Tag Archives: Iron Man

Days of Thunder – May 1978 The Mighty Thor #271

“…Like a Diamond in the Sky!”
“Len Wein, Writer/Editor * Walt Simonson & Tony DeZuniga, Illustrators/ Storytellers * Glynis Wein, Colorist * Joe Rosen, Letterer

Thor 271

After conferring with the Avengers and with an intelligence operative named Nick Fury, Thor uses Mjolnir to teleport himself and Iron Man inside of F.A.U.S.T., now in orbit around Earth. The two of them destroy it.

Last Appearance: Len Wein

 

Days of Thunder – April 1978 The Avengers #170

“…Though Hell Should Bar the Way!”

James Shooter, Writer/Colorist /George Perez, Artist/Co-Plotter / Pablo Marcos, Inker/ Denise Wohl, Letterer/ Archie Goodwin, Editor

Avengers 170

After Thor’s recent realization that that he was slumming by participating in the Avengers, he reduced his role to that of an associate member, to be called upon only in times of emergency. There have been some other membership shakeups, and the current full-time Avengers roster now consists of Iron Man, Captain America, The Wasp, The Scarlet Witch, The Vision, and the Beast (formerly of the X-Men).

Wonder Man, a reformed villain with a brief former stint as an Avenger who is also the human template for the Vision, has been returned from the dead via vague arcane means. He now serves as a member of the Avengers although he has not been officially made an active member.

Since taking his leave of absence, Thor has seemingly dropped by to assist the Avengers on three separate occasions. However, he now arrives at the Avengers Mansion, claiming to have never done any such thing. He is very confused. It seems that the Thor that has been fighting alongside the Avengers as of late has been an Impostor.

Days of Thunder – April 1976 The Avengers #146

“The Assassin Never Fails!”
Tony Isabella, Guest Writer/ Keith Pollard (pages 1-3) & Don Heck (pages 6-32), Guest Pencillers/ John Tartag, Inker/ Dave H., Letterer/ Petra G., Colorist/ Marv Wolfman, Editor

Avengers 146

An assassin has critically wounded Captain America, poisoning him with an unknown form of radiation. Doctor Blake is performing surgery on his fallen friend, inserting counter-radiation capsules inside of Cap.

While Blake performs the surgery, the Avengers stand watch in the hospital. Iron Man has become concerned that it is too easy to form a connection between Doctor Blake and Thor, so he has created a lifelike android duplicate of Thor, known as a “Life Model Decoy” or “LMD” for short. The Android poses as Thor to cover for Blake.

The Assassin and her agents disable the Avengers guarding the operation, including the LMD. The Assassin discovers that “Thor” is a robot, confirming what her research has lead her to suspect: Thor and Blake are one and the same. She had poisoned Captain America in order to flush out the elusive doctor, who is much more susceptible to bullets than his godly alter ego.

However, the unconscious Avengers recover, causing the Assassin to flee, only to be accidentally killed by her own men.

Blake successfully completes the surgery, saving Captain America.

First Appearance: Thor LMD

Days of Thunder – April 1975 The Mighty Thor #234

“O, Bitter Victory!”
Gerry Conway, author/John Buscema & Joe Sinnott, artists/ John Costanza, letterer/ Petra Goldberg, colorist/ Len Wein, editor

Thor 234

Thor attempts a sneak attack against Loki’s forces, but he is caught and captured. Meanwhile, Iron Man and Firelord combine their powers to attack the barrier that traps them within Avenger’s Mansion. They break the barrier, but only Firelord retains the strength to take the fight to Loki. Krista stays behind to look after Iron Man.

Firelord fights his way into Loki’s camp and provides the distraction Thor needs to escape. Thor challenges his brother to an unarmed duel. Loki agrees.  When Thor sets down his hammer, he creates a sixty-second time limit for their battle. As they fight, Thor senses Dormammu’s power draining from Loki. With two seconds to spare, Thor is triumphant in his fight against his brother.

As Loki crumples to the ground, his spell lifts and the Asgardians in his thrall awaken. Thor meanwhile sheds a tear for his brother.

Elsewhere, Orrin,  née Odin,  engages in a philosophical discussion with his young friend, Judith. Abruptly, a car speeds toward the pair at high speed, causing Orrin to swat it aside as if it were nothing. Either the Vizier was mistaken about Odin becoming mortal, or even when mortal he retains the strength of one Asgard-born.

Meanwhile, Sif and Hercules arrive on the planet where Kamo Tharnn lives, as they continue their quest to save the life of Nurse Jane Foster.

First Appearance: Judith

Days of Thunder – February 1975 The Mighty Thor #232

“Lo, the Raging Battle!”

Gerry Conway, Author/ John Buscema & Dick Giordano, Artists/ J. Costanza, letterer/ P. Goldberg, colorist/ Roy Thomas, Editor

thor 232

Thor has obtained experimental government drugs that may be able to heal Jane Foster from her non-specific injuries. This proves fruitless.

While Thor broods, Firestorm approaches the Thunder God, leading to a big stupid fight over nothing. This does immense property damage, to buildings, to the streets, to cars. The two eventually cool off and prepare to head to Avengers Mansion when Detective Sgt. Blumkenn arrives, attempting to hold them accountable for their destructive behavior. Thor talks his way out of trouble off-panel, presumably with an explanation along the lines of “send a bill to Tony Stark.”

