A Marvelous Tale Told in the Might Marvel Manner!
September 2nd, 1962
Lady Thor VS Comrade Verdugo!
Most stories would begin with "on a dark and stormy night" or "once upon a time", but the story you are about to read takes place someplace quite different. Almost a full month before, a young nurse's life was altered forever when she decided to vacation with her employer Dr. Donald Blake.
The couple was enjoying the scenic beauty of Norway during which they were soon caught in the middle of an invasion by Stone Men from outer space.
Separated from Don, Jane sought shelter in a cave where she found what appeared to be an old walking stick. Striking the stick against a boulder that blocked the exit, Jane quickly found herself transformed from a mere mortal into a literal goddess; to be more exact she now wielded all the powers of the mythic Norse god of thunder Thor.
Dubbing herself Lady Thor, Jane single-handedly fought the aliens back and saved the Earth. Deciding to keep her newfound powers and identity secret, Jane retuned to America with Don to continue the fight for the forces of good.
(See last issue for more details)
Of course, this was all last month. In that time, Jane had little time to strike the cane upon the ground and summon the powers of Thor, but she always kept the ancient stick close by ('to ward off trouble makers' she jokingly told Don when he asked why she kept it around).
During that time things had more or less returned to normal. Don had returned to his clinic and she had returned as his nurse. It was the fact she was only his nurse that caused her so much annoyance, but Jane felt she could convince him otherwise.
They had been on a routine house call in the city as Jane once again let her thoughts drift. "Don is so kind, and I know he has feelings for me. Why doesn't he just say something?" she wondered as Don's voice snapped her back to reality.
"Nurse Foster, I said I needed that gauze" Don said impatiently as he held his hand out. Jane blinked and blushed as she came out of her trance and handed the needed item to him. Don nodded in thanks as he wrapped the patient's ankle up.
"There you go Mrs. Thomas, that should keep Roy's ankle time to heal." He calmly spoke to the patient's mother as Jane tallied up the bill and place her equipment back in her medical bag.
She kept to herself as they left the aging apartment building and made their way back to Don's town car. As they entered the vehicle, a newsie on the corner hocked his papers to passer-bys.
"Extra, extra read all about, Rebels stage coup in San Diablo! Thousands die as 'Comrade Verdugo' massacres government officials!"
The news seemed to strike a nerve as Don hobbled down the street and slapped his change on the rickety newsstand before grabbing a paper. His face was grim and determined as he limped back to the car. Jane had rarely seen Don looked so agitated or upset before, almost as if he felt guilt over what was happening so far away.
Sliding into the seat next to him, Jane said little as Don pulled out into traffic and began to weaver his way through the hustling streets of New York City. "So much has been happening since we came back Jane" Don spoke suddenly as the traffic around them slowed to a crawl. "Aliens exist, heroes and monsters are running amuck; and look at this!" he said, pointing at the front page for extra emphasis. "The government of San Diablo has been taken over by rebels. Ever since Castro took Cuba, the communists have been trying to take more land in that area."
Jane carefully read the article as Don dodged midtown traffic. The article told of a masked rebel, called 'Verdugo' by his countrymen, who had led a bloody coupe against the elected officials of the small nation. Mass executions, torture, it seemed that there was nothing Verdugo wouldn't do to anyone he felt was an enemy. He also seemed to be blaming other countries, mainly the United States, for San Diablo's economic depression. The writer of the piece seemed to be of the opinion that the communists would try to take advantage of the situation, as well as reminding the readers of the recent takeover in Cuba.
"I wonder if Lady Thor should get involved in this?" Jane wondered as Don mumbled curses under breath at various cab drivers. "With my power, I could probably stop the rebels with no problem at all, but how would I explain my absence? And should I? I know I could, yet should I expose myself to the world in such a fashion?"
Jane kept her thoughts to herself as Don managed to bring the car to a stop in front of a large brownstone building.
Turning her attention back to the present, Jane busily gathered her equipment as Don left the car and checked on the meter. "Will you need me during your meeting Doctor?" she asked as she opened her door.
