A Marvel Tale Told in the Mighty Marvel Manner!
Lady Thor Battles the Carbon-Copy Man!
Deep with the heart of Asgard, home of the gods, Loki smiled. This was worrisome enough by itself, but it was what he was gloating over that was the most worrisome. Holding a crystal ball over a steaming cauldron, the god of evil cackled at the images before him. Within the ball an image of a blond man wielding a hammer filled the glass as below in the swirling mists Loki spied two figures.
One was a man. His hair was blond like the figure in the ball, but there the similarities ended. His figure was gaunt and frail as he used a walking stick for support. At his side was a woman dressed in a typical nurse's uniform. Like the man, she too used a cane, save that it was made from a gnarled piece of wood. "All three connected! It's too perfect!"
Opening a small window, Loki uttered a small spell as his eyes searched the night sky. Transforming into gas, the evil god of mischief floated out into the night and raced towards one distant star in particular. "With my presence required here as Odin's son, I wouldn't want my dear sibling to become lonely. I do believe I shall send a present to that little world of Midgard."
On the distant alien world of Xartan, things were running along. The War-Lord Ugarth marched out onto his parapet and inspected his troops before his son. "Zano, the time is fast approaching."
"Father, you're still able to lead us!" the younger man protested.
"Aye, but for how much longer? These bones of mine grow old. How much longer before I can wield a weapon?" Ugarth stroked his thick black mustache
"But, father, the men won't listen to me. I've barely marched in any of your campaigns." Zano began but a glare from his father cut him off.
"Aye my boy, you haven't, but that doesn't mean you lack the will or the prowess of a warrior."
An excited shouting from one of the many temples took the elder War-Lord's attention away from his son. A runner from the temple burst through the door and threw himself at Ugarth's feet. "My Lord, we have a sign!"
"A what? Speak man!" Zano ordered.
The runner, who never bothered to look at Zano, spoke directly to Ugarth. "My Lord, we have been given a sign! The gods have sent us a message, and I tell you, they are displeased!"
Ugarth's face darkened. "Bah, more nonsense from the priests." Turning to his son, the War-Lord gestured towards the standing army. "Watch them my son, but be both wary and vigilant. The throne and title may inspire more than loyalty."
Within the halls of the temple, people were busy falling to their knees and offering sacrifices to whatever priest was unlucky enough to be caught outside the main chamber. "Clear the way, Ugarth comes!" came a frenzied cry as the mass of people parted to let him through.
"What's all this nonsense priest?" Ugarth snarled as he stared down at the whimpering man.
"The Great and Unnamable Lord walks among us sir! He wishes an audience with you."
Ugarth was taken aback but hid it well. Following his ascension to the rank of War-Lord, he had been careful in his dealings with members of the clergy. Storming past the frightened man, Ugarth threw open the heavy stone doors of the temple and marched inside alone.
Before him, scores of priests and worshippers were bowing down to the giant stone figure of their god. "Bah, I see no lord, great or otherwise." He snarled as the people bolted at the sound of his voice.
"Insolent mortal, thou dare profane my house?" A deep voice echoed from the statue.
Ugarth gave pause, but then he remembered the tricks the clergy was prone to. "Aye, I do. What position are you in to try and stop me?" He laughed as his hand rested on his sword. It had been a while since he had slain any priests, but today was as good of a day if any.
"Blasphemer!" Much to Ugarth's horror, the stone figure suddenly broke free of its base and lumbered towards him. "You have sullied my temple and attacked my loyal followers! For that, the punishment is death!" Its cold stone hands reach out towards him, but Ugarth could see no life in the dulled jeweled eyes.
"This is impossible!" He swore as he drew his blade. With one swipe, the sword, forged from the tooth of Xartan's most fearsome beast, shattered into fragments. "You're no priest!" Backing up, Ugarth suddenly found himself very much alone.
"Oh, I much more than a mere mortal War-Lord." The stature loomed over him. "And if thou wish to gain honor upon they forefathers, then thou shall go forth unto the stars and conquer in my name."
"Yes, yes, as you wish." Ugarth bowed until his mustache rubbed against the floor. "I shall send my entire army out at once!"
