Days of Thunder – October 1967 The Mighty Thor #145 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods “The End!”
Know Ye All.. Stan (The Man) Lee and Jack (King) Kirby have for thee alone, created yonder masterwork!/ Aided, most ably, by: Vincent Colletta, Embellisher/ Artie Simek, Letterer/ Thus Speaketh Forbush!

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After Alibar gives Hogun the flag of his still-as-of-yet-unnamed people, finally do the heroes seize the palace of Mogul, only to discover that the villain has fled. They use Mogul’s mystic paraphanalia to discover the truth: he intends to use his vial of Spotted Plague to wipe out ever living person in Hogun’s unnamed Asiatic land.

By combining Hogun and Alibar’s respective mystic arts and channeling it through Mogul’s scrying crystal, the heroes are able to slay Mogul with a shattering bolt of Temporal Force. Apparently all this time, grim mace-wielding Hogun knew magic spells.

Thor, Hogun, Volstagg, and Fandral leave Zanadu as Alibar assumes the throne. As this story comes to a close, so too does this feature.

This is the last installment of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s Tales of Asgard, a feature so good that over time the main Thor feature began to resemble it more and more, eventually making Tales redundant.

One installment shy of fifty, we leave Tales of Asgard with the mystery of the cracked Odinsword sadly unresolved.  It will briefly be replaced by a Inhumans feature, which while outside the purview of Days of Thunder, is largely delightful.

First Appearance: Temporal Force

Days of Thunder – October 1967 The Mighty Thor #145

The Mighty Thor! “Abandoned On Earth!”
Produced by Marvel’s peerless purveyors of pandemonious  pageantry: Smilin’ Stan Lee and Jolly Jack Kirby/ Embellished by Valiant Vince Colletta/ Lettered by Swingin’ Sammy Rosen

Thor 145

Odin returns victorious from his cosmic battle, bringing with him Forsung’s corpse. He crushes the no-longer Living Talisman in his fist and gives a fiery speech:  “Death to the foes of Asgard! The Golden Realm shall e’er endure! I have spoken! Odin is the power supreme! Odin is the word.. and the way and the wonder! Let all who live now know them this… Odin is just! Odin is merciful!! And yet…
Odin is a vengeful liege.. Odin is an angry liege… Odin is now and forever supreme! And woe to him who strays from righteousness!… For the rage of the All-Father is truly eternal and his judgement is all-consuming!”

And with that he consigns the two remaining Enchanters to the Lost Limbo of Infinity Unending.  In these pages, Odin has been shown to be angry, many, many times. This is the first time we have seen him wrathful and it is magnificent to behold.

Odin now commands the Asgardians on Earth to return home. Balder and Sif comply but Thor begs to stay.

Thor picked the wrong time to back-talk Odin. His father grants his request but severs his connection to the power of Asgard.  Odin also disenchants Thor’s hammer. Without Mjolnir’s enchantment, Thor cannot fly, cannot command the storm, the hammer will not return to him, and he cannot transform into Doctor Blake.

Thor passes out from the shock of this change.  Later, he is awakened by Olsen the janitor who discovers him on the floor of Blake’s office.

Thor soon realizes he must make a new life for himself on Earth. He must find human clothes with which to blend in, and find a job.  Presumably, he will live in Blake’s home.

Stranded on Earth, naturally Thor decides to become a circus strong man performing under the stage name of “Thor”. Unfortunately for him, the circus he joins is the Circus of Crime.

Led by the Ringmaster who possesses a hypnotic top hat, the Circus of Crime also boast in their number the Gambino Twins, sinister acrobats; Princess Python, a deadly snake charmer; the Human Cannonball, a bulleteer; and The Crafty Clown, a clown who is crafty. They use their circus powers for criminality and they intend
to hypnotize Thor into helping them!

