Confession time, I don’t like Thor. In comics or on screen, I’ve never been a fan. I’ll even go as far to say he’s one of my least favorite Marvel characters period. I picked up some random issues as a kid because it beat doing my homework while waiting for the bus but I just can’t get into a character that rocks a silver salad bowl on his head.
So, imagine my surprise as the first Thor Ragnarok trailer dropped and my jaw followed suit. It doesn’t hurt they are adapting bits of Planet Hulk in the flick but still, this is the first time the God of Thunder moved the needle for me. so to celebrate this shocking situation, I’ve decided to give Goldilocks a second chance. Join me as I recap Thor #391 “The Madness of Mongoose” cover dated May 1988.
“Just don’t call him during dinner.”
I suppose it’s fitting that this book features Spidey as a guest star considering how I jazzed I am for ‘ol Jade Jaws in Ragnarok. But as the arrow on the cover says, “It had to happen” so who am I to argue with the blurb department. Coincidence can go screw.
Before we get fitted for tiger striped boots, it’s a Two Staple Gold tradition to give credit to the creative team that made steel beam battles big in ’88, Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz. These dudes are legends in the biz. I don’t want to sound like a snob, but if your not aware of these gents, minimize this screen and get over to Google for an education. Thank me later.
Our story opens with Spider-Man swinging over the streets of Manhattan during a snowstorm. Typical stuff except this time either he’s eager to get mauled by M.J. or he likes to wear bikinis. Hope Aunt May never discovers the latter.
“Your secret is safe with me Pete.”
Meanwhile, in a secluded hotel room our villain gives us the standard “spewing his evil intentions” routine. He’s in some serious need of dental work but I guess it fits with the whole feasting on living flesh thing. I get it, a Mongoose has fangs but dang, he must floss with jumper cables.
“Hey buddy, can a Cellsmograph target a dentist?”
We finally get to the star of the book, Thor. He’s returned to Earth in his Siguard Jarlson guise. This look may only be second to Clark Kent in the shameful secret identity department. Seriously, he just threw some glasses on. Snappy as they may be, you would think he might have opted to go more incognito mosquito. He could just wear a cap that reads “I’m not Thor” to the same effect.
“That’s more like it.”
Asgard’s favorite son is happy to mix with the locals but discovers the apartment he was renting had been demolished in his absence. Baby, It’s cold outside and where will he rest that glorious head of hair? Looks like our hero needs a jobby job.
Luckily for Odinson, he has a buddy eager to hire a 6’6″ Norse God to work construction. This issue is significant to hard core Thor followers as the introduction of Eric Masterson, who later becomes fan favorite Thunderstrike. That’s all fine and dandy but for my money, It’s the debut of Aloysius R. Jamesly. One happening cat who emotes like a champ. Unlike Masterson he was never given a hammer. Probably would have dropped it on his foot while soliloquizing.
“Did loudmouth here bring the donuts?”
No sooner than Sig starts his new gig, the Mongoose pops out ready to rumble. The battle is on! Well, that is until Thor gets his ass promptly knocked off the roof. He’s without Mjolner. I thought he could summon that thing at will but maybe there was some jealousy at play. Replace me with a nail gun? Enjoy the flight…jerk.
“Just whip that ponytail around like propeller big guy”
Fret not, Spidey wasn’t just zipping around the city in tight pajamas for nothing. Timing tends to be perfect in comics and is no exception here as Web Head swoops in to save Thor’s giblets. He still has ladies swimwear on the brain though, failing to recognize the large dude he just saved who looks EXACTLY like his buddy Thor is the genuine article. He also forgets that he has faced Mongoose before but he doesn’t have the benefit of editors notes like we do. Mulligan granted, thanks Ralf.
“That bag has a dope hair cut”
Thor grabs his trusty mallet from his duffle bag that doubles as a bean bag chair and is back to form as a dashing deity. Both brave warriors join forces to kick some bad guy booty and all is going according to superhero 101 until the hammer gets laid down…on the 34th floor. Smooth move Blondie. Should’ve kept the glasses, they made you LOOK smarter at least.
“The only thing that blows is your decision making”
I already noted our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man has been flakey thus far. It gets much worse. First, he believes that wrapping your legs around a bad guy smothering him with your noodle nest is the best course of action. Next time you need a Mohel just check the yellow pages Parker.
“Or just put some razor sharp chompers in your crotch”
Then, after Mongoose damages the foundation and flees the scene, Spider-Man uncharacteristically would rather haul ass than help Thor hold the building up. I thought that was his forte. Instead we get, “Saving lives is for suckers! Been there done that…Uncle Who? I’m Skedaddle Man!”
“I left the Refrigerator running, gotta bounce!”
The Wall Crawler sticks around, erecting girders to reinforce the collapsing structure. Not sure what all the panic was over, pretty easy solution. Everyone is saved, Thor rushes Eric Masterson to the local hospital and Spidey’s pissed he lost out on a day’s pay.
“J.J.J. would’ve paid extra for those pics of you wussing out”
Down to the nitty gritty, I actually enjoyed this issue. Only took 29 years for me to warm up to it. My inner child is frowning somewhere but it’s actually, dare I say, a fun read.
Should I give this run another chance? Absolutely. DeFalco and Frenz sure know how to put together a good old fashioned adventure. Am I even the slightest bit more interested in Thor? Not one iota. Sorry, it will take a whole lot more than this to get me skipping across the Rainbow bridge whistling dixie.
Sometimes you need a comic to escape reality for a while. Nothing too deep or thought provoking. It’s a much healthier alternative than cocaine and hookers to dodge those daily woes. Or so I’ve heard. Take a trip back in time and give this one a shot.
BONUS: Impress your friends with Aloysius R. Jamesly TRIVIA! Christopher Priest believes he was the inspiration behind the character: “After I left staff, there were issues of THOR that featured a guy named a Aloysuis P. Jamesly, who was blatantly and litigiously me. A mean-spirited Tuckerization that, even I have to admit, was really funny in an insider kind of way. Fans might not find Jamesly that funny, but it was a wicked rip at me, and largely deserved, so I didn’t make a big deal about it.”
Quote from Marvel Wikia
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