Meanwhile, at Avengers Mansion, Iron Man receives a video phone call from Tom Fagan, who checks in with the Avengers from time to time, in his role as Loki’s warden. Apparently, Loki cast a spell causing a teenager named Bunker to appear to be Loki, and that it was this child that has been Fagan’s prisoner all this time.

Clearly this story takes place some time after the events of Avengers #118. Within the pages of The Mighty Thor, there has been no down time on Earth since Thor fought Ulik in issue #210. Therefore, all of Thor’s involvement with the Avengers up until at least that point must have taken place before that issue.

Thor and Firelord arrive at Avengers Mansion, apparently in the free and clear, law-wise. Firelord explains to Thor, Iron Man, Krista and Jarvis that the former-herald had been lured to a twisted dimension by Loki. Loki seemed to have gone mad with power and explained to Firelord that he had gained the spirit of Dormammu’s mystic being, and thus he gained the Dark One’s power. Faced with this news, Thor returns to Jane Foster’s side.

Meanwhile on Asgard, Sif does not know what to do about Jane Foster, with Odin missing. Hildegarde suggests that there may be hope in the Runestaff of Kamo Tharnn, an artifact that holds the power of life and death. Sif heads out on a quest to retrieve it, returning briefly to Earth in order to recruit Hercules to her cause.  It is unclear why Hildegarde does not accompany her.

Days of Thunder – December 1974 The Mighty Thor #230

“The Sky Above… The Pits Below!”
Gerry Conway, Author/Rich Buckler, Artist *** Joe Sinnott, Embellisher/ Costanza & Jetter, Letterers/ Stan Goldberg, Colorist *** Roy Thomas, Editor

Thor 230

Thor takes the unconscious Hercules to Avengers Mansion, in order to use their Memory Inducer. Iron Man helps him, but the device drives Hercules into a rage, screaming “I will not remember!”. Fortunately, Krista is able to calm him down.

Once calmed, Hercules tells his comrades that he cannot recall what he saw when the monsters dragged him down below the city, that it is something so dreadful that he has blocked all memory of it. Thor and Hercules decide to investigate, requesting that Iron Man, Sif, and Krista stay behind as backup.

They travel under the city, into the tunnels and caverns that apparently exist below New York city. They are attacked by a horde of demonesque monsters. Hercules deduces that their unseen foe’s goal must be simply to make Hercules and Thor despair. Once he works that out, the monsters vanish and their foe is revealed to be nothing but a shadow.

Meanwhile on Asgard, Hildegarde fights her way past Odin’s guards in order to gain entrance to his chamber, as she is known to do on occasion. However, Odin is not in his chambers! She finds the Vizier, who confirms that Odin has gone missing!

 

Days of Thunder – April 1974 The Avengers #122

Trapped in Outer Space!”
Steve Engelhart, story/ Bob Brown, pictures/ M. Esposito, lines/ John Costanza, letters/ George Roussos, colors/ Roy Thomas, editor

Avengers 122

While the Avengers fight a group of terrorists known as the Zodiac on their spaceship, Thor accidentally throws his hammer into the void of space and reverts to Blake. Iron Man heads out into the void of space to retrieve it for his friend.

Iron Man grabs the hammer, which he is able to lift because it is zero gravity. Apparently, anyone can lift Mjolnir if it in the void of space. However, as he flies close enough to Earth’s gravity, the enchantment kicks in.  Unable to resist, it pulls the Shellhead toward the Earth.

The hammer smashes into the Zodiac spaceship, now also falling back toward Earth, pinning Iron Man to the ship in the process. Fortunately, another Zodiac spaceship catches the first and Mjolnir comes to a rest within the artificial gravity created by the ship.  Iron Man is freed and Thor is able to retrieve his hammer.   The Avengers defeat Zodiac.

Days of Thunder – March 1974 The Invincible Iron Man #67

“Return of the Freak”
Mike Friedrick, writer * George Tuska, artist * Mike Esposito, inker/ Tom Orzechowski, letterer * George Roussos, colorist * Roy Thomas, editor

Iron Man 67

Doctor Donald Blake rushes Tony Stark’s friend, Eddie March into surgery. Despite his best efforts, his patient seems doomed. Stark suggests that Blake use a machine that he had previously built, called an Enervator as a last-ditch effort. The Enervator uses cobalt rays as a healing treatment but also turns people into mindless freaks.

The Enervator combined with Blake’s ministrations is enough to save March but it also turns him into a monster man. Iron Man knocks him unconscious and Blake finishes the operation. March will live, but Thor beat on him so hard he’ll be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

 

Days of Thunder – February 1974 The Invincible Iron Man #66

“Battle Royal!”
Mike Friedrick/ writer * George Tuska/ artist * Mike Esposito/ inker/ Artie Simek, letterer / G. Roussos, colorist * Roy Thomas, editor

Iron Man 66

Iron Man’s armored body has seemingly become possessed by a psychic alien, causing the hero to wildly lash out at the people of Detroit. Thor is apparently in the area for some reason. He attacks Iron Man, believing him to be an impostor. He beats the man to near-death. When he rips off Iron Man’s mask, he reveals not Tony Stark, but Eddie March, a friend of Stark’s. Thor turns into Blake and begins administering care.

