Comics : Marvel Tales #11

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: From The Beginning

This review was first published on: Nov 2014.

Background...

The novelty of Marvel Tales is starting to wear off. The trouble is we’re still a long way off from Stan and Jack’s stellar run on Journey into Mystery/Thor, which begins at around issue #116 (of JIM, not MT). And the Human Torch solo and “Wasp tells a tale” stories are, generally, not very good (though the Torch stories are, often, wondrously goofy). So the worth of each issue mostly rises and falls with the quality of the Amazing Spider-Man reprint. The early Lee-Ditko tales are mostly first-rate but occasionally you run into an average one. Like here. At least the concept of fitting the four original covers on the cover has finally changed.

In Detail...

Marvel Tales #11
Nov 1967 : SM Reprint
Reprints: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #16
Reprints: Strange Tales (Vol. 1) #109
Reprints: Tales To Astonish (Vol. 1) #56
Reprints: Journey Into Mystery #94
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Review

Now, the cover acknowledges that Spidey is the drawing card by giving the web-slinger most of the space. Below an illustration that reproduces the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #16, September 1964 (slightly altered in design so that the Ringmaster is smaller and more in the distance), are three panels taken from the three other stories. From left to right, they are page 11 panel 4 of the Human Torch story, page 3 panel 6 of the Thor story, and page 5 panel 2 of the Wasp’s tale with a tree filling the space taken by the Princess in the story and with the Wasp from page 1 panel 3 pasted over the whole thing. There is far more text on this cover than the ASM #16 original including an arrow-shaped caption box pointing at Daredevil, reading “If you recognize ol’ Hornhead the way he looked before he got his red threads…consider yourself nobly no-prized.” Clearly Stan was concerned that readers wouldn’t recognize DD, even with the big caption reading, “Spidey battles Daredevil!” At least the story was left as is, instead of redrawing DD in his “red threads” in each panel.

The cover concept may have changed but the inside front cover greytone page remains much the same. Here, we have page 11 panel 6 of the Spider-Man tale. (The panel is titled, “Spidey Battles Daredevil!” just as the front cover is…even though the actual title of the story is, “Duel With Daredevil.” To be fair, “Spidey Battles Daredevil!” is what it said on the cover of the original issue, too.) Moving clockwise from there, we have page 11 panel 5 of “The Sorcerer and Pandora’s Box!” (the Human Torch tale), page 10 panel 7 of “Thor and Loki Attack the Human Race!” and page 2 panel 6 of “The Wonderful Wasp Warns All to…Beware the Bog Beast!”

Our first story is Duel With Daredevil from Amazing Spider-Man #16. As I said in my original review (posted over ten years ago!), “As the saying goes... life and web ratings aren't fair. The problem here is context. If this issue had come out around the same time as Maximum Carnage, say, or the Byrne-Mackie reboot, I'd be falling all over it and giving it a sure-fire five webs. But, unfortunately for it, it came out just after ASM #14 and 15, two of the best Spidey stories ever and it is followed by ASM Annual #1 and ASM #17, which happen to be two more. So, stuck in 1964 as I currently am, I'm forced to compare it to its neighbors and not its defective distant cousins.” I’m sticking with that “I’m-in-the-year-it-came-out” conceit, although now I’m in 1967. I’m also sticking with the original rating, which is two and a half webs.

Up next is yet another odd Human Torch story, this time from Strange Tales #109, September 1963. You thought last issue’s villain, the Painter, was obscure? This issue’s villain, the Sorcerer, is never seen again! Let’s see if we can find out why in, The Sorcerer and Pandora’s Box, a story plotted by Stan Lee but scripted (as with last issue’s story) by Robert Bernstein (as “R. Berns”) with pencils by Jack Kirby and inks by Dick Ayers.

