Marvel’s Thor Swallows His Obligatory Red Pill and Great White Sharks

Journey Into Marvel – Part 59

Look at those monsters!

Look at those monsters!

Extremites, they’re back. Stan Lee’s favourite punching bags. The sign that the writers were strapped for time. Those monsters that appose everything that the US stands for and therefore Marvel. Those disgusting malevolent Reds!

This time they cross Asgard’s favourite son: Thor.

I have written many articles dealing with the Soviet menace as villains in these comics. I am not sure what more I can say on the topic. The stories where Soviets appear are the worst of the bunch. This is the case with this one.

It’s not that this issue is poorly written; it’s not half bad, the dialogue is on point, the burgeoning love affair between Don and Jane is addressed — although not developed beyond any issues that have come before. There’s even some pretty great humour in a rather random moment when Thor falls into a clandestine tank of great white sharks.

I swear I’ve read this story before. It was a Hank Pym story that time.

The Commie bastards are behind a series of kidnappings of the US’s greatest science minds in an effort to develop secret weapons in Siberia. Don Blake/Thor catching wise to this plot uses his crippled self as bait to goad out the conspirators. Don’s power of science, attracts the Reds and they carry him off. Once the good doctor is sitting in a gulag cell, he taps his hammer, and leads the scientists to safety by fighting off many Commie soldiers. There you have it. This issue isn’t Hamlet.

At the beginning Don Blake reads a newspaper that states that five scientists have gone missing, but when Thor is in the prison, there are only four. No mention, nor no character ever wonders where the fifth scientist had gone too. Whose to blame for this one?

Stan?

His brother Larry Lieber who wrote the dialogue ?

Probably, not Jack Kirby.

It’s Kirby’s art that is star. It’s simple yet detailed. Unlike earlier issues, where backgrounds often were a blank canvas of colour, or simply non-existent, the walls of the fortress are fully realized. Kirby even spends time developing the faces and uniforms of the Commies.. This is now the end of 1962, rounding out the first year of Marvel’s refocus to superheroes, and Kirby is beginning a more adventurous art and panelling style. He still has real trouble differentiating his women from each other. Jane Foster looks like a red headed version of Sue Storm. I can’t tell if this is just zeitgeist sexualized art or just thatJack can’t draw women.

Anything else that needs to be mentioned?

Oh yes, those Great White sharks.

Being the environmentally sound Asgardian Thor is he creates a whirlpool and dizzies up the beasts in the tanks.

THE DIZZZY HAMMER!

THE DIZZZY HAMMER!

I love this. The concept of dizzy sharks makes me laugh. For that one moment maybe you should look up this issue.

Until next time, Extremites, I remain: Julian Munds.

Story I Read:Prisoner of the Reds!” (Journey Into Mystery #87, Dec. 1962)

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Pros: The great white shark bit. Kirby’s ever improving art.

Cons: Soviets…. again. This plot was used already in a Tales to Astonish. Kirby can’t draw women.

Next Review:Betrayed by the Ants!!” (Tales to Astonish #38, Dec. 1962)

Last Review:The End of the Fantastic Four” (Fantastic Four #8 Dec. 1962)

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About Julian Munds

I possess a degree in Theatre and Drama from the University of Toronto. I own my own theatre company called Snobbish Theatre. We focus our work on new versions of classics.

Posted on December 19, 2014, in Comics, Marvel, Thor and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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