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VINE VOICEon August 7, 2011
Marvel Masterworks: The Mighty Thor, Volume 3 continues the reprinting of the Thunder God's earliest adventures, here with Journey Into Mystery #111-120 plus a story from the first annual, Lee/Kirby tales all.
The book begins with the conclusion to the Mr. Hyde/Cobra story from the previous issue (or Masterwork volume).
We get an epic Hulk battle that dovetails into the Avengers storyline nicely. The Grey Gargoyle returns, while Don Blake M.D. reveals his secret to his beloved Jane. As luck (and Stan Lee) would have it, the walking stick refuses to turn into the big hammer right around that time, so she just thinks he's nuts. The Absorbing Man debuts. There's this "Trial of the Gods", basically because Odin gets a bit cheesed when Jane shows up in Asgard, pitting Thor against Loki. Again. The Executioner, the Enchantress and the Viet Cong show up.
Yes, the Viet Cong.
I didn't know his Uru hammer had a sort of spider-sense tingle. Who knew?
The Destroyer's first appearance follows.
Issue #120 is a kick, as Don Blake returns from Asgard or Vietnam or wherever, to find his office in shambles and his patients gone.
Well, duh...if I kept disappearing for days to weeks at a time, my patients would be kinda ticked off too.
Jane Foster is missing. Thor visits the Avengers HQ for some help, and finds new Avengers Quicksilver, a bratty Hawkeye and the Scarlet Witch. Seems Thor didn't get the memo, and leaves sorely disappointed. We see Jane in the company of a mysterious stranger in a mysterious apartment, telling her to forget Don Blake. The Absorbing Man pops up again to wreak havoc and the issue ends in a cliffhanger, leaving one scurrying back to the bookshelf to seek out the next Thor Masterwork volume.
Thor's first fight with Hercules ends the volume proper, with a massive fight scene between the two. The colliding of Norse mythology with Greco-Roman mythology is a treat.
This volume really shows why Kirby's pencils need bold, definitive inks (like Stone's). The sketchy, spare inking of Colletta seem to make Kirby's art fade into the background...that should be a crime somewhere.
Another solid Masterwork...on to the next one! Gotta see what happens to Jane, right?
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on June 14, 2014
10 more exciting issues of The Mighty Thor. He fights against the Absorbing Man, the Gargoyle, Mr. Hyde and the Cobra, the Incredible Hulk, the Destroyer, and a fight with communists. Readers also get to enjoy Thor's first fight with Hercules. I found the Absorbing Man, the Incredible Hulk, and the Destroyer the most interesting challenges. Loki is often manipulating these rivalries. Tales of Asgard keeps getting bigger and better! Odin is still angry over Thor's love for Jane Foster and readers get to see Thor going the extra-mile to keep that love alive. Kirby's artwork and Lee's plot development has matured fully during these years. I enjoy the full-page panels and the explosive action in each panel. Lee's combination of romance and action, and moving Thor from Asgard to Earth and vice-verse makes this a dynamic and unpredictable story. This is pure Vintage comic book soap opera!
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on May 2, 2015
While Thor battled against Mr. Hyde and Cobra, Donald Blake's assistant Jane Foster, was injured by a collapsing ceiling. Thor uses the powers of his magical hammer to stop time in the conflict in order to halt her possible death. Thor battles on in hopes of defeating his enemies and some how hopes to save Jane's life. - summary

It feels almost monotonous when talking about how shaky Stan Lee's writing was in regards to Thor, and the small baby steps he took towards progress around this time. Unfortunately, his writing still has some shaky moments, however it seems as if he found what actually works here. In this batch of issues it seems as if there was more of a focus on the adventures of Thor, and a lot less of his alter-ego Dr. Donald Blake; and thankfully this is the case too because Blake's life is too damn boring. There's more of an emphasis on Thor's heroics, and through flashback issues more background detailing Loki's jealousy of Thor, and his obvious path towards becoming the God of Evil. I will have to say this is by far the best volume at this point. Marvel Masterworks Thor Volume 3 collects Journey into Mystery issues 111 - 120.

The feud with Mr. Hyde and Cobra concludes quickly here and despite the interesting story elements going on involving their increased strength to perhaps equal Thor. It lacked that big slugfest feel and I also felt the outcome was quite vanilla. The stories begin to pick up when we witness the debut of The Absorbing Man, a villain that would go on to feature in some of my personal favorite clashes years later against the Hulk and the Avengers. He provides Thor with his toughest and most gripping battle at this point. It's something else to see how formidable he was in this initial conflict as his powers would receive a subtle downgrade over the years.

