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Journey Into Mystery #102: Review

Mar 1964
Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Story Name:

Slave of Zarrko, the Tomorrow Man!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Journey Into Mystery #102 Review by (August 6, 2011)
Review: A thrilling wrap-up to the Zarrko tale, as Thor must find a way to defeat his enemy by using only his wits—and even at half power more strength than anyone else on the planet possesses. The quirkiest thing about the tale is that for a pacifist society that knows no crime or conflict, they have an awful lot of weapons for Thor to fight: an octopoidal machine that spews poison gas? An arsenal in the Master Machine’s control room? Technicians that look like armed soldiers? This last raises a point that Daniel Lynch brought up in, viz. that Stan Lee’s words don’t match Jack Kirby’s pictures. Kirby clearly drew armored cops, which Stan explains away. And there’s that puzzling detail that the guards were going to take him to the Council; he had Thor beat up the guards—then went to the Council anyway. Whaaaa? And what was with the note Thor slipped to the World Council? We’re told later that it simply said, “Leave this to me.” Since there is no police force or military in this world, what other option did they have? So why did Thor need to take a chance by giving them the message? Clearly Jack had a few points in mind that Stan chose to second-guess. One can only wonder what the real story was. Still fun, though.

Comments: 1. First issue in which Don Blake does not appear; no Jane Foster either. Thor’s hammer now has the power to fire alpha rays. The story takes place entirely in the future. The story is continued from previous issue. 2. Thor gains possession of the magic hammer (not yet called Mjolnir). First full appearance of Balder. First appearance of Lady Sif and Hela, Goddess of Death.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Journey Into Mystery #102 Synopsis by Arcturus Jackson
To spare the Earth from destruction, Thor has agreed to become slave of Zarrko, the Tomorrow Man. Arriving in the 23rd century, the would-be conqueror commands Thor to destroy the central control mechanism that powers the automated conveniences that make this world a utopia; result: a spate of malfunctions that lad to damage and chaos. Zarkko confidently strides to the headquarters of the World Council with his divine servant by his side. He is confronted by the Techno-Guards and Thor uses his hammer to direct alpha rays (two steps better than gamma rays), destroying the guards’ instruments. A disappointed Zarrko orders Thor to completely subdue them so the Thunder God, unwilling to harm anyone, focuses the sun’s rays into a hypnotic beam and puts them in a trance. The villain stands before the World Council and demands to know the location of the Master Machine which controls all the world; giving them one hour to come to a decision, he leaves with Thor, not noticing that the Thunder God has left a note behind for the council members. Outside they are attacked by a Protecto-Robot which enwraps Thor in its steel tentacles and sprays poison gas in his face; the Thunder God defeats it by diverting the gas back into the machine causing it to explode. At this point a messenger from the Council intercepts them to tell Zarrko that they will give him the location of the Master Machine. He and Thor journey out to a remote island where Thor must overcome the Machine’s defense to gain entry—a C-bomb, which forms an impenetrable prison about its victims, which he manages to smash with a hammer blow. Zarrko then gains control of the device that controls the world’s automation, allowing him to cause disasters wherever he chooses. Having helped the villain achieve his goal of world conquest, Thor considers his promise fulfilled—but Zarrko has other ideas. He attacks Thor with the Machine’s defensive weapons, including a death ray and a freeze-ray. Thor instead generates a field of static electricity to power the Machine enough for it to defend itself, which it does by trapping Zarrko in a ball of "semi-solid energy matter." He summons the World Council and it is revealed that the note asked the Council to allow him to handle the villain in his own way. The failed conqueror is locked up and Thor returns to his own era by whirling his hammer at twice the speed of light. Odin realizes Thor was not aiding evil but merely keeping his word until he could turn against his sinister captor. Odin rejoices and Loki fumes.

Story #2

’Death’ Comes to Thor!

Writer: Stan Lee. Penciler: Jack Kirby. Inker: Chic Stone. Colorist: ?.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thor quests to find the Three Fates to learn if he shall ever be awarded Odin’s magic hammer. The Fates tell him he will—but he must meet Death first. Rather than accepting his doom, Thor determines to wield the hammer. He returns to Odin’s palace and tries lifting the hammer once again…but Balder, staggering from wounds, enters to tell him his sister Sif has been carried off by the Storm Giants. Without thinking, Thor raises the hammer over his head and rides out to rescue the warrior maiden. Arriving at the Giants’ lair, he destroys the road to it, burying the guards, and enters to confront Rugga the Storm Giant king. Rugga explains that Hela, Goddess of Death, promised him immortality if he would deliver Sif to her. Thor forces the giant king to direct him to Hela’s realm and soon he is face-to-face with the Goddess of Death. He offers himself in Sif’s place and Hela is so moved by the noble sacrifice that she grants Sif her freedom. And it is not until days later that Thor realizes he now possesses the Uru hammer.

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Jack Kirby
Chic Stone
Letterer: Art Simek.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Balder the Brave)

(Goddess of Death)

(Loki Laufeyson)


Plus: Zarrko (Tomorrow Man).

> Journey Into Mystery: Book info and issue index

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