The Mysterious Mr. Hyde
"Do you take this woman as your lawfully wedded wife?" Don kept playing the scenario over and over in his mind, yet every time he tried to answer he kept imagining some horrid fate befalling him.
"What if Odin or Loki shows up? What Jane finds someone else?" Don sat at his desk. Before him was enough paperwork to cover nearly half a dozen desks. Wedding invites, license applications, catering, plus the usual accumulation of a small time medical clinic. "I'm starting to see why people just run off."
The buzzer outside rang. Normally Jane would see to it, but she had left due to Avengers business. Don winced as he hobbled over to the door. "I suppose it would be silly if I complained about someone being on call." He opened the door and almost shut it at once, had the visitor not blocked it with his foot.
"Donny!" Calvin Zabo grinned broadly as he forced his way inside. "How are things, old man?"
"Fine Calvin, just fine." Don stared at the gangly man. Calvin Zabo was nearly the definition of a bad egg. Calvin was the kind of kid who would cheat off of you, then rat you out to the teacher. They studied in undergraduate school, briefly. Don heard through the grapevine that Calvin had been highly suspected of copying his final papers, not to mention a whole host of other unsavory issues.
His first instinct was to toss the man outside, but something made him stop. "Calvin knows me, knows Don Blake! He can prove I'm who I say I am!" Granted, the man's manner irritated him to no end, but actual proof that Don Blake was a person? He shook his head when he realized Calvin had been talking to him.
"Look old bean, I'm afraid to say this, but I've hit a rough patch lately. I don't suppose you could use a dashing pharmacist around the office?" Calvin grinned wide enough to make his face hurt.
"I could use another set of hands." Don considered Calvin's offer. Unaware to the good doctor, Calvin had ulterior motives.
Ever since he was a child, Calvin had obsessed with hidden natures. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, in particular, enthralled him. Going into the pharmacy business, he pooled all of his resources into studying and researching a means to unleash the id. Pooling his resources sadly often involved taking other resources from his employers. He was never caught, and there was no evidence linking to the thefts, but if someone were inclined to search they would see a pattern.
As it stood, Calvin had nearly everything he would need. He just lacked a few key ingredients, but he was sure his 'old buddy' wouldn't mind helping him. When Blake grabbed his hand, Calvin was drawn back into the moment and put on the old smile. "So when do I start?"
Jane Foster hurried inside the clinic at a quarter to nine. "I really am going to tell Iron Man not to schedule meetings during the week!" he opened the door to see a strange man sitting at her desk.
"Ah, so this is the famed Nurse Foster I've been hearing so much about!" Calvin ran his fingers through his styled pompadour. They came back greasy.
"Can I help you?" Jane felt uneasy as the man strolled towards her. Don entered the room.
"Jane! This is Calvin Zabo, the new hire."
"New hire? Why wasn't I told about this?"
Calvin smiled in such a way Jane had to fight the urge to punch him. "Well, if you showed up for work on time I'm sure Dr Blake would keep you informed."
Don hustled her to the back before she could demonstrate the reason for her being late on Zabo's head. "Jane, I can explain!"
Jane listened, but nearly stopped when he got to the part of inviting Zabo to the wedding. "Why? In all that's holy, why him?"
"Because he knows me!" Don snapped.
In the halls of Asgard, Odin watched the events on Midgard intently. His solitary vigil was broken as Balder entered the chamber. "My liege, a word?"
"Who dares? I gave orders not to be disturbed!"
"Balder the Brave has weathered many battles All Father, but in this battle I can stand idly by no longer!"
Odin glared at the younger god, his single eye blazing. "You have stood ever ready to defend the Golden Realm, and your swordsmanship has given me victory when even mighty Tyr would yield. Tell me, what does thou seek?"
"Merely a moment of thy time." Balder lowered himself, his forehead nearly touching the golden floor. "My lord, no one mourns the absence of Thor more than myself, but after witnessing the mortal wield the power, perhaps thou should honor thy wife's wishes? As a mortal, Thor now has the humility you wished to impart to him."
