etragedy's Thor #131 - They Strike From Space review

Stan Lee's Writing Take A Step Forward

I was sort of dreading this issue, given that we've established that A) The best Thor stories are the ones where the Thunder God is in conflict with other deities and magical beings, and B) Stan Lee's early science fiction was pretty iffy on the whole 'science' part of the equation.
However, I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised, he seems to have grown a bit as a writer. While the overall theme of 'might makes right' still seems to permeate Thor - it's even expressly stated by Thor in this issue when the would be world-conqueror reveals her plans and Thor responds with 'You have not the power!'; Not you haven't the right, but you haven't the power - the scripting is improved in many other ways. The science, for example. No longer does Stan rely on 'radiation' or worse 'magnetism' as a catch-all. Here there's still pseudoscience, but at least it's pseudoscience that's believable in a 1960s sci-fi sort of way: Thor is trapped in a proton cage, the aliens alter their density to deliver powerful blows and to protect themselves, etc.
The portrayal of the Rigellians is interesting too. The whole conquest of Earth isn't done in the stereotypical fashion. If anything, the Rigellians treat the whole thing like routine business. An investigator team is sent as a matter of bureaucracy, records must be kept. At one point, the aliens who take Thor captive want to hurry home because they get no additional compensation for overtime!
Kirby's art isn't as noteworthy in this issue, but given that he too has improved much in recent months, it's worth noting that it's generally solid. An attempt to include photo collage however comes out as a totally failure, too saturated with ink it looks like an amorphous blob that even the colorist couldn't save.
The backup story is a pretty standard Tale of Asgard, but it has Thor resorting to the use of disguise, which seems generally un-Thorlike.
No matter.. it's still worth the time for the parts with the Rigellians.


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