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Journey Into Mystery #97: Review

Oct 1963
Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Story Name:

The Lava Man

Review & Comments

3 stars

Journey Into Mystery #97 Review by (July 7, 2011)
Review: The quality takes a leap forward with the return of Stan Lee as writer and Jack Kirby as artist (though he’s not back permanently yet). The story is marked by a more assured, entertaining plot, with some implausiblities (what volcano, where?) but never heading toward Stupidville. And this is still 1963; by ’65-66, the guys will know what they are doing and more tales will be classics. Oh yeah…and I think the Tales of Asgard back-up series is one of the best things Marvel did in the 60s.

Comments: Tales of Asgard : First installment of “Tales of Asgard” backup series, focusing on stories from Norse mythology. Origin of Odin, Ymir, and the Aesir. First appearance of the Frost Giants (called “front giants” by a typo).

Comments: Thor: First appearance of the Lava Men. Odin specifically forbids Thor to marry a mortal, setting up a long-standing conflict in the series. Dr. Andrews’ first name is given variously as Basil and Bruce. The nearest active volcano to New York is Yellowstone on Wyoming, nearly 2000 miles away; a new one arising on the East Coast is pretty unlikely.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Journey Into Mystery #97 Synopsis by Arcturus Jackson

A jet pilot has blacked out and the plane is about to crash into the city. Thor leaps into action, pulls the pilot out and sets up a wind current to send the plane out to sea. The resuce mission finished, Thor hurries back to the office to return to his identntity as Dr. Don Blake. In the lab with his nurse Jane Foster he starts to confess his love for her but hesitates because of his hero commitments. Jane who returns his love is again offended that he won’t speak his mind and walks out. Alone, he changes back to Thor and summons the All-Father Odin, to ask permission to marry Jane Foster; Odin refuses and vanishes. As he determines to give up his role as Thor, Jane enters to announce she is leaving to take a job with Dr. Basil Andrews.

Elsewhere, a creature made of burning lava has arisen from a volcano and is heading toward New York; in Asgard, Loki looking for a new way to cause trouble for his enemy, suddenly recognizes the Lava Man as something he created then forgot about some time ago, and sits back to enjoy the show. The volcanic menace arrives in Manhattan where it claims the surface world and demands all human leave the land. The Army is helpless against him since he can turn their weapons to ash with a wave of his hand. Thor arrives on the scene and challenges the Lava Man to combat. The Thunder God strikes with his hammer, the creature evades the blow by simply burning through the ground and sending up a geyser of water. At this point Loki let Thor know who is the real enemy he’s facing and gloats. Thor sends his hammer through the sewers where it forces the Lava man to return to the surface to evade it. The creature hurls a coat of quick-drying lava at the hero, enwrapping him in a cocoon of stone. Thor exerts all his strength and breaks out and turns to face his foe—who expands into a huge tower of dried lava and topples to crush the Thunder God. Thor whips up a whirlwind which sends the monster hurling through the sky back to the volcano whence he emerged. Thor seals up the volcano and returns to Don Blake’s office. There Jane is leaving with Dr. Andrews, angry that Don did nothing to see to her welfare during the recent crisis. Alone, Don bemoans the irony.

Story #2

Asgard! Home of the Mighty Norse Gods

Writer: Stan Lee. Penciler: Jack Kirby. Inker: George Roussos. Colorist: ?.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Introduces the basic elements of Norse myth: the good gods known as the Aesir and their enemies the Frost Giants. Their home Asgard was bounded on the south by fire where dwells Surtur the demon of fire and on the north by the land of mist. Beneath it all lay the Well of Life from which emerged the first life: Ymir, the greatest of the Frost Giants. Seconds later a magic cow appeared to provide food for Ymir. Then there came from the ice Buri the first of the Aesir. He had a son Borr, who fathered three sons, the greatest of whom was Odin. Odin and his brothers took an interest in Earth, set a ring around it and there grew Yggdrasil to protect the new world.

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Jack Kirby
Don Heck
Jack Kirby (Cover Penciler)
George Roussos (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Art Simek.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Loki Laufeyson)


Plus: Frost Giants, Lava Men, Ymir (Frost Giant King).

> Journey Into Mystery: Book info and issue index

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