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Thor vs. A Frightful Tony Dungy/Bat Boy/Wolf Fusion – The Mighty Thor #135

November 4, 2011

I’ve been debating whether or not to buy The Mighty Thor Omnibus. The Amazon page for it has been a tab on my browser for the last couple of days, and I look at it now and again, itching and tweaking like a meth-addict. I don’t generally buy trades (they don’t have the old comic smell), but the Marvel Omnibi are an undeniable cut above the rest. I only have the Ditko/Lee Amazing Spider-Man compilation, and it’s unironically placed alongside my dusty old Faulkner-, Tolstoy-, Maugham-, etc.-penned tomes. Amongst equals.

Time to pull the trigger on that bitch.

What got me pumped up to maybe buy it was this issue of Thor. I bought it a couple of weeks ago, one of the few issues that I lack from this stretch, a run of the book that was so ungodly (no pun intended) magnificent it assuredly violates grandfathered anti-sodomy statutes. Stuff this good simply cannot be legal — too many dopamine receptors firing away. It’s awesome enough to make me violate my personal blog imperative to spread characters and titles out a bit. A Thor tale (battling commies, of all things) was featured here a month and a half ago, but screw it. I’m ALL THORED UP.

An added bonus is the big villain on the cover. Not only is he another in a proud lineage of underwear-sporting (Fruit of the Foom) creatures, but he’s as close as we’ll get to an actual melding of NFL coach-turned-deer-in-the-headlights-studio-analyst Tony Dungy with his paler, separated at birth twin, Bat Boy (of Weekly World News fame). Some pictures to illustrate (and to prove I’m not completely out of my gourd):

Enough of that nonsense. Thor beckons, for we have a threat beyond mortal ken to deal with. Thor says so!:

The relative kens(?) are immediately thrashed out in this Stan Lee/Jack Kirby/Vince Colletta masterpiece. The Man-Beast (one of the least imaginative monikers ever) materializes before Thor and Jane Foster and sets out to conquer the universe while no doubt marking his territory by peeing all over it (I’m getting flashbacks of Jack Nicholson in Wolf). His first step is to use his advanced intellect and supreme strength and pound the God of Thunder into the ground like a railroad spike, but the sinews of Thor have a little something to say about all that:

There are some great sound effects in this one. “ROK!” is the tip of the iceberg. Keep your eyes peeled.

The man behind this million years hence wolf is, no surprise, the High Evolutionary (in his very first arc). Like all mad scientists, he sometimes has a hard time keeping his experiments in line, in this case the Island of Dr. Moreau-y New-Men of his genetic research colony, Wundagore. So what’s his big plan for subduing this particular rampaging creation?

A giant Rube Goldberg dog whistle:

I mock, but it works. The Man-Beast covers his big, sensitive ears and flees, but takes refuge inside a vault (perhaps Burgess Meredith is reading somewhere in its innards). This is bad, because the HE has stored all his genetic advancement gear in there, and the wolf, if left to his own MILLION YEARS HENCE devices, will create a private army of animal-men. Thor is about to pound the sealed door down in a violent display of Norse bravado, but the High Evolutionary stays his hand:

Ghostbusters. Crossing the streams. Important safety tip. ‘Nuff said.

The High Evolutionary has a solution for this little roadblock. And Thor says something you could take as mildly dirty:

I think all us men should incorporate “My hammer strikes for thee!” into our dirty talk.

They’re too late — the wolf has formed his small army. They come thundering out and Thor makes a valiant stand. Some of the High Evolutionary’s good guy assistants mount a cavalry charge to help even the odds, leading to this glorious (I SAY THEE GLORIOUS) Kirby splash page:

Thor unleashes the full might of Mjolnir, accompanied by wondrously onomatopoeiac sound effects:

“FTOP!” and “BKAM!” sound like rejected names for trolls.

The Man-Beast is felled. Threat averted. Done and done.

The High Evolutionary pulls off his helmet and offers us a flashback rundown of his senses-shattering origin, and I’m fairly certain that his is the only one that includes a bipedal (and underwear-wearing, of course) Dalmatian:

And don’t forget to WATCH MARVEL SUPER-HEROES ON TV IN ON CKLW-TV 9 IN DETROIT!

The High Evolutionary and his minions blast off to find another part of the galaxy where their genetic experiments won’t be able to harm others:

The Space Seed solution. And I’m sure it’ll work out just as well. The Wrath of the High Evolutionary. Seriously, the guy later put the MAD in mad scientist, so it’s a bit odd to see him nice and (relatively) sane in these pages. Maybe Thor could have fired Mjolnir into that ship’s fuel tanks and saved us a lot of grief and forgettable (I’m looking at you, “Evolutionary War”) crossovers. And Dungy/Bat Boy/Wolf monsters.

That’s it. I’m almost out of breath. What a ride.

Kirby was at the peak of his formidable powers here. It didn’t matter whether he was depicting mano a mano fisticuffs (though perhaps nothing can top the close quarters combat with Hercules) or a bodies upon bodies melee as in the splash page. He wielded a pencil like Thor handled Mjolnir — with devastating aplomb. You can feel the concussive force of every blow.

All the moving parts were greased and rolling, the pistons were firing, and this hot rod was roaring down the comics road (lest we think that this was only The Jack Kirby Show). Lee’s stupendously stilted verbiage and alliteration were never better, and the unsung Colletta’s inks only amped Kirby’s work — “Ably Embellished” was never empty praise when it came to Vince. The Marvel Bullpen in those days was the 1927 Yankees of comics. Just don’t ask me to tell you who was Ruth and who was Gehrig.

This issue isn’t included in Volume 1 of the Thor Omnibus. I can think of no better advertisement for buying that first collection. WE NEED IT TO SELL A BILLION COPIES TO ENSURE THAT WE GET THE SECOND. It’s really not that expensive when you think of all you’re getting. And it makes a satisfying thud when you set it on a table. Not a “BKAM,” but close enough.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 5, 2011 12:59 am

    I have that selfsame Thor Omnibus. It is well worth having. Trust me.

  2. November 6, 2011 1:16 am

    Go for the one with the Jack Kirby Journey Into Mystery #83 cover. It’s superb. I’d recommend the Tales Of Asgard hardcover volume also, if you don’t already have it. (Again, the one with the Kirby cover.)

    It’s interesting to compare the two versions of the origin tale, the Omnibus one being from original proofs by the look of it, and the Asgard version being recreated in places from the reprint in Thor #158.

  3. m lewis redford permalink
    March 12, 2012 9:44 pm

    great fun

  4. Samantha Steele permalink
    August 12, 2012 7:33 am

    Never heard Kirby and Colletta referred to as Ruth and Gherig but the shoe fits. Beautiful penciler/inker team, maybe the best of all time?

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