Tales of Asgard -- Journey Into Mystery #101 (from the Tales of Asgard tpb)
"The Invasion of Asgard"
Stan Lee-Jack Kirby/George Bell
Doug: You know what I've always wondered? How does an immortal age? I ask, because in this story we see Heimdall for the first time. Having read many a Thor yarn through the years, I always assumed that Thor and all of the warriors were approximately the same age. Yet here is a young Thor again, perhaps 13-14 years of age (he looks older than he did in last week's story), and Heimdall is much older than he. Additionally, and I think we've mentioned it before, Odin is old! What sayest thou?
Karen: I sayest, don't think about it! Although I would posit that the Heimdall we see here looks younger than the one we see circa the Buscema period.
Doug: Loki's at it again. There have been rumblings of "the forces of evil" launching a unified assault on Asgard. Wanting to do his part, Thor offers to help Heimdall guard the Rainbow Bridge. But Loki asks him to come away, so that Loki can show Thor a secret passageway. Loki claimed to have found a tunnel whereby the bad guys could gain access to the Realm Eternal. Loki urges Thor to guard this hole, and Loki will then run for reinforcements. Thor, ever brave and just a bit gullible, agrees.
Karen: Well, young Thor is certainly very trusting, which is a virtue I suppose. Although Loki has already shown his true colors, as we saw in the previous story, so maybe Thor just isn't that bright! I love the panel where Heimdall tells Thor he can't help him. He's totally freaking out!
Doug: The forces of evil include a pantheon of uglies: a troll, an ice giant, two wolf gods, rime giants, and the Norn hag atop a dragon. Not so good. So there's lil' Thor to face them with but a shield and sword. But if he's not long on brain, he is on brawn and guile. Pulling a trick from his father's book, Thor cleaves the ground with his sword, forcing a geyser that drives back the initial assault. He then uses the same sword as a bat and rifles large chunks of rock at the assemblage. However, their numbers are two great and their sorcery too strong, and Thor eventually succumbs. As they are about to kill him, help finally arrives!
Karen: I really like all those different creatures Kirby drew, but the rime giants -what the heck is a 'rime'? - are the coolest looking.
Doug: Well, since you asked (and I thought it was a made-up term, too)... Ymir was the first and greatest of the Rime Giants, according to cybersamurai.net. Apparently Kirby didn't make it up, and the Marvel Wiki details all of the giants of Jotunheim. So there you have it -- see, you can learn stuff reading comics! I always told my mom that!
Doug: Loki, you see, didn't go for help. It was only the sounds of battle that alerted the Asgardian warriors -- led here by Odin. As the forces of evil are driven away, Thor is rewarded with newfound strength -- he can almost lift Mjolnir! And Loki smolders...
Doug: We are going to take leave of this series for awhile. It's been really fun going through these stories -- they really did augment the Journey Into Mystery books of the day. As we said at the outset, we were both reluctant to embrace the re-coloring, but if I can speak for both of us, I'll say we've been won over. The next time you see this at your LCS or local bookstore, give it a look-see. It's been a fine addition to my library.