First Appearance: The Circus of Crime, The Ringmaster, The Gambino Twins, Princess Python, The Human Cannonball, The Crafty Clown

Days of Thunder – October 1967 The Avengers #45

“Blitzkrieg in Central Park!”
Stan Lee personally presents and polishes a Roy Thomas – Don Heck melee of matchless Marvel magnificence! Delineated by the proud pinpoint of Vince Colletta/ Lettered by the fumbling fingers of Sam Rosen

Avengers 45

Thor joins his fellow Avengers for Avenger Day, a celebration held in Central Park honoring the Avengers for their recent victory against the Mandarin. Thor attends reluctantly, grumbling, “Must the mighty Avengers be reduced to mere clowns– strutting and fretting for the benefit of mortals?” He makes an early departure, before the team can surprise Hercules by formally inviting him to join the team. (They had wanted to invite Black Widow as well, but she has decided to retire from superheroics.)
There is a footnote in this issue indicating that it take place before the events of Thor #145. That means that it and last month’s annual must take place shortly before the events of Thor #143.

Days of Thunder – September 1967 The Avengers King-Size Special #1

“The Monstrous Master Plan of the Mandarin!”
Stan Lee lovingly lords over a Roy Thomas – Don Heck landmark of literary luminescence! Inked by George Bell! Lettered by Artie Simek!

avengers king 1

Since we last checked in with the Avengers, Black Widow, a former red spy and girlfriend of Hawkeye,  has informally joined the team, as has Hercules, who has been banished to Earth for a period of one year. Also, the Wasp has inherited a fortune, The Scarlett Witch and and Quicksilver have gotten power boosts, and The Enchantress has fallen in love with Hercules.

This issue’s story is a sprawling superhero epic where Thor and Iron Man pitch in to help the Avengers fight a veritable army of supervillains: the Enchantress, the Executioner, the Living Laser, Power Man, the Swordsman, and Ultimo, led by a Yellow Peril mastermind named the Mandarin.

There are a bunch of fights on different fronts. There is a great bit where Thor dives for his hammer as his sixty-second window closes, turns into Blake mid-air, smashes into the ground, rolls, grabs his stick and, stamps it to the ground in one fluid motion.

The story culminates in a showdown on the Mandarin’s secret privately-owned space station, powered by a four-foot-tall diamond. There is a fight that ends with the Mandarin being sucked out into the vacuum of space. Afterward the Avengers decide to blow up the space station, despite noting that it might have been “the stepping-stone to the stars.” As they rocket home, Thor and Iron Man agree that they need to make an effort to involve themselves with the Avengers more often.

Days of Thunder – September 1967 The Mighty Thor #144 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods “The Beginning of the End!”
By the Flaming Fury of Forbush, here by Grandeur, Freely Given… As Conceived and Created by: Stan (The Man) Lee and Jack (King) Kirby/ Embellished by: Vince Colletta/ Lettered by Sam Rosen

Thor and his friends continue to fight the unkillable hordes of Satan. As the demon riders regroup, the Asgardians are joined by Alibar the Vagabond. As the four heroes turn to face the horsemen they bellow “For Asgard!”, only to be met by an even louder reply of “For Satan!”

The two forces charge at each other but before they meet, all forty of Satan’s horsemen are taken out by a single blast of returning Volstagg’s recently acquired enchanted rod.

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Days of Thunder – September 1967 The Mighty Thor #144

The Mighty Thor! “This Battleground Earth!”
Conceived in grandeur and produced in majesty by: Stan (The Man) Lee and Jack (King) Kirby/ Embellished by: Vince Colletta/ Lettered by: Sam Rosen

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Fight time! The Enchanters Magnir and Brona want to fight Thor without any interference, so they clear the area of mortals by releasing a ring of Demon Mist, something I assume kills all the humans. Then they separate Thor from his friends by lifting the ground upon which they stand into the sky.

With Thor isolated, so begins perhaps the toughest fight yet to transpire in the pages of The Mighty Thor.  The Enchanters, giant beings with great strength and greater magic, can transform themselves into energy or engulf themselves in smoke, they are strong and able warriors, and they outmatch Thor two-to-one.

