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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Marvel Spectacular #2 - The Verdict of Zeus

Reprints of 1966 issues of THOR continue with "The Verdict of Zeus" from #129. It's pretty impressive how much story they were putting in just 16 pages each issue back then. This issue has Thor returning to New York, with a very funny sequence where he's talking to a crowd on the street and then taking a cab to Jane Foster's place.

We then turn our attention to Olympus, in all its ornate glory, where Pluto announces to Zeus that Hercules has been tricked into taking over Pluto's punishment in the underworld. Hercules also battles his way up to Olympus, only to be told that the contract is binding, and he must find someone willing to battle on his behalf.

Back to Thor, he speaks to Jane (and briefly meets her new room-mate, the mysterious and kind of freaky looking Tana Nile, setting up another future story) and tells her he'll be renouncing his godly heritage for her love. Returning to Asgard, he finds out Odin has been looking for him.

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Turns out it's the time fated for Thor's trial on the Day of Three Worlds, so he has to delay his discussion about Jane. Meanwhile, Hercules has no luck finding any willing to battle on his behalf, and is really to accept his fate rather than live in a world where valor means nothing. That's when Thor, hearing Hercules' plight during his trial, arrives and announces he'll fight for Hercules.

As I mentioned about the previous issue, I'm a big fan of this storyline, all the more amazing when you consider that this was originally published on the same month as FF #51. Talk about firing on all cylinders. Just the various drawings of Asgard and Olympus in all their majesty are worth it.

Tales of Asgard continues running a year behind with "The Sword in the Scabbard" from JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #117 (1965). This begins the major saga for the feature which would run for the next dozen episodes. It seems that the immortals of Asgard have been a bit bored, and when Asgardians get bored, they fight. This displeases Odin, who goes to find Thor and Loki. He orders the fighting to cease and takes his sons to see the Oversword (aka the Odinsword, a massive sword which will cause the end of the universe if it's unsheathed) and shows them that it's developed a massive crack. He tells them they'll have to lead an expedition to discover who was responsible it. A great start to a fun story that introduces some nice Asgardian background characters and concepts.

Vince Colletta inks throughout, including the cover from #128.

Published 1973

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