Johnny Storm flies into an open window at the Baxter Building where he tells the other three members of the Fantastic Four that he got the rest of the afternoon off school because “there was a teachers’ conference at Glenville High.” He puts his head in his hands and mopes that, “You three sure are lucky. Your school days are over while me…I’m loaded down with six subjects and five hours of homework a night! Sigh.” Then he notices that they are planning a mission without him. The Thing snatches the plans away from him, declaring “This is something we have to attend to tomorrow while you’re bringing an apple to teacher, sunny [sic] boy!” Johnny replies, “You big-mouthed lug!” (Which is something I don’t think anybody ever really said.) In a panel depicting the exterior of the Baxter Building with an airplane flying by (of all things), the Thing tells Johnny, “Well, sonny [spelled correctly this time] boy, while you’re writin’ your compositions on ‘the man I admire most’ who, natch is me, we’ll be gone a week tryin’ to make life a little tougher for the Commies.” (The goal of every self-respecting super-hero from the early 1960s.) Johnny considers making life tougher on the Commies to be “having fun” while he is stuck being “Mr. Bookworm of 1963.” He tells Ben he’d like to quit school and become the Torch full-time. “You quit school, and we’ll flatten you into the Human Match-stick,” says the Thing. Johnny complains that “things are awful boring right now in Glenville.” He adds, “The only excitement I had all week was scoring 75 points against Baymore High to win the playoff in our basketball tournament.” (Ah, I really don’t think so, Johnny.) Reed tells Johnny that he “wouldn’t be happy if you weren’t complaining about something,” and kicks him out. Johnny flies back to Glenville where he finds firemen taking on a burning building. Johnny absorbs the flames, saving the lives of the people on the top floor. Next, while flying over “Glenville Woods,” he sees that a flash flood has washed over the train tracks. (Yep, sure is boring in Glenville.) He “convert[s] the flood water to steam by heating it,” clearing the tracks so a freight train can pass unharmed. Then he notices some “commotion” over “where the old eccentric hermit known as the Sorcerer lives.” (Don’t you love it? The guy already has a cool super-villain name that fits him perfectly even though he’s currently just an eccentric hermit.) It turns out that the Sorcerer lives in a “ramshackle mansion” on a large plot of land. He is chasing a group of kids off his lawn, leading four nasty-looking dogs on leashes. Johnny notes that the Sorcerer oftens chases kids off his property but not usually with angry dogs. “That’s carrying eccentricity too far,” Johnny decides. He throws “a leash of fire around each of the hounds” and confronts the Sorcerer, telling him he has “no right to terrorize those harmless kids.” The Sorcerer tells the Torch that he is trespassing and has no right to interfere but the Torch pronounces that “bunk.” “These hounds are as big as mountain lions,” he says and he refuses to remove the fire leashes until the Sorcerer has returned them to his kennel.

After complying, the Sorcerer tells Johnny to warn everyone that he wants his privacy. He also tells the Torch that he earned the name “Sorcerer” because he “spent years studying the art of Black Magic” and possesses “the world’s greatest collection of old books on spells and charms.” (It is, perhaps, worth noting that this story appeared the issue before the first appearance of Dr. Strange.) A snippy Johnny ensures the Sorcerer’s privacy by putting up a wall of flame around his house, which then burns the Sorcerer’s house down and kills everyone within. (I made up that last part but not the “wall of flame,” which has to be a disaster waiting to happen.) When the Sorcerer complains that the Torch’s flame prevents him from going and coming, Johnny replies, “Well you can’t have it both ways! If you want freedom of movement, others must have it as well!” (I’m not sure that’s how private property works, Johnny. If you want to have fun making life tough for the Commies, maybe you need to start with yourself!) The Sorcerer agrees to this and Johnny removes the flame wall. He extinguishes the flame on his hands so he can carry the kids back to town, even as the Sorcerer threatens to use his magic to make everybody sorry. “Do you think the Sorcerer really has magic powers?” asks one kid. “Naw!” says Johnny, “He’s just a kook!”

But back at his house, the Sorcerer gloats that he is on the verge of “the greatest supernatural discovery of all time…Pandora’s Box!” He recounts how Pandora opened the box left to her by the Olympian Gods and how “all the evils that flesh is heir to flew forth,” but, according to him, the sorceress Circe returned the evils to the box sometime later. Now he has received the box “unwittingly sent…in a crate full of Greek artifacts by an exporter from Athens.” (Can you imagine the luck?) The Sorcerer knows that, after studying ancient texts, he has the incantation that will open the box and force the evils to obey him. He figures this will make him “rich and powerful and my name will go down in history as the most feared man who ever lived.” But mainly he just wants to “get even with that teen-age meddler, the Torch!”