"Nay." The statue retreated back to its base. "I wish a test of ye. Send forth only a small portion of thy forces. Impress me, and thou shall gain more power than thou hast dreamed of." The statue resumed its original position while Ugarth stayed bowed on the floor. "Arise my son, and bring the power of your people to this tiny speck of a world. Its inhabitants call it Earth. Conqueror it, and prove to me thy worth." The stature grew silent, and was quiet for many heartbeats before Ugarth screwed up enough courage to look directly at it. Its eyes were as lifeless as before, but now there was clearly no movement. At its feet lay a map and a series of coordinates.
"Your will be done!" Ugarth wasn't totally sure of what had just happened, but he did feel the need to ride into battle once more. Taking the map, he opened the doors and led his men towards the fleet. "Inform my son and my men. We sail this day, and our stars shall soon shine on yet another planet." Despite the rousing cheers, Ugarth felt a cold spike of fear in his stomach as he looked back towards the temple. Was the statue smiling at him?
December 13, 1962
Lady Thor landed on a nearby roof. The New York winter had driven everyone else inside, it seemed, including criminals. She smiled as she scooped up a handful of snow in her bare hand. Despite her mode of dress, she felt no colder than if she were standing inside. Hooking her hammer to her belt, she paused in her patrol to gaze around the city. "Even the blackest of criminals shrink from the cold." She smiled as she unhooked the mystic Mjolnir from her belt and took to the skies once again. "Methinks it time for Nurse Jane Foster to reappear." She thought as she flew towards Dr. Blake's clinic.
Landing on the roof, she quietly made her way inside. She lightly tapped the hammer once on the floor, and with a brief flash of blinding light; the Amazonian form of Lady Thor vanished, only to be replaced by the plain mortal form of Jane Foster. Sighing as she tidied up her appearance, Jane tucked the gnarled cane under her arm and went downstairs to check on the mail and confirm appointments while Dr. Blake was away in California.
No sooner had she put her hand on the doorknob than the sound of someone in Don's office made her jump. Grabbing the cane in her other hand, she slowly and silently opened the door and peered into the office. She almost dropped the cane when she saw who was before her.
Inside the office was Dr. Blake. His own cane was propped up against the desk as he rifled through some notes she had left out. Her first instinct was to rush out and greet him, but there was something off about him. Lowering her cane, she opened the door all of the way and stepped into the office. "Don! When did you get back from your conference?"
Don spun around. "Eh? Oh, Nurse Foster." He composed himself as he grabbed his walking stick and moved over to her. "Sorry, but I came back early. This office is a mess, why did you allow to become so cluttered in my absence?"
Taken aback, Jane tightened her grip on the withered piece of wood. "Don, what's wrong? You sound so cold, so distant."
Don sneered as he walked back to his desk. "If I am cold it is simply because I, unlike some other people, am a professional. Whereas you seem more concerned with lollygagging around the office all day and doing nothing of any importance!"
"Don, you never spoke to me like that before!"
A look of panic flashed across Don's face. It was replaced with a hardened glare. "Bah, I was merely distracted, nothing more. Speaking of distractions, I think it is high time I removed all of them from this office. Nurse Foster, you are fired."
Jane was speechless for almost a second, and then she was angry. "Don, I care about you." She was careful not to mention anything about Lady Thor. "I have also loved you since the first I came to work for you, but I am not about to let you talk to me like that."
"Oh really?" Don's mouth twisted into a cruel smirk. "An employer can talk to his employee how ever he wants, and an ex-employee can talk to an ex-employee however he wants; so, I am sad to say, you are just going to have to listen."
Jane fought the urge to transform and bring forth the full fury of the Norse gods down upon his head. "Alright Dr. Blake, if my performance is so unsatisfactory to you, I'll just pack my things and leave."
She stomped her way outside. "Something is wrong here." She tried to calm herself down as she bundled up for the winter snow that awaited her outside. "Don wasn't supposed to come back for at least another week."