 

Days of Thunder – December 1973 The Avengers #118

“To the Death!”
Steve Englehart, Writer/ Bob Brown, Penciler/ Frank Giacoia, and Mike Esposito  Inkers/ Roy Thomas Editor

vengers 118

The Avengers and the Defenders have discovered that they have been manipulated and are now teamed up. However, Dormammu has seized the completed Evil Eye and has begun to suck the Earth’s dimension into his own.

The combined teams attack Dormammu. During the battle, Dormammu defeats the heroes one-by-one. He transforms Thor into Donald Blake, revealing his identity to his comrades, and leaving him unable to revert to Thor. He does similar to Iron Man, stripping him of his armor, outing  him as Tony Stark.

Eventually, all that remain standing against Dormammu are the Scarlet Witch and Loki. Together, they wrench the Evil Eye from Dormammu. The Evil Eye discharges a terrible blast of energy into Loki’s face. This blast restores Loki’s sight, but also seems to drive him mad, leaving him with the mind of a child.

In the aftermath, Blake reverts to Thor. Without waiting to see how anyone felt about the matter, Doctor Strange uses magic to make all present forget Blake and Stark’s identities. It is unclear if this spell undid the knowledge  for those who already knew one or more of the other’s identities.

Loki is left in the care of Tom Fagan.

 

 

Days of Thunder – November 1973 Defenders #10

Steve Engleart, Author * Sal Buscema, Artist * Frank Bolle, Inker * Tom Orzechowski , Letterer/ P. Goldberg, Colorist * Roy Thomas, Editor
Breakthrough! The Incredible Hulk Vs. The Mighty Thor!
Chapter 9″

Defenders 10

Over the past few issues of The Avengers and The Defenders, various members of the teams have been squaring off in battle. Now at last it is time for the main event: Thor vs. The Hulk. This has been long time coming, after their previous fight back in issue #112 proved inconclusive.

This battle also proves inconclusive.

 

Days of Thunder – October 1973 Avengers #116

Ten Years ago this month, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created… The Mighty Avengers! Today, Steve Englehard and Bob Brown continue the standard of excellence that has always marked Marvel’s mightiest, most exciting group–/Mike Esposito, inker/ John Costanza, letterer/ Petra Goldberg, colorist/ Johnny Romita, art director/ Roy Thomas, editor
“Chapter 2: Betrayal!”

Avengers 116

Dormammu and Loki have tricked the Defenders (currently consisting of Doctor Strange, Namor, the Hulk, Valkyrie, the Silver Surfer, and Hawkeye) into believing that the Evil Eye is the key to releasing the Black Knight from the stone prison that the Enchantress left him in. Now they search for the six scattered parts, guided by Strange’s magic.

Loki is having second thoughts about this plan. He has realized that if Dormammu would succeed in conqueroring Earth’s dimension, he would have the power and the vantage to launch an attack on Asgard. While Loki has no respect for his father’s rule, he does not wish to see his home conquered by an outsider and so he leaves the Dark Dimension in order to warn Thor of the threat to Earth. This is the very first time a Marvel comic has depicted Loki thinking or doing anything that was not entirely selfish and craven.

However, Loki cannot bring himself to be honest and admit culpability for this threat. Instead, he paints the Defenders as villains, seeking the Evil Eye for their own nefarious ends. Given that five of the six Defenders have track records as villains, this is plausible enough. And so the Avengers split up to fight the Defenders and keep them from re-assembling the Evil Eye.

This issue makes it clear that Earth and Asgard are in separate dimensions. The nature of what exactly a dimension is, remains shaky.

Clearly, this entire Avengers/Defenders crossover takes place either before or after Thor’s recent trip into space.

 

Days of Thunder – July 1973 The Avengers #113

“You Young Men Shall Slay Visions!”
Steve Englehart, Script/ Bob Brown, Art/ Frank Bolle, Inks/ John Costanza, Letterer/ David Hunt, Colorist/ Roy Thomas, Editor

avengers 113

Since we last checked in with the Avengers, Hawkeye and Quicksilver have both quit the team. The Black Widow briefly joined only to quit almost immediately.   Also, the mutant Scarlet Witch and the android Vision have become openly involved with each other romantically.

When the paparazzi catches wind of a relationship between a human and a robot, most of the public seems heartwarmed by the revelation. However, there is a small group of people so blinded with hatred at the prospect of an Android thinking himself to have personhood that they form a group of suicide bombers dedicated to killing the Vision.

The so-called Living Bombs send a manifesto to Avengers mansion: “only the lord Jehova can create life! Androds are agents of the devil, and will Bring hellfire and Brimstone to america! Wize up befor its to late! Androds have no soles!”

Soon after that message is delivered, a bomber manages blow herself up near the Vision, badly damaging him. The Avengers quickly form a team to repair their fallen friend: Noted scientist King T’Challa, renowned engineer Tony Stark, and established android expert Dr. Donald Blake.

As the three men work to repair their friend, the Scarlet Witch and Captain America patrol the grounds, anticipating another attack. As they patrol, the two heroes wonder where Thor and Iron Man are, being unaware of their teammates’ civilian identities.

