While the old saying “don’t judge a book by the cover” should still apply, this month, I find myself called to at least start my review by doing just that. After all, the cover Art is part of the comic, even perhaps one of the most important (selling) pieces. But due to the placement of the cover at the start of the review and how it is its own peace of art in many ways, I am opting to talk of it now instead of saving it for the Art section below. But first, a quote from the cover itself:
We Decided that this cover is too beautiful to spoil with captions…So here it is…. You figure it out!Cover of Journey Into Mystery #111
That arrow of text I think says it all, watching Thor fight Mr. Hyde and The cobra among the house at the bottom inside a time bubble being pierced by a Sword. While above we have Asgard in the distance, along with the rest of the cosmos and the Rainbow bridge streaching forth. Atop the bridge we have Balder on his mount and what appears to be his extended from performing a mighty throw. The cover is, strikingly beautiful.
Now before reading further I must urge you to go read both parts of this story, for spoilers may flow from my fingertips below.
Recap of Part I
In the first issue Loki frees Mr.Hyde and The Cobra from prison , doubles their powers with his magic and sets them on the task to get even with Thor. First they capture Don Blakes Nurse then while taking her away convince Thor not to follow. Odin watcchin the tail end of this, misreads his son, and chooses to banish him from Asgard.
After an interlude where Thor invades Asgard to get information from Loki (as he realizes that he must be involved) he goes froth to Stop Mr. Hyde and the Cobra at the house they setup instead of waiting for them to come back to him.
The house however is a trap, and while engaged in the battle within, Jane foster is critically wounded; a blow that seems likely to prove fatal. Thor stops time around the house, to protect the nurse while dealing with the two villains.
In the past there have been more then a few part twos I have let me down: this is not one of them. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby took what was a great beginning and brought it to an Epic conclusion. In this tale we have the battle within the walls of the house, and that alone would have been good. But we also have Balder’s efforts to help his friend, that leads him to change Odin’s heart, and to go on a quest to find a way to save the life of the Mortal Jane Foster.
My only criticism is I feel like too much of Balders quest is loaded in the final pages, and I wish is panels where a little more mixed in.
I went into great length to say above, the cover is beautiful, and Jack Kirby’s work within the issue itself don’t fall flat. From the fast paced action within the house, to the slower heroics of Asgard and Balders quest. it is all captured nicely.
Characters & Development
I feel we witness Thor and the supporting cast grow in this story, from Balder playing an important part; but also watching Loki interact with the other Asgardians as his plan appears to fall apart around him. Odins past also comes into play, his feelings for a mortal and his desires for his son, leeding to him to choose to help, to save the mortal.
Originality & Continuity
This continues nicely from part I, it also works to build upon the tales from Asgard and elements from them into the main arc. It is also thematically different, Thor relying on his friend who is helping him even if Thor does not know it.