Lady Thor VS the Lava Man
It has been spoken of, from noted academics to grizzled witch doctors, of another world located deep within the bowels of the Earth. Recent events showed the world that such things are possible, but the truth is far stranger than most theories. On the Western coast of North America, several miles below the surface to be exact, there exists a race of men never imagined before.
They are not men of flesh and blood, but rather lava and fire. Humanoid in shape, these lava people live simple lives. Their exact origins are unknown, even to the oldest among them. They simply are, and that is enough.
One lava man in particular requires special mention. His name is Molto, and of all his tribe he is the strongest.
Before the king and the old shaman Jinku stood Molto. The king sat on a roughly hewed throne, while the old magic man crouched at his side. "Molto, do you know why you were summoned?" The king's deep voice echoed in the chamber.
"You have been selected!" Jinku spoke before Molto could. The old shaman had been growing bolder lately. "My eyes see all, and they see that you shall play a special part today!" Molto, to his credit, said nothing and let the old man ramble. "My fires tell me much, yes, they tell me the surface men are growing more dangerous by the day! Already they have made advances towards us in the underground!"
"That is why you have been picked of all my warriors to venture forth and report on these strange surface people. Are we in danger?" The king pointed a flaming red finger. "Go forth and do not fail us."
Molto thumped his fist against his chest in the traditional salute and took his leave.
At the same time, hidden from prying eyes, Loki watched over all. In a crystal eye he witnessed Lady Thor's battle with Merlin, while in a small pool at his feet he eavesdropped on Molto's quest. "A new player? This should change the board more to Loki's liking."
He closed the pool. Moving towards a small table, he busied himself with smoking vials and other items. "This fire creature will be the perfect pawn." Tossing several ingredients into a pot, he ground them together. With a small laugh he tossed the power out an open window, watching as the dark cloud was carried away. "Once the warrior leaves the underworld, he will be in my total command!"
Loki closed the window. He had never seen the Lava Men before, but he knew what they represented: power. The elements (land, fire, water, and air) were powerful tools in the right hands. His brother Thor ruled the sky and called the storm. Should Lady Thor come into contact with such a fiery being, the magic of both would be enhanced. "None shall wield more power than Loki!"
His spell was simple. Once the Lava Man exited into the open air, he was to go on a rampage. At the sight of Lady Thor, a battle would commence. If the fire man lived or died it was of no consequence. Loki smiled, baring his teeth to the world. "In fact, a death would serve my purposes. With their champion slain, the Lava Men would have no reason to aid my sister, and High Father Odin would only grow more malleable in my hands!" He started to laugh. "'Oh Loki, thou art such a noble son', he would preen." His laughter continued. "Truly, this shall be Loki's day!"
Jane stared at the phone. Papers piled up on her desk, but she focused her attention on the black plastic receiver. "Come on Jane, you're just being silly." When it rang she almost jumped from her chair. Snatching it up, she held her breath until she heard a familiar voice.
"Jane?" Don Blake nervously tapped his cane. "Is that you?"
"Yes, I mean, Dr. Kincaid's office. How can I help you?" Jane spoke as a reflex, but she almost dropped the receiver. "Don?"
"Jane? I need to talk." He sounded…tired?
Glancing around the office, Jane leaned down and drew the phone close. "What is it?"
"There are some things I need to say to you in person." Her heart skipped a beat. "There's a conference coming up. I was wondering if you could join me. We could talk then."
"But why not now?"
"Because, ah," He was silent for several seconds. "Jane, I just need to see you. Are you busy?"
"No, but Dr. Kincaid will be back any moment." She flipped on the radio. The announcer interrupted her before she could finish.
Molto exited the volcano and looked around. The surface was a mystery to him. As he walked, drawing in his heat as not to ignite the woods around him, he felt a chill. A strange coldness went through him, aching in his bones. "What is this feeling?" He lashed out and struck a tree limb. "Is it the surface dwellers? Can they do this to us?"
Loki watched unseen. The first part of his plan was working. The spell was working, but the effects were taking too long. "Perhaps some flint to spark the tender." A hunter walked in the woods nearby. Loki eyed the man's rifle and smiled. "Ah, the perfect bait!"
Mark Thomas cursed his luck. "All day, and not a single track. All the others guys get a dozen bucks a piece, and I don't even have a rotten pigeon!" Hearing a rustling up ahead, Mark quickly fired his rifle.
Rushing forward, he entered the clearing and found, not a dying animal but rather a live and angered creature. Dropping his weapon, he sputtered apologies before turning tail and fleeing.
"You dare!" Molto seethed. His English was passable but highly accented. He was unaware of this, as the spell Loki cast made his speech understandable to others. Molto picked up the rifle and examined it. The bullets flattened against his skin, but he could still feel the impact. With a slight squeeze, he melted the rifle's barrel. "So, this is the surface dweller's way?"