As she made her way through the slush and the crowds, she stopped. She hadn't noticed any crime, but then again she was only looking for the typical examples. "What if I should have been looking fro something else?" Her thoughts were broken when a car lurched onto the sidewalk. "Holy Hannah!" She scrambled to dive out of the way as the car raced past her. "You manic!" She shouted as she looked for an alley to change to into Lady Thor. A tired looking policeman walked up to her.
"Excuse me ma'am, am I correct in hearing you shout at that motorist?"
"Yes officer, and I would like to press charges!" Jane began to say before another car zoomed by her. "Hey, there goes another one!"
The officer deeply sighed as he pulled out a ticket book and a pen. " Ma'am, under the new Civil Penalty Ordnance 11-A, I am afraid I am going to have to fine you a total of $80 in direct violation."
"What?" Jane shook with rage as the officer wrote another ticket.
"Also ma'am you are in direct violation of the Winter Decency Act and as such I insist that you turn your coat inside out or be faced with a minimum fine of $50."
"Alright, just wait a second." Jane grumbled as she took her coat off and reversed it. Taking the ticket for the first offensive, Jane followed other people's leads and walked in the gutter. Snagging the first person she came across, Jane pressed the man for information. "What's going on?"
The man spat on the snow as he walked. "Wagner's gone nuts, that's what!"
"The mayor? But why would he do that?"
The man shrugged his shoulders as a passing car zipped by them. "How do I know? All I do know is, next time I'm voting Republican."
Jane darted across the sidewalk and ducked down an alley. "Why would the mayor make such insane laws? Unless he wasn't the mayor, but an imposter!" Jane tapped her cane once upon the ground. The change was quicker than usual. The chill of winter was forgotten as mystical energy surged inside her. Blinding light and the crack of thunder filled the alleyway as her body swelled and clothes vanished, only to be replaced by the towering form of Lady Thor. "Mayhaps Lady Thor can dispel this fog of madness that has blanketed everyone."
Flying the through the city, Lady Thor arrived at City Hall within seconds. Seeing the open window in the mayor's office, she flew directly into the room and landed before the startled politicians. "Mayor Wagner, thou shall explain thy actions!"
Robert Wagner sneered as he backed up. "Since when do I have to explain anything to you?" Turning to the startled aides and guards, he gestured wildly at her as he spoke. "This is the problem we face gentlemen. Unregistered, unsupervised, and uncooperative freaks that show no respect to any branch of this government!" Marching right up to her, he jabbed her breast with his finger as he spoke. "Who gave you permission to enter this office? And if you are so friendly, why hide behind such an obvious and ridiculous disguise?"
"Enough!" Lady Thor roared as she snagged the mayor by the throat and lifted him straight up with only one hand. "Thou speaketh to a warrior born! I hath laid low giants little man, often with my own bare hands." She tightened her grip as she looked the now panic stricken man directly in the eye. "Thy decrees are mad. What manner of enchantment bedevils you so?"
"See? See what kind of menace we're facing?" Wagner screamed. "Today it's barging into offices, tomorrow it'll be blowing up entire cities!" His voice cracked as he was roughly dropped. Scrambling to his feet, he dove behind the extra security guards that had entered the room. "I want her arrested, do you hear me? Arrested!"
"Bah!" Lady Thor easily ignored the orders to halt and jumped out of the open window. Twirling her hammer, she once again took to the air. "I sensed no magic, and had Loki been weaving his dark spells he never would have allowed me to touch him or one of his puppets in such a manner."
Seeing a man dressed as Santa striking people with his bell made her pause. "What madness is this?" Seeing the Baxter Building off in the distance, she briefly thought about going for help. "Nay, for even the Fantastic Four may be under this spell." Seeing the building, however, sparked off a memory. "Did they not do battle with beings from the stars, one who could alter their shape?"
Landing on a nearby roof, she kept a weary eye on the people below her. "Yes, perhaps while I was out, a force could have taken the forms of various people. The question, though, is what happened?" A cold spike of fear went through her. "And are the original people still alive?"
Taking her hammer out again, Lady Thor soon streaked across the sky. " I must find them, and I know of at least one suspect." Her thoughts were grim as she streaked through the sky towards a certain medical clinic.