More bombers do attack. Tony Stark, not needed to repair the Vision at that particular moment, excuses himself to “search” for Iron Man. Iron Man fights for awhile, until Stark returns to the “surgery.” He returns suggesting that Blake (wink, wink) search for Thor just like he (wink, wink) had searched for Iron Man. Blake grins at Stark’s piercing of their mutual charade before slipping out and turning into Thor.

Thor creates a vortex that spins the hatemongers high into the air, who all detonate themselves rather than be captured. Stark and T’Challa complete the procedure. The Vision will pull through.

First Appearance: The Living Bombs

 

Days of Thunder – October 1972 The Mighty Thor #204

“Exiled on Earth!”
Stan Lee presents: Gerry Conway, scripter/ John Buscema, penciler/ Jim Mooney, finished art/ Shelly Leferman, letterer/ Roy Thomas, editor

Thor 204

Thor is super-pissed at Odin for manipulating him like a chesspiece. When Thor expresses his outrage, Odin responds by exiling his son to Earth. In response, all of the assembled Asgardians choose to stand with Thor. And so Sif, Balder, Fandral, Hogun, and Hildegarde share in Thor’s exile. Tana Nile and Silas Grant aren’t banished, but they are trapped on Earth. Volstagg is missing in action. Heimdall and Kamorr miss the drama, and return home unaware of what has transpired.

Thor takes his displaced companions to Avengers Mansion, where the Avengers are headquartered. Thor offers them temporary residency in the Mansion, until something more permanent can be arranged.

Sif and Thor, or rather Sif and Blake, go to check in on Blake’s practice, only to discover that the door has been barred. They meet with the new owner of the building, Karl Sarron. Blake explains to his new landlord that he has paid the rent months in advance, and Sarron tells him that he has no record of any such arrangement. However, if Blake can provide proof of his rent arrangement, it will, of course, be honored.

While Blake deals with his rent dispute, his friends attempt to unwind and to familiarize themselves with their new environs. As they go off in separate groups, one by one, they are captured by unknown dark forces.

After it has claimed their friends, Thor and Sif find themselves swallowed by malevolent darkness. They follow the path that lies before them, and eventually they discover themselves to be in the presence of Mephisto, surrounded by their blank-faced comrades!

First Appearance: Karl Sarron

 

Days of Thunder – July 1972 The Avengers #101

“Five Dooms to Save Tomorrow!”
Stan Lee Presents: Wonderment anew by: Harlan Ellison (story/plot), Roy Thomas (adaptation/script), Rich Buckler (art)/ Dan Adkins (inker) * Jon Costa (letterer)/ (Based on an original story © 1964 by Harlan Ellison and used with permission.)

Avengers 101

Still no gap in The Mighty Thor’s narrative.

A Russian chess grandmaster becomes the poisoning victim of an assassin hiding inside a cutting-edge chess computer named “Nimrod.” He is rushed to the hospital, but the prognosis seems grim. One of the doctors can’t help but wish that they had some way of contacting the mysterious Doctor Donald Blake. “There’s something… uncanny about his diagnoses. Almost as if there were some spark of divine in him.”

The doors swing open dramatically! Standing in the doorway, seeming to radiate light and power is none other than Doctor Blake! He treats the patient and later uses his knowledge of rare toxins to help the Avengers find the assassin.

Doctor Blake has become a mythic super-doctor. Rarely seen, when he emerges, he saves the lives of magicians and gods. Seemingly without any Earthly ties, he is spoken of in hushed tones: “I heard his best friend is Thor from the Avengers.” “I heard he built an atomic-powered android!”

Days of Thunder June 1972 The Avengers #100

“Whatever Gods There Be”
Stan Lee presents, ponders, and presides over a centennial super-spectacular by: Roy Thomas, writer/ Barry Windsor-Smith, artist/ Inked by: Barry Windsor-Smith, Joe Sinnott, and Syd Shores/ Lettered by John Costa

Avengers 100

There has not been a break in the action of The Mighty Thor since issue #183. The Infinity story segued directly into Loki seizing control of Asgard which led directly to the unleasing of the Mangog, which led to Odin’s semi-death, which lead to the current attack by Pluto.

Published concurrent to these events, Thor has had an active role in the pages of The Avengers, where he and his teammates had been swept up into a major intergalactic conflict known as the Kree-Skrull War. All of his appearances within The Avengers for the past year and a half, including his appearance in this issue, presumably take place some time after the current issue of The Mighty Thor.

Other recent events of note within these pages:  Hawkeye has abandoned his Goliath persona, taking up archery again; The Vision and the Scarlet Witch have begun awkwardly courting each other; and it seems that Ares, the Greek god of war is up to something.

In this special centennial issue, every single living member of the Avengers past and present unite to face a dire threat. That lineup consists of Thor, Iron Man, Ant Man, The Wasp, The Hulk, Captain America, Hawkeye, The Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, The Black Panther The Vision, The Black Knight, Hercules, and the Swordsman. Rick Jones and Black Widow are excluded, having never formally been offered membership.

It turns out that the Enchantress did not die in her previous encounter with the Scarlet Witch but merely found herself lost in another dimension. Now, the Enchantress and Ares have joined forces and gained control of the Ebony Blade, a powerful sword forged by mutant charlatan Merlin. They have conquered Olympus and plan to start a nuclear holocaust on Earth in order to rip open a passageway to Asgard. Ares desires to conquer Asgard, but the Enchantress has a darker goal: She wishes to unsheathe the Odinsword and end all things, owing to a drastic, suicidal desire to humble Odin.