Loki's grin grew wider. "Aw, now the die is cast." He, as a shade, whispered into Molto's ear. "Lady Thor is behind this. Seek her out and destroy her!"
Molto tossed the weapon down. "Lady Thor, why does this name enrage me so? I must find whoever this is, and destroy her!" He turned until he faced the East and broke into a sprint.
Jane was about to answer Don when the radio announcer interrupted the usual news with an urgent bulletin. "Flash! A human torch is tearing through the West Side, demanding Lady Thor! We're getting more news folks; apparently this is the same figure that was sighted near the Rockies this morning. His path of destruction is incredible folks, I, I can see him outside our studio!"
Jane switched the radio off. "Don, I'll call you back." She hung up before he could protest. Grabbing her walking stick, she darted out of the office. Ignoring Dr. Kincaid as he entered the building, she raced around to the alley. Without slowing down, she struck the gnarled wood against the modern stone.
Jane Foster entered the alley, but Lady Thor exited it. Taking to the sky, she saw the rising smoke and flame. "Storms, give me aid!"
Lady Thor landed on Broadway; before her, amidst a pile of wrecked cars, stood a glowing red humanoid. It looked vaguely like a man. The skin of the creature was a bright red, almost pink. As it walked, she noticed it left perfectly shaped footprints burned into the asphalt. "Thou would seek me out?"
Molto looked at the new arrival with hate filled eyes; He had never seen this figure before, but he knew who she was…and he hated her. "Kill!"
She felt the heat before the blows. Tapping her hammer against the ground, she summoned a quick gust of wind and rain. The molten figure screamed in agony as the water hit his burning flesh, but he pressed forward. She dodged a crude kick and zipped behind him.
"He has no skill at combat, but his heat alone covers that. If he touches me, the fight may well be over!" She took to the sky to try and come up with a plan.
Loki watched, unobserved. "Nay dear sister, I can't have you taking the logical course of action! The fun would be over too quickly!" He quickly wove another spell…
Molto felt a strange kind of lightness in his feet. Puzzled, he lifted a foot and found himself floating. "Perhaps being on the surface is enhancing my strength? No matter, I'll have my enemy now!" He zoomed in towards the target of his rage.
Lady Thor spat. "Loki's doing, no doubt. Only he could send such a foul creature! Be this monster from Asgard or Hel's own table, I shall not let its existence continue!" She swung her hammer faster and flew towards her foe.
Molto clenched both fists and rushed to meet her. Hurtling through the sky, his fists smoked as he increased his body's temperature. Lady Thor thrust Mjolnir and held on as she streaked towards him.
They collided. Scientists and philosophers have often discussed what would happen when an unstoppable object should meet with an immovable object. In this particular case, a flash of blinding redness, the sickening sound of rocks being smashed, and several profanities.
Loki watched, amused. "Enjoyable, but I think mine spells doth cloud his mind too much. Perhaps some clarity shall produce more sport?"
Sending up great jets of steam and water, Molto crashed into the Hudson. Water was a fairly unknown substance to the Lava Man, but he found it easy to move through if he increased his heat. Walking to the shore, he fell to the ground. "Such power, Jinku was right to send me!" He thrust his ruined hands into the boiling mud. Calling upon the shaman, he was rewarded when his arms were suddenly covered in a thick volcanic rock.
Falling back, Molto rolled in the mud. The soil under him baked and coated him. Encased in the makeshift armor, he stood tall and glared at Lady Thor as she landed not far away. "So, the demon comes back, eh?
Lady Thor took stock of the situation. "I must deal with this foe, and soon. His heat is boiling away the river. I dare say he imperils all of Midgard." She held her hammer before her. "A storm might slow him down, but I can't risk unleashing a maelstrom in such an area." Seeing the steam released through the cracks in his armor gave her an idea. "A volcano! Surely such an area would contain him, or at least allow the chance to reduce the risk to the mortals!"
"Hold creature! I shall not let this battle rage further!" Ignoring Molto's battle cry, she twirled her hammer, summoning a storm the likes of which few mortals had witnessed. The clouds formed a funnel and large chunks of the shore were sucked away.
Molto ignored everything but his hate. His enemy was before him, and he knew he had to win. He couldn't recall why he was fighting or even the area he was in. All he knew was that his foe was before him and that was enough.
Moving slowly, he inched his way towards Lady Thor. His armor kept him warm against the howling wind, but it also slowed him down. Just as he raised his arms to strike, he was lifted off of his feet and tossed into the sky.
Flying through the sky, her foe in tow behind her, Lady Thor searched until she came to a mountain range several miles North of the city. She silently prayed as she dove earthward and slammed Molto into the rocks. Pushing down with the full might of the storm; she pushed the flaming lava creature deep into the bowels of the Earth. Before he could get his bearings, she filled in the hole as she flew back towards daylight.
