Today’s post in this series on Marvel’s Treasury Editions concerns an unexpected addition to my weekly comics order in 1976. Tommy and Sheila Cringan correctly assumed that I’d want this Kirby reprint, with its big bold logo and wrap-around cover.
This is a four-part 1968 Thor serial from Stan and Jack’s later period on the title. The Tales of Asgard and Inhumans back-ups are no more but the grandiose scale of the story foreshadows the Fourth World saga at DC.
To Wake the Mangog: the epic begins with a glimpse of Valhalla as the death goddess Hela comes to claim an injured Lady Sif. Meanwhile Ulik the Troll ( an ancestor of Kalibak the Cruel?) discovers a cache of Enchanti-stones and the hidden prison of the Mangog. This almost-comically grotesque creature is one of Stan’s omnipotent villains, like the later Overlord and Over-Mind. He swears revenge on Odin and advances on Asgard.
These cats look more Marie Severin than Kirby to me…
Thor, meanwhile, gives a group of hippies advice about “dropping in” rather than “dropping out” while Balder the Brave undergoes a trial by combat with the Norn Queen’s Legion of the Lost.
Now Ends the Universe: I owned an original Sixties copy of this issue. We learn that Mangog comprises the power of a billion, billion beings. Kirby revisits the Colonizers of Rigel (with their bulbous skulls); Ego the Living Planet and the android Recorder. There’s also time for a portrait of the Warriors Three. Meanwhile Kirby combines sci-fi with myth as an Odinian force-arrow is unleashed on Mangog and the Storm Giants attack Thor.
The Hammer and the Holocaust: sneaky Loki usurps the throne (again) as Odin undertake his reviving Odin-Sleep. There are futher inspired splash ages as the Recorder descends on the Rainbow Bridge. The story reaches a climax with a recovered Sif standing guard over the Odinsword- an apocalyptic weapon (pun intended!)
Behind Him Ragnarok: Balder’s battle with the Legion of the Lost ends in victory thanks to his virtue. The craven Loki decides to run away and as the Magog unsheathes the Odinsword and cosmic shocks reverberate, the All-Father finally wakes up. He breaks his spell as the living prison of the Magog dissipates. The alien race, having done its penance, is restored to life.
I’m not a fan of Colletta’s inks and much prefer Royer or Sinnott but this Treasury makes me long for a one-shot or back-up for Prester John, the guardian of the Evil Eye ( FF 54, 1966).
While perhaps not as inspired as the 1966-67 Thor sagas, the Mangog serial is a cosmic epic and points (quite literally) toward the New Gods of the early Seventies. Shortly, we’ll look at the second coming of Kirby to the Baxter Building in the next Marvel Treasury. But first…
Coming soon: Mordru the Merciless
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