Two weeks later, the Sorcerer enters the Glenville National Bank with his box and demands all the money. Everyone in town knows him as a harmless crank including the bank guards who are planning to take him to Glenville Hospital for observation. But the Sorcerer opens the box and releases Hate, which causes everyone in the bank to turn on each other. (“Bah!,” says a middle-aged woman to a blonde, “I hate blondes! I’m going to pull every peroxide hair out of your head!”) The Sorcerer goes in back and grabs all the money. Once outside, he orders Hate back into the box, then releases “the Imp of Forgetfulness” so no one in the bank will recall what happened. Later, the police and the Torch investigate the loss of $120,000 and the fights in the bank, but no one can remember a thing. “So, chalk it up for the time being as the weirdest hold-up in history!” says the Torch.

Next, the Sorcerer robs a high society party by releasing the Imp of Sleepiness. (Okay, I was pretty sure that Forgetfulness was not one of the evils in Pandora’s Box and I was willing to let it go…but sleepiness? That I know wasn’t in there. But I have to admit I’ve reached an age where they both sound very familiar.) As the party guests sleep, the Sorcerer steals all of their jewels. Soon after, the Sorcerer uses the Imp of Paralysis (which is really off-script from the whole evil-in-Pandora’s-Box-thing) to halt everyone in the art museum while he steals all the paintings. Then he uses the Imp of Cold (which is…aw, never mind. I give up.) to freeze everyone at a Fur Warehouse so he can “clean out their vaults of minks, ermines, and chinchillas.” (So, a bunch of furs, a bunch of jewels, all the paintings in the art museum…I hope he’s got a very good fence. And, since no one knows who is doing this, how does this make him “the most feared man who ever lived?”)

At police headquarters, everyone is baffled, except the Torch who deduces that the crook must live near Glenville since all of the crimes are taking place around Glenville. (Apparently, the Sorcerer has no car and is just walking around, carrying his box and committing his crimes.) The police chief says, “Judging from the almost supernatural techniques used, the villain must be some sort of wizard!” and Johnny is so stunned by this that he actually thinks a gasp. “Why didn’t I think of that before?” he wonders. A wizard! He has a foe who calls himself the Wizard! So, he flies off to…the Sorcerer’s house! “He’s the only local character capable of pulling crimes like these!” he says. (What? Did the Wizard move out of town?) Johnny flies into the Sorcerer’s open window and finds the loot, which is just lying there in big piles on the floor. The Sorcerer grabs Pandora’s Box and releases the Imp of Disease. “Holy Heatwaves,” says the Torch, channeling Robin ’66 before ’66. But then he blasts Disease with his flame. “You forgot that heat not only sterilizes things but intense heat can kill any virus and microbes,” he tells the Sorcerer. (Okay, I guess I’ll buy that.) The Sorcerer counters with the Imp of Flood. (Flood? Really? Flood?) Suddenly a huge tidal wave appears, ready to fall on Johnny. (And that’s not all. Suddenly Johnny and the Sorcerer are outside.) The water snuffs Johnny’s flame but doesn’t seem to harm him. A police car drives up to help. The cops draw their guns on the Sorcerer and fire. (Yes, they just shoot at him.) But the Sorcerer releases the Imp of Foolishness and the cops collapse into “foolish laughter.” He then releases the Imp of Laziness to slow the bullets down so much he can just pick them out of the air. (Yes, the Imp actually affects bullets.)

Playing for time, hoping to dry off enough to Flame On, Johnny pretends to submit to the Sorcerer. He asks only to choose the method of his death. The Sorcerer agrees and Johnny chooses the Imp of Flame and the Sorcerer actually falls for this. He releases the Imp, Johnny flames on, absorbs the Imp, and makes a grab for the box. The Imp of Fear pokes his head out briefly but Johnny forces him back in and welds the box shut. He flies out over the ocean and dumps it.

When he returns, he finds the Sorcerer paralyzed with fear. Apparently, he caught a glimpse of the Fear Imp and it affected him. Now, the cops have recovered from the Foolish Imp and everyone else in the story appears to have recovered once the Imps have left the scene but there is a clear implication that the Sorcerer is permanently affected even though he only caught a glimpse. Go figure. And since the Sorcerer has never appeared again, we can assume he’s been shaking in his boots every since. So, that’s it. But what about the Sorcerer’s dogs?

All right, yes, it’s silly, it’s illogical, and the villain is a bald guy in his bathrobe, but it’s lots of fun. The Kirby art is wonderful, as usual, particularly the depictions of the various Imps, whose looks are appropriate for their evils. Check out the ghostly Forgetfulness Imp, the electrically charged Paralysis Imp, the clown-like Foolishness Imp and the sleepy-eyed Laziness Imp. And the penultimate panel where the stricken Sorcerer’s face looks exactly like the Fear Imp’s face is wonderful.

