The Mighty Thor! “Whom the Gods Would Destroy!”
They said it couldn’t be done! And these 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!
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