Tag Archives: Cobra

The Fantastic Four Annual #3, 1965

The Fantastic Four Annual #3, 1965

Written by Stan Lee
Drawn by Jack Kirby
Inked by Vince Colletta
Lettered by Artie Simek
Catered by The Bullpen Gang!

The original story in this issue features a whopping 19 superheroes and 20 supervillains, not to mention Uatu the watcher, Patsy Walker (from the girl magazines they did, and a decade before she’d join normal Marvel continuity as Hellcat), Stan Lee and Jack Kirby themselves. I’m not going to mention all of them in my little one paragraph review, but I actually kept track in the tag section if you’re interested, and I’m so sure that you are.

It’s the wedding of Reed Richards and Susan Storm, the most beautiful event in any comic book person’s life. Unfortunately, they are comic book people, and that means they associate with a lot of super-powered folks. Also, Richards was mean to Dr. Doom back in college, so he’s decided to invent a machine to make every villain in the area try to kill him. After a ridiculously massive brawl, the Watcher shows up and (without interfering at all) gives Mr. Fantastic a machine that’ll send all the villains back to where they were with no memory of what happened at all. Okay, whatever. The happy wedding goes on happily and everyone is happy forever. Except Lee and Kirby, who are turned away at the door because everyone thinks they’re bums.

The reprint stories are that one awesome issue where Dr. Doom and Namor team up to throw the Baxter Building into the Sun and the two half stories from issue #11 where the Fantastic Four answers fan mail and deal with the Impossible Man. There’s usually another one in these annuals, but the huge brawl took up a lot of space, as I’m sure you can imagine.

Yeah, that’s a dumb ending to this excuse to fit every character possible into one comic book, but who cares? It’s all in good fun, and Giant Man didn’t show up at all, so I couldn’t be happier with it! Plus, his worst enemy, the Human Top, is taken out by a single punch from Quicksilver, who doesn’t even have super strength or anything. LOVE IT.

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Journey Into Mystery #111, Dec. 1964

Journey Into Mystery #111, Dec. 1964

Written with the mastery of Stan Lee
Illustrated with the genius of Jack Kirby
Delineated with the delicacy of Chic Stone
Lettered with the India ink of Artie Simek

Superbly written by Stan Lee
Supremely drawn by Jack Kirby
Savagely inked by Vince Colletta
Sagatiously lettered by Artie Simek

Before I get into this issue of Thor, I want to reprint a letter that they printed in the back of this issue which they gave a No-Prize to for explaining the whole complicated thing behind Thor and Dr. Don Blake. Remember, this is the official explanation:

Regarding the origin of Thor, there is only one logical conclusion. Odin wanted to send Thor down to earth to protect the humans from evil, for it was said that Thor is the guardian of earth, but in order to do this job properly Thor would need a human identity. He could not just come to earth and become a doctor, for if the police checked on him he would not have any birth certificate or college degree and they might suspect him of being Thor. So to be sure, Odin made Thor be born on earth in the form of Don Blake, and when it was time, made him find the stick-cane which would once again make him Thor. I think it is the only explanation. ~Robert Galvanin, Providence R.I.

So that’s the answer. Thor needed a birth certificate and a degree. It’s all pretty obvious when you look at it from that point of view.

Last issue, Thor had stopped time inside a booby-trapped house so his nurse and unrequited love Jane Foster wouldn’t die of injuries. With her out of the way, he’s free to fight Mr. Hyde and the Cobra, who have been powered up by Loki. Still, even with this extra power, they aren’t that much of a match for the God of Thunder (but not rock and roll), and it doesn’t help that they end up fighting each other as well. Meanwhile, in Asgard, Odin is impressed by the fact that Thor won’t listen to him and ditch the dame, so he sends Balder to go get some magic medicine to cure Jane. Thor wins, gets the medicine, heals the girl, and everything is happy rainbow bridges and sunshine forever!

In Tales of Asgard, we see a short battle between Thor and a guy named Sigur. Even though Thor seems to easily outclass this guy, every time he knocks him down, he gets back up stronger than before! Finally Balder remembers what his secret is: When he hits the ground, he gets stronger! NO FUCKING SHIT, BALDER. So, of course, Thor straps the guy to his hammer and throws him into an asteroid in outer space. Jesus Christ. I’m glad he stopped fighting normal thugs.