"No, I don't think so this time." Don answered briskly as he readied his papers and made his way up the steps. "Sorry to drag you here, but it shouldn't take too long." He apologized as he made he way as fast as possible up the stairs.
As Jane stretched her legs and enjoyed the sights of New York City in the fall, Don made his way past suited men and others of the medical profession to a large meeting room. Scores of men were already seated at tables and eating their 10-dollar steaks while a group of men standing near a podium were busy preparing to speak.
Clearing his throat, the oldest one of the group signaled for silence as he began to speak. "Friends, as I'm sure you're aware, there has been a great deal of violence in the country of San Diablo." He began as a projection screen was lowered behind him and a map of the country was shown to the crowd. "Massive loss of life, disease rampant, the entire country has been thrown into turmoil due to infighting with the rebels".
Showing another slide, the man continued as Don noticed a tall fellow get up from the group and exit through a side door. Ignoring him and the strange feeling of familiarity, Don snapped back to attention long enough to hear the man ending his speech.
"What we need are volunteers. The government has asked for humanitarian aid, and the rebels have promised that there will be no violence committed against the volunteers provided that there is no action taken against them."
One of the doctors stood and turned around to face his fellows. "Why should any of us volunteer? Those butchers would kill us the second we set foot in that hellhole!"
This sparked off a round of agreements from the men, but Don noticed that the tall fellow stepped back into the room and took the podium. "You have a point sir, but rest assured, you would be as safe down there as you would be here."
This failed to ease any of the arguments, but Don ignored them as he stood up and carefully made his way to the front of the room. "I would like to volunteer my services!" he almost shouted over the din, causing many members of the group to fall silent.
The tall man looked down at Don though his mirrored shades and almost gave a smile before turning and leaving.
One hour later
Don exited the building, his thoughts swirling widely as he made his way down the stairs and fished his keys out of his pocket. Seeing Jane standing by the car, her soft brown hair flowing freely in the soft breeze made Don pause as he thought about his recent actions. What would she say?
"Jane, I have something to tell you" Don began as he stepped closer.
"What is it Dr. Blake?" Jane asked, puzzled.
"Jane, I've volunteered my services. I'm going to San Diablo next week to help with humanitarian aid" He said quickly, hoping that if she missed what he said, then she wouldn't get upset.
Much to his shock, she wasn't angry, but much to his horror she said the one thing that sent his blood cold.
"I'm coming with you Dr. Blake, and that's final."
The next week was spent in a mad dash of activity. Patients were given to other doctors, mail held, but during the middle of the utter madness that comes with making long term travel plans, Dr. Blake received a visitor.
The man was tall, so tall in fact his closely shaved blond crew cut almost brushed against the doorframe. He hardly said two words to Jane, but Don seemed to know him.
"Jane, why don't you take the afternoon off? I have some business to discuss with an old friend." He said, his eyes never leaving the stranger. Jane nodded, but she waited until the two of them entered Don's office before creeping up to the door to listen in…
"Jeff, it's been a while" Don said as he hobbled back to his chair. The stranger smiled before sitting down and reaching to grab his ankles. With a twist and a grunt, the man looked as if he had removed his feet seconds before a pair of bare toes peeked out from under the pants cuff.
"Do you mind if I stretch my feet awhile Don? Those artificial lifts can be murder on my heels." The man asked as he stood up, and now was able to look Don almost directly in the eye.
"Not a problem Jeff, not a problem. But why were you at the meeting today? I thought after your promotion you said something about being behind a desk?"
Jeff smiled as he rubbed his sore feet. "Don, you know I can't answer most of your questions, but I thought it was a good gesture you made at the meeting."
Jeff sighed as he leaned back in the chair. "Which is why I want you to back off and stay here where it's safe."
"What? Why?" Don demanded.
"Because this whole thing stinks that's why." Jeff spat as he removed his coat. The coat itself was padded and reveled that Jeff was about Don's exact weight as he draped the weighted garment over the back of the chair. "We know almost nothing about this 'Verdugo' character, save he seems to blame both the ruling government of San Diablo and the United States for his disfigurement, hence his mask." Pulling out a series of 8x10 pictures, Jeff spread them across Don's desk. All the photos showed a man whose face was hidden behind a grinning skull-like mask. "From what we've gathered, he seems to be pushing for a Communist takeover."
