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Journey Into Mystery #86: Review

Nov 1962
Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby

Story Name:

On the Trail of the Tomorrow Man!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Journey Into Mystery #86 Review by (May 28, 2011)
Review: A heavily science fictional tale becomes a comedy by focusing on a stupid villain: Zarrko holds the entire world in thrall with a single bomb? Why don’t his reluctant guards just shoot him? But then what can you expect from a physicist who can invent a time machine but can’t puzzle out how to make a bomb? Then there’s Thor, whose plan centers on having an ordinary citizen decoy the villain’s wrath by dressing as the guy Zarrko will be trying to kill. Nothing can go wrong with that plan, right? Other goofy moments are mentioned in the above synopsis. The Thor series holds up as one of the best early Marvel series but even it had its clunkers.

Comments: First full appearance of Odin. First appearance of Zarrko, who would return more often than one would expect. Thor’s first experience of time travel. No last name given for Jane.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Journey Into Mystery #86 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro
In the year 2262, Earth is a technological paradise, with war having been long ago abolished. Yet not everyone is happy: scientist Zarrko dreams of power to rule over his fellow men and so has built a time machine to take him back to an era where he may acquire weapons. He looks on his time-scope back to 1962 where Thor is assisting the military in testing the latest nuclear weapons. After Thor punches out several missiles, the next test is to hook sensors up to him and have him stand next to a cobalt bomb to test its effects (makes perfect sense to me…). Suddenly Zarrko materializes in his time machine, snatches up the bomb and leaves before Thor or any of the soldiers can do anything. An officer quickly deduces that the villain must be a time traveler from the future (the only logical conclusion apparently) and Thor takes steps to recover the bomb. He heads to the top of the highest mountain to call upon his father Odin; the All-Father grants him the ability to travel through time. By attaching a piece of the time machine that had broken off to his hammer then spinning it, Thor is transported to the year it came from (metal comes in "years"?). Arriving in the far future, the Thunder God is greeted by a subjected citizenry, obeying their tyrant through fear of the bomb; Thor conceives a plan…. When Zarrko learns that a hero has pursued him from the past, he commands his soldiers to arrest him but Thor wrecks their cars with a huge tree dropped across the road. The Thunder God, accompanied by a mysterious robed figure enters the dictator’s palace but is dropped into a room of magnetic mirrors where he is quickly rendered helpless. The trapped hero is an impostor, a decoy set up to distract the villain while the real Thor entered disguised in a black robe. Zarrko blasts Thor with a delta-electron gun designed to hurl him into another dimension but Thor exhales a mighty breath which keeps the dimension veil from closing around him. Thor pursues Zarrko into a room of giant robots which snatch away his hammer. Before the sixty seconds is up, Thor tears up the water pipes short-circuiting the mechanical monsters. The villain takes off in his ship with the bomb but Thor creates a storm which causes the vehicle to crash. Thor catches the bomb but the injured Zarrko has lost his memory of all recent events. Thor returns to his own era and presents the cobalt bomb to the military. As Don Blake he returns to the office where Jane Foster dreams of working for someone exciting like Thor….

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Jack Kirby
Dick Ayers
Plot: . Letterer: Art Simek.


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Plus: Zarrko (Tomorrow Man).

> Journey Into Mystery: Book info and issue index

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