Reading about heroes defeating communists in the early Marvel 616 books is… kind of exhausting. There are so many times these heroes come up against “the reds” it can be hard to keep track of. While in a book like The Incredible Hulk or Tales to Astonish where Bruce Banner and Hanky Pym are both scientists working on major government initiatives it makes some sense. But pitting the Norse god of thunder himself against a bunch of everyday communist thugs is kind of like, well, pitting a Norse god against any normal person. We know who is going to win.
For the plot of this one, it seems the communists are staging abductions of key scientists, making it look like they defected of their own free will. Dr. Don Blake gets word of this and realizes there is more to the story and Thor could totally demolish these people doing the kidnapping. We are treated to scenes of Jane Foster both doting over Dr. Don Blake and his many illnesses while still pining in her mind for Thor. Of course, she really loves Don and he really loves her but neither has the courage to tell the other. It’s a direct reflection of the Superman/Lois Lane stories.
Blake signs up to pretend he has made a new biological warfare weapon in order to use himself as bait to get to the bottom of all the disappearances. The government somewhat reluctantly agrees. Blake is soon abducted when a communist in disguise takes his picture. Turns out the camera releases a paralyzing gas. I will say there have been quite a few incidents in the 616 universe so far involving trick cameras so these guys should definitely beware of the paparazzi.
I’m sure you can guess where this is going. With a few nifty tricks with his hammer Thor not only escapes but also rescues the missing scientists who never actually defected. Of course, he first has to let himself get captured so that the scientists are not outright killed. But soon enough Thor is tearing iron doors off and letting prisoners go.
While the art, as with all the Thor books, is striking and full of movement and energetic, the story is decidedly uninspired. It’s a real waste of an amazing hero. It certainly won’t be the last of communists who do go up against Thor but thankfully in the long run this happens less and less frequently.
Next up on the reading list we’re getting small again as we see what Hank Pym is up to in Tales to Astonish #38!
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