Review:Journey Into Mystery #88

“The Vengeance of Loki”,Published: January 1963
Writer: Stan Lee &Larry Lieber,Penciler: Jack Kirby,Inks: Dick Ayers,Letters: Artie Simek

Loki’s back!

In his first appearance,Loki pretty much dominated the story and the same is true here. We start with Loki and follow him for almost the entire issue.

What did I like best about this story? Continuity. The story opens where #85 left off. We see Loki get grounded in Asgard by Odin,but his obsession with Thor proves too great. He looks in on the events of issue 87,Thor turning into Blake specifically. And do you remember what I said about Loki in his first appearance? He would’ve won had he known about Blake. Uh oh.

Apparently,being a Mischief God is like being in Mission:Impossible.

Loki basically walks… well,slithers out of Asgard in the all-too-fitting form of a snake and returns to Earth. There were a lot of little things I liked about the issue (and one thing I didn’t),but I really appreciated this one – Loki goes to Blake,but wears a disguise when walking into his office.

His reasoning is not expressed in the story,he simply does it. But why? Why does he care if anyone sees Loki walking into Blake’s office? Why hide his identity from Jane? He may want to best Thor and run around unchecked,but he goes out of his way to protect Blake’s secret. I don’t know if I’m really supposed to infer things about Loki based on that decision,but I do,and I like him as a character all the more because of it.

You've done it! You've beaten Thor!
What are you going to do now...

Loki’s plan was simple. He challenged Thor to a duel and then left Jane with a hypnotic suggestion to also appear at the set time and place. When the players come together an hour later,Thor throws his hammer only to watch in dismay as Loki places the approaching Jane in mortal danger. Thor must choose to save her or catch the returning hammer.

As you could guess,Thor leaves the hammer to crash into the ground where Loki quickly encases it in an unbreakable force field. Loki gleefully celebrates as he watches Thor revert to the “lame”Blake.

For the next few pages the story sticks with Loki. He turns people into “blanks”,turns cars and buildings into candy,and disrupts the testing of a nuclear bomb by making it not explode. All the while,the public is calling for Thor to save them,but Blake stays at home,helpless.

... turn the world into candy?!
Good call,Loki,good call.

This is where the story takes an unfortunate turn. Before starting this endeavor,I was counseled that I had to remember the era in which the comics were written. For the most part,I think I have done okay in taking the good with the bad,but this plot point was just too unfortunate to overlook.

Blake comes up with a plan to stop Loki. The plan itself is fine – to trick Loki into thinking the hammer is no longer in the force field and,in turn,gets him to remove it. The means was the problem – Blake’s surefire idea is to create a life size plastic dummy of Thor and hide behind it,talking as it. Honestly,you never want to root for a villain,but I found myself wishing Loki would smack Blake down right there. But he doesn’t,of course,Blake’s plan works and Loki goes on the run.

Where do you even find a big plastic Thor dummy?

Thor catches Loki in under a page and returns him to Asgard personally. The story closes with Odin proclaiming that he doesn’t know what to do with Loki these days.

This was a pretty straightforward issue. I’ve enjoyed Loki being the focus of the stories he appears in and I appreciate the conundrum he presents for the Asgardians. Basically,I was having a good time right up until the giant plastic dummy. I thought I was better prepared for some of the silly plot elements that would creep in,but after five issues of not having them,this one caught me off guard and did disrupt the issue for me.

In all,it was still an entertaining issue,but I will wish Loki hadn’t been so easily fooled. Jane doesn’t touch her face or even pine for Thor once in the entire issue,so that was good for her and for readers. For future issues,we get an interesting tidbit about the Thor/Blake dichotomy. When Loki watches Thor revert to Blake and then grab the hammer and become Thor again,he describes Thor as Blake’s “true self”. What does that make Blake? Hopefully,that will be addressed sooner rather than later…

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Look for Journey into Mystery #89 tomorrow! Until then,here’s a larger shot of the cover along the a funny little side prank Loki pulls on some communists testing a nuclear weapon…

Loki may be an evil God of Mischief,but even he doesn't like communists.

3 comments to Review:Journey Into Mystery #88

  • I’m really loving the reviews so far,Dan! Since you’re an action figure guy,I can’t wait until you get a few more issues in. There a quite a few villains that scream for cool figures based on their costumes alone.

  • SilntAngl5

    *PLINK* I love that sound effect! Sad how the issue ended,but the era seems to call for issues having an immediate solution with little carry-over (or “to be continued”) to the next. At least they do in these issues so far. That might be my bias talking.

    Overall,I’m liking the reviews! I’m still hooked on wanting to know more about Thor.

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