Wednesday, February 24, 2010

31: Journey into Mystery #88

Journey into Mystery #88
November 1, 1962

  • It's Loki's second appearance, and so we get to see more of his and Thor's heavenly home of Asgard. Though only a bit more, such as Odin in his throne room, sentencing Loki to stay within the confines of their realm forevermore. Loki disagrees, of course, and sneaks past the god Heimdall, dutifully guarding the span of Bifrost, the rainbow bridge that connects Asgard to Earth. (Hmmm - Heimdall wasn't there last time. Was he put into place only after Loki's last bit of mayhem? Or had Larry Lieber not yet come across him in his readings of the old mythology?)

    Try explaining that on your official report!

  • Once again, one of the most compelling things about this portrayal Loki is the creators' collective attempt to sell him as a convincingly mythic character, and not just another super-baddie. When Loki spies on Thor from Asgard, he burns some strange leaves and sap from a sacred tree; to sneak past Heimdall on the bridge, he turns into a small, thin snake; and in battle against Thor he turns a tree into a tiger and himself into a pigeon. What this makes us realize with alarm is just how poorly Loki has been written ever since - as someone largely interchangeable with any other random supervillain.

    Bizarrely, Thor saved the negative people by causing his hammer to emit a stream of anti-matter.
    Somehow, I doubt this power was ever seen again...

  • In a neat coincidence, Loki's first appearance and his return here both give Jack Kirby an opportunity to experiment with the form a bit. In this instance, Loki transforms various cityfolk into blanks, while the first time around he turned passersby into negatives. Either of these are a far cry from Jack's later forays into trippy photo collage, but already he's showing an interest in, and willingness to experiment with, the very form itself.

    Candy Town, USA.  What a tasty place to live!