This issue shows Thor in a pretty badass light, actually, which is a nice place for him to be. He’s fighting angry for the sake of the girl he loves, even though he thinks he can’t save her. That’s a good, standard hero sort of clinch to be in, and Thor is probably the closest thing Marvel has to a standard sort of Golden Age superhero character (not counting Captain America, because he really grew up and got a lot of personality in the Silver Age). I still don’t buy the “he needed a birth certificate” excuse, though.


Journey Into Mystery #110, Nov. 1964

Journey Into Mystery #110, Nov. 1964

Spectacularly written by: Stan Lee
Magnificently drawn by: Jack Kirby
Powerfully inked by: Chic Stone
Eventually lettered by: Art Simek

Stan Lee: Writer
Jack Kirby: Illustrator
Vince Colletta: Delineator
Art Simek: Letterer

This issue is kinda dumb (though I do remember the second half of it being way better), but the art is dynamite. King Kirby maybe not at his greatest, but it’s definitely way up there. Really, when he draws his crazy cosmic shit and dramatic, bright red action lines highlighting angry people’s faces, he’s the goddamn master. Also, he has great chairs, but there aren’t any of those in this one. Unfortunately.

Loki, disguised as a normal guy, pays the half million dollar bail on the Cobra and Mr. Hyde so he can enhance their powers and use them to finally kill Thor. He tells them to kidnap Jane Foster to lure him out, and they do. They threaten Thor that if he does anything, they’ll kill her, so he impotently watches them drive away with his beloved nurse. Loki has convinced Odin to take a look down at his favorite son at the same time, and in anger, banishes Thor from Asgard. Now Thor knows that Loki’s behind it, so he breaks his way across the rainbow bridge to threaten his half-brother. Loki shows Thor where the hoodlums are keeping Jane and he goes down there with the rage of a vengeful god. He finds that Jane is near death, so he uses his hammer to stop time (sigh), and gets ready to give the smack down to the kidnappers. You know, next time.

In Tales of Asgard, there’s a story about Odin and his army attacking a group of human rebels led by a guy who’s fucking scared as shit about fighting a bunch of demigods. They attack them where their forces are the strongest, and across a plain of fiery geysers, which severely hinder their progress. Odin calls for a retreat, filling the rebels with the pride of unbelievable victory. When Thor asks him just what the hell he thought he was doing, Odin tells him that there always needs to be men who rebel against insurmountable odds, and the idea that even Odin could call a retreat would be an invaluable lesson to humanity. Clever fella.

Do you want to know why I didn’t like the Kenneth Branagh film version of Thor? Take a look at this awesome panel I’ve provided as ‘Example A’. Loki is a trickster god, a god of evil. He’s fucking evil and scary and he uses his evil cunning to plot ways to kill and destroy people, gods, and things he doesn’t like. In the movie, Loki is a fucking pussy who does all the bad stuff just so his daddy will pay attention to him. So that’s one of the bigger reasons I didn’t like that movie.


Journey Into Mystery #106, July 1964

Journey Into Mystery #106, July 1964

Written fairly well by: Stan Lee
Drawn not too badly by: Jack Kirby
Inked kinda nice by: Chic Stone
Lettered pretty fair by: Art Simek

Written with passion by: Stan Lee
Drawn with pageantry by: Jack Kirby
Inked with power by: Vince Colletta
Lettered with pride by: Art Simek

 

I got upset about the last issue of Journey Into Mystery because Dr. Don Blake changes into Thor basically right in front of everybody, and we’re supposed to do an awful lot of belief-suspending to make it work. It gets even worse in this one where he does it AGAIN. TWICE. Also, Mr. Hyde does it once. But then Thor gets all Thor-like and beats the shit out of Hyde with a mighty monologue and I remembered that it’s just comic books, and I should really just relax.

