Odin is still taking advice from Loki? For an all-seeing, all-powerful deity, it seems he should be a little less willing to continually trust the untrustworthy God of Mischief.
This time, he takes Loki's advice to personally to to Earth and attend to Thor--and he leaves Loki in charge of Asgard while he's gone.
To the surprise of no one other than Odin, Loki immediately betrays the All-Father. He sets free Skagg the Storm Giant and Surtur the Fire Demon to attack Earth. Fortunately, Heimdall picks up Loki's evil scheme with his super-hearing, then sends Balder the Brave to warn Odin. This, I believe, is Balder's first appearance in which he looks like the Balder we're all used to seeing. It's his introduction as a regular reoccuring character in the Thor mythos.
All this leads to a wonderful battle. Odin starts things off by transporting the entire population of the Earth to another dimension, where they'll be kept safe until the danger has passed. Then he, Thor and Balder manage to eek out a victory against the giant and the demon. It's a story that allows Kirby to go totally cosmic with his art, which is--of course--always a good thing.
Afterwards, Thor refuses to go back to Asgard with Odin because he's still in love with Jane, so that whole issue remains unresolved. Odin exiles Loki and sends him to live with the trolls--I guess even an all-seeing, all-powerful deity can finally get it.
The "Tales of Asgard" back-up story is one of several that provide us with some background information on the Asgardian supporting cast. It's basically Heimdall's job interview for the task of guarding the Rainbow Bridge that leads to Asgard. After effectively demonstrating that his abiltiy to see or hear anything--no matter how far away--makes him the perfect guard, he gets the job. It's not action-packed, but it doesn't need to be. Kirby's layouts once again leaves the story literally dripping with pure awesomeness.
It's gotta be a trap, right? Tony couldn't be that dumb, could he?
Actually, apparently, he could be. The Widow snatches away the device and makes a getaway, then begins using it in a campaign of sabatoge--all with the hope of getting back into the good graces of the Russian government. Eventually, Iron Man is able to destroy the device and save the day.
But, gee whiz, Tony. Giving her a second chance is one thing. Showing off super-secret devices to a known Russian spy is another thing entirely. Next time you want to impress a lady, just buy her a new Corvette or something, would you?
Tales to Astonish #55
The Human Top--Giant Man's nemesis from several issues ago--breaks out of jail, then managest to steal Hank's growth capsules. So now our heroes have to face off against a giant human top.
Dick Ayers is doing the art here and gives us an entertaining fight sequence, in which we find out (I'm pretty sure for the first time) that Hank can communicate with termites as well as ants. This leads to the tactic of having the termits eat a rooftop out from under the bad guy, thus giving victory to the bad guys.
A good if unexceptional issue. Having a villain use Hank's own invention against him is pretty cool, though.
Next week, we'll finish up May with a look at the Avengers and the X-Men.