Essential Thor—Volume 1

essential thor volume 1 cover trade paperback
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10

Epic Marvel type of storytelling

Clunky like many comics from the period

Comic Info

Comic Name: Journey Into Mystery (Volume 1)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Writer: Stan Lee/Larry Lieber/Robert Bernstein

Artist: Jack Kirby/Don Heck/Joe Sinnott/Al Hartley

# of Issues: 30

Release Date: 2001

journey into mystery #89 cover thor

Journey Into Mystery (1) #89

Reprints Journey Into Mystery (1) #83-112 (August 1962-January 1965).  Doctor Donald Blake has made a discovery.  In a trip to Norway, he has uncovered that he is Thor, the Norse god of thunder. With threats to Midgard and armed with Mjolnir, the mighty Thor must defend the planet from dangers.  As Thor continues to fight for the world, he questions if he belongs on Earth or in Asgard.

Written by Stan Lee with additional writing by Larry Lieber and Robert Bernstein, Essential Thor—Volume 1 is a black-and-white reprint of Marvel Comics’ earliest Thor appearances in Journey Into Mystery.  The collection features art by Jack Kirby, Don Heck, Joe Sinnott, and Al Hartley.  The issues have been reprinted multiple times including Thor Epic Collection Volume 1:  The God of Thunder.

Thor is a very difficult Marvel character.  He is largely too strong and too powerful for most villains and as a god, he raises many questions within the Marvel Universe.  While I never have enjoyed Thor incredibly issue-to-issue, I like the concept of the character and that Marvel decided to just embrace the Norse mythology.

The series starts out with the concept that Donald Blake just embodies Thor, but then it was revealed he was Thor and Donald Blake didn’t really exist…which was a bit confusing.  These early issues are rather comic book based and single issue adventures with the occasional cliffhanger.

journey into mystery #107 cover 1st grey gargoyle

Journey Into Mystery (1) #107

The collection introduces a lot of characters.  In addition to Thor, you get the first appearances of Loki, Jane Foster, Odin, Heimdall, Balder, Tomorrow Man, Surtur, Ymir, Hela, Sif, Radioactive Man, Geirrodur, Cobra, Mr. Hyde, Enchantress, Executioner, Grey Gargoyle, and Karnilla among others.  In addition to these appearances, you have other Marvel creations like Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, Hulk, and the X-Men…it is well worth checking out if you are a fan of the characters.

What I always enjoyed about Thor was the back-up stories “Tales of Asgard” which dives into the mythology of the character.  Some of the stories do adapt classic tales, but often they were created for the comic.  It gives Thor a bit more depth than some of the other Marvel Comics.

With fun art by Jack Kirby, and the early appearances of important characters, Essential Thor—Volume 1 is a fun collection if you can get your hands on it.  The Essential line were affordable ways to do this, and it is too bad that Marvel cancelled them for the smaller (but better looking) more expensive collections they are doing today.  Check out Thor, and feel the power!

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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