"Then why would he ask for aid?"
"That's the tricky part. We think that is a ploy, some kind of trick to lure the doctors down there and then claim one of them was trying assassinate him, thus making the Red takeover more believable."
"Then you just want me to stay here?"
"Don, you're a good friend, really, but this is way beyond simply giving a kid a shot and a lollypop."
"Jeff, I respect that, but I'm a doctor. I swore an oath to help people, and that's what I intend to do."
Jeff sighed as he started to put his lifts on and his coat. "Alright, I can't order you around Don, I know that. But for God's sake, just stay on the boat and keep your mouth shut."
Jane, her ear plastered against the door, had to bit down on her knuckle as she overheard the conversation. Was Don trying to make up for his actions in Norway? She knew the whole situation was trouble, and yet she had a feeling that her presence would be needed.
Glancing at her walking stick that she had propped up by her desk, she changed her mind as she picked the ancient piece of wood up. If not her presence, then perhaps the presence of a certain Nordic god of thunder instead…
It was nearly a week later before the two of them set sail. The ship, which had set sail from New York and bound for San Diablo, was presently loaded down with medical personal as well as various people who did not give off the impression that the preservation of human life was all that important to them. Jane couldn't help but notice the strange tall man mingling in with the crowd as the boat left the harbor.
The trip was quick, although Jane couldn't but feel the nervous tension that threatened to overwhelm everyone the closer they came to the country. Everyday she notice the strange man standing near one of the railings, yet she didn't dare approach him. She noticed that the man was usually by himself and with his back to her, yet she felt he was watching her every move.
After nearly five days at sea, the ship sighted land. A bolt of panic went through the crew as small gun ships began to move from the harbor and surround them.
Shouts of "Ahoy!" from the closet boat slowly brought the ship to a halt as instructions were shouted back and forth in both Spanish and English.
A small party of armed men was soon on board the ship. Their leader, a lean fellow with a rotten look in his eye, stepped forward as his crew covered him with machine guns.
"Attention doctors" he began in such heavily accented English that Jane thought for a second that he must be putting them on. The man continued to talk, "we have with us several injured comrades. You will treat them here, and then a small group of you will come with us to see about the pigs in parliament. We warn you, if any of us feel that you white devils are plotting against us, then we open fire on this ship. Understand?"
Jane said nothing and strayed to the back with the tall stranger as the rebels brought their injured onboard. Jane performed her duties as best she could as she tended to the injured and the dying. Men with lost limbs, children with bullet wounds, the horrors kept on mounting as Jane and Dr. Blake worked in triple shifts on the injured.
After what seemed like a nonstop horror show, Jane stumbled away from the blood soaked floor and flopped down in one of the deck chairs outside. The sun had long since set, and the evening was warmer than she thought it would be. She was almost unconscious when she saw one of the rebels nervously lurking about one of the doors to the ship.
Forcing herself awake, Jane stared at the man through the darkness as the familiar stranger crept up behind the man and quickly wrapped his arm around the smaller man's neck.
She was unable to hear what was being said, but the panicked yelling Spanish convinced her that one of the men was up to no good. The stranger slammed the smaller man against the steel bulkhead and dropped his body to the deck.
Turning around, he caught sight of her, and Jane almost panicked as he approached. "Calm down miss," he said as his heavy boots stomped on the deck. "I'm not here to hurt you. You're Dr. Blake's nurse, right? Nelson?"
"Foster actually" Jane said, slight annoyed at the man's mistake of her name. "What was going on there, or am I allowed to know?"
The man looked around on the deck before sitting down in a neighboring chair. "I told Don this because we go way back, but here's the Reader Digest version. We think there is a plot to frame the visiting doctors here and try to pave the way for a Red takeover."
"Really? Then why even have the doctors here?" Jane asked, wishing she hadn't left her cane in her room.
