Unearthed: Journey Into Mystery #83, Part Two

The second part of our two-part look at the origin of Thor!

Well well well, let’s start this episode off with a Thor butt shot, why not? Now, having re-read this issue, I’m struck by how… managed the experience is. This was clearly written to bolster Marvel’s superhero line with a new hero, and specifically, a hero cut from a different cloth. Thor isn’t the result of an experiment gone awry or some kind of weird accident. He’s been carefully crafted and constructed. Read on.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. I’ve left out a lot of panels in which Thor’s experimenting with his new powers. For some reason, Stan Lee’s putting all this superhero admin up front instead of letting the reader discover them organically as they read. It’s a weird format, and I wonder why it was written this way.

Note: Mjolnir’s a HAMMER, not a BLADE. How is this tree not just smashed to smithereens? Do people still use the word “smithereens”?

I’d like to mention something else here: regardless of Jack Kirby’s actual rendering style, one thing you can’t fault him on is his comic book panel IQ. He really knows how to sell a moment, putting the focus on just the right elements to promote the story at any given time. It’s really economical.

And man can he draw monsters!

Okay. This has ALWAYS bothered me. Thor flies by throwing his hammer in a given direction but grasping onto its handle a split-second after release. WHYYYY? Why not just say “the hammer lets him fly”? Because if you examine the mechanics of this weird method, it means Thor can’t change direction in mid-flight, which is ridiculous. Nor can he land. What?

We see this Stan Lee trope in the first issue of The Avengers: Thor just HAPPENS to be standing under a cage. Which he didn’t see for some reason. Okay.

And having just praised Kirby’s amazing work, here we see Thor being weirdly delicate with these iron bars. Doesn’t really look like he’s bending them. Ehnh.

Oh no, a wind-up toy from the 50s! Thor’s DOOMED!

This is a weird thing for Thor to think, isn’t it? “That monstrosity has it all: brains, good looks, the hottest girl in town on his arm… I should just pack it in.”

Earlier in the issue, Thor makes a point of saying how Mjolnir can control the weather. He doesn’t necessarily say that it can shoot lightning bolts. But here we are.

Jeez, take it down a notch, Blondie! But remember: this issue seems to have been designed to introduce a hot new hero to Marvel’s stable. And I guess saying “Nothing can beat Thor, so there’s no real danger or drama to look forward to” is the way to do that?

I’m going to guess they mean “lame” in the original sense, but hey, they’re not wrong either way.

Yeah, and here’s the proof of what I’ve been maintaining all along: Marvel really really wants readers to buy Journey Into Mystery. They’ve come right out and begged here. But hey, turns out people loved Thor so much that later, Journey Into Mystery gets renamed “Thor”. So what do I know, huh?

Join us next Monday for an all-new comic title! What’ll it be? Even I don’t know, and I WRITE this stuff!