Odin's voice was hoarse. "Aye, but the cost has been far greater than I imagined. I simply wished my son to lose his arrogance, but now I've lost him forever."
"Perhaps a case could be made for gaining a daughter?" Loki stepped out from the shadows.
"Loki! Slinking about the shadows suits ye!" Balder rested his hand on his hilt. Odin put himself between the two.
"Loki, my son!" Odin clasped the trickster by the shoulders. "What news bring ye of Midgard?"
Loki's face was dour and serious, but Balder noticed the mirth in the half giant's eyes. "News of the heavy sort my liege. My noble brother is in talks to marry himself to the mortal who wields Mjolnir, and father, I believe him to do it."
Where once Odin would have raged mightily, now he only sighed; he turned from Loki and Balder and stared into the bazaar, the flames dancing weakly. "Perhaps it is a sign. This mortal woman has proven herself worthy enough to use the hammer. How doth Sif fare with this news?"
"In truth dear Father I have not informed her yet, nor my niece. I felt it more suited for someone else." He shot a glance at Balder.
"Excellent thinking my boy!" Odin turned from the fire. "There is wisdom is allowing Thor to remain a mortal. Loki, I charge you to go to Midgard and report to me on the mortal Foster's actions. Is she worthy of Mjolnir? Bring me proof!"
"My lord, perhaps it would be better for someone, less involved, to observe?" Balder raised his voice, but Odin clasped a large hand on his shoulder.
"Nay noble Balder, you I wish to inform the lady Sif of my decision. If the court of Asgard is to be host to a new member, I must see how the idea would be accepted." Balder uneasily glanced back at Loki as the trickster casually strolled out through the front door.
~Back on Earth
"I can't believe you!" Jane swore. The days since Calvin Zabo had been hired had been the most trying in her professional life. She could tolerate the come-ons, the 'accidental' bumping, and the sleazy jokes, but her proverbial last straw came when she walked in on Zabo hastily shoving glass vials into his large bag while trying to block her view of several medicine bottles that were now partially empty.
Don, when confronted with this, shocked her to her very core. He did nothing. At least, nothing immediately; "I just want to hear Calvin's excuse."
"What excuse? He was watering down our medicine and stealing the rest!" Calvin strolled into the room, grinning like the cat that ate the proverbial canary.
"Are my ears burning?" Calvin's grin stopped as Jane pointed her finger at him.
"They won't be the only things burning you creep! If Dr. Blake won't press charges, then I will!"
Calvin's grin returned. "Really? And tell me sweetie, who is the board more likely to believe, a simple nurse who can't seem to remember to set a clock, or a respected pharmacist? Donny can back me up, won't you Don?"
Don gripped a pencil so tight his knuckles turned white. "Calvin, I've tolerated your antics before, but no longer!" He sprang to his feet. Hobbling as fast as he could, he struck Zabo about the legs and stomach with his cane.
At once Zabo's persona changed. His face was twisted with rage. "You pathetic little gimp! You think hiding behind a skirt is going to save you?" He roughly shoved Don to the ground. Turning his back to Jane, he gloated over Don's fallen body. "You were nothing when we were kids, and you're still a nothing!"
Jane grabbed the gnarled cane by her desk, but at Zabo's words she changed her mind. Storming back into the office she scooped up a wastebasket and slammed it over Zabo's head. He howled with rage as he staggered back.
Pressing her advantage, she grabbed a soda bottle from Zabo's desk and slammed it across his knee. Zabo went down to the carpet in tears as she held the still intact bottle at her side. "Now you listen to me you slimy creep, if I ever see you, if I even hear a rumor that you were on this street-" She hefted the bottle for emphasis. "Understand?"
"I could have your license revoked for this!" Zabo seethed.
"Go ahead, 'sweetie', but what will the board say when I tell them of your little drama here? And I'm betting you were just as careless at your previous employers too!"
