Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Classics - The Mighty Thor #133

By the time this issue of Thor was published in 1966, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were really cooking.

Thor's adventures were a marvel of efficiency and unbridled imagination.

They were efficient in that the two had hit on the perfect formula for capturing their readers. Each issue featured the main adventure with lots of action, some romance, one or more subplots bubbling along to develop into future main adventures (or wrapping up just-completed adventures), lots of interesting characters and exciting dialogue.

As for the unbridled imagination part - how's this: the alien race of Rigellians threaten to enslave the Earth unless Thor can help them overcome the mysterious threat from the Black Galaxy. When he arrives there (in the company of the robot known as The Recorder), he discovers a strange Bio-verse, and the source of the menace - a living planet known as Ego!

And that was just the story leading up to this issue! Here Thor must find a way to fight and defeat a living planet, capable of creating any weapon or environment to defeat Thor, including a instant army, hurricane-force winds and volcanic heat.

It's a visual romp for Kirby, as he creates alien vistas (including a stunning two-page spread at the beginning of the issue) and amazing, mind-bending battle sequences.

Oh, this issue isn't perfect - the story wraps up a bit quickly, as Thor takes a note from Dr. Strange's script and invokes a level of power we hadn't seen before - but it's all very entertaining and satisfying.

Remember those sub-plots I mentioned? While Thor is fighting for his life, back on Earth his beloved Jane Foster is taken to Wundagore Mountain, where she'll meet the High Evolutionary - a scientist tinkering with nature - all of which will provide Thor with his next adventure.

And that's what this comic was like, month after month after month - a fountain of amazing heroic adventures!

It's just a great example of the incredible concepts and creativity that Stan and Jack (with Vince Colletta's inks) were able to cobble together, and one reason why these characters are still in use - and loved - to this day.

It's no wonder we all agonized over that month-long wait between issues - we couldn't wait to see what happened next!

Grade: A-


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