When last we left him, Thor had lost his hammer inside a complicated machine, and since he only has a minute before he turns back into Dr. Don Blake, he rushes into the panicked crowd nearby to transform. As Blake he approaches the villains and tells them that he’ll tell them where Thor is if they give him his cane, which just happened to have fallen inside the machine. They fall for it, get the cane for him, then he runs off into the crowd and turns back into Thor. The Cobra is easily defeated, but Mr. Hyde turns back into Calvin Zabo and escapes long enough to follow Thor, turn back into Mr. Hyde, and knock his hammer out of Thor’s hand. Thor decides he isn’t worthy to be Thor if he can’t beat the shit out of Mr. Hyde without his hammer in under a minute, so he goes and does that exact thing.

In Tales of Asgard, we meet Balder the Brave, whom Odin is reprimanding for turning to help a baby bird back in it’s nest during a battle. Since Odin is pretty much the king of all gods and everything (and he also has a very fancy patio chair), Balder can’t do much but submit to his punishment. First he’s shot with an arrow, but a hawk picks it out of the air, and then a spear is thrown at him, and brambles grow up in front of him, stopping the spear. Just before Thor is about to throw his hammer at Balder, Odin stops him… it was all a test to see if he was brave enough not to flinch, and as a reward, Odin gives Balder invincibility! What the fuck, Odin, this test makes no sense.

I really enjoyed Thor’s last-minute decision to stop thinking of his hammer as a mortal weakness. He’s about to go after it, just like he has for the last thousandth times people have knocked the hammer out of his hand and he just says fuck it. It’s not very surprising that Thor can beat Mr. Hyde in a barehanded brawl, but it is pretty satisfying as he easily does so while telling Hyde, “Of the many foes I have battled — even including the crafty Loki, you are the most completely evil — the most thoroughly wicked of all!!” That’s a good superhero ending.


Journey Into Mystery #105, June 1964

Journey Into Mystery #105, June 1964

Written by: Happy Stan Lee
Drawn by: Healthy Jack Kirby
Inked by: Husky Chic Stone
Lettered by: Hasty Art Simek

Written by: Stan Lee
Illustrated by: Jack Kirby
Inking: Geo. Bell
Lettering: Art Simek

There are different rules for when villains team up than when heroes team up. For instance, it’s almost a cardinal rule that the reason the team-up fails is because the bad guys all start fighting amongst themselves. When this happens in good guy teams, it’s just play-fighting, and it’s their way of getting to know each other better. That’s basically what separates the heroes from the villains. Also, villains are generally more evil.

Two of Thor’s most… uh… villains decide to join forces, Mr. Hyde and the Cobra. Mr. Hyde (who in his alter-ego, Calvin Zabo, is a brilliant yet evil scientist) has invented a device that plays back whatever the person you point it at did, which will allow them to find Thor’s base, by backtracking his steps. It’s a flimsy premise, don’t think about it too hard. Their plan works and the two costumed baddies end up tackling Dr. Don Blake at his high-rise doctor’s office. He tricks the villains by telling them that tapping his cane will call Thor, which it does in a way, because it turns Blake into Thor, and turns the cane into his hammer. SOMEHOW nobody notices this change (they all have to just be the stupidest people in the world for that to happen), and they fight. They fight… to be continued! OOH!!

Tales of Asgard is about Heimdall, the guardian of the rainbow bridge, again. This time it’s about the time he failed as guardian, because an invisible pixie passed him on the bridge as a waft of wind, but Heimdall just had a bad feeling about it, so he calls Odin anyway. Odin finds the fairy and rewards Heimdall for being so awesome that he doesn’t even have to use his amazing senses to guard the bridge.

Yeah, there’s absolutely no excuse for Mr. Hyde, the Cobra, and Jane Foster to not know that Dr. Don Blake and Thor are the same person. He’s had some pretty close shaves before that really should have also been obvious, but I could at least suspend my disbelief. This time… his enemy is turning the cane into Thor’s hammer, IN HIS HAND, and Dr. Blake is just standing behind everyone as they look out the window. Then his excuse is that Blake ran out the door when Thor came in. And his hammer just went to him and I guess Mr. Hyde… forgot that he was holding something. Seriously, there’s no fucking way.