Marvel Comics had a wondrous way with with words back when they courageously and correctly claimed that they were the House of Ideas. That vivid vocabulary was on full display amidst the four-color fisticuffs that filled their folios, but it may have been at its most magnificent in the brief, brisk blurbs that were written up to promote the monthly mags. For example, the Mighty Marvel Checklist entry that touted Thor #183 promised, “The Thunder God locked in battle against the powers of Dr. Doom! And wait’ll you read the most unexpected ending of the month!” That just had to be a barn-burner, True Believer!
It surely starts outs in promising fashion:
The Norse God of Thunder racing across the sky of Latveria while a malicious missile bears down on him? And not just any missile, but one scrawled with all sorts of information, apparently courtesy of gallant graffiti artist Artie Simek. I can only assume that it also has the words “Hi THERE!” written across its snout. Luckily, Thor has his trusty hammer Mjolnir with him and uses it to create vortex that hauls the bomb into the upper stratosphere where it explodes without causing any undue harm.
That evasive maneuver causes him to lose track of the mighty mallet. At the time, if Mjolnir was out of his possession for more than one minute, the mighty Thor transformed back into his human guise of lean, limping Dr. Donald Blake. Wandering the mean streets of the country ruled by the dastardly Dr. Doom in his weakened form causes some tearful alarm for his Asgardian cohorts monitoring from their shared home realm, including the warrior woman known as Sif:
Writer Stan Lee may have been an avowed lefty with a pang for all causes relating to equality, but he seemed to have a tough time conceiving of women as much more than fragile tear machines. That may be a remnant of all the romance comics he had a part in, but I’d expect Sif is made of sterner stuff than that. (And if Odin is always so patronizing, no wonder Thor’s always scrapping with him. (Then again, maybe Thor is just peeved that his pops won’t share his outfits.)
Eventually, Don Blake gets his hand on the hammer, transforming him back into Thor, which in turns means he can confront the malevolent monarch of Latveria, none other than Dr. Doom.
Thor is there because he’s trying to rescue the famous Professor Pierre Lafarge, who journeyed to Latveria to design new missile silos after Doom kidnapped his daughter. Thor naturally assumes the professor is there against his will, but Goldilocks is in for a surprise (or maybe even the “most unexpected ending of the month!”) when he finally finds the acclaimed academic.
It’s a little awkward that Thor claims one of the bullets ricocheted back and killed Lafarge, when it looks more like Thor knocked it right back at him with his spinning hammer. “Um, yeah, that thing with the dead guy in the corner? That just sorta happened. I didn’t really see it, but yeah, you know, whatever. It was probably his own fault.”
Thor rescues Lafarge’s daughter Cosette and provides her with a selectively honest report on her father’s demise.
Maybe that’s actually the “unexpected ending.” Who knew that the Norse God of Thunder was such a good liar?