Stan and Jack and the others are still working out the kinks but you can see it starting to come together. Four webs.

Beware the Bog Beast!. You know the drill by now. “The Wasp Tells a Tale” is an excuse to keep telling the early Astonish/Suspense/Strange Tales/Journey Into Mystery stories in the super-hero age. This one is from Tales to Astonish #56, June 1964.

Giant-Man, tired of getting beaten by the Hulk, works out with some giant-sized barbells. The Wasp, wanting to tell Hank a riddle, lands on his nose, causing him to sneeze. “Puh-leese!!” says Jan, flying away, “Think of my little shell-like ears!” She then presses Hank to listen to her riddle. “Alright, Pest!” he says, “Anything you say, if you’ll promise to leave me alone afterwards!” (Ah, young love!)

So Jan begins her story.

“On a far-off planet” a Princess (who, apparently, is not important enough to get a name) loves Lorenzo, an unambitious commoner. King Maximus, brother to the Princess, orders Lorenzo from the castle. Telling his sister that she is “too good for most men,” he adds that the one who wins her hand must “prove his courage and skill by pitting himself against the mightiest of wild creatures, the bog beast.”

The King takes the Princess to “the tiny isle of Perilica, where dwells the dreaded bog beast.” He explains that “for months we let the animal smell your perfume and gaze at your portrait until he grew to love you.” Now the jealous bog beast will guard the Princess against any man who tries to take her. Only a small wooden bridge protects any potential suitors since it is too flimsy to support the bog beast’s weight.

Hearing of the contest, a crowd of men arrive but, seeing the bog beast, all but three chicken out. The first has “the might of a dozen giants,” the second is the greatest warrior in the kingdom and the third is lazy Lorenzo. The strong man tackles the beast with all his strength, even ripping a tree up from its roots and throwing it, but when the beast shrugs off these attacks, he quickly gives up and flees. The warrior uses his crossbow against the beast but the arrow cannot penetrate his hide. The warrior throws a net over the beast but the animal becomes so enraged “that his body is smoldering,” which melts the net. The warrior gives up and runs for his life.

Now, it is Lorenzo’s turn…and Jan stops telling her story. She tells Hank that Lorenzo succeeded in winning the Princess but she refuses to say how he did it, unless Hank takes her to dinner. Hands on hips, Hank says, “Okay, little Miss Blackmailer, you win!” (Feel the love, people!)

At dinner, Jan explains that “Lazy Lorenzo didn’t even bother to cross over to the isle! You see, he knew that the bog beast wouldn’t harm the Princess because it loved her so Lorenzo shouted to the Princess, telling her to cross over the bridge to him! And, of course, the jealous beast couldn’t follow because he was too heavy for the bridge to hold!” “Bro-ther!” says Hank, slapping himself in the forehead, “I’ll take battling a super-villain any time to matching wits with a gorgeous female!”

This is only a five page story and yet one-and-a-third pages are taken up with Hank and Jan rather than the bog beast story. Paul Reinman’s inks make Larry Leiber’s pencils look flat and dull. There is nothing about this story that requires it to be on some “far-off planet.” The bog beast looks like a rhino rather than any sort of exotic creature. Worse, the beast looks bored rather than vicious. The King’s scheme is ridiculous and insulting to his sister, Lorenzo’s only redeeming quality is that the Princess loves him, and the Princess doesn’t get a name.

But that’s nothing compared to the end of the tale. One of the fundamental rules of drama is to show, not tell. Instead of showing Lorenzo calling to the Princess and showing the Princess walking over the bridge into his arms (with the King in the background knowing when he’s licked), we get a panel of Hank and Jan at dinner while Jan explains the solution at length. At which point, any interest the reader has is squelched. Why go this route? Because the story is only five pages? Except almost two pages are wasted with Jan and Hank. To make a moral about how Hank shouldn’t be so concerned about bulking up to battle the Hulk because, in this story... what? There really isn’t any connection that quite works.

As for Lorenzo’s solution, I don’t know. It sounds a lot like cheating to me. I think maybe the King would negate the win and just have Lorenzo executed.

There’s really nothing to like in this little story. I give it half a web for attendance but that’s it.