It’s a glorious battle, with a lot of back and forth. At a key moment in the fight, Magnir catches Thor’s hammer mid-swing, wrests it from Thor’s hand, heats it with the heat of a million suns, and throws it back at Thor. That’s what Thor is dealing with. He stands his ground, but he is not winning.

While Thor fights these Enchanters, Forsung, the eldest of the three brothers, has come to Asgard itself to challenge Odin in ritual combat.

As the issuer of the challenge, Forsung proclaims that, “The victor’s prize shall be… the all-powerful Odin-Sword, which doth repose within yon vault!”
“But, know you, Forsung… When the Odin-Sword moves, it well may signal the end of the world!” replies Odin
“No Matter! Twill be the end of thy world… not mine!”

Those are the stakes. The nature of the battle is this: Both men shall clasp Odin’s Scepter of Power. Through it shall flow both combatant’s power, battering at the both of them. He who can hold on longest shall be the victor. In addition, for this battle Forsung shall forgo the use of his mystic talisman, while Odin shall withdraw the Power of All Asgardians, which is apparently a thing that he draws upon.

This cosmic battle of pure willpower engulfs the two combatants in a brilliant fireball of universe-shaking energy that propels them through the endless bounds of space. As they hurtle through the void, they smash through planets, and create new suns through the power of their divine energies. Theirs is a battle that transcends space, time and thought itself.

There is a side-effect of this cosmic battle.  When Odin and Forsung renounced their divine powers it severed the connection to the power of godhood for Thor and presumably all other Asgardians, and has done the equivalent to the Enchanters. Without their magics, the Enchanters are no longer able to keep Balder and Sif away from the fight and soon Brona and Magnir are defeated by the three Asgardian.  However, having lost their godhead, Thor, Sif, and Balder are trapped on Midgard.

First appearance: Demon Mist

Days of Thunder – August 1967 The Mighty Thor #143 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods “To the Death!”

Thou too should be congratulated, for– Stan (The Man) Lee and Jack (King) Kirby Plus;  Bill Everett, Embellisher and: Artie Simek, Letterer  –have created yon saga just for thee!

While Thor, Fandrall, and Hogun fight Satan’s Forty Horsemen, Volstagg attempts to flirt Mogul’s location out of the warlord’s unnamed sister. In response to his flirting, she drops him down a trap door but he pulls her down with him. They end up in Mogul’s chamber of doom.

Together they travel across the Sea of Lizards and use an incredibly unsubtle enchanted rod of wondrous wizard power to fight Mutaurus, a Minotaur who had the gall to call Volstagg “fat.”

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First Appearance: Mogul’s Sister, Mutaurus

Days of Thunder – August 1967 The Mighty Thor #143

The Mighty Thor! “–And, Soon Shall Come: The Enchanters!”
Produced in Living Color by: Stan (The Man) Lee and Jack (King) Kirby/ Embellished by: Bill Everett/ Lettered by: Sam Rosen/ True Believers All!

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Thor had returned to Earth to sort out his life as Doctor Donald Blake, and yet, when this issue begins, we find Thor sitting alone in a soda shop. It seems as though Blake is a man with no friends that Thor does not like being.  One wonders what the point of Blake is.

Once again, Thor makes a point of not paying for his goods and services before returning to Blake’s practice where he does some doctoring.

Meanwhile in Ringsfjord, Sif and Balder encounter the Enchanters, three gigantic men named Magnir, Forsung, and Brona. Each is clad in crazy Kirby armor, with a strange face on the chest: The Living Talisman.

Sif again has to explain to Balder that she is actually a real warrior, not a woman playing dress up, “I say thee nay, my lord! Though I be woman born, my blade is true… my arm is swift!” How long is she going to have to justify her existence?

The Enchanters declare their intent to humble Odin.  They then  attack Sif and Balder with crafted warriors and with the ground itself. Eventually the heroes retreat using Sif’s power to bypass time and space, which is apparently a thing all goddesses have.