Once again landing upon Dr. Blake's roof, Lady Thor wasted no time in rushing down to main office. Knocking the door open, she barged in. "Mortal, what hath thou done to the true Blake?"
Dr. Blake, for his response, broke his cane over her head. Lady Thor didn't blink she instantly reached out and gripped the panicking human by the neck. ""Where is he?"
Dr. Blake, or whatever he was, tried to break free from her iron grip. "I don't know!" Before her horrified eyes, Dr. Blake slowly turned transparent and vanished with an agonized scream.
"Things are not always what they appear to be." The visage of an older man with one eye haunted her as she flew through the air. She had already left the city and was already several miles upstate.
Lowering herself, Lady Thor suddenly pointed her hammer down and flew to the ground. "These trees, they've been broken and burnt!" She carefully walked around the recent clearing as twilight approached. Before her, instead of a thick wooded area, scores of trees had been knocked over, as evidenced by the broken stumps left in the wake. A sign declaring the area off limits answered why she had not heard about this new development. "This clearing is shaped like a circle and is just wide enough for a medium sized ship. I wonder."
Before she could move any further, Mjolnir, which had been clipped to her belt, suddenly tore free and flew several feet before stopping in midair. "What devilry is this?" She raced towards the suspended hammer, but the second she stepped towards it she quickly found herself plucked from the ground.
Hitting the broad side of something, she found herself pinned to an invisible barrier, held fast by the metal in her costume. Desperately trying to reach Mjolnir, she began counting down the seconds. "I only have 60 seconds before I revert back to Jane Foster!" She mentally panicked as she strained her fingers. The leather thong at the end of the mystic hammer was just close enough for her to see, but it might as well as been in China for all the good it was.
With little fanfare, she felt her form shrinking. Her muscles shrank down to their normal size as her costume faded away. Replaced with her nurses uniform, Jane at least was able to free herself as she slid down to the invisible barrier. Seeing the now gnarled piece of wood laying in the grass, she made a move for it as she heard a strange mechanical hissing coming from somewhere. "What's going on?"
She got an answer when lights flooded the area. Standing still, she could a large circular craft slowly fading into view. "So that's what trapped me? Amazing!" She marveled as a walkway stretched out of the side and several humanoid figures marched out.
Ugarth smugly looked down at the lone female cowering before him. "We have captured our prize!" He shouted to his men. "Fortune has smiled upon us this day." Picking up the stick, he laughed heartily as Jane was dragged inside the ship. Following his men, Ugarth issued orders as the walkway closed behind him. "Order the engineers to ready the ship, we leave at daybreak. Our prize captives shall have the first hand honor of seeing us flying our banner over this world."
Jane was roughly shoved into a small holding pen. The walls were transparent, and the guards surrounding them acted as a powerful deterrent. As she eyed the assembled group of people, her heart sank when she failed to see the real Dr. Blake. "Alright, maybe he isn't here. Maybe he wasn't captured."
"Who are you Miss?" An older gentleman asked. "Name's Hardly. I got picked up by these fellows in my office."
"My name's" Jane paused. An idea came to her. "Nelson, Joan Nelson. I was just finishing my shift." In the event her plan failed, she didn't want her name to be known.
"Nurse eh? Well, I guess these space boys want a little bit of everyone. I saw the mayor a little while ago, and the governor."
Jane nodded and quietly backed up. Most of the prisoners were huddled together, and clearly terrified. "I'm going to get one chance at this." Jane thought as she pounded on the clear wall in front of a guard. "Guard! Hey guard, let me out!"
The guard cracked a smile as he peered close to the barrier. "And why would I want to do that?" He asked with a heavily accented voice.
Jane straightened up and looked him directly in the eye. "Because if your fearless leader wants to rule this planet within an hour, I can help."
The raised an eyebrow as the prisoners protested. "You can't help them little lady, they're the bad guys!" Hardly shouted as other, more direct threats greeted her.
"You'd side against your own people?"
"String her up!"
The guard stepped forward and opened the door. "Stand back, all of you!" He snarled as roughly grabbed Jane. "At least one of you has some sense!" Roughly pulling her out of the cell, she gestured for her to walk in front of him. "I shall take you to our War-Lord, but be warned. Any tricks, and you die!" Jane mutely nodded as she was guided through the ship.
