Review:Journey into Mystery #92

“The Day Loki Stole Thor’s Magic Hammer”,Published: May 1963
Writer: Stan Lee &Robert Bernstein,Penciler: Joe Sinnott,Inks: Joe Sinnott,Letters: Martin Epp

It’s finally time to whip out the favorite tag! This issue gave me a scare early on after an Asgardian setup quickly deteriorated to a thug of the week story,but Loki &crew returned about halfway through to get everything back on track and fulfill the promise of that great cover.

This issue is best described as a day in the life of Thor story. Despite being only thirteen pages,we’ve got three separate adventures packed in to this issue. Thor spends a couple of pages on those two-bit thugs,but then helps make a film before dealing with Loki’s latest plot. It sounds like a lot to cram into a small story,but it all came together by the end.

Either Heimdall is really paranoid
or really bad with pick-up lines.

I’ve mentioned before that whenever Loki shows up,he tends to steal the book. He doesn’t hog the spotlight as much in this issue,but he still frames it. Loki’s featured on the cover where’s he gloating about successfully stealing Thor’s hammer. Strangely,“cover Thor” says he will lose his powers “forever” if he doesn’t pick it up soon,so “cover Thor” apparently has different restrictions on his powers than regular Thor who only loses them until he grabs the hammer again.

The story also begins with Loki. He’s still trapped in Asgard where we left him last issue,but now he’s chained to a rock per Odin’s orders. He was still roaming free in the last issue,but perhaps his little stunt with Sandu is the reason for this new punishment. We see a couple Asgardians noting Loki’s predicament as he silently plots his escape. Enjoy this little bit of Loki,as we won’t see him for a few pages.

I'm feel bad for the guy
taped to the bottom of the gurney.

The story quickly shifts to Dr. Blake,where we’re treated to another episode of “Dr. Blake,Crime Doctor”. This is where the story started to lose me. See,we were in Asgard! Heimdall was there. Loki was there. Some Asgardian (Neri) I’ve never heard of was there! We were so close to delving into aspects of Thor that I desperately want to see,but…

…then we jumped to petty criminals. And not even fighting them,but treating them! Blake,a “lame” doctor,is sought out to treat some gunshot wounds inflicted during a jewelry heist. I know the whole Thor thing means Blake is better off as an independent practitioner than on staff at a hospital,but I feel bad for all the other doctors in this city who have their own practice and can’t turn into Thor. How do they deal with all these petty criminals seeking treatment all the time?

Anyway,Blake patches up the wounded thug per his Hippocratic Oath and then,before they can kill him,distracts them by,I kid you not,saying Thor was walking in behind them. They quickly look over their shoulder in fear as Blake strikes his cane to become Thor! The particularly astute criminals ask where Blake went. Thor’s answer? He’s hiding. Of course!. I should start a list of all the people that have seen Blake change into Thor and not known it. It’s way too many for eight issues. Anyway,the funny thing is that Thor doesn’t even fight the thugs. Or if he does,they don’t show it on-panel. He just duct tapes all three thugs to a gurney and throws it over to the police station. End of Part One.

Yeah,it looks cool,but if you think about
it,this panel is even more fake than usual.

On page six,we jump to a week later. Inexplicably,Thor’s in Norway working on a movie,providing special effects and playing himself (don’t worry,the money goes to charity). He provides controlled storms,causes a rockslide,and “fights” a sea serpent (I really hope they’re paying him well!). I should mention that this is clearly a SyFy original movie because Thor “defeats” the sea serpent by drowning it. Moving on…I know this is a silly out of place little sequence,and it does oddly make you wonder how many other films Thor has agreed to,but it’s cute and the story doesn’t suffer for it’s presence.

During the shooting of the movie,we divide some of our attention back to Loki. He’s deduced that the chains holding him down are forged from the same uru metal of the hammer. Loki believes that if he can magnetize the chains,the hammer will be drawn to them and shatter them on impact. Loki surely has a better understanding of magic metals than myself,so I’ll go with it. Towards the end of filming,Thor throws his hammer and watches helplessly as it doesn’t come back.

Uh...y'see Dad... it's like this...

Thor comes crashing to the ground,gets his wits about him,and…calls his Dad.

Odin takes him to Asgard where the 60 seconds enchantment won’t apply. The pair determines that the hammer must be somewhere on Asgard and Thor goes off to search for it. This is where I really started to enjoy the story. Partially,because we got to see a bit of Asgard,but mostly because it’s a fun bit of story.

Loki’s first attempt to stop Thor is a grove of enchanted trees that come to life and attack the thunder god. To deal with them,Thor creates a makeshift hammer out of the fallen trees. Once Thor defeats the grove,Loki sets this wooden hammer ablaze from a distance. But Thor gets the memo. This is all Loki’s doing. Personally,Thor probably should’ve figured that out well before now because it’s pretty much always Loki,but whatever…

That's not funny,Jane,unless Blake whacks
all his patients with a reflex hammer for kicks...

For his next obstacle,Loki traps Thor between a sheer rock wall and “snarling,deadly dragons”. Thor confronts this threat in a similar manner –he quickly carves a second makeshift hammer from the stone of the cliff side and defeats the dragons,but then watches in disbelief as this hammer too flies off into the distance. He quickly realizes this hammer was carved from rock that contained uru metal (the material his hammer is made from) and follows the path it took. He later finds it,along with his real hammer and Loki’s shattered chains.

Disappointingly,Thor calls for the other Asgardians and they all get together and recapture Loki off-panel. I would’ve really liked to see that battle,but that probably would require it’s own individual issue. Thor leaves as Odin works on a new way to bind Loki. The story closes with a cute panel of Blake back at work using a reflex hammer on a patient while Jane comments he’s well experienced using a mallet. I’m not quite sure what she means because we clearly know she doesn’t know Blake is Thor,but we can put this in the “maybe she does know”file.

In all,I really enjoyed this issue. The crime doctor and movie actor bits were a little cheesy,but they work in concert with the more serious battle with Loki to give this issue a balanced,anthology-like feel. The highlight of the story is Thor exploring Asgard and using his cunning to make the wooden and rock hammers,though you do have to ask –if Thor can use his bare hands to chop wood and carve rock,does he really need the hammer or is it just a,cane?

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As we close,here’s a bigger look at the cover of #92 along with a couple of panels I particularly enjoyed from this issue.

The Cover;Thor's two 'alternate' hammers used while trying to recover Mjolnir.

2 comments to Review:Journey into Mystery #92

  • I remember reading this issue in one of the collected editions,I don’t remember much but I do remember the makeshift hammers.

  • Drew

    It strikes me as very odd that Thor could use his fingers to dig through a mound of the same metal his hammer is made of.
    Similarly in issue 94,when he crushes Uru chains with his bare hands!

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