"Because we're the good guys. People need help, and we're going to give it to them." The man said, although Jane she saw a glint of something in the man's eyes when he said that.
As she stared off into the night, a deafening explosion rocked the ship, sending her tumbling towards the railing, ruining her contemplation.
Surrounded by panicking crew, Jane made her way back to her cabin as fast she could. "I've got to get my staff, but how can I explain Lady Thor's appearance here?" She wondered as she lurched backwards due to the ship's movement.
Deciding to worry about the possible implications of her identity being discovered later, Jane's fingers wrapped around the ancient piece of wood just as she spied a boat motoring away from the ship.
"If that ship didn't have anything to do with that explosion, then I'm Lucille Ball!" she thought as she dashed out into the hall. The seawater on her feet confirmed at least one of her fears. The ship was taking on water, and judging from her wet ankles, rather quickly.
Moving as fast as she could, Jane tried in vain to find a quiet spot in order to strike her cane against something, only to find people and more people with every turn. Forcing her way back on deck, she saw the boat heading back towards the main land when an idea formed in her head.
Without even pausing long enough to worry if the idea was good or safe, Jane threw herself over the side. "I hope I know what I'm doing!" she thought as she fell throw the air and into the briny deep.
The Presidential Palace of San Diablo stood near the end of the city and bordered on the edge of a thick and almost impregnable jungle. Named 'El Capital", the city functioned as the main seat of power in the small country.
The palace, which had been built to both house the leaders and hold off armed attacks, was currently being occupied by the man dubbed Comrade Verdugo. The man in question was presently marching in front of his command staff.
He was a imposing sight; dressed in a ill-fitting and long since faded military uniform of the El Diablo Army, he had taken to customizing the outfit in his own way. There was no rank or insignia on the uniform to tell of his rank, but the man carried himself as if he was a general inspecting his troops. Heavy steel-toed boots clanked on the marbled floor as he turned to face his subordinates.
His entire head was covered in a tight mask made of solid steel. A death's head was painted over the front, and with the two small slits for eyes and a slightly larger one for the mouth, the man did cut a mean figure.
Facing one of the closer men, his rancid breath almost steaming the air, Comrade Verdugo stared down at the smaller man.
"Comrade" he began, his voice a perfect and educated sounding Castilian accent, "Where my orders faulty in any way?"
The man gulped and stepped forward as the rest of the men stepped back. "No Sir, no!" he almost pleaded. Sweat ran down his neck and turned his green collar dark, as Verdugo said nothing.
He spoke slowly, as if explaining why the sun rises to a small child. "Then why is it that American ship and its spies are still floating in my harbor?"
The shook his head, "I don't know sir. Perhaps one of my men couldn't deliver the other bomb?"
"Then you admit failure?"
The man backed up as soon as Verdugo spoke. "No sir, no!" but whatever excuse he was about to offer was lost as Comrade Verdugo reached down to his belt and extracted two well polished .45's. Without saying another word he opened fire on the man's knees, almost blowing his lower legs off in the process.
"Now you know the price of failure." Verdugo finished as the man screamed in pain. "Nail him to the wall with the others."
As the bleeding man was dragged away, Verdugo turned his attention to the rest of his staff. "How many hostages did those fools manage to take?"
"Nearly a dozen sir. Most of them are medics of some sort."
"No spies? CIA? Interpol?"
"No one that matches any of the intelligence you gave us sir." One of the men said in a respectful tone.
"Then they must still be on that ship. Gather the tanks. We'll shell them to the bottom of the bay come first light." Turning his attention back to the rest of his men, he didn't even bother to look at them as he spoke. "Oh, and by the way, you are now my second" he, jerking his thumb in the general direction of the men. They didn't bother to ask which one he was pointing to.
While back on board
As the casualties were counted and repairs made, Jeff slipped past the workers and the doctors and entered his cabin. After bolting the door, Jeff slipped his padded coat off and hung it over the small porthole, blocking out the moonlight and plunging the room into darkness.