When they reached the bridge, Jane stopped as she heard sounds coming from the other side of the door. Several chants and strange shouts made her pause as the guard entered some form of code. "The War-Lord shall see you once the prayer is finished." With that, the guard turned and marched back down the corridor.
"No point in staying I guess. No doubt they know I'm here and would kill me if I tried anything." Jane thought out her plan as the door before her suddenly opened. Ugarth loomed over her.
"Come in! Our priest said you would try some form of trick." He smiled as he invited her inside. "But I should tell you, your magic stick is safe and far away from us." Jane couldn't even attempt to contain her shock. Ugarth chuckled. "Yes little one, we know. He told us."
"He? He who?" Jane felt the handiwork of Loki, but she wanted to make sure.
"The Great and Unnamable Lord." He gestured towards a small squat stature over in the corner. Jane had to control herself when she saw one of the stone eyes wink at her. "He, who gave us our abilities and enabled us to spread His word, told us of you and your powers. With you gone, our banner shall fly mightily over this world."
Jane was torn. She knew the Trickster was behind this, but how could she prove it? With her cane gone, she had no physical means of stopping these strange beings. "Wait, what if I tell you were tricked?"
Ugarth's face darkened. "Then I would slay you were you stand."
Jane backpedaled. "Ok, but what I wanted to help you?"
Ugarth's mood brightened. "Oh ho! So, you would like to help us, eh? No doubt your other self could accomplish the total domination of this planet by the time the rest of my forces arrived, but I think I shall have to pass."
"Then at least allow me my freedom!" Jane demanded. "Let me fight. I'd rather die on my feet than be shoved back in that stinking pen."
Ugarth looked down at her. There was still mirth in his eye, but there was also some small degree of respect. "Spoken like a warrior. Very well, if you can best me in combat, I shall allow you your freedom."
Jane was lead outside the ship. Ugarth walked out alone, with his men watching intently from the interior. Jane focused on her cane that was tucked into the alien's belt. "Heed my words Earthling. If you fall to me, then I shall make sure your broken body is dragged before the prisoners." He said nothing further as he removed the cane and tossed it to her before unsheathing his sword.
Catching the cane with one hand, Jane quickly brought it down upon the ground. The flash of lighting and the rolling boom of thunder made Ugarth shield his eyes to the blinding light. Jane Foster vanished in a lighting induced haze as her body quickly underwent the transformation into Lady Thor. Her costume replaced her clothes, as her walking stick once again became Mjolnir. Long blond hair cascaded under her winged helmet as mighty sinews grew. Before Ugarth stood a being who was no longer a mere mortal, but a devine being.
When Ugarth removed his hand, his sight returned to see not a waif trembling before him, but an equal if not an outright superior. "Yes!" He roared as he gripped his broadsword in both hands. "For far too long I have been chained and denied what I was meant to do!" With a frenzied yell, he raced across the burnt grassland. Once within striking distance, he thrust his sword forward at the goddess's breast. His whole body was behind the blow and the blade sang as it raced forward towards the breastplate of his foe.
Ugarth, despite his displays in front of his men, was never one for religion. He had obtained everything he had through the force of his own will and the skill of his blade. He knew what manner of being he faced, but a part of him refused to believe it. As the sword thrust forward, visions of it breaking armor and bone as it had done so in the past were suddenly shattered when the woman reached out and with one hand, gripped his sword. "Impossible!"
Before he could draw back, Lady Thor met his yell with one of her own before bringing her hammer down upon the blade. The sword, which had been passed down from father to son for as nearly as long as Ugarth's line had existed, crumbled into powder as the mystic might of Mjolnir broke the ancient weapon.
Stumbling back, Ugarth felt a cold sweat upon his brow for the first time as the vengeful blue eyes of Lady Thor glared at him. Throwing the useless hilt away, he reached into his cloak and withdrew a dagger. To her credit, the Goddess of Thunder didn't laugh at the pitiful weapon.