The fight died in Zabo. He hobbled out the door, only pausing long enough to take his bag with him. Jane watched him leave with a sense of relief and growing dread. "He'll try something. His kind always does."
~Later that night, at Zabo's apartment
Jane was correct, but not in the way she anticipated. Calvin adjusted his glasses as he lowered the heat on the Bunsen burner. "That witch! She'll rue the day she talked to me like that!" It didn't matter anymore. He would be beyond mere petty rules soon. "It took me long enough, but I finally have enough of the proper ingredients to create my formula!"
Zabo had been working on the formula since he arrived home. The large beaker bubbled with the strange brew. The colors shifted and swirled until they reached the proper hue. "If this works, all my dreams will come true!"
He eagerly poured a tiny amount of the formula into a test tube and gingerly sipped it. The liquid burned on his tongue and all the way down. His skin felt hot. Sweat poured down his back and sides as he tried to write down the effects. "Burning…can't breathe!" He left a deep scrawl on his notepad as he collapsed to the floor, his body twisting and changing radically.
His bones snapped as they swelled with size. Muscles grew and stretched his skin, pushing his loose fitting clothing to the limit. His oiled black hair turned a light shade of brown and fell down his shoulders and face.
His face, too, changed, twisting and reshaping itself. Within moments, Calvin Zabo was no more. In his place was Edward Hyde.
"I live! Free, free to do what I want!" The considerably larger Hyde threw an overcoat over his large frame and stalked out into the night. "And I know what I want most of all now!"
~Some time later, at the apartment of Donald Blake
Don mused as Jane put the kettle on the stove. "Jane, I'm sorry."
She nodded at his words as she fixed herself a cup of tea. "I'm sorry I didn't send a few lightning bolts into him." She waited as the water boiled before pouring it into her cup. "Don, this identity of yours, I told you it doesn't matter to me."
"It still matters to me, but if Zabo is all I have to prove I'm real, maybe I'm better off being a phony."
She sat down beside him. "Hush. Don, you're real to me. I've been in love with you since the day we met, and I don't care what deity tells me differently."
Don's reply was shattered when a large trashcan broke his window. "Can Donny come out to play?" A guttural voice rang out from the street.
"Don, call the police then hide. I'll handle this!" Jane took her walking stick as Don rushed into the bedroom.
Hyde tore a lamppost out of the sidewalk and swung it like a bat. "Come on out you milksop, I don't have all night!"
Thunder boomed across the heavens. He smelled the thick stench of ozone around him. "Monster, thy end is neigh!"
Hyde turned to the sound of the voice. A rather large fist slammed into his face, smashing several bones under it. He stepped back. "Who dares?"
Lady Thor stood before him, her hammer at her side. "I dare!" With precision ease, she threw her hammer directly at him. The enchanted mallet streaked through the air and collided with Hyde's midsection.
If it had been Calvin Zabo standing in the street, his torso would have been turned into a pulpy mess. My Hyde, on the other hand, grunted with effort as the hammer flew back to its mistress's outstretched hand. "Was that all? It tickled!" He thrust forward with the lamppost. She caught the improvised weapon with one hand.
"Is this all ye can muster?" She tapped her hammer on the ground. A bolt of lighting came down through the heavens and struck her, and by proxy, the metal lamppost. Hyde didn't have time to register her actions as the heat from the blast (a forensic expert would later guess it at being 60,000 degrees F) instantly blistered his hands and ignited his clothes. His muscles clenched, but he couldn't let go.
Dropping the lamp she rushed forward and, with a swing that would make a major league ballplayer weep with envy, slammed Mjolnir into his midsection before his body had the chance to cool down. The blow was mighty enough to physically lift the man off his feet and send him streaking away like a comet.
Lady Thor flew up to the ruined window as she heard the wail of police sirens. With a single tap and a flash of light, the goddess of the storm was gone, and in her place, a mortal woman. "Don?"
He stepped out from the bedroom, a golf club in his hand. "Is it over?"
"I think so, but who was he?"