Within the dark, Jeff reached under his bunk and carefully pulled a small box out from under it. To a casual observer, it appeared to be nothing more ordinary than a simple shoebox. Jeff reached under his undershirt and pulled out a small key. Inserting it into the side, the top of the box flipped open to revel not a pair of shoes, but rather a compact radio transmitter.
Pulling a small receiver out, Jeff began to tap out a message in code. Several minutes passed before a series of beeps came in. Jeff nodded in agreement and quickly locked the box back before returning it to it's hiding place and removing his coat from the wall.
"Time to go to work" he thought as he left the room.
The next morning
Jeff scanned over the assembled men on deck as doctors and crewman rushed around, trying to save lives or keep the ship afloat. "Alright men, what we fear has come to pass. Verdugo is trying to frame us; make us look like invaders and building up sympathy for a Communist takeover."
The sent a murmur of discord through the men, Jeff continued. "We can't allow that to happen. Last night, while we were caught with our pants down, the rebels took several members of our crew. Our job then, is to go over there and get them back, and stop this crazy bastard in the process."
While back on the main land
Jane slogged through the thick branches as she made her way towards the main road. "I've come this far, but I think it's time for Jane Foster to take a rest." She thought as she gripped the cane in one hand. Bringing high up above her head, she slammed it down against the hard earth.
Lighting shot through the clear sky and enveloped her. Her clothes melted away as her body grew. Her plain brown hair rolled down her back and lightened to a deep yellow as muscles swelled under skin.
Magically, a costume formed around her now massive frame. A long flowing red cape appeared around her shoulders as a silver helmet appeared on top of her blond locks.
The ancient cane had changed as well, becoming a large hammer…the hammer of Thor.
All at once the light passed, and where once stood a plain American nurse there now stood a literal god.
Lady Thor, goddess of thunder!
Lady Thor gripped her hammer tightly as she marched through the thick underbrush. Hearing voices up ahead, she gave a grim smiled as she spotted the men of Comrade Verdugo, and the armored tanks that rumbled behind them.
"So, they place so much faith in their mechanical toys, do they?" she thought as she brought the hammer over head and slammed it to the ground twice in succession.
The result was a near hurricane level storm that appeared out of nowhere. "Come lighting! Come rain! Unleash thy fury upon this accursed land and show no mercy to those insignificant mortals that have earned my ire!" she found herself shouting above the raging din.
The effects were noticed almost immediately. The tanks, the pride of their Soviet makers, slowly ground to a halt as they sank into the mud with their treads becoming lodged ever deeper into the mire and muck. The men, their nerves taxed almost to the limit by the constant fighting, lost what little nerve they had left as lighting bolts arched through the sky to ignite the trees around them. Throwing their weapons down in their panic, the men, now no longer resembling trained soldiers but now frightened farmers, ran as fast they could manage back to town.
Lady Thor, satisfied at her handiwork, slammed her hammer down twice in rapid succession, ending the storm as fast as it had appeared. "I had better do something about those tanks though," she thought as she scanned the area.
"This looks like it will do nicely!" she exclaimed as she eyed an overturned tree. Picking the massive trunk up without any effort, she propped one end under the closest tank. Using the trunk as a lever, she flipped the tank over. "It's like playing with toys!" she giggled as swung back and hit the next tank in a way that would have made the Sultan of Swat weep with envy as the vehicle rocketed out of the mud and sailed through the air. Hearing it crash some distance away, She finished off by slamming the trunk into the third tank. The metal buckled under the assault, and her grin grew as the turret slowly slid off and crashed to the ground.
"Now to head to the capitol!" she said aloud as she twirled her hammer and let it fly. Holding onto the grip, she sailed through the air like a missile towards the Presidential Palace.
On the coast
"Sergeant Dix, you might want to take a look at this." Jeff heard behind him as he went over the plans for attack.
"What is it?" he asked without even looking up as the men around him readied their weapons and scanned the jungle for enemy activity.
"Our scouts went up the road ahead, and well, look through here sir."
Jeff took the offered binoculars and gazed through them. The sight before his eyes almost made him gasp. "Sergeant, we did see some freak weather patterns located near the area, but I can't account for this."