"Now you shall see the true power of the Xartans" Ugarth shouted. Pricking his thumb, he stuck the wounded digit into a pouch on his belt. Before she could question such an action, Lady Thor felt something wrap around her wrist.
"Od's Blood!" The very ground beneath her had split open, with strange icy tendrils writhing before in the dirt and wrapping around her wrists.
"Yes, tremble before the power of the Carbon-Copy Man!" Ugarth laughed as his form shimmered before transforming into a massive creature made of snow and ice. "As Ymir, I shall have the honor of ending your life." The ice creature stomped towards her, its icy hands forming into mock hammers.
The ice had flash frozen around her feet, leaving her unable to run. Her hands were bound by her side, but Lady Thor refused to yield. As the ice covered monstrosity towered over her and prepared the fatal blow, an idea came to her. Taking account that only her feet and hands were constricted, Lady Thor leaned back and slammed her head into the frost giant's stomach.
Ugarth bellowed in pain, as large chunks of ice and frost were knocked free. Staggering back, he tried desperately to scoop up the pieces of himself that had been dislodged. Taking advantage of the momentary lapse, Lady Thor tensed her muscles as she broke the icy strands holding her. "Now monster, we end this."
Twirling her hammer, she let Mjolnir fly from her grasp. It almost sang as it flew through the air and struck the transformed Ugarth. The blow knocked his upper body several yards away yet left his legs still standing. After Mjolnir returned to her outstretched hand, she tensed up again as a younger man, dressed in the same fashion as the guards, rushed from the ship. "Father!"
Zano couldn't control the tears that flowed down his face as he watched his father slowly revert back to his true form. "Father, don't move! The medics"
"Can do nothing for me." Ugarth coughed weakly. "Zano, my son, it is always the destiny of the War-Lord to die in battle." Reaching for the broken sword hilt, Ugarth instead found a tree branch. "My son, there might still be a way!" He pointed to one of the few trees that had survived the landing. "Place me by one of those. Let me change shape one last time."
"But father, you're too hurt, you couldn't change back!" Zano protested the rest of the crew came out of the ship.
"I don't want to." Ugarth moaned as he was lifted up by his men and carried. "I've been fighting for as long I lived. Just this once, let me be surrounded by peace instead of war." His numb fingers were placed against the tree. Lady Thor gasped as roots suddenly took shape as the strange creature's blood stopped flowing. "We have so few of these." Ugarth muttered as his skin hardened. "Allow the prisoners their freedom then depart. Go home and live." The words were slurred together as the flesh of Ugarth solidified into bark. What was once a dying man now only stood a healthy tree.
Zano turned to Lady Thor. His expression was one of shock and even some anger. "As War-Lord," he began, "I order all the prisoners to freed." The crew complied as he spoke with her. "Having slain our leader, our fates are to be determined by you, the victor."
Lady Thor was taken aback. "Hold warrior." She spoke softly to the younger man as the confused humans exited the ship. "Thou were a loyal son and follower. There is no shame in that, and your father was a true warrior. I release you from your obligations to me. Go and return to where wince thou came." Seeing a grinning idol hanging off of Zano's belt, she beckoned him closer. "Tell young one, why didst thy men attack?"
"I'm not sure. We received word from the priests that the lord had spoken to them and that this planet was to be added to our empire. My father said the lord spoke to him through the idol and gave us your name and the natives we should copy."
Lady Thor's brow darkened. "This god you speak of, tell me, has he ever spoken to anyone before?"
Zano blinked. "Well, according to the priests, only in the dim past, yes, but never in my memory."
Lady Thor cursed inwardly. What was a mere theory had bloomed into cold hard facts: Loki. The evil trickster's handiwork was all over this. But could she convince Zano and his people? "Young man, perchance the name of Loki doth seem familiar?"
"Loki? No, should it?"
"Perhaps a history of objects speaking? Or a figure in green?"
"Only in the ancient texts. Why do you ask me such questions?" Zano's curiosity was piqued.
"Ah, no reason." She cursed herself for her answer. Deciding that the best thing to do would be to just walk away least she cause some form of massive upheaval, Lady Thor looked over the prisoners. "I was merely curious." Making her way to the assembled group of men, she smiled as she greeted them. "Ah, I see my ally's plan worked."
