Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tales of Asgard Tuesday: Journey Into Mystery #98

Tales of Asgard -Journey into Mystery #98 (from the Tales of Asgard TPB)
"Odin Battles Ymir, King of the Ice Giants!"
Stan Lee -writer
Jack Kirby -artist
Don Heck -inker

Karen: This story picks up immediately after our last mini-saga, with Odin facing the wrath of the ice giants in combat. The All-Father flies forth in his chariot, pulled by two winged horses (he must have borrowed it from Apollo) and draws his sword. This is a very effective panel, with Kirby showing Odin's sword flashing with lightning.

Doug: I thought it was interesting that way back at the beginning of the Silver Age Jack Kirby drew winged horses, yet in the case of Aragorn, there is no Asgardian backstory at all. If my Avengers memory serves, Aragorn was a normal white horse that was scientifically mutated by Nathan Garrett, the original Black Knight. Once Dane Whitman, the second Black Knight, got control of Garrett's secrets, he (Dane) used the science to mutate another horse, which he named Aragorn. So it just strikes me as odd that when the care of that horse came to the Valkyrie, she of Asgardian origins, the horse had nothing at all to do with these horses of Odin.

Karen: Odin rains down meteor bolts (?) on the hapless giants. Still, some of the giants manage to stay upright and wail at him with their humongous ice clubs. When that fails, they all cut loose by blowing a gale at him. This does unseat the mighty Odin and he falls from his chariot.

Doug: Truly, in these legends of old, one doesn't even need a suspension of disbelief. It's a totally different sort of reading with different expectations as far as I'm concerned. And hey -- another comment on the re-coloring. I've read ahead a few stories, and I must say that I feel badly for lambasting this collection based solely on a few page samples I'd seen. I almost hesitate to say that I am beginning to feel that this is how Kirby's Tales of Asgard should always have appeared. The coloring gives it a real illustrative, storybook feel. It works perfectly, in my opinion.

Karen: Odin lands on the top of the mountain where the giants are standing. He takes his sword and with all his strength, cleaves the mountain in two! The coloring of the flames in this scene and later is so vibrant and lively, it really stands out. The frigid fiends tumble into the chasm that has been created. All that is but Ymir, king of the ice giants. He attacks Odin, and shockingly, the All-Father runs away!

Doug: Not only is Odin all-strong, but he's all-dexterous as well. He cleaves the mountain right between his legs, yet maintains his balance to one side so as not to fall in himself!

Karen: Of course, Odin has a plan: he lures Ymir to a volcanic area, and again uses his sword to penetrate the ground, releasing flames! Ymir is trapped in a circle of fire, and Odin returns victorious to Asgard.

Doug: But I guess Ymir never melted, since we'll hear from him again. One other thing of note in this story -- Odin's helmet/crown bears a striking resemblance to the helmet Thor will wear. Guess it was a hand-me-down?

Karen: Indeed it is very similar. I also thought that Odin's throne in this story might have served as a guide to the Thor film-makers, as it looks similar to shots I've seen of the movie throne. Short and sweet, another fun little tale that brings a little more of the mythology into play. It was fun to see Odin in action; most of the time in the comics, he's either sitting around brooding or yelling at Thor for something Loki actually did.

Doug: I agree -- in the times I've seen Odin actually do something, it always seemed sort of strange. Here, he is the hero of his time.


Inkstained Wretch said...

I like to see them recolor all of the Kirby Thor comics that way. They do look awesome.

Inkstained Wretch said...

Err ... I'd like to see them recolor all of the Kirby Thor comics that way. They do look awesome.

Fred W. Hill said...

Seems Odin got so much action in those days he aged prematurely, looking ancient when the world was still young while Thor spent millenniums looking 20-something.
Anyhow, the combination of roughly 45 year old Kirby art with modern coloring techniques does work wonders here. A real feeling of peeking into a world from long ago and far away.

ChrisPV said...

I loves me some Thor, but I always thought it was pretty hysterical that the all-wise Allfather was so CONSISTENTLY bamboozled by Loki. I get that he couldn't just blast his son (familiar honor, pride, love, etc.) but every time he let Loki off it made me giggle a bit.

Karen said...

Chris: Yes, Odin seemed rather dense when it came to figuring out which of his sons had actually committed some heinous act. I'm writing an article on Gerry Conway's run on Thor, and although he started out with Odin following this path, he thankfully had the All-Father recognize that Thor was a good son and stop treating him like crap!


Anonymous said...

Let the resounding sound of the horn be blown! Ymir doth approach!
I loved these crazy old tales of Asgard. The art was stark and primal.
I noticed Odin was sporting a more simple set of headgear than he would later wear. But them were simpler, more primitive days.
"First carve the Nine Worlds out of primordial Chaos, and then I shall getteth myself a new wardrobe!"

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