~A few hours later
Hyde, burned and almost blinded, stumbled back to the now too small apartment of Calvin Zabo. Knocking piles of garbage aside, he shoved the door to the back side off its hinges and collapsed in a heap inside. He passed out, his thoughts black.
Waking around midway, Calvin sat amidst the ruined remains of his clothes and room. "Blast, I was so close! Blake doesn't suspect me, obviously, but that Lady Thor!" His blood boiled at the memories of last night. "I must find a way to destroy her, and then I can finish off that fool Blake at my leisure!" He climbed to his feet and set about putting his plan in motion. "I'll need an accomplice however, someone who will pay to see someone like Lady Thor destroyed and humiliated. Who, who would volunteer for such a task?"
~ A few days later
Earl Byrne glanced back at his cargo. He didn't care to be the one transporting a group of convicts to the local pen, but he needed the money. "Lousy Lou, I bet that idiot just had one too many last night!" He grumbled to himself. "At least I've got the girls; I know they won't be giving me any trouble."
He considered himself lucky to be driving to the women's corrections. When a giant shoulder tackled the bus and sent the vehicle flying off the road, Earl was slammed against the wheel. He gave serious thought to becoming a plumber as he passed out.
Hyde tore the emergency exit door to the bus off and flung it away. The convicts were a motley bunch. Some of them screamed, others pleaded to be released. He eyed them carefully. "My plan has to work, but I need the perfect subject!" His eyes fell on lone inmate in particular, sitting near the driver.
The prisoners were shackled to their seats. With the barest of efforts, Hyde tore their chains apart. As the convicts rushed towards freedom, Hyde clasped one mighty hand on one prisoner in particular.
Zelda DuBois, better known as Princess Python, nervously looked up at Hyde. "Look, I'm grateful for the assist, but I'd rather not stick around when the cops show up."
"I have need of you!" Hyde's voice rumbled in his throat. Ignoring her protests, he slung her over his shoulders and raced off.
Later, in a small clearing some miles away, Hyde deposited his cargo roughly on the group. "Hey, what's the big idea?" Zelda whined as she shot a nervous glance around.
"Quiet!" Hyde roared. He lumbered over to a small bundle he hid inside a nearby tree. "How would you like power?"
Zelda grew interested. "I'm listening."
"I can give you strength, speed, everything you need to rule the world!"
She stood up. Her hands were still handcuffed, but she rubbed her chin with interest. "Ok, sounds nice, but what exactly do you need me to do?"
Hyde unwrapped the bundle. He pulled out a costume and two vials. "I need you to frame Lady Thor!"
"What?" Zelda's voice was flat. "Honey, I'm a just a gal who can handle a snake. There is no way I can tackle that powerhouse!"
Hyde grinned; Zelda wished he hadn't. "Ah, but with my formula you can!" He laid the costume out carefully. It was strictly a costume store knockoff, but he doubted anyone would be focusing their attention on her clothing.
Zelda glanced over the clothing and then at Hyde. "Is it reversible?"
"Well, what the heck. I'm tired of being caught, maybe this will even things a bit!" She took the vial. Hyde popped her handcuffs off and stepped back. "My associate will be waiting with a car about half a mile that way." He jerked his thumb towards a path. "Be there in five minutes and he'll take you to the city."
He lumbered off, leaving Zelda alone in the woods. She sniffed the vial. "God what a stink!" She glanced around nervously. "Now or never I guess." She downed the contents in one gulp.
The liquid burned all the way down. She clutched her throat as her vision grew blurry. She collapsed, panting. Nauseous, she tried to crawl as her body shook. Before her eyes, her muscles swelled. Bones broke and reshaped as her body changed shape. She grew larger, ripping her way free of her prison jumpsuit. Her hair, cut short per regulation, fell down around her shoulders, becoming lighter.
At once the pain and sickness passed. Standing up, Zelda gasped at her new appearance. "I'm huge!" She was nearly two feet taller, blond, and (going by the mirror left by Hyde) sporting a completely different face. "How is this possible?"