Thor and Loki Attack the Human Race! from Journey into Mystery #94, July 1963. Wait, wait, what happened to JIM #93, June 1963? “The Mighty Thor Versus…the Mysterious Radio-Active Man!” Well, that was already reprinted as the third story in JIM Annual #1, 1965 so we’re out of luck here. Ordinarily I’d prefer a Loki story to a Radio-Active Man story except that the Radio-Active Man story is one of only two Thor tales between JIM #90, March 1963 and JIM #100, January 1964 that is penciled by Jack Kirby. The other is JIM #97, October 1963 and it also appears in JIM Annual #1… because it’s penciled by Jack Kirby. Still, Joe Sinnott does a fine job here. The plot is by Stan and the script by Robert Bernstein.

There’s a splash page of Thor pushing the Leaning Tower of Pisa over with one finger. All the facial expressions are great on this page. Thor looks mischievous. Loki looks happily evil. The four fleeing bystanders, given close-ups at the bottom of the page all look terrified but in slightly different ways.

The US Army blasts a missile with a nuclear warhead into space to test…how cool it is when nukes blow up in space? I don’t know. In any event, nukes in space. What can go wrong? Ulp! “The missile is changing course! It’s not heading away from Earth! It’s just flying wild!” But, hey, it has a self-destruct system. What can go wrong? Ulp! “We can’t destroy the missile!...We have no control whatever over that missile!” The Army General concludes that only one man can destroy that missile. He sends out an S.O.S. for the Mighty Thor.

Don Blake is listening to the radio in his office and hears the call for help. “Thor, phone the Pentagon extension 2715-A,” the radio says. (Like there wouldn’t be a million guys claiming to be Thor, punking the Pentagon.) Thor calls and they believe it’s him! They tell him the exact position of the missile. Thor promises to stop it “before it hits the ground.”

Thor flies off. Meanwhile, chained up in Asgard, Loki magically spies on Thor. “It was my remote control magic which first tampered with the missile’s course!” he thinks, informing himself, “Then I shattered the missile’s automatic destruct device!” All to draw Thor into the fray.

Up in space, the Thunder God throws his hammer at the missile and explodes it at, according to Loki, “a safe distance from the ground.” (Yeah, forget all that fallout. And if you think that’s bad science, just wait!) As Mjolnir returns to Thor, Loki uses his magic to create an illusion from long distance. The effort is so debilitating that Loki nearly passes out. (And check out that mushroom cloud up in the atmosphere…but it’s “a safe distance from the ground.”) Loki’s illusion works and Thor turns to see a dragon coming up behind him. He takes a swing at the dragon, which disperses into cloud. Just as Loki timed it, Mjolnir hits Thor in the back of the head. As Loki tells us, “the hammer hit his chromosomatic gland, which determines and changes personality!” Uh-huh. (Loki conjures up an image of a bald man with a little patch on the back of his head to signify the “chromosomatic gland,” which convinces me!) Loki hopes that the blow to the head will change Thor’s personality from good to bad and sonofagun if it doesn’t work!

So, Loki mentally contacts Thor, giving him the idea “to fly to Asgard and rescue me.” Thor arrives at the Rainbow Bridge. When approached by Heimdall, Thor slugs him. “Out of my way, you flunky!” Thor says. “Owwww!!” Heimdall says. Somehow Heimdall gets the idea that “Something is amiss!” He goes to alert Odin.

Thor arrives and is surprised to see Loki in chains. “Ha!” thinks Loki, “Thor doesn’t even remember that I’m his arch enemy! This is my greatest triumph!” Loki tells Thor that “Odin ordered the other Gods to imprison me to keep the two of us apart!” Outraged, Thor frees Loki just as some other Gods approach. (They all wear horned helmets and are mostly shown in shadow, making them about as anonymous as they can be.) One of the shadows separates from the group. It is Odin and he can’t believe that Thor has freed Loki. “It was you yourself who forged the Uru bonds which imprisoned Loki,” Odin tells Thor. But Thor scoffs at this. “I would never harm the loyal Loki,” he says. Loki steps in and tells Thor that the gods “fear that our combined powers could take over Asgard itself.” Odin gets so riled up over this that he starts to throttle Loki but Thor steps in and pushes Odin aside. “Ha!” says Loki, “You know that even your strength cannot match Mighty Thor’s!” (A condition that will not remain true for long. In later issues, Odin is not only superior to Thor in strength and powers but he controls how much power Thor himself has.) Loki declares that he and Thor intend to rule Asgard. He tells Odin that he and Thor will go to Earth and “cause terrible havoc there.” In this way, he hopes to hold Earth hostage until Odin relinquishes the throne. Odin, who is much more sympathetic to Earth than in later stories, cries out, “Villain! Have you no pity for the helpless humans you may injure?” Loki does not. He and Thor depart, with Loki hanging onto Thor’s waist as the Thunder God flies via Mjolnir. Odin is distressed by the threat but he is most worried about how Loki managed to turn Thor evil. “I must ponder,” he tells the others.

