Tuesday, July 27, 2010

66: Journey into Mystery #94

Journey into Mystery #94
May 2, 1963

  • Okay, I can't put off writing about this one any longer - much as I've tried. And there's good reason: This comic is a dud. Undeniably, unequivocally, a dud. Granted, it's not offensively bad, and nothing  outrages. No, it's worse, and commits the one crime art can never afford: It's boring. Joe Sinnot's art is solid if unspectacular, and the script by Robert Bernstein neither raises nor lowers the material at hand. The sad fact is there's just not much to Stan Lee's plot. We've got another bog-standard Loki Vs. Thor tale - y'know, just like last time - and, if we didn't know better, we could be forgiven for thinking Stan had simply run out of ideas.

  • You know that cartoon? The one where somebody gets an anvil dropped on his head and loses his memory? Yeah. That's this comic. See, first Loki endangers a missile test, causing Thor to go and avert catastrophe by hurling his hammer to explode the capsule at a safe distance. Then, when Thor is just about to catch the metal mallet on its return flight, Loki surprises his brother, causing Thor to turn his head at the wrong moment - and thus get clobbered by his own weapon. (Not his most dignified moment, then.) Now convinced that Loki is his best and most loyal friend ever, Thor frees him from his chains and goes on to assist Loki in his various schemes - until he gets wonked on the head again, in the exact same spot, and reverts back. Of course.

  • Sadly, it gets worse. Once Thor & Loki have teamed up, their rampage is of astounding and eye-opening proportions. Thor smashes apart the Great Wall, opens up chasms in the earth, creates giant tidal waves, and pounds the pyramids into rubble. He causes a tornado to blow away the Taj Mahal, whisks the Eiffel Tower to parts unknown, smashes the Golden Gate Bridge to pieces, and even topples the Leaning Tower of Pisa. (Yes, even the rampant destruction in this issue is not immune to cliches.) Truthfully, all this chaos is the only really interesting part of the comic, as the reader is left wondering how on earth this could possibly not be "just a dream" - the cop-out ending usually the province of Silver Age DCs. The answer, regrettably, is a Big Giant Reset Button, for after Thor has returned to his true self and Loki has once more been captured by Odin, they "vow, with our supernatural powers, to repair all the damage done" - and magically erase everyone's memories, to boot. Such hand-waving resolution is insanely powerful and completely story-breaking, of course, and thankfully it's never seen again. Heck - maybe the spell worked better than they'd hoped, and both readers and Marvel staff alike were eager to forget any of this had ever occurred....

    Homer throttles Bart, while Marge looks on in horror.
    Just try to tell me you don't see it too.