"Your ally? You mean that nurse that betrayed us?" Hardly asked, the confusion evident in his face.
"Aye, t'was a plan between that mortal and myself to free all of you." Lady Thor beamed at the deception. "It worked, did it not?" The assembled mutterings told her that no further questions would be asked, and she was grateful. "Fear not for her safety, as I have already flown her back to her dwelling."
Turning to the retreating Zano, Lady Thor held up a hand. "Wait. What are thou intentions now?"
The young man cast a look around the area as a light snow began to fall. "I shall take my people back home. We shall never visit this cursed planet of yours again, nor shall we sing of it." Zano walked back to the ship. The rest of the crew reluctantly followed him after glancing one last time at the tree that was once their leader.
Lady Thor, plus the assembled men, stood in silent awe as the circular ship slowly rose up from the ground and then vanished in a streak of light. Seeing a few of the old men shivering, she began to swing her hammer. "Hold fast mortals. I shall bring forth the proper authorities." She shouted as she took to the air and sailed away into the night.
"Well, your honor, what are we going to tell the press?" Hardly asked as Mayor Wagner rubbed his arms for warmth.
"That we were all kidnapped by aliens and then rescued by a woman who think she's a god, that's what." He shot back as he heard the welcome sound of sirens coming up through the trees. "Or we had all gotten into some bad eggnog, I don't know. Whatever makes us out to be less crazy."
The sight of Lady Thor soaring over the rooftops in the snow would have been enough to make most people stop and look. And normally, she would have returned those looks. Landing back on the clinic roof, she looked up at the black sky. "So brother, thou hath played another trick. How long? How many lives hath thou ruined?"
"Oh, enough." The voice was pleasant, even jovial. She couldn't see the trickster, but she knew that didn't mean anything.
"Will thou appear before me and end this farce?" Her jaw was set and her fingers tightened around her hammer.
"To that I say thee nay. Dear sister, I have spent countless ages planning and plotting my revenge. I shall not alter the plan just to appease you." The voice mocked. "Fear not though, as I have taken my leave of those aliens. Even now that brat is ordered a purge of the old worship."
"Destroying your false idols?" She tried to goad the trickster into appearing.
"In a sense, yes." The voice took on a sinister tone. "Wholesale slaughter, I think the mortals call it. A purging of the old faith and an induction of the new."
She felt sick. "A war? You would cause countless deaths, just to spite me?"
"It's not always about you!" The voice cackled. "But yes. What did you expect? I can hardly be blamed. I am, after all, a humble trickster." The voice began to fade as her anger grew. "Fear not dear sister. I shall try again, but I will leave you be for the time being. I want you to be in fighting shape when I present your broken body before my father."
She felt her eyes burn as she blindly swung her hammer around. She knew she couldn't fight Loki; or even see him, but the urge to destroy something, anything, was all consuming. Bringing the hammer down on the roof, she was rewarded with a bright flash and a regaining of her mortal form. Falling to her knees, Jane shivered in the cold. "What have I done?" She felt the tears forming as she looked up to the sky. When no voices, either inner or outer, answered her, she slowly picked herself up and went inside. "I may have done more damage than Loki could dream of, but I had to rescue those people." Looking at her cane, she briefly thought about striking it against something but thought better of it. "What could I do? I don't know where the Xartan's planet it, much less how to get there." Thinking back to when she fought Thrud, she was struck by the memory. "I did transport us, but was that really my doing?"
Moving down into Don's office, she began to look through his reference books. "Alright, I know for a fact Thrud and Loki exist. Asgard must be real as well, but how do I get there?" For a brief second, she thought she saw the cane move. "Can you show me?" When she received no response, she shook her head and put the cane back down. Flipping through various books told her facts she already knew. She knew of the Rainbow Bridge and the various gods and goddess that lived within the golden city, but there was nothing to indicate how one entered the mystical place.