Arriving on Earth, Loki tells Thor to “create thunderstorms all over this puny planet…produce lightning bolts to destroy man’s proudest achievements…cause earthquakes which will bring all mankind to its knees.” Thor does as instructed, smashing dikes in Holland, igniting volcanoes in Hawaii and tossing the Taj Majal through the air, killing millions. (Actually no one dies. How? I don’t know.) He’s not done. “I can create enough suction to whisk famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower into the atmosphere,” Thor says, “And then cut the empty, flying structures into ribbons as if they were mere sausages fed into a slicing machine!” After obliterating the Eiffel Tower, Thor grinds “the proudest stone pyramid into a pile of rubble,” then tears “the Golden Gate Bridge to shreds,” seals up the Panama Canal, and pushes the Leaning Tower of Pisa over. And still no one is killed.

Having done his part, Thor turns the mischief over to Loki who turns a whale into a sea serpent, brings the Sphinx to life so that it can run through Cairo’s streets, animates the Empire State Building and has it march into the river, and awakens “prehistoric behemoths in museums.” Soon after, a “special committee from the United Nations” marches through the rubble waving a white flag. Loki tells them “we will continue to blackmail Odin by wreaking havoc on Earth.” The leader of the delegation, a clean-shaven man in a fez, offers to “intercede with Odin, for our planet cannot long endure your assault.”

At the UN, the delegation leader takes Thor and Loki to the stage, then asks the two gods how to go about contacting Odin. Thor tells him that it will require a signal “and the most fitting signal of all will be the destruction of the UN emblem which stands behind me!” Thor throws his hammer at the emblem, shattering it. But before Mjolnir can return, a trap door opens beneath Thor’s feet and Thor falls in. The hammer hovers above the trap door. “Who is controlling it??” wonders Loki. The delegation leader admits that he is controlling it, then he drops the hammer down so that it strikes Thor in his chromosomatic gland, which returns him to normal. He then reveals that the fez and clean-shaven face is a mask, covering up the big head and wild hair and beard of Odin. (Asgardian magic in action!) The other delegation members unmask, showing themselves to be the other gods. They tell Loki that Odin’s pondering did the trick, that he figured out what caused Thor’s personality change and came up with this plan to reverse things. (But why all the subterfuge? Why not just whack Thor on the back of the head and get it over with?) Now his old self, Thor throws Mjolnir at Loki, whacking him in the back of the head. (But missing the chromosomatic gland, I guess.) The other gods grab Loki as Thor speaks to the UN delegates apologizing to the people of Earth for the destruction and all the people he killed (or didn’t kill). He promises to use “our supernatural powers to repair all the damage done.” Odin adds that “the memory of these events shall be erased from the minds of men.” Back in Asgard, Loki is again chained up. Thor worries about what will happen if Loki escapes again. (It won’t be long.) Odin tells him not to fret. “[T]here will always be a champion…such as Mighty Thor, noblest of the gods, protector of mankind.”

It’s always fun to have Loki as the villain but this one is just too much. The chromosomatic gland, Odin hiding all of that hair under a mask of a small man with a fez, Thor destroying the Eiffel Tower and Golden Gate Bridge and the Taj Mahal only to correct it with “our supernatural powers,” Thor defeated by a trap door, the little illustration in Loki’s thoughts of the bald man with the dark spot on the back of his neck at the spot of the chromosomatic gland…enough! Eventually the Thor series becomes one of Marvel’s best. You sure couldn’t tell that from this story. Two webs.

In General...

One of the lesser Lee/Ditko Spidey stories, a ridiculous but wonderful Human Torch tale, Jan telling Hank the end of her story rather than letting the reader see it for themselves, and the chromosomatic gland! At least we’ve got a new cover concept.

Overall Rating...

Let’s round it down to two webs. Mainly because of Jan and the gland.

Footnote...

Next: I know, I know, it’s been a long time again and Spidey still needs to tackle Doc Ock. But first… the Bad Guys Win! In Not Brand Echh #4.