The Avengers learn of the villains’ plans and confound them. Asgard and Earth are protected, while Olympus is freed. The Enchantress and presumably Ares are turned over to Zeus’ custody.

 

Days of Thunder – September 1968 Avengers King-Size Special! #2

“…And The Rushing River…”
Perhaps the most incredible Avengers thriller yet, presented with pride by: Stan Lee – Editor/ Roy Thomas – Writer/ Don Heck, Werner Roth} Artists/ Vince Colletta – Inker/ Joe Rosen- Letterer/ Honorary Avengers All!!

Avengers king 2

While Thor has been fighting the Mangog, Captain America and the Avengers, currently consisting of Goliath, Wasp, Hawkeye, and the Black Panther, have been meddling with time travel. They now return to what they believe to be the present day, only to discover that the world that they have returned to is not the world from which they left. In the timestream they now find themselves in, the original Avengers, consisting of Thor, Iron Man, Giant Man, The Wasp, and The Hulk, have sized control of the world, capturing and indefinitely detaining all other people with super powers, be them hero or villain.

Of course, these alternate Avengers are being manipulated by Kang the Conquerer but he isn’t mind-controlling them, nor is he blackmailing them, simply giving them a thin pretense of heroics under which they can justify world-rule.   Kang posed as an alien on a mission of peace, and offered to cure all of Earths ills if the Avengers would first imprison all other superhumans. They unanimously accepted his offer without even asking for the slightest evidence to back his claims.

The specifics of how things play out don’t much matter as this is a time travel story that ends with the erasing of all memory of occurrence on the part of all participants.  Nonetheless, it stands as sharp reminder of how little it takes to get Thor to conquer the planet, as he has done or attempted to do at least twice in the past.

 

Days of Thunder – April 1968 Avengers #51

“In the Clutches of the Collector!”
From the Sanctum Sanctorum of Smilin’ Stan Lee comes this Roy Thomas-John Buscema Two-Man Tour De Force!/ Inked and Embellished by: George Tuska/ Lettered and Relished by: Sam Rosen

Avengers 51

In the six months since Avengers Day, The Black Widow has disappeared, Hercules has returned to Olympus, Captain America has abruptly quit, and Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch have re-joined the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, although in her defense, the Scarlet Witch appeared to be suffering from a head injury when she re-joined.

Now, the three remaining core Avengers have been abducted by a villain named the Collector who wishes to own and imprison the Avengers for his collection. He has also captured Thor and fed him an Asgardian Obedience Potion, which compels Thor to obey all of the Collector’s commands.

The Collector commands Thor to bring him Iron Man, but Thor, eternally a letter of the law kind of guy, reasons that the easiest way to bring in Iron Man will be to kill him first. The two battle, and it is clear to all parties that Iron Man is simply no match for Thor, and that’s with Thor unaware of the fact that Iron Man has a damaged heart.

This conflict ends with the following bit of purple: “Then, amidst the shattered wreckage… as swirls of dust begin to clear… only one form stirs… that of Thor, the immortal who has become a murderous puppet… while the unmoving, battered figure of Iron Man can only lie in silence… and contemplate his own death–!”

Meanwhile the Avengers proper break free of the Collector and fight his Robotoid, while the Collector flees to a Sidereal Time-World. When the Collector exits our Time-World, Thor’s mind is freed so that he might help his fallen ally. He does so, and also helps the Avengers with the mop-up.

Afterward, Captain America calls the Avengers and asks if his friend The Panther can join. Anyone Cap vouches is good enough for the Avengers, and probably the fact that they are down to three members is also a factor in the vetting of The Panther. This is great news, because The Panther is best superhero of all time.

First Appearance:  The Collector

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– February 1965: The Avengers #13

The Mighty Avengers Trapped In… “The Castle of Count Nefaria”

Rather Exceptional Story by: Stan Lee/ Somewhat Distinctive Art by: Don Heck/ Fairly Compelling Inking by: Dick Ayers/ Moderately Clear Lettering by: Artie Simek

avengers 113

In the past few months the Avengers have faced threats such as the Mole Man, leader of a race of subterranean monsters and Robo Spidey, an evil robot Spider-Man. This month they are focusing their attention on people stealing fur coats from the back of trucks.

The Avengers have been putting a big dent into the operations of the Maggia, which is a worldwide crime cartel not unlike the Mafia. The leader of the local Maggia operations is a wealthy European noble named Count Nefaria. I know I am profiling but if you meet a man named “Count Nefaria” you can safely assume that he is a supervillain.

Nefaria has a quirky policy of never directly harming his enemies, apparently out of a belief that this insulates him from prosecution. In order to indirectly deal with the Avengers, he pays to have his castle moved brick-by-brick to New Jersey. Once the castle has been relocated, he invites the Avengers to visit his castle for a charity event. Once they arrive, he captures them in time transcender beams and scans their bodies, allowing him to create three dimensional images of the team.

With the Avengers still transcending time, he sends his holographic duplicates to the Pentagon, where they claim that they are taking control of the country. As Fake Giant Man puts it, “Within one hour we shall cancel all existing laws and issue our own!”

