Tuesday, 6 September 2011


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS.  Cover art by JACK KIRBY

To many (if not all) MARVEL fans, the worst THOR story ever drawn was most likely JOURNEY Into MYSTERY #90's 'The CARBON COPY MAN!' (March '63), illustrated by AL HARTLEY.  Apparently Al was mainly a romance artist who was pinch-hitting for KIRBY, who drew almost everything else that Marvel was publishing at that time, superhero-wise.  (With the exception of SPIDER-MAN.)

It probably is the worst Thor adventure ever to appear, but for reasons other than just the art - like the plot for example.  Basically, it's a re-working of FANTASTIC FOUR #2's 'The SKRULLS From OUTER SPACE' storyline, but without the hypnotism angle at the end.  (The Skrulls transformed themselves into cows, and were then hypnotized by REED RICHARDS to prevent them from thinking of changing back to Skrulls again.)

A bunch of evil aliens from the planet XARTA land on Earth and impersonate key figures in government, with the intention of making foolish laws which will throw citizens into a state of confusion and panic.  (Isn't that what most politicians do anyway?)  Apparently this will soften up the planet enough to leave it vulnerable to invasion.  They've chosen America as the first stage in the pursuance of this plan, with the intention of conquering the rest of the world when the good ol' U.S. of A. has fallen.  (Always pays to get in a bit of practice first.)

A perfect duplicate?  Betcha he can't turn into Thor though, huh?

Thor eventually defeats the aliens in combat, then commands them to transform into trees, on the grounds that, as the Xartans take on all the traits of whatever they impersonate, and as trees can't think, the idea of changing can never occur to them. Er, how's that again?

Firstly, Thor couldn't possibly know whether this was true or not, and secondly, on what system of logic is he basing his assumption?  For example, if Xartans take on ALL the traits of whatever they impersonate, they surely wouldn't have been able to change back from human form (regardless of whether the idea could occur to them) - because humans CAN'T DO THAT.

See, that's the fly in the ointment - taking on ALL the traits of whatever they impersonate.  They've already demonstrated that they DON'T.  They merely mimic the outward physical appearance of whatever form they adopt, not the intellectual or mental limitations of that form - so they should be able to change back to Xartans any time they wanted, whatever shape they happened to be.

Gosh!  Some of those classic tales from yesteryear sure don't stand up to scrutiny. (Or am I just being too pernickety?)  But what the heck!  They were fun.

For more Loopy Lapses in Logic, click here.


Steve Does Comics said...

I wonder if the Skrulls who thought they were cows ever took shelter under the Xartans who thought they were trees, during a thunderstorm?

Kid said...

Ah, but according to Stan and Larry, the Xartans - as trees - couldn't think. And as the Skrulls were hypnotized, neither could they. But with imagination like that, you should be writing comics.

Steve Does Comics said...

I like to think my story The Skrull Cows Stand Around Under The Xartan Trees would rank alongside the Galactus Trilogy in the annals (and possibly the annuals) of comic book history.

Kid said...

Bound to Steve, bound to.

Kid said...

H'mm, just noticed that it looks as if there's a comment missing between SDC's and mine - don't know what happened there.

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