Balder and Sif travel to Midgard to find Thor. They are unable to find him by detecting his aura because he is in Blake form. Instead, they ask a passing police officer if he knows where Thor is and the officer tells them that Doctor Blake might know. They visit Blake and he reveals himself to them as Thor. Meanwhile, two of the Enchanters have followed the Asgardians to Earth.

Also, Balder is falling in love with Sif. Uh oh!

First Appearance: Magnir, Forsung, Brona, The Living Talisman

Days of Thunder – July 1967 The Mighty Thor #142 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods “We Who are About to Die…!”

Face it, faithful one.. Stan (The Man) Lee and Jack (King) Kirby have done it again!  Aided by– Vince Colletta, Inker/ Artie Simek, Letterer

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Nothing really happens in this issue.  Mogul is delivered a vial of poison before he gets on his techno-magic carpet.  The act of serializing Tales of Asgard, has given the feature serious pacing issues.

Days of Thunder – July 1967 The Mighty Thor #142

The Mighty Thor! “The Scourge of the Super Skrull!”
A Modern, majestic Masterwork by Stan (The Man) Lee and Jack (King) Kirby/ Embellished by Vince Colletta/ Lettered by Artie Simek

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The character of the Super-Skrull is a character that has previously been introduced in the pages of Fantastic Four, the worlds greatest comic magazine. The Skrulls are a a race of green shape-changing aliens from the Skrull Galaxy who have repeatedly clashed with the Fantastic Four in attempting to conquer the Earth. On one occasion, the Fantastic Four hypnotized some Skrulls into believing they were cows.  On another, the Skrulls murdered the father of two of the team’s members.  Most recently, the leader of the Skrulls has promised to stop trying to conquer Earth.

One of the Skrulls has been modified by Skrull science so as to possess the powers of all four members of the Fantastic Four, in addition to his normal shape-changing powers. This grants him the power of flight, super-strength, invisibility, spontaneous flame creation, and stretchiness.  It is he who is known as the Super-Skrull.  After twice being defeated by the Fantastic Four, he has returned to his people.

Still disembodied and exiled, but again self-aware, and for some reason now back in his classic garb, Loki is back to his old tricks. He finds the Super-Skrull, now banished to an unglamorous space patrol assignment, and uses his powers of suggestion to compel the Skrull to attack Thor as the beginning of a campaign to conquer Asgard itself.

The Super-Skrull fights Thor and loses. Thor uses Mjolnir to create an Anti-Force to fling the Super-Skrull away from Earth.

Meanwhile Balder and Sif make plans to visit the land of Ringsfjord to fight the deadly Enchanters. Balder tries to convince Sif to stay away from the danger, but Sif ain’t having it, asking it “Is my arm not skillful as any warrior? Is my eye not as keen? Is my courage any less true?” It is unfortunate that all the men around Sif have to be portrayed as sexist asses in order to elevate Sif.

First Appearance: Mjolnir’s Anti-Force

Days of Thunder – June 1967 The Mighty Thor #141 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods “Alibar and the Forty Demons!”
Hail Ye All, This Stan Lee and Jack Kirby Commodious Creation! Inking: Vince Colletta/ Lettering Art Simek

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The nature of the geography of Asgard has always been a little vague. Asgard is a city that connects to Earth via a rainbow bridge. The Aesir that live in Asgard can travel by foot or by horse to other lands. The implication is that Asgard is one city in a larger world that has a direct portal to our world. Somehow it doesn’t seem quite right or accurate to think of this world as a “planet”. At any rate, the unnamed section of the larger world of Asgard that Thor and his friends have found themselves in is weirdly Arabic except for where it is weirdly Mongolian.

Hogun and his friends have smashed their way into Xanadu, fighting off guards left and right as they search for Mogul. As they close in, Mogul uses his power of enchantment to turn one of his enemies, Alibar the Thief, into an elite guardsman.  Alibar is then forced to fight Hogun and friends.