"I have to get to Asgard. If I can explain all of this Odin, then perhaps there would still be a way to stop Xartans." Jane closed the nearest book and rubbed her eyes. "I wish Don were here. He wasn't in the captives, so I suppose Loki told Ugarth what he looked like, but why do I this horrible feeling that something is wrong?"
The sun had already gone down by the time Don Blake walked out onto the beach near Santa Monica. The air was cool and there was nice breeze coming from the sea. Don chuckled to himself as he sat down on the sand and reached into his pocket. Pulling out a small box, he opened it and removed a gold engagement ring. Looking at it in the moonlight, he laughed a little louder. "Don, sometimes I swear you must be the luckiest man alive." He closed his hand around the gold band as he looked out at the waves crashing on the beach. "Jane" he ran the words over in his mind, "Will you marry me?" He looked up, half-expecting the flying form of Lady Thor to come soaring overhead in response. He silently stared at the dark water as it rolled and crashed onto the beach. There was a strange feeling of anxiety. He dismissed that as caused by his plan, but there was still something, something hanging in the back of his mind. Seeing a flash of light off at sea snapped him back to reality. "A ship perhaps, or maybe a plane." Standing up slowly, he pocketed the ring and picked up his cane. "Maybe it's an omen. Good fortune perhaps?" He began to whistle as he made his way back the rental car.
Sif coughed as she struggled to the surface of the water. The road to Midgard had been treacherous, and she had been sure Heimdall would alert her presence dozens of times. The salt water burned her raw skin, but she could not rest. Kicking against the undertow, she swam for shore. Her clothes were in tatters, but she wasn't concerned with that. At her side was a sack containing several items. Several heavy items, all of which combined felt as if they would drag her under the black waves. She swore as she pumped her legs. "Give me strength!" She gritted her teeth and ignored the pain as she suddenly became caught in a wave. She tumbled end over end as the wave carried her to the shore. She hit the sandy embankment hard.
She wasn't sure how long she lay there with the water rolling over her, but she was dimly aware of someone standing over her. His voice was steady.
"Ma'am, are you ok?" Don asked the strange woman. Her clothing was in tatters, and what was left on her odd. A solid white tunic covered her chest, while armor covered her legs. He could see fresh wounds running down her back and hands a criss-cross pattern. As he moved to roll her over, he marveled at just large the woman was. She was easily a foot taller than him, with a body that looked like it had been chiseled out of granite.
As she was rolled over, she suddenly sat up and gripped him by the shoulders. "Husband!" She coughed up seawater before passing out.
"Oh boy." Don tried to drag her, but found that he was too weak. Checking to make sure her heart was beating and that her vitals were stable, he did one last check for identification before hobbling back to his car.
Racing to the nearest hospital, his thoughts were occupied by both Lady Thor and the stranger on the beach. "Her clothes are similar, is she another god?" The ring in his pocket suddenly seemed much heavier as the car barreled down the road. "Jane has to know about this. Could that woman be another enemy?" The nagging feeling in the back of his mind stayed with him long into the night, even after the woman was rushed to the hospital. As he was questioned, his thoughts drifted back to Jane. "I wish I could be as a brave as her." His dreams that night would be of flying.
First, fan mail:
I can't get enough of Lady T! I
suspect that her days might
be numbered, as the story arc seems to be concluding. Am I right?
Who said the story was ending? Don't worry agent, there are still plenty more Lady Thor adventures to be told. There will be some changes; no doubt, but don't fret. Journey Into Mystery isn't going anywhere. Believe that True Believer!
Great story Cambot. Wish I could elaborate, but I must be going.
Words from our own Lady T herself, and as always, thanks for reading.
This particular story was based on "Thor Battles the Carbon-Copy Man", which was first published in Journey Into Mystery #90 (March 1963). Credits listed are Stan Lee (writer), Al Hartley (pencils and inks), and Terry Szenics (letters). All rights reserved, no profit is intended.
Be sure to come back next issue, when Lady Thor battles Sandu, Master of the Supernatural!
And be sure to keep your peepers peeled for upcoming works!
Sensational Comics #7-The Hulk VS The Fantastic Four!
Tales to Astonish #6-See the Wasp Fail!
Amazing Adventures #4-What Lurks Within?