Jeff tuned the man out as he looked over the damage. A trio of tanks lay destroyed and embedded in the mud. Fallen trees, discarded weapons, the entire trial looked as if a hurricane hit it.
"Well, it seems that someone up there likes us." He thought as he handed the binoculars back. "This doesn't change the plan men. Move out!" he ordered the small team began its trek through the bush.
Inside the capital
Dr. Blake knew he should have been scared out of his mind, but he felt strangely tranquil throughout the whole thing. He had been roused in the middle of the night and taken, along with many other doctors, to the capital. Their captor, the man he assumed was Verdugo, had accused them of being spies sent to murder him. Those that protested were beaten or worse, as he noticed that maybe half of his fellow doctors were not standing there with him.
"This is it, I am going to die." He thought as Verdugo marched around in front of them, calling them various things in Spanish and accented English. "Before you are the dogs that the Americans sent down to stop us! We have been ignored, abused, and ruled by far too may people! The Incas, the Spaniards, even the British! But now my friends, now we the people of San Diablo will take our first step towards victory!" He shouted, inciting a massive cheer from the crowd. The firing squad was lined up, and Don felt a cold pit in his stomach as Verdugo stepped off to the side.
"Any last requests?" Verdugo asked, his face unreadable behind his mask, but judging from his tone Don could tell he was smirking.
"Just one," Don found himself saying. "Why don't you fight me like a man instead of like a coward?"
This statement set off a way of dissent through the crowd. His fellow captives looked at him like he had lost his mind, and perhaps they were right.
Verdugo gave a low chuckle as he stepped forward. "So, you wish to die at the hands of a man rather than a gun? Acceptable." He gestured for Don to step forward.
Don, his fire now raging, moved as fast he could on his lame leg. Verdugo reached into his boot and pulled out a large knife. The blade shined in the daylight as he twirled it. "I think you'll like this. It's based on your, how do you say, 'Bowie' knives?" He chuckled as Don could tell the man knew how to use it.
As Verdugo stepped forward, the glint on the knife suddenly faded away as the sky grew dark. A distant rumbling drew closer as black storm clouds appeared overhead.
"What?" Verdugo muttered in English as a sight that was quite familiar to Don's eyes flew down in the middle of the assembled troops.
"Hold villain!" Lady Thor exclaimed, her voice booming over the thunder. "If it's a challenge you seek, why not test thine mettle against a warrior born?"
Verdugo didn't bother to answer. Sheathing the blade, the man turned to his men and screamed out order in Spanish.
The men, their nerve already shaky, followed the orders as they raised their weapons. Lady Thor smirked at the display. Raising her hammer high, she caused the heavens to brake open and a deluge of water to come pouring down. Lighting arched through the sky, literally ripping down the walls of the palace as Lady Thor marched the weather.
Don was slack-jawed at the sight. Lady Thor moved with a grace that belittled her size as the men around her rushed around in a panic. A few tried to attack her, but she swatted them aside like insects.
"Come, is this the best you mortals can offer?" She boasted as she upended a jeep. A few shots rang out, but her hammer easily deflected the deadly projectiles.
"Why am I saying such things?" Lady Thor thought as she made her way towards Don. Shaking her head, she clamped a massive hand over Dr. Blake's shoulder. "Are thou injured?" she asked in her deep tone. Don looked up (and up) at the towering figure before answering.
"No, but please, help my friends!" he asked as he picked up a fallen pistol. Lady Thor gingerly reached out and took the weapon from him. "Stay thy hand. A man of your kindness shouldn't stain your hands with blood." She spoke as the front doors to the palace were blown open.
The rebels, by this point, had enough and threw down their rifles as the rain stopped. Through the open doorway swarmed a mass of armed men, the leader of which both Don and Lady Thor recognized.
"Jeff!" Don shouted as Lady Thor took the time to make her get away. "My appearance here might raise some questions," she thought as she took to the air. "Questions that I don't think I could answer." Looking down, she couldn't see any trace of Verdugo. "The rat must have slipped out during the confusion!" she fumed as she began to land. "He couldn't have gotten far!"