Here’s the kicker, Mogul also summons Satan’s Forty Horsemen! Apparently Satan has a regiment of demonic riders of undead horses and Mogul has access to those dragoons. This naturally raises all sorts of questions about Satan. Also, while Vince Colletta is typically the weak link in these Thor stories, he inks the hell out of Satan’s Horsemen Forty.  Er, so to speak.

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First Appearance: Alibar the Thief, Satan’s Forty Horsemen

Days of Thunder – June 1967 The Mighty Thor #141

The Mighty Thor! “The Wrath of Replicus”
A Dazzling Stan Lee and Jack Kirby Drama-In-Depth! Inked by: V. Colletta/ Lettered by: Art Simek

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Slugger Sykes is a mob boss who has met a scientist named Chuda who will rent him a powerful android for crimes. This android, called Replicus, is set unto a crime spree, robbing banks and stealing the crown jewels.

Sykes is pleased with the results of this arrangement until he discovers that Chuda’s plan is to sell Replicuses to mob bosses all over the land, sowing fear and chaos. Sykes may be a criminal but when he discovers that Chuda is actually a foreign spy, he turns on Chuda. Although Sykes has pegged Chuda as a Red, he is actually from space and he pulls out the space weapons. In the ensuing fight, Chuda’s entire lair, including all those in it, is destroyed, leaving Replicus inert.

Thor was in this issue too. He fought Replicus for a while and Doctor Blake gave Sykes’ mother a house call.

First Appearance: Slugger Sykes, Chuda, Replicus

Days of Thunder – May 1967 The Mighty Thor #140 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods “The Battle Begins!”
A Glory-Drenched Masterwork by Stan (The Man) Lee and Jack (King Kirby) Inking: Vince Collettta/ Lettering: Sam Rosen

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The boys fight the Jinni. The fight goes on for so long that the sun begins to set.  Sunsets just happen to be the one fatal weakness that has killed all the other Jinni before this one, the last of it’s kind. When the shadows strike the Jinni, it is turned to smoke and carried away never to return. Thor and his friends have successfully fought a creature into extinction.

Days of Thunder – May 1967 The Mighty Thor #140

The Mighty Thor! “The Growing Man!”
Conceived and created by the noblest collaborative combo in comicdom: Stan (The Man) Lee and Jack (King) Kirby/ Inking by: Vince Colletta/ Lettering by: Sam Rosen

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Fresh from his victory in the Great Troll War, the Warlord of Asgard is ready to return to Earth. Sif wants to accompany him but Thor gives her the brush off. He claims that his heroing on Earth is man’s work. Even after Sif shoots that down as a load of bull, he still insists on going by himself.

Thor has started to think about all that has gone on recently and he is a confused god. He really likes Sif but he remembers that he until very recently felt that way about Jane. He wonders if Odin altered his brain to make him move on from Jane to Sif or if Sif is really that awesome. It is very confusing to him. One thing is for sure, Doctor Donald Blake’s life has gone to shit. Thor decides that what is called for is to rebuild what he has let fall apart.

He returns to Earth and once again transforms into Doctor Blake. Apparently, he has physician friends and apparently they filled in during his absence. He tries to get his files in order, discussing his return with Olsen the janitor.

Meanwhile, archaeologists have discovered a living man who was the size of a doll when first found, but who has steadily grown larger and larger whenever he is touched by another person. He wakes and goes on a rampage, soon becoming the size of a small mountain.

This Growing Man is alarmed for he does not know his purpose. He seeks his master so that he can be told what his purpose is. This is a poignant and philosophical and undeveloped notion.

It turns out that the Growing Man is  a Stimuloid created by Kang the Conquerer and was hidden in Kang’s past to serve as a sleeper agent for attacking his enemies in the future. Unfortunately he was awoken too soon.  Kang has thus returned to the primitive 20th century so that he might re-shrink his weapon.