The action continues with a conflict plus first appearance against the Destroyer robot created by Odin himself. Plus two one on one encounters with both the Hulk and Hercules that would go on to become classics. These two fights were no doubt great for their era with the right amount of intensity and dialog to go along with them, plus many people praise them for their influence in regards to super heavyweight encounters; but I would definitely say they had better encounters, and several battles around this time were much better due to their intensity and sheer savagery: Hulk vs. Sub-Mariner in Tales to Astonish # 100, Spider-Man vs. Scorpion in Amazing Spider-Man #20, and Iron Man vs. Sub-Mariner in Tales of Suspense 79 -80, to only name a few.

The overall storytelling has some good moments with further development of Loki, and how he simply lives up to his titles as the God of Tricks, Lies, Mischief, & Evil. Plus I also like how Absorbing Man especially didn't come off as another stock guy with no depth at all. I loved the segment when he daydreamed on what to do with his new powers, because he truly felt there was nothing out of his reach.

The main gripes I have with these stories mainly involves the action. For a superhero whose strength is legendary, there just simply wasn't enough brutal fisticuffs involving Thor. He's treated with kid gloves most of the time and many of the fights are limited to almost non-brutal action. The people whom claim this shouldn't be an issue due to the time these stories were written are quick to forget that Captain America vs. Batroc, plus the battles I previously mentioned were high octane slugfest, and their stories were also well written with plenty of character development. I would expect that someone whom wields a hammer around as a weapon would actually use it to pummel his enemies into submission, especially when one of them is a robot. In addition, I'm very aware of the Vietnam conflict, but I think it hurt taking Thor out of his element to feature a quick battle taking place with a communist. I don't care what anyone says, I personally find Stan Lee to be among the least when talking about those whom had written Thor.

Once again Jack Kirby's artwork helps elevate Lee's writing. He was definitely able to put together some good action and settings. The moments on Asgard are indeed the best with various changes of clothes for some of the characters, and the backgrounds deliver some nice scenery. The character designs have very good moments with Loki appearing as if he was born to be evil, along with the creativity and imagination involving the Absorbing Man. Although some artist would go on to use him better; Kirby set the foundation on how this unique character could actually be used. It's no wonder he caught on quickly with readers. I always loved the Absorbing Man and even though Marvel has used him well at times; I still think of him as being quite underused.

In closing, despite its various weaknesses this trade is worth reading and it's the best of Thor at this point. If Thor already aroused one's interest before this then here's more entertainment for those readers. However, for those whom read the previous two books and had been wondering "what's all the fuss about?', then there really isn't much here to wow you. Especially if you had been reading the Spider-Man, Hulk, and Iron Man Masterwork lines. For those completely unfamiliar with this era of Thor, then I would advise to start here.

Pros: Kirby's pencils are the shining star once again

Cons: Lee's writing for this title took baby steps moving forward
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on November 5, 2011
I am one of those who never stopped loving comic books, and sadly don't think much of those still around.The older comics are hard to find and can be expensive for decent copies. These books can be a way to read and keep them without worrying about finding and preserving the originals. Unlike the Essential collections, these are presented in full color. this way , you can read them as often as you like without the problem of further wearing out a fragile original. For me , I always bought them to read rather than collecting.
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on June 20, 2014
The classic stories are classics for one reason: They started up the heroic actions of these characters. Noble actions, friendships e and, of course, villains as terrible as a storm. Loki, the absorbing man and etc. Once those stories were well written and had a aura of the good of the heart. Worth the bucks spended.
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on May 18, 2016
Great to read those old stories! Brought back some good ol memories.
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on June 27, 2014
This is a compilation of several Mighty Thor and Tales of Asgard comics. The illustrations are beautiful. The comics are great. Great for kids and adults.
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on August 24, 2013
Bright and crisp color and art. A good size and fits the hands well and a good read option instead of video games.
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on February 11, 2016
Gotta hand it to the writers and editors of the Thor series. The know how to make a cliff hanger.
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on February 15, 2015
Thor needs to forge a new mjolnir, so he goes to pittsburgh. Now that's awesome!
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