Jeff surveyed the area as his men handled the surrender of the rebel forces. "Who did all this?" he wondered as he saw Don leaning up against a wrecked truck for support. "Don!" He shouted as he rushed towards his old friend.
"Jeff?" Don looked puzzled as he limped over. "What are you doing here?"
"Saving your hide, at least I supposed to. What happened, rebel infighting?"
"I don't know" Don answered, although he could tell that he knew more than what he was letting on. Deciding to investigate the matter later, he hustled Don into the hands of the waiting commandoes. "Secure the area. I want Verdugo found, dead or alive!" he shouted the rebels showed no resistance to them.
As for Verdugo himself, Dix and his men, and even Lady Thor, would be sorely disappointed in their search. Dashing past the confusion in his ranks, Verdugo exited the palace via a secret escape tunnel built for just such an occasion.
Hoping into a waiting jeep, he sped off through the jungle. "Blasted woman!" he cursed in Russian as he slammed his foot to the floor. "This changes everything!" he grumbled as he grabbed a walkie-talkie from his knapsack and began to speak into it.
"This is Comrade Verdugo. Mission is a failure due to metahuman interference. Requesting pickup on coast, over."
As the message came back over the tiny speaker, Verdugo was suddenly aware of quite a few things. One, there was a large tree trunk in the center of the path. Two, there were a small squad of armed rebels standing in front of said tree. And three, the man being carried near the front was his former second in command, minus his legs, which had been cut off from below his knees.
Slamming on the brake, Verdugo fought to retain control as he hard his tires blow out. He lost complete control as the jeep spun around and hurtled off the main road and down the embankment before crashing into a tree.
Verdugo slowly opened his eyes as he tried to make sense of where he was. "Well, comrade, I've heard of people hitting the ugly tree, but I've never heard of one hitting the handsome tree before" his second's voice rang from the road.
Verdugo put his hands to his face, and almost fainted when his gloved hand touched his nose. Somehow, his mask had been knocked off during the crash. "Wait comrades, I can explain!" he shouted in Spanish as the men drew their rifles and kept him within their sights.
"I'm sure you can, but I am curious, did the crash heal all those horrible scares that you received during your time in the President's dungeon? Or perhaps the crash simply knocked the burns you suffered from when you almost murdered by the Americans, is that it?"
Verdugo nodded as he tried to stand up. A blow to his legs kept him down as the rebels moved in closer. Hauling him to his knees, he glanced around nervously as one of the men began to look inside his jeep. Another rebel walked over and grabbed him by the hair and yanked his head up. "Heh, hard to believe he had such pretty blond hair under that mask. Should we give him a shave before we send him to hell?" the brutish rebel asked as his compatriot started to make a commotion near the wrecked jeep.
"Hey, look at this!" the man shouted as he held a large bag up. The bag was loaded down with gold coins and cash of various countries that spilled out onto the seat.
His second in command stared at the moneybag for a full minute before turning his attention back to Verdugo. "Perhaps the weight of your gold is what healed you. Perhaps it would do the same for me?"
Verdugo began to babble as the men aimed their rifles at him. "Wait, I can make you all rich!" he pleaded.
"Really? And what we use could we have with your foreign money?"
"Please don't kill me, I wanted to help you!"
"By making us look like fools? No comrade, I think you've helped enough."
"But I saved you from your imperial overlord!"
"True, but at least we had the basics of life under that fat pig's thumb. With you, all we had was anarchy and other losses" Verdugo saw his second in command point towards the bloody stomps that were once his knees. "When you nail a man on a wall, comrade" he spat, "make sure he is dead first. A man's hate can give him strength, strength enough to see a coward die like the dog he is"
And with a nod, the men opened fire. Verdugo barely had time to scream as the bullets tore through his torso; and with a thud the man called Verdugo was dead.
"Leave him to the jungle. We of San Diablo have been stepped on for far too long, that much was correct, but we don't need any Russians or Americans telling us how to do things. From now on, San Diablo will be run by her own people!"
