rob the wrong diner at the wrong time. Things quickly escalate and soon Herc is throwing lampposts at cars.

Jane Foster sees the hubbub from her hospital room and assumes that Thor is at the center of it. She leaves the hospital to check it out. Upon her arrival at the scene, Hercules wastes no time in trying to seduce the young nurse.

Thor, meanwhile, has fought his way to the Rainbow Bridge where he meets Heimdall in battle. None shall prevent him from being with the woman he loves. Thor creates a sonic boom with his hammer which hits Heimdall’s sensitive ears very very hard and the guard crumples in pain.

Thor returns to Earth, slightly late for his appointment, only to discover that Jane is drinking sodas at the soda parlor with another god! Jane uses Herc to make Thor jealous, which after what he just went through leaves him pretty p.o.ed.

Hercules is pleased to see his old sparring partner but when Thor brushes him off to have a quarrel with Jane, he is mightily offended. He suckerpunches Thor who decides that maybe beating on Hercules is exactly what he needs.

First appearance: The Ritual of Steel

Days of Thunder – January 1966: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #124 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods “Closer Comes the Swarm”
How gallant, this script by: Stan Lee/ How glorious, this artwork by: Jack Kirby/ How gracious, this inking by: Vince Colletta/ How come? This lettering by: Artie Simek

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After the Utgard incident, Balder drinks Hogun’s Elixir of Healing, while Loki schemes with his confederates. The voyage continues, the mutiny seemingly forgotten, but this is a ship divided. It is during this period of regrouping that the Odinship finds itself under attack by a swarm of flying trolls from the legendary Stone Nest of Thryheim! Led by the bizarrely beautiful Queen Ula, the flying trolls wish to claim the Odinship as their prize!

First Appearance: Queen Ula, The flying trolls of Thryheim

Days of Thunder – January 1966: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #124

The Mighty Thor! “The Grandeur and the Glory!”
Story by: Stan (the Man) Lee/ Pencilling by: Jack (King) Kirby/ Delineation by: Vince (The Prince) Colletta/ Lettering by: Artie (Sugar Lips) Simek

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In New York, after consoling a random child who’s father has been wounded in Viet Nam, and being told off by a beat cop for giving a public demonstration without a license, Thor goes to see Jane in the hospital.

Doctor Donald Blake greets his love but she is barely holding it together. She has been thinking about things and she is sick of Blake’s bullshit. “You’ve told me you love me… but I know you’re keeping some terrible secret you’ve never allowed me to share! You desert me for days – weeks at a time! I never know where you are – what you’re doing! I only know that you’re gone! Get out – Out – Do you hear me – ??”

This dam-burst of emotion is more than Blake can bear. Despite his father’s command, Blake reveals his secret to Jane, transforming into Thor. As he says, “the deed is done! There is no turning back!” Jane is shocked, but it all makes sense.

Shortly thereafter, Blake is chased out Jane’s room by a nurse but he promises to return the next day. Jane makes it very clear that it is very important to her that he be responsible and show up.

Meanwhile, Odin is ready to burst with parental rage, the worst kind of rage. He saw what Thor did in direct defiance of his edict.  There must be a reckoning!

While this secret identity drama has been unspooling in New York, The Demon’s army has been running rampant across Asia. News of his exploits keeps being reported in America, which dismays Blake greatly. Visions of death cloud his mind, and even though he has just promised Jane to not let being Thor get in the way of their relationship, he decides that he must single-handedly end this foreign war that as far as he knows he has zero involvement in. He imagines that he can do this and be back within the day. He best hope so.

Also, Zeus is sick of Hercules starting dumb fights in Olympus, so he sends his son to Earth.

First Appearance: Atlas

Mostly James Bond and Thor Stuff