All the comics are spread all over the floor last night, reorganizing them the same way at the tender age of 43 that I did at 9 years of age. I put my 8 year old to the task of "organizing" the Supermans, and the Avengers just so that she had the chance to flip through some new comics that she's never seen. And, of course, I run across The Mighty Thor #213, the very first comic that I ever read. I decided to re-read the issue, to see just how it holds up. Just what did I learn from the experience of reading Thor #213?
Well, I learned that the All-Father is a whiny bitch. Odin spends what few panels he has in the story telling everyone not to fight and to give up. I learned that Gerry Conway and Len Wein can knock this sort of stuff out before lunchtime: The Golden City has been overtaken by slave trading giant Lizards and they have sold the Lady Sif off in the gap between issues. The destruction of the secret drug processing plant that is the crux of keeping the aliens docile takes place on a small panel. The drug plant is so secret that John Buscema and Don Perlin never even end up drawing the damn thing. I learned that the plot makes little sense. Thor, the godling who stood up to Magog, gets knocked out by a chunk of masonry dropped on his head. I learned that Wein and Conway decided NOT to use the evil lizard race that they already have in the Marvel Universe, the Badoon, but instead make up an entirely new race, typo-ridden Vrellnexians, whose main claim to fame must be the unpronounability of their race's name.
I learned that a Starlin cover is a Jim frikkin' Starlin cover, regardless of being touched up by Romita. I learned that there is actually a guy dressed like a Greek fisherman who is travelling space and time with the Asgardians and he never even gets a caption, let alone a word balloon. I learned that the Living Zombie was about to debut in "Tales of the Zombie", appearing wherever fine magazines are sold. I learned that John Buscema either got sick or behind the deadline or simply so bored with the plot that it fell to Don Perlin to finish the last 2 pages... and since Vinnie Colletta inked the isssue, its pretty difficult to tell.
I learned via a full page house ad that Gwen Stacy had died by the Green Goblin's hand and Spider-Man is PISSED.
Mostly I learned that this was one damn confusing issue to start reading comics with. At least the next two I bought, Iron Man #64 and Marvel Feature #12 were easier on the storylines: Doctor Spectrum and the Blood Brothers were attacking, and someone named Thanos was in the background. Who said Marvel in the 1970's was easy to read?