The President refuses to be cowed. He mobilizes all available armed forces to combat the Avengers. He also declares martial law for the duration of this State of Emergency. The newspapers tell readers to shoot the Avengers on sight, while posters are posted with the following message: “Wanted! Dead or alive: The Avengers! Warning: They are armed with the most awesome powers known to man!”

Nefaria then releases the Avengers from their transcendance. Upon leaving the castle they are immediately attacked by both the Army and the Air Force. The Avengers are forced to retreat so that they do not harm their military assailants.

They finally figure out that Count Nefaria was up to no good, and they turn the fight to him, eventually tricking him into confessing his duplicity in front of an Army General. It appears that the Count will be deported.  The Avengers reputation is seemingly restored.

First Appearance: Count Nefaria, The Maggia

Days of Thunder – January 1965: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #112

The Mighty Thor Battles the Incredible Hulk!

A Stan Lee – Jack Kirby Marvel Masterwork! Inking by Chic Stone * Lettering by S. Rosen

jim 112

Thor happens upon an unruly pack of youngsters arguing amongst themselves over who is stronger: the Mighty Thor or the Incredible Hulk. Thor can deduce that this is the topic of debate because they are snarling at each other as if they are about to come to blows while each side brandishes giant wooden signs shaped like the heads of the respective nominees.  It is an amazing tableau.

112 splash

Thor sits down with the youths and tells them of the time he battled the Hulk, specifically in the pages of The Avengers #3. Not much of interest happened in that issue, but apparently, between panels, there was a thirteen page fight between Thor and Hulk.

The end result of the fight ends up being inconclusive.

Days of Thunder – November 1964: The Avengers #10

“The Avengers Break Up!”
Story superbly written by: Stan Lee/ Art adorably drawn by: Don Heck/ Inked by darlin’ Dick Ayers/ Lettered by stalwart Sam Rosen

avengers 10

Once again Zemo, The Enchantress and The Executioner are deliberating on how to destroy the Avengers when the Enchantress receives a mental probe from another time. Using that mental connection as a beacon, Immortus, Master of Time appears before them. Immortus is the ruler of Limbo and he has decided to throw his lot in with this crew as part of his larger goal of conquering the 20th century.

Immortus uses his Time Mastery to attack the Avengers by summoning various historical warriors. He enlists Attila the Hun, Goliath, Merlin the Magician, Hercules, and Paul Bunyan. This time-displaced Merlin is presumably from a point in time prior to when he meets Thor in in Journey Into Mystery #96, although curiously this Merlin has white hair and beard as opposed to the black haired one who tried to get a job working for JFK.

Each hero faces a different foe and Thor fights Hercules. Herc puts up a good fight, but Thor defeats his Greek opposite, who honorably yields when the fight is lost. In this story featuring Thor, Hercules, Paul Bunyan, and Goliath, it has now been established that the world that Thor lives in is a literary universe where several different mythological traditions are all treated as real.

The Avengers are more than a match for the villains even with their expanded historical roster.  When defeat is imminent, The Enchantress casts a spell around her, The Executioner, and Zemo that rewinds time to just before Immortus was about to make contact with their little cabal. She breaks contact with the Master of Time thus preventing this adventure to have happened anywhere but in the minds of the three of villains. Maybe Immortus will remember it too, since he is a time master but we are given no indication that this is the case.

First Appearance: Immortus, Attila the Hun, Goliath, Paul Bunyan

Days of Thunder – October 1964: The Avengers #9

“The Coming of the… Wonder Man!”
Sensationally Written by: Stan Lee/ Superbly Illustrated by Don Heck/ Selectively Inked by: Dick Ayers/ Sufficiently Lettered by Art Simek

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The previous issue of The Avengers had the team fighting a master of Space and Time named Kang the Conquer. It was light on the Asgardian action.

The Enchantress, The Executioner, and Baron Zemo have been trapped between the sixth and seventh dimension ever since Thor trapped them in a space warp (Avengers #7) The Enchantress now uses her sorcery to pull their ship back to Earth.

When they return, the three of them are determined to destroy the Avengers. I’m not sure why.   Zemo hates Captain America, but it almost seems like the Asgardians are simply going along with Zemo because they have nothing better to do while in exile.

These villains  find a guy with a grudge against Tony Stark, give him super powers, and make him pose as a superhero named Wonder Man so he can worm his way into joining the Avengers. Wonder Man discovers he likes being a hero and when the bad guys attack, he double-crosses the bad guys and dies in the ensuing fight, while the bad guys escape.

First Appearance: Wonder Man

Days of Thunder –September 1964: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #108

The Mighty Thor! “At The Mercy of Loki, Prince of Evil”
Written by Stan Lee, The Idol of Millions! Illustrated by Jack Kirby, The Toast of the Town! Inked by Chic Stone, The Man of the Hour! Lettered by Art Simek, The Peoples Choice!

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Oh man, so much happens in this issue! It starts with Thor hitting the New York sidewalk with his hammer so hard and so precisely that a truck about to hit a child flies into the air, sailing safely over the child. Of course, this stunt does tons of property damage, but Thor tells a nearby cop that he will reimburse the city, not with his own money but with Tony Stark-provided Avengers money.  Then he flies off, assuming everything is cool.

