Thor #148 (January 1968)
"Let There Be... Chaos!"
Stan Lee-Jack Kirby/Vince Colletta
Doug: Welcome back to the conclusion of my Thor "yard sale" 2-parter. Last week we peeked in on a de-powered Thor's battle against his usually-scheming brother Loki. Today we'll pick it up as that episode concludes and witness the introduction of a Marvel B-list villain who was a major player in the "Under Siege" storyline that ran in The Avengers. I appreciated those among you who commented on the cover scan to Thor #147 that I provided -- I had no idea there would be such a strong response in favor of looking at the actual comic. So today you can peruse this beat-up beauty that is my copy of #148 -- tape, chunks out, a staple to the right of the spine about 2" from the bottom corner, stains -- it's an ugly duckling, isn't it? And the back cover has a 3" horizontal tear across it. Lordy...
Doug: When we left off, Odin was one unhappy All-Father. He felt that his subjects had directly disobeyed his orders in going to Midgard. So, since Thor had already been whacked with an Odin-ray, Loki, Balder, and fair Sif now received the same punishment. God-like powers -- GONE! Loki, sensing that Thor was now itching for a little payback, hightailed it out of there. Thor got in a good verbal shot at him, telling him he was fleeing like a spineless jackal! Sif wanted the three friends to pursue the God of Evil, but Thor talked her down. Balder, ever the gallant one, remarked that he had no fear of Loki.
Doug: Cut to a penthouse apartment where Thurston and Lovie Howell have returned home from painting the town red, only to find their servant Mayhew bound and all of the family jewels missing. Mayhew relates that the burgle was perpetrated by a tough calling himself "the Wrecker", and he was quite awful. Thurston rings the PD, but asks not to speak to any mere beatwalker, but the Commissioner himself. Then, in a scene straight out of Batman, 1966, we get Gordon and O'Hara lookalikes who just seemed dumbfounded by the Wrecker. Cut again to a dragnet that has fanned out in the general area where the Wrecker last hit. In a scene that I thought was brilliant when I was 10, the Wrecker flattens himself against a wall under a ledge and is unseen. However, looking at it now, if the cop on the corner of the building would only turn around they'd have their man!
Doug: By the way, Marvel Super-Heroes #12, which introduced Captain Marvel, was on sale this same month.
Doug: In a scene that really shows Jack Kirby's sense of humor (or Stan's -- one never knows for certain on these things), we see a delivery boy from a local sandwich shop making his way to Dr. Donald Blake's office. He is much surprised, however, when the God of Thunder greets him. In a great panel, tucked in the corner where no dialogue was really required, Stan has Balder say: "Ahhh! Whether in the Elysian fields of Asgard, or the halcyon halls of Earth... How good it is to quell the pangs of hunger!" ...as Thor just keeps unloading food. Paying the lad right out of Blake's wallet, Thor shoos him away. Sif muses about her love for Thor as the trio ponder their next move.
Doug: And what of vile Loki? We find him holed up in a rented apartment (what, did he mug someone for the security deposit?). Wearing a shabby overcoat and some green pants, Loki sets a large hat box on a table. He then begins to plot to get his powers back. Knowing that it is the only way to finally defeat Thor, he must summon the Norn Queen for aid. But as he's about to send for her, he hears a noise outside his window. Feeling weak for even wondering about it, he's back to business. But question -- if he was de-powered, how could he contact Karnilla? Well, anyway, the "noise" outside the window must have been the Wrecker's heavy breathing, because once our bad guy spies Loki's far-out threads, he decides to make a hit. Using his massive crowbar to break not only the window but half the stinkin' wall, the Wrecker catches Loki by surprise, right in the midst of his incantation to the Queen. The Wrecker is brutal, hurling his crowbar right at Loki's chin and dropping the God of Mischief. Once free to move about the room, the Wrecker sees the large hat box.
Doug: Opening the lid, the Wrecker oohs/aahs over the longhorned helmet. Placing it upon his own dome, his back is turned at the very moment Karnilla enters the apartment. Now I have to tell you -- unless there's more than one Norn Queen, if this is the same goddess who chases after Balder the Brave... well, she must have gotten right out of bed to talk to Loki. No looker here, nosiree. Thinking the helmeted figure is her oft-ally, Karnilla grants Loki's wish, and leaves. Suddenly the Wrecker is empowered with Asgardian magic. Halting Loki in his tracks, and then sending him back to Asgard, the Wrecker sets his sights on bigger and better spoils.
Doug: Back in Dr. Blake's office, our three heroes catch an episode of the Spider-Man cartoon when suddenly there's a news break-in. A report comes that a baddie named -- you guessed it -- the Wrecker is amok downtown. Cue the Asgardians to handle this one. Using his juiced-up crowbar, the Wrecker now topples not just chimneys but entire buildings! He laughs off the police presence while the gods move in from above. As Thor attacks, a wave of the Wrecker's hand stops him. Another wave and Balder and Sif disappear -- sent back to Asgard! Alone now, and without his own godlike powers, the mighty Thor battles valiantly, but the outcome seems little in doubt. Similarly to last issue's tiff with Loki, the depowered Thunder God is still a formidable opponent, but not against the enchanted strength of the Wrecker. And a few city blocks take the brunt of these combatants' fury. Back on Asgard, Balder and Sif plead with Odin to intervene. He matter-of-factly states that Thor has defied him, and will serve his penance; no matter what. And then it's time for the Inhumans! But that's OK -- this was a blast revisiting these two mags. To be honest, every time I read a Thor, I ask myself: Why don't I read more Thor?
Doug: I do have the next installment to this tale, in a volume of Essential Thor. But that's not really the point -- as I said last week, the point is that this (along with #147) were among the first 12c comics I ever owned and despite the raggy condition these two issues of Thor have a special place in my heart. When I've sold off large chunks of my collection in the past, I've always kept these two issues. Sure, I could have tossed them in with something else for a buck or two, but what would have been the point? They are worth far more to me as personal history than anything I'd have gotten monetarily. Lee, Kirby, a gaggle of gods, and the Wrecker? Oh yeah!