She removed the tattered remains of the prison blues, which didn't require much effort now, and dressed herself in the costume provided by her benefactor. "Lady Thor eh? I guess I can playact for a while."
She followed the instructions and met Calvin Zabo at his car. He smiled at her appearance. "Ah, I see you decided to take my offer, very wise."
"Yeah, yeah, but who are you exactly?"
"Someone who can make you very rich." He was curt, which she didn't care for. Even the Ringmaster knew enough not to mouth off to his workers. She fumed in silence as they drove back into town. Zabo continued to talk. "Your task is fairly simple. I want you to rob a bank."
"What?" Zelda skeptically looked at her benefactor. "Are you crazy?"
"Not so; with your enhanced strength you can easily take the money. As a side bonus, your fingerprints are also different, as is your face. The police would never think to even link Princess Python with the crime."
"Hmm, that does sound good." She glanced at her fingers. "A real clean slate!"
"The overall goal, I must stress, is not profit but humiliation." Zabo grinned. "I want the public to fear Lady Thor, to hate her. I want her hunted night and day!"
"I think I can manage that." Zelda picked up the faux hammer from the backseat. "So when do we do this?"
"How about now?" Zabo pulled over. "The nearest savings and loan is a few blocks over. Go in, smash up the place, and grab what you can. I'll wait for two minutes exactly, after that you are on your own. You will change back within ten minutes, so I'd suggest speed."
Zelda raced back towards the car. She had entered the bank as asked, but what happened after that she would never forget. She pulled off a heist by herself. She had simply torn the safe apart and grabbed the money.
For an exit she made one through the nearest wall. Her laughter boomed as she neared the car. "My god, I've never felt such a rush!"
Zabo started the engine as she dived into the backseat. "Did enough people see you?"
"Yup, made sure to state my name too. In case anyone doubted my performance, I left a few chunks of the safe in the ceiling." She dumped the thick wads of bills into the front seat.
Zabo patted the money before he slipped his coat over it. "Excellent!" Zelda began to shrink back to her original size. Over her annoyed sighs, Zabo wagged a finger. "Did you think that power would last forever? If you want to feel it again, it's going to cost you."
~Back in Asgard
Loki had watched the crime unfolding with great interest. "Ah, a new player on the board. Interesting, interesting indeed!" He folded his arms behind him as thoughts raced through his mind.
"I had simply thought to lie to that old fool, but with this…" the images of the faux Lady Thor filled the room. "With a few subtle changes, not even Sif could tell the difference!" From within his tower, Loki plotted. "I must take great care; that blasted pomp Balder has been voicing too much against me. My hands must be clean, yet soiled with the stench of Midgard enough to silence any questions."
His grin grew wider as he conjured up Sleipnir and rode towards Bifrost. "Aside Heimdall, I leave for a most urgent mission!" He kept his face stern as the guardian of the rainbow bridge moved aside. It was hard, but he resisted the urge, least the ever watching Heimdall see him. The eight-legged horse carried him to Earth in seconds. "Once, I would have to charm the old one eyed simpleton, now he gives me the fastest animal for free!"
Disguising himself in mortal clothes, and putting his mount asleep, Loki strolled boldly towards a parked police car. "Excuse me officers!" Thanks to his magic, his hair appeared mussed and his skin sweaty. "I think I spotted Lady Thor just down the block!"
"What?" The mortal driving the car radioed in for help as his partner took Loki's information.
"Yes, I saw her land on a roof, then enter the building. She looked very fearsome!" he gave them the mortal Blake's address.
"Thank you sir, we'll take it from here!" The officers exited the car as more squad cars arrived. Loki slipped away and returned to Asgard.
"Ha! I know the fool be there, and by changing she only plays into my hands all the more!"
~Back in Asgard
Loki rushed to meet Sigyn as she waited for him by the gates to Asgard. "Husband, it is well that you have returned! All father Odin is stricken with grief!"