Jeff looked over the rebels as they fled the palace and his own men began to escort the wounded doctors back to the ship. He overheard a few of the injured rebels talking, which gave him pause. "That blond fighter fought with the strength of a god!" one said as he tossed his rifle aside.
"Yes, and did you see how as if the very storm was hers to command?" his companion asked. Jeff raised his eyebrow at this (but kept walking, as the rebels seemed to think he couldn't understand them, and he saw no reason to contradict them).
"Hmm, this might be interesting…" he thought as he made a note to investigate the matter later.
Lady Thor touched down after searching the jungle. Finding no trace of Verdugo, she hurried back to the palace. Landing near the execution wall, she tapped her hammer down once, thus changing her back to the mortal form of Jane Foster.
Stumbling out (which she didn't have to put to much effort into it, as she was nearly dead on her feet) she gave out a cry as she saw Dr. Blake
Don looked up and nearly fell over as he hurried as fast as he could towards Jane. "Jane, how did you get here?" he asked as he wrapped his arms around her.
"I fell overboard! Luckily I brought my cane with me, I was able to use to reach shore." She said, hoping he bought it.
Don almost broke down in relief as he held her, yet Jane felt the eyes of Jeff putting a hole in her and her cane as she looked across the way at him.
"Does he suspect? No, he can't, nobody knows that I'm Lady Thor." She thought as Don lead her back to the convoy that would take them back to the ship and later home. "I almost lost control during the fight, but I helped stop a madman, didn't I? I'm a nurse, and yet all my real work lately has been destruction. Is this truly my power to use?" She wondered as she took Don's offered hand and rode in the back of the bullet ridden truck back to the coast. "Lady Thor has given me power, but have I given up a normal life for this?" her thoughts trailed off as he stared at the gnarled cane in her hands.
Journey Into a Mailbox
Welcome back to the second issue of Journey Into Mystery! This story was based on "The Mighty Thor Versus the Executioner" which was first published in the issue of Journey Into Mystery #84 (September 1962), with credits going to Stan Lee (writer), Jack Kirby (art), Dick Ayers (ink), and Art Simek (letters). A couple of firsts for that issue, including the first appearance of Jane Foster, as well as the first (not to mention last) appearance of the Executioner. The second villain to bare that name has no connection to this one. The original villain was a bit flat I felt, so I did alter a few things. The character of Jeff Dix was an old Timely character that fought spies on the home front. He first appeared in USA Comics.
Now some fan mail! First, from Sam Nary
interesting story, having a woman discover (place name of Thor's So if you're doing any more Marvel Comics based stories, how would
hammer here) instead of a guy, especially since I don't think Marvel
made a female counterpart to Thor like they did the Hulk.
you do Spider-Man? Would one of the women that Peter knows get bit by
the spider or would it be a female version of Peter Parker? Just
curious. A good story anyway.
So if you're doing any more Marvel Comics based stories, how would
Thanks for the kind words Sam! As I explained before, I am not about to recreate the entire Marvel universe. Spider-Man sadly being one of them, although that doesn't mean I won't be paying a visit to Peter Parker's Pad every once and a while.
From Agent 00
Great stuff! A dream come true for sure!
Thanks! Was this issue a dream or more of a nightmare?
story Cambot. Can't wait for the next issue of Sensational
Well, that's going to be my next project, you can count on it.
And of course, the bell of the ball, the Ace number one fan of the dungeon, Ms Tiffani herself:
Cambot, Great job. This is a very cool story. Thanks for sharing. :)
Great job. This is a very cool story. Thanks for sharing. :)
Music to my ears milady. No matter how down I get, knowing that someone (or in this case, more than a few someone's) likes my work always lifts me up.
And with that, it's now 2005. To save space, let's just I am going to be moving for a while, so the next issue may be a while in coming.
Next issue: See Lady Thor battle her most dangerous foe when she faces the evil known as…Loki!
In Sensational Comics thrill as the Hulk battles the Toad Men!
In Tales to Astonish, see the Ant-Man and the Wasp!