Thor tracks down the Stimuloid and oddly is able to recognize him as being one of Kang’s creations from the far future, which is odd since none of Thor’s past on-page interactions with Kang have involved Stimuloids. There are any number of ways Thor could have picked up this knowledge but it is still strange.

Thor fights Kang and the Stimuloid until they retreat to Kang’s time machine. Before they can escape, Thor throws Mjolnir (here spelled “Mjolnar”) so hard that it spins around the time machine at a speed greater than light, trapping the time machine in a Universal Infinity Vortex, causing a cataclysmic displacement trapping Kang and his Stimuloid beyond all time and place.

First Appearance: Stimuloids, The Universal Infinity Vortex, Olsen the Janitor

Days of Thunder – April 1967 The Mighty Thor #139 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods “The Secret of the Mystic Mountain!”
A Stan Lee and Jack Kirby Rhapsodic Rabelasian Romp/ Inked by Vince Colletta/ Lettered by Art Simek

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Hogun and the gang go to where Wazir’s magic stick told them they would find the Mystic Mountain but are confounded to find nothing but desolate plains. Finally, Thor figures it out. They were looking for a normal sky-mountain, but not all mountains reach upward. Mogul’s mountain city of Zanadu is inside a reverse-mountain.

Zanadu is a city built in a giant hollow crystal stalactite over top of an even more giant underground cave. Thor and company are standing above this whole thing but now that they’ve figured it out they can start smashing their way downward with hammer and mace, which they do.

Once they have created an opening, they are met by Mogul’s genie slave, named Jinni Devil. Jinni is ready for a fight.

First Appearance: Zanadu

Days of Thunder – April 1967 The Mighty Thor #139

The Mighty Thor! “To Die Like a God!”
A Peerless, Pictorial Pageant, Painstakingly Produced with Perfectly Pardonable Pride by: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby/ Inked with the Prowess of Vice Colletta/ Lettered with the Pen-Points of Sam Rosen

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Thor, separated from his hammer, is desperately afraid of becoming Don Blake with no way to turn back into Thor. His solution is to, as Blake, throw himself in front of a train and hope that he would maybe appear in Valhalla as Thor. However, Sif has a less psychologically revealing plan. She simply removes Thor from Earth’s orbit. The sixty second rule only applies on Earth and once they leave under the power of Sif’s vaguely defined Goddess Magic, Thor will stay Thor no matter how hammerless he may stay.

Soon, the two of them storm the stronghold of the Trolls. Thor tries to send Sif away due to her womanliness and she tells him nuts to that. At long last we get to see Sif kick some serious ass alongside Thor.

Meanwhile, Ulik the Troll has used Orikal’s technology to create a duplicate of Thor’s hammer. Not only can he lift it, but he can hold Thor’s hammer also, which is most likely also a result of Orikal’s power. He does not hold it for long before Thor summons it to his person and then the two enemies have a hammer-fight.

The fighting leads the two enemies to the pit of fire where Orikal is being held. Ulik follows them, but in a twist, instead of fighting the Asgardians, he tries to kill the prisoner from another universe, as he is jealous of the favor King Geirrodur gives it.

Thor defeats Ulik and frees Orikal, who immediately departs. After Ulik goes down, Sif retrieves the hammer that is theoretically as powerful as Mjolnir but without the can-only-be-held-by-Thor limitation.

With Ulik defeated and Orikal freed, Thor gets Geirrodur to agree to surrender.

First Appearance: Duplicate Mjolnir

Days of Thunder – March 1967: The Mighty Thor #138 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods “The Quest for the Mystic Mountain!”
A Stan Lee and Jack Kirby Super-Spectacular/ Inking: Vince Colletta/ Lettering: Sam Rosen

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Hogun and his friends head to the land of Hindi, seeking revenge on Mogul who resides on The Magic Mountain of Mogul. Their first step is to visit Wazir the Prophet, but guarding the prophet’s cave is a Cyclops named Ogur. To the Asgardian’s credit, they do try to talk their way past the mute monster but Ogur will have none of it.