Loki, looking as serious as he could, clasped her hands in his. "What? How has my noble father been laid so low?"
"He was viewing your sister on Earth when she suddenly attacked a group of mortals. He is in council now as we speak!" She walked beside him, nervously clutching her sleeves.
"Fear not wife, I'm sure there is a rational reason for this, and that justice shall prevail."
"For too long I've sat by and stood idle as this mortal stole my son's birthright! I thought, in my foolishness, that she might walk among us, that she would usher in a new age between mortals and ourselves." Odin paced the great hall, his heavy boots clanking against the floor. "And now I see that my hope has been wasted!" Images of Lady Thor robbing banks and fighting with police played across the flames sitting in the bazaars situated around the throne room.
"Let the call go forth! The mortal Jane Foster is a traitor, not worthy of the power she has usurped! She is to be brought back to the realm eternal in chains!"
Balder stood up. "Noble sire, whilst I can hardly believe the scenes that play before us, mayhap it would be better to let the lady speak for herself?"
"You propose a trial then light bringer?" Odin fumed. "Very well. I task you to venture forth and bring her back here, in no less than seven days." Odin left the chamber, his words still echoing.
As the crowd talked wildly, the noblest of all the gods slipped away and met with three cloaked figures. "You heard?"
"Difficult over the sounds of mutton being devoured, but aye. You wish us to capture the mortal?" Hogun the Grim doffed his hood.
"Mistake not my eating for cowardice, brave sir Hogun, but even the Lion of Asgard needs to build his strength for the no doubt dangerous road ahead!" Volstagg, his robe ill fitting, shook a bare bone at the warrior for emphasis.
Fandral the Dashing sighed and removed his disguise. "Perhaps a two pronged attack. You can go as Balder, ambassador of Asgard, whilst we three bring her here without Loki's knowing."
Balder nodded in agreement. "I truly wish no deception, but Loki's influence is growing more every day. We must bring Jane Foster here and let her explain her actions, but even with that I fear it may not be enough." Balder stared back at the scenes of Lady Thor robbing and fighting. "This is a lie, I know, but how can I convince Odin of it?"
Based on "The Mysterious Mister Hyde" first published in Journey Into Mystery I#99 (December 1963), with credits to Stan Lee (script), Don Heck (pencils/inks), and Artie Simek (letters). All rights reserved by Marvel/Disney.
Journey into a Mailbox
The Call Me BruceGreat work
Thanks, and yes, had I been aware of the chapter feature (or this entire series going as far as it has) I would have put them into one place. Rest assured, any future stories will be collected
Great update and nice hint on the future Avengers chapter, so that was the start of the super villain known as the Cobra, right? Also Loki making a bargain with Don Blake, I wonder why given Loki's hatred of Thor. Plus a possible marriage between Don Blake and Jane Foster, as if things were complicated enough. I also notice the Spider-Man hint in this chapter, so I can see that we may see the Amazing one sooner than later? Please keep up the good work upon this great series of yours as I can't wait to see what happens in the next Lady Thor adventure.
Thanks! In order, yes, Loki has his reasons, indeed, possibly, and again thanks
I guess the first gathering of the Avengers delayed Don Blake's surprise. Jane and Don journeyed all the way to the West Coast for that medical convention and then back before he got around to his surprise. Yes, I'd say I was surprised by about what he wanted to see Jane in person. Don seemed almost like he must do something to keep Jane close, after she left work for Dr. Kincaid. It doesn't seem, though, that he's really sure. Instead he seems relieved that Jane put him off.
We'll see Klaus Vorhees again when he teams up with next issue's villain, Calvin Zabo. And that, I believe, was it for this battles with Thor as they moved on to easier opponents like Captain America and Daredevil.
Yes, yes it did. As for keeping Jane close, can you blame him? And an extra special thanks to proofreading the previous issue and this one as well
Excellent work, I'm always a sucker for good dialogue, which you always have in your stories.
And thank you for reading!
Be sure to keep an eye out for the upcoming tales, soon on monitors everywhere
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