Alone, she slumped against a tree and waited. The displaced soil and rock did not move. Warily, she stepped back. "After I report this, I have to call Don back." With a swing of her hammer, she was sky born again. As she flew back to the city, she thought she heard a faint laughter on the winds.
Molto sat up. He felt as if he had just woken up from a strange dream. "What happened?" He knew he was in a battle. His limbs ached too much for that to be a dream. The exact reasons escaped him.
He made his way back to his village. Journeying underground is usually much faster than traveling over it. With his powers and the occasional lava flow, he was able to reach his home in scant hours.
Throwing aside his armor, he approached his king. The village gathered around him as he kneeled before the king. "What news bring you?" Jinku demanded.
"I was driven back. The surface dwellers are all mad!" Molto nursed his injured hands. "I no sooner tread upon their land when they attacked me with a strange weapons. I also battled with the strangest creature I've ever seen! It spoke our language, although with a strange tone."
Distressed murmurings followed his words. "I was thrown back here, although I don't know how. My king, the surface world is a horrible one, filled with violent beasts!"
The king shook his head. "I was afraid of that." Standing up, the old lava man spread out his arms. "My people," He looked over the crowd. " Let it be known forever that I had hoped the surface people could live with us in harmony, but now that dream is ended. Never again will we talk. Now, there will be only war!" He shook his fists as his people cheered.
Jane slipped into the office. She had landed, changed, and made her way up the stairs without anyone seeing her. So when Dr. Kincaid cleared his throat, she was not surprised.
"Ok Ms. Foster, what was the reason this time?"
Jane looked around at the office, but her gaze kept coming back to the gnarled stick in her hand. "I had a call sir."
"That took you out of the office for two hours? I find that unlikely."
Jane flexed her fingers. She knew he had a point. He was a good doctor too, but his attitude had been getting worse. She knew he didn't think much of her. If he fired her, she knew he wouldn't give her any kind of recommendation. He might even get her license revoked.
She didn't care.
"Dr. Kincaid, I'm going to save you a lot of trouble." She marched past him and moved towards her desk. Snatching her few belongings, she dumped the lot into her purse. "I quit."
He was speechless. She took her few belongings and walked out the front door. She made it to the street before she felt the first pangs of panic. Hailing a cab, she silently leaned back as the driver took her home.
Tossing her things aside, she picked up the phone. "Don?"
"Jane, thank goodness!" She was excited to hear the joy in his voice. "I caught the entire battle over the radio!"
She explained her fight and gave a blow-by-blow account. Before she could say anymore, she remembered why she called him in the first place. "Ok Dr. Blake, now what exactly did you ring me up for anyway?"
Don sounded disappointed. "Oh. I wanted to know if you could attend a conference with me."
Jane raised an eyebrow. "That's all?"
"Well, there was something else, but I'd feel better if I saw you in person."
"Good enough. Get an extra ticket ready Don. I'm going with you and not even hell itself is going to stop me."
Loki watched over the fight and its aftermath. "A future foe and life unbalanced. Truly, a well earned victory." He poured mead into a goblet. "Dear sister, I dare say thy life is going to become more interesting than they can even imagine." His laughter echoed throughout Asgard.
Journey into a Mailbox
Next time, be here when Lady Thor tackles the Cobra!
Also, you should read #1 of the Avengers right after this, if you want to know what Don and Jane do.
First published in Journey Into Mystery#97 (October 1963), with credits to Stan Lee (story), Jack Kirby (pencils), Don Heck (ink), and Artie Simek (letters).
From They Call Me Bruce
Good work here fella
Finally THE AVENGERS arrive at last, also a hint towards S.H.I.E.L.D within this story as well. :D
I can't believe that was how Thor beat Merlin the first time around, I mean that is clever uses of how Thor won that battle. :D
Also, it seems that the ever scheme Loki is still using Lady Thor for his own doing. :(
Please do keep up the good work upon this great series of yours because I can't wait for Lady Thor Vs the Lava men
Thanks for another great recreation of a Silver Age Marvel story. Lady Thor, if I might mix mythologies, appears to be between Scylla (Loki) and Charybdis (JFK's The Best and the Brightest, i.e. NcNamara, Rusk, and (although you didn't mention him by name) Clark Clifford, and VP Johnson).
And finally, from Tiffani
Oh yes, that's a great story. It felt like a throwback to "the good ol' days".
Awesome job, as always.
Thanks for sharing.
And thanks to all of you who read and comment. Yes, Lady Thor is going to be suffering from some 'heat', you might say, of both the mortal and immortal variety.
Be on the lookout for the next exciting issues
Tales to Astonish#13-When Cyclops Walks the Earth!
Amazing Fantasy#5-The Grim Ghost walks the streets!
Avengers#2-The team tackles their first real foe!
Sensation Comics#15-The Hulk VS Iron Man & the Angel!