Later, Thor finds Doctor Strange badly injured after barely winning a fight with some enemy of his named Mordo. Thor calls the hospital and fifteen minutes later, operates on Strange  as Doctor Blake, musing that it is only Thor’s unearthly knowledge that gives Blake the ability to save Doctor Strange through surgery.

It is at this crucial moment that Odin summons Thor to help him battle some unspecified enemy. Blake ignores the Allfather and completes the life-saving operation. Afterward, Strange makes it clear to Blake that his magic services are at the lame doctor’s disposal, should he ever need them.

Upon returning to his office, Blake meets an older man with a walking stick, complaining of leg pain. The man falls to the floor, knocking Blake’s stick out of his hand. Obviously this is a bit of sleight of hand, but well executed. After returning the wrong stick to Blake, the stranger stands up straight and tosses Blake’s cane out the window without even looking. It’s a total badass move.

The stranger is a disguised Loki, who had escaped Asgard while Odin was out fighting whoever it was he tried to get Thor to help him fight. Loki knocks out Jane with some “slumber mist”, punches Blake in the face, and runs away with the sleeping nurse in his arms.

Blake runs down the stairs to find his cane but it is slow painful going because running is not something Blake can actually do. By the time he reaches street level, the cane has vanished. In desperation, Blake telepathically reaches out to Odin but apparently Odin can only be reached by mental link while he is within the halls of Asgard and thus he does not hear Blake’s plea.

When Odin fails to bail out Blake, he immediately visits Doctor Strange to cash in that favor he is owed. Blake asks the sorcerer to help him find his walking stick and Strange uses his magic to do just that.

A vagrant has found the walking stick and is using it as a fishing pole. In a scene that surpasses the Peanut Gambit to become the all-time greatest Thor moment, Doctor Blake starts a fight with a hobo, trying to steal his fishing pole.

He would have lost that fight too, because he is a disabled weakling. but Doctor Strange pretends to be a ghost and scares away the pack of vagrants that Doctor Blake attacked. Once more in possession of his walking stick, Doctor Blake becomes Thor once again.

It is around this time that Odin returns to Asgard victorious. He puts on his Robe of Conquest and mentally contacts Thor. His success has lifted his spirits and he decides to cut that knucklehead son of his a break. However, Thor is pissed off that Odin failed to respond earlier, and he gives his all-powerful, wrathful father the kiss-off. Then the Avengers cameo and he tells them to take a hike also.

Thor is looking for Loki by himself.  All the gods of Asgard emit an aura of free-flowing electrons from their person, which can be detected by another immortal.   Oddly, In this case, it isn’t Thor himself that can detect Loki’s aura, it is his hammer that does the detecting.

It is an odd detail. Combine it with Loki’s special bond with the hammer and with the sixty second rule, and it seems like the real divinity lies not within the person of Thor, but in the hammer. There are interesting connotations at work here, poorly fleshed out and conjecture-heavy as they may be.

At any rate, Loki tries to block the electron-based detection, but Thor eventually finds him. They fight. Thor wins. Loki releases Jane from Limbo, where she had been held. Loki gets ready to fight some more, when an unnamed Asgardian appears through magic mist, grabbing Loki with an arm enchanted by Odin, dragging him back to Asgard. Thor and Odin make up, but even as they do, Thor is tending to Jane’s well-being to the frustration of his father.

First Appearance: slumber mist, The Uru Hammer’s ability to detect the aura of free-flowing electrons emitted by Asgardians

Days of Thunder– August 1964: The Avengers #7

The Mighty Avengers! “Their Darkest Hour!”
Magnificently written by: Stan Lee/ Majestically Illustrated by Jack Kirby Masterfully Inked by Chic Stone/ Meticulously Lettered by: Art Simek

Avengers 7

A lot has happened since we last checked in with the Avengers. The Hulk quit the team. A World War II-era superhero known as Captain America was revived from suspended animation and has joined the team. Iron Man and The Wasp have new costumes.  Ant-Man has developed a second identity as Giant Man, gaining the ability to grow large as well as as small.

The Avengers have fought an assortment of villains in the interim, including The Radio-Active Man, who apparently survived nuking China, and other Lava Men, but not the original Lava Man, who has learned to respect Thor and the surface world, and who is named Molto. They have also fought an old enemy of Captain America’s, a former Nazi named Baron Zemo with a purple woolen mask permanently glued to his face.

This issue starts with Odin exiling the Enchantress and the Executioner to Earth as punishment for attacking Thor a few months back. He seems to not realize or care that their attack was a direct result of his own orders to seduce Doctor Don Blake.  This hardly seems just.

On Earth, the Enchantress casts a spell on Thor temporarily making her will his own. Once he is enchanted, she compels him to drink deep of a special brew. He soon finds himself asleep, beset by horrible visions of his compatriots on the Avengers as horrible monsters, with only valiant Thor able to stop him.

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Thor awakens, convinced that the Avengers are pure evil! Thor fights Giant Man, Iron Man, and nominally the Wasp. He seems more powerful than the three of them combined, but they are likely pulling their punches. When asked for an explanation for his attack, Thor retorts “I shall do my explaining with my avenging hammer!”

Eventually Iron Man uses a blinding light to break the spell.

