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Journey Into Mystery #107: Review

Aug 1964
Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Story Name:

When the Grey Gargoyle Strikes!

Review & Comments

Rating:
5 stars

Journey Into Mystery #107 Review by (August 30, 2011)
Review: The original stoner, the Grey Gargoyle, makes his Marvel debut and he’s amusing to say the least. His desire is to attain immortality but he is made out of stone; what lasts longer than rocks? And how do you “steal” immortality, anyway? Secondly, he has a bad habit of leaving petrified humans in his wake, which is only a flashier version of those kids in FAMILY CIRCUS who trail a dotted line behind them in certain installments of that comic. But even Jeffy is smart enough not to do it leaving the scene of a crime. Thirdly, he forgets the concept that “sink like a rock” is a cliché for a reason. But despite being a typical 60s villain (i.e. a bit of a clod), his power makes him formidable. And for that reason he’s cool.

Comments: 1. First appearance/origin of the Grey Gargoyle. Don Blake beats the baddie in this one. On page 6, we’re told that the stone spell lasts for one hour (by a misprint defined as 60 seconds); on page 14, it’s 24 hours. Also there’s no explanation of how GG can move when he’s turned himself to stone. Sometime between this story and issue #109, Don confesses his love for Jane, judging by the way they are openly romantic in the later issue. 2. First appearance of the Norn Queen (not the same person as the Norn Hag, though I can’t vouch for the Queen’s assistant). In the original Norse myth, Balder is actually killed by the mistletoe dart and Loki pays the penalty.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Journey Into Mystery #107 Synopsis by Arcturus Jackson

Dr. Don Blake, frustrated that his beloved Jane Foster thinks he is a coward for betraying Thor last issue (unaware that it was a ruse to stop the Cobra and Mr. Hyde), agonizes over his love life. He decides to change to Thor to sort out the problem—just as Jane walks in. Thinking quickly, he tells the startled nurse that he is here to seek revenge on Blake for his treachery. Jane intercedes for Don, revealing that she loves him; Thor makes a promise not to harm the man she loves. Once out of sight, the elated Thunder God flies through the air goofing through sheer happiness. He is seen though by a new enemy, Paul Duval, who is arriving in New York aboard a passenger jet. When the jet lands, Duval is the only one to leave, as all the other passengers have been turned to stone!

Duval helpfully fills us in on his background: he was a lowly chemist in Paris when he spilled an odd chemical on his right hand. He found that anything he touched with his affected hand also turned to stone—starting with his own body. The effect wore off after one hour, which gave Duval the idea to profit from the tragedy. He went on a crime spree, turning guards to stone while he robbed banks, and jewelry stores. Eventually, finding this too easy he set his sights on immortality, specifically Thor’s. Thus he is in New York to do battle with the Thunder God.

Thor hears the news report of the airline passengers turned to stone and locates a similarly afflicted cab driver; he asks the police for permission to take the petrified cabbie to Don Blake’s office. As Don he examines the patient and discovers the condition is only temporary. Elsewhere, Duval has donned a creepy costume and named himself the Grey Gargoyle. Having seen Thor go to Don’s office with the cabbie, the villain heads there and intimidates our hero with a demonstration of his powers, turning a paper airplane into granite. Don dashes from the room up to the roof where he transforms into Thor. The Gargoyle follows him and the two battle, with the villain desiring to capture the Uru hammer. Thor throws his enemy off the roof but the drop to the ground does not injure the stone villain. The Gargoyle races to a gas station ("Marvel Oil!") where he creates a spark that touches off an explosion which hurls Thor to the ground. The Gargoyle tries to lift the hammer but cannot; Thor snatches it back but comes close enough to the villain for the Gargoyle to turn him to stone. The police, armed with flamethrowers (!), pursue the Gargoyle from the scene. The petrified Thor topples over, and the hammer hitting the ground turns him back into a normal Don Blake. Determining he can’t appear as Thor for the twenty-four hours until the spell allegedly wears off (can’t follow his thinking here), Don comes up with a plan to defeat the Grey Gargoyle on his own. He borrows a holographic movie projector from Tony Stark and uses it to project a lifelike image of Thor moving about the city, while Don "follows" on a motorcycle. The Gargoyle pursues "Thor" but can’t lay hold of him; he guesses the motorcyclist has something to do with the mystery. Grey Gargoyle hijacks a van and pursues Don who drives off a pier. The villain plunges into the ocean and sinks to the bottom, his weight making it impossible for him to swim. As Thor he returns to the office to praise Don’s bravery before Jane.



Story #2

Balder Must Die!

Writer: Stan Lee. Penciler: Jack Kirby. Inker: Vince Colletta. Colorist: ?.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

As the newly invulnerable Balder (so gifted by Odin last issue) plays with his friends the forest animals, Loki looks on with bitter jealousy. Determined to destroy Odin’s new second-favorite, he approaches the Norn Queen and demands to know how Balder can be killed. He knows that every living thing has pledged to protect Balder but Odin must have forgotten something; he forces the Norn Queen to reveal what it is: the lowly mistletoe. Loki then seeks out a patch of mistletoe and has the trolls fashion for him a blowgun and a dart out of the plant. The next day, the God of Mischief watches from hiding as Balder engages in combat practice. When the kindly Balder stumbles to avoid stepping on a caterpillar, Loki strikes—but the blowgun explodes into flames in his hands. The Norn Queen appears and points out the small detail Loki had overlooked: that the Norn Queen herself has also pledged to protect Balder. Loki vows revenge but she intends to be ready for him. Meanwhile, Balder senses that danger lurks nearby but he fears it not.

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Preview Pages
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Jack Kirby
Chic Stone
?
Letterer: Art Simek.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Balder
Balder

(Balder the Brave)
Loki
Loki

(Loki Laufeyson)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)



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