After they beat Ogur into submission they get their audience with Wazir. Wazir gives them the knowledge they seek, not by using his words but by making them telepathically learn it by touching his magic staff.   After touching the staff, they now know the location of the Mystic Mountain

First Appearance: Ogur, Wazir

Days of Thunder – March 1967: The Mighty Thor #138

The Mighty Thor! “The Flames of Battle!”
Garnished With Grandeur by Stan (The Man) Lee and Jack (King) Kirby/ Inked by Vince (The Prince) Colletta/ Lettered by: Artie (The Smartie) Simek

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Thor has returned to Earth so that he might find the Lady Sif. Of course, all Immortals can detect each other due to their auras of free flowing electrons (last illustrated in issue #108), but once Thor is in the rough vicinity, he turns himself into Doctor Blake so as to travel in a less conspicuous fashion. Even in his human form, he can still detect Sif.

But as he approaches, The Trolls, who are hiding beneath the streets of New York, use their Molecular Disperser to pull Doctor Blake through the sidewalk into the ground, quickly separating him from his cane. However, Blake wastes no time in tricking a Troll into tapping it on the ground, initiating his Thor transformation.

Here, it is strongly implied that Blake needed to touch the cane as it hit the ground for the transformation to work, but of course no such contact was necessary in issue #105. Possibly this is enough of a corner case that Blake forgot the rules of transformation, especially plausible given how little he transforms these days. Or perhaps, once upon a time the transformation could be triggered by anyone but now that the wielder of the hammer has become truly more Thor than Blake, the switch can only be brought about by Thor/Blake’s own hand.

As Thor grabs his hammer he cries “To me, my enchanted mallet!! To thine avenging master, eternal Mjolnir!” This is the first time in these pages that Thor has referred to his hammer by name.

Meanwhile on Asgard, the Trolls are doing well in their war efforts, owed in no small part to the counsel of a mysterious advisor named Orikal. Orikal is a giant strange visitor from another universe held captive in volcanic flame by Geirrodur king of the trolls. Orikal posesses the Infinite Eye, which allows it to see all things in this world.  They pose such a threat that Odin fears for the fate of Asgard.

Thor beats on Ulik with Mjolnir. Thor is winning the fight but during a lull in the combat he sets down his hammer while he attempts to free Sif. This gives Ulik enough time to use a strange artifact called the Orb of Orikal.  The Orb ensnares Mjolnir, trapping it in within.

The strange sorcery of Orikal overrides the Uru magics of the hammer allowing Ulik and his troll bretheren to retreat via dimensional tunnel with Thor’s enchanted mallet. This leaves Thor on Earth with mere seconds before he will revert to Blake.

First appearance: Orikal, the Orb of Orikal, the name “Mjolnir”

Days of Thunder – February 1967: The Mighty Thor #137 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods Beginning: “The Tragedy of Hogun!”
Fabulously Presented at its Full Flavor Peak by: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby/ Inked by: Vince Colletta/ Lettered by: Artie Simek

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As they travel toward Asgard, Thor and his three warrior friends find a man savagely injured and tied prostrate, left to die. Hogun recognizes this man as Saguta, a warrior from his unnamed homeland. With his dying breath, Saguta names his killer as Mogul, the dread tyrant.

Upon the death of Saguta, Mogul appears in a blazing surge of shadow and smoke.  He taunts the young heroes before challenging them to meet him in his stronghold in the Mystic Mountain.  Then he is spirited away by his Jinni slave.

Hogun swears revenge.  Mogul has claimed the freedom of his people, and the life of his father and brothers.  His friends pledge to stay at his side as he searches for the secret location of the Mystic Mountain.

First Appearance:  Saguta, Mogul, Jinni Devil

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

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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

thor 136

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

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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!)

tales 133

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

Mostly James Bond and Thor Stuff