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Journey Into Mystery #90: Review

Mar 1963
Larry Lieber, Al Hartley

Story Name:

Trapped by the Carbon-Copy Man!

Review & Comments

2 stars

Journey Into Mystery #90 Review by (June 8, 2011)
Review: A massive clunker from the early days of Thor. The most noticeable factor is the unfamiliar artist: Al Hartley was best known for Archie and his cartoonish style does not suit the Thunder God at all. (Marvel had this story partly redrawn by Walt Simonson for MARVEL SAGA #8.) And the story itself is no better: it’s largely a rehash of the Skrull story from FANTASTIC FOUR #2 only dumber. From beginning (why don’t the Xartans just impersonate Thor?) to end (why does Thor know more about the Xartans’ limitations than they do themselves?) it’s a goofy mess.

Comments: First appearance of the Xartans who return in issues of X-FACTOR and SENSATIONAL SHE-HULK. For the first time, Thor/Don Blake is specifically forbidden by Odin from revealing his secret to a mortal. Thor seems to have a twin brother in his flashback to his youth. It isn’t clear how impersonating Jane Foster fits into the Xartans’ plan for world conquest.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Journey Into Mystery #90 Synopsis by Arcturus Jackson
On the planet Xarta, the War Lord Ugarth assembles his forces and his son Zano and sets out to conquer Earth. Later in New York, Don Blake (secretly Thor) is trying to work up the courage to tell Jane Foster he loves her. When he tries, though, his father Odin appears to him reminding him he is bound never to reveal his identity to a mortal. Don makes a hasty getaway from the confused Jane…and steps into more confusion. Outside, cars are driving on the sidewalks, advertisements are being pasted over windows, and the bridge is being painted with polka dots—all the result of new laws passed by City Hall. Later, Don receives a summons telling him that medical work for charity is now illegal—and Jane surprises him by agreeing with that sentiment. Changing to Thor, Don goes over to see the Mayor, who tells him that superheroes have been outlawed and that the Thunder God is under arrest. Thor easily escapes and heads to the woods to think things over; he concludes that everyone has been replaced by impostors (naturally). Following a trail of broken tees, he discovers a Xartan spaceship hidden in the park. When he touches it though, he is held fast by a magnetic force. Separated from his hammer for sixty seconds, Thor reverts to his Don Blake form and this is how the Xartans find him. Taking him into the ship, Don finds the real Jane and Mayor Harris. The Xartan leaders reveal they have the ability to impersonate anyone and are using this power to plant agents in key jobs to sow discord around the world (mainly by passing stupid laws) to prepare for the full invasion of Earth. When the captives tell the enemy that Thor will defeat them, Don offers to help them trap the Thunder God. He leaves the ship with some guards and distracts them long enough to recover his hammer. As Thor he challenges the Xartans to battle. Zano becomes an ice warrior and freezes Thor in a block of ice; Thor, however, had hurled his hammer away so it returns and shatters the icy prison. Zano then becomes a giant gladiator but Thor defeats him with a bolt of lightning. War Lord Ugarth steps in and turns invisible and begins pummeling Thor. The hero makes it rain, creating an outline around his foe, enabling him to tie the War Lord up in the gladiator’s net and fling him into space. The Xartan fleet decides to follow their rapidly departing leader. Zano and three warriors were left behind however. Thor orders them to transform themselves into trees, which they do. What they didn’t realize was that, as trees, they would lack the mind to change back. Thor puts in a good word for Don Blake and leaves.

Preview Pages
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Al Hartley
Al Hartley


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