Meanwhile, the Executioner has been helping Baron Zemo fight Captain America because the Enchantress didn’t want him to harm Thor who she totally has the hots for. Their fight smashes into the existing fight and ultimately, as the three villains try to escape in a rocket, Thor uses his hammer to create an all-consuming space warp. None can say where a space warp will lead to, maybe a different city, maybe a different universe.

First Appearance: a space warp

Days of Thunder – February 1964: Journey Into Mystery #101

The Mighty Thor “The Return of Zarrko, The Tomorrow Man!”

Written by: Stan Lee/ Drawn by: Jack Kirby/ Inked by: G. Bell/ Lettered by S. Rosen

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After last issue, Thor is pissed! Stomping through the streets of New York, oblivious to damage he is causing, he is so angry, he has let the facade of hero drop. “Mortals! How like chattering Monkeys you are!!… Thor has had enough of you! I have lost interest in your puny, petty lives!”

The Avengers arrive, concerned that one of their own is rampaging through the city like a monster, just as Thor smashes a random motorist’s truck with his hammer. Thor yells at them, telling them to go mind their business. Iron Man convinces the others that Thor should be left alone, because I guess if you are an Avenger you get to smash whatever you want with a hammer, and Tony Stark will buy off the victims.

Meanwhile in Asgard, Loki convinces Odin that Thor being pissed, despite being ordered to forget Nurse Foster counts as disobedience. Odin angrily halves Thor’s power and banishes him from Asgard until such time as he gives up all thoughts of Jane.

Having successfully weakened his brother, Loki seeks the Norn Hag, commanding her to show him the Well of Centuries. He uses the Well to restore the memory of Zarrko, The Tomorrow Man.

Renewed, Zarrko uses his future technology to create an unstoppable robot. His plan is to take his powerful robot back to the 20th century, use it to steal weapons so that he can return to the 23rd century and use those weapons to take over the world.

Upon arriving in the past, the giant robot causes a ruckus, eventually attracting the attention of Doctor Don Blake who is just happy to have something to fight. However, with his powers halved, the robot kicks Thor’s butt.

Zarrko tells Thor that unless the thunder god agrees to come to the 23rd century and do Zarrko’s bidding, the robot will raze the 20th century planet of all life. Thor agrees to those terms. Odin, who has been watching from Asgard is disgusted with this act of surrender.

To be continued.

First Appearance: The Norn Hag, The Well of Centuries

Days of Thunder – September 1963: Avengers #1

“The Coming of the Avengers!”

Written by Stan Lee/ Drawn by Jack Kirby/ Inking by Dick Ayers

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The stories of Thor depicted in Journey Into Mystery have stood alone until this point. However, as of the publication of this comic magazine entitled  The Avengers, Thor becomes established as living in a overarching fictional universe shared by other heroic characters prominently featured in other comic periodicals published by what has come to be known as The Marvel Comics Group.

This story features several characters originating from other magazines. Ant-Man and The Wasp are two heroes capable of shrinking to the size of insects. Iron Man is a wealthy arms dealer wearing a transistor-powered suit of armor that secretly powers his crippled heart. The Hulk is mild mannered scientist that regularly transforms into a giant green tragic monster. Rick Jones and the Teen-Brigade are a bunch of teenage radio enthusiasts with affiliations with the Hulk. The Fantastic Four are the greatest superhero team of all time.

Despite the addition of all of these characters, this is essentially a Thor story. It begins when Loki tries to menace Thor by using Hulk as his catspaw. Follow the chain on Loki’s plan: In Asgard, Loki uses his magic to make the Hulk smash some things, which seems like the sort of thing that Hulk routinely does without divine intervention. In the Southwest, the newspaper reports that Hulk is at it again. Rick Jones reads about this in the paper and freaks out. He dispatches his Teen-Brigade to radio the Fantastic Four in New York, in case they haven’t read the paper. Loki diverts the message to Doctor Don Blake’s office radio but somehow it is also heard by Ant-Man, Wasp, and Iron Man, as well as the Fantastic Four. Mr Fantastic blows off the news, but all the other heroes show up.

Thor assumes that this must be the work of Loki because basically everything that happens to him is either the work of Loki or communists, so he heads to Asgard to confront his brother. He fights his way through a gauntlet before confronting Loki, who ambushes him with his troll allies. The trolls are apparently the natural enemies of the gods, and have an unbreakable grip. Thor beats the trolls and Loki runs away but Thor uses his hammer to soak up the strong flow of magnetic currents which apparently is what the Trolls eat, snaring Loki who is apparently magnetic. This probably has something to do with the mental link Loki shares with Thor’s hammer, established in Journey Into Mystery #85

Meanwhile, the Hulk has been hiding in the circus and we the readers are treated to maybe my favorite image that Jack Kirby ever drew:

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The Hulk dressed as a sad clown, juggling a horse, elephant, and seal.
The heroes attack him in the middle of his act, surrounded by circusgoers. The Hulk, totally the wronged party, runs away.

As Hulk and his persecutors continue to fight, Thor returns to Earth with Loki to explain that this is the real bad guy of the story. Loki uses his magic to turn radioactive, but unfortunately for him, he happened to be standing on a trap door, which Ant-Man’s ants spring open, dropping him into a tank for storing radioactive waste.

Almost as an afterthought, the Wasp suggests that they form a team, which they do, Hulk inclusive. They call themselves the Avengers.

First Appearance: Trolls, The Avengers, Mechano