> Thor Masterworks Volume 1

From the Mouths of the Marvels:

"First thing's first! I can always fluoroscope a patient! But I'll never get a second chance to rescue a busload of passengers plunging off a bridge!"

- - Dr. Don Blake, page 2

Did this scene make the Warren Commission report?


Thor from Journey Into Mystery #96
September 1963 • 13 pages

Publication Date: July 2, 1963

Letters Page: No letters page was published in this issue

I: Feature Story: "Defying the Magic of...Mad Merlin!"

Pages: 13

Plot: Stan Lee
Script: Robert Bernstein
Pencils: Joe Sinnott
Inks: Joe Sinnott
Letters: Artie Simek

Villain/First Appearance: Merlin the Magician

Guest Appearance: Jane Foster

Cameo Appearance: Loki, President John F. Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy, White House Press Secretary Pierre Salinger

Flashback Cameo: King Arthur

Synopsis: After witnessing the arrival of the casket of Merlin the Magician at the shipyards, Thor returns to the office and identity of Dr. Don Blake to resume his day. Upon arrival, he is confronted by his nurse, Jane Foster, who tells him how incredibly rude it was that he walked out on his patients to "work on chemical experiments" in his private laboratory. She informs him that all his patients left in disgust while he was out. Dr. Blake cannot reveal to her that he had to respond- as Thor- to a radio report of a bush that had fallen off a bridge. He flew quickly to the scene and rescued the trapped bus riders who were about to drown at the bottom of the river. Upon hearing a radio report about Thor's rescue, Jane scolds Dr. Blake about what people who are really responsible are like- people like Thor!

Later, as they listen in over the radio, a bulletin comes in announcing the arrival of the crypt of Merlin at the New York Museum. The curators who unpack the sarcophagus are shocked to see the body of Merlin in a state of perfect condition. They "retire to the conference room" to discuss this amazing development, leaving the body all alone and unguarded. Merlin climbs up out of his crypt, alert and alive! He reflects on the fact that he was only asleep for ages to bedevil his would-be assassins. The spell he cast would revive him whenever he was exposed to air again, which is what has happened in the 20th century.

Merlin thinks back on the time when he used his mutant powers of levitation (of his own body and others) to provide the real source of power behind King Arthur's throne. He pretended to cast spells and create potions so they wouldn't know he was a mutant, and decides his next plan is to become the real power behind the President of the United States, just like he was behind King Arthur. First, he decides, he must find a proper way to display his powers, and reads a newspaper article that announces a missile launch in Cape D'or.

He uses his levitation powers to zig-zag the missile out of its launch path. As missile command wonders if they should destroy the missile in flight before it crashes, Thor decides to spring into action to save the missile. After doing so, he goes to ask Loki if he is responsible for this mischief. Loki tells him no, that it is Merlin that is the real culprit. Thor doesn't believe him, but after he goes to the museum to find Merlin's body missing, he realizes that Loki has told the truth.

Merlin sees how Thor has foiled his missile-destruction plan, so he decides to get Thor's attention in order to battle him and destroy him. He enters a police precinct and demands the police contact Thor and tell him he wishes to challenge Thor to a duel. The policemen call him a crazy nut and pitch him outside, with Merlin shouting after them "Fools! By tomorrow, you will tremble at the mere mention of my name!" Merlin decides to take it to another level and goes straight to the White House, demanding audience with the President. The White House Press Secretary tries to kick him out of his office, but Merlin vanishes before he can do so. Inside the White House, Merlin spots President John F. Kennedy, at play with his daughter Caroline, and dismisses him as the man he seeks because he looks so young.

Thor tracks Merlin to the White House and crashes inside, surprising the mad magician. Thor hurls his hammer at him, but it passes through Merlin as he vanishes. He uses his powers to freeze Thor in his tracks and then lifts the Washington Monument off the ground and uses it "as a javelin" and aims it at Thor. By using his hammer, Thor is able to return the monument back to where it was. Merlin turns his attention to the Pentagon and lifts it off the ground, then lowers it on top of Thor, but the thunder god is able to dig a hole he can hide in before he is crushed. He uses his hammer to carve his way out from his shallow grave, but Merlin animates the Lincoln Memorial statue to fight Thor. But before Abe Lincoln can get any licks in, Thor uses his hammer to create a whirlwind that puts him back on his duff.

Thor decides to use some counter-psychology on Merlin, and turns himself into Dr. Don Blake, then claims he has tremendous powers of magic and sorcery. Merlin is terrified that he is facing someone with powers far greater than he, and agrees to Dr. Don Blake's demand that he return to his magical sleep, never to terrorize mankind again should he one day reawaken. Thor requests to the museum curators that they seal the crypt forever, and then returns back to his normal life as Dr. Don Blake, surgeon extraordinaire.

--synopsis by Gormuu

Issues Reprinted
Thor and Tales of Asgard from
Journey Into Mystery #83-100

Click on cover image to learn more about each issue.

JiM #83 JiM #84 JiM #85 JiM #86 JiM #87 JiM #88
JiM #89 JiM #90 JiM #91 JiM #92 JiM #93 JiM #94
JiM #95 JiM #96 JiM #97 JiM #98 JiM #99 JiM #100


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