Back in 2011 the series Thor reverted to its original title - Journey Into Mystery (JiM) – and the series, written by Kieron Gillen, focused on Loki who was now a child and trying to make amends for his past misdeeds. At least, that was what it seemed like on the surface.
The series became known for it’s humor and sweeping story style. Personally, it became one of my all time favorite Marvel titles of all time and Loki, surprisingly, became one of my favorite characters. It was the closest to a Comic Book that Marvel published, and by that I mean every issue didn’t feel like a movie or TV show pitch.
The only bad things about the book, in my opinion, was how the covers were mistreated. The series had some of the best Marvel covers in recent memory yet many of them would have a third of the cover taken up by the hideous “Fear Itself” banner or the “Shattered Heroes” banner. The other would be the introduction of the term ‘Kid Loki’ by other reviewers. Personally, I can’t stand that term and I’ve never used it. Loki isn’t a teen sidekick.
So, having loved the series since #622 I was a little worried when I saw Gillen was leaving and taking Loki with him I have to admit I was worried that one of the few Marvel books I was reading was coming to an end. But then word came out that JiM was going to continue with an all new lead character as well as a new creative team and I figured I would stick around and see where the book goes.
So, Journey Into Mystery enters the Marvel NOW! era with #646. The new creative team of writer Kathryn Immonen and artist Valerio Schiti continue the series with perhaps the most surprising character to headline the book: Sif. I wasn’t sure if the book would be worth keeping, even though I actually like Sif and even picked up the one-shot Marvel put out back in 2010 and enjoyed it fully.
But can Sif carry an ongoing series? Well, if this first issue is any indication, I think the answer is going to be yes. Immonen, who I’m not really familiar with, does a great job not only making Sif, who has really always been just a supporting character, a viable main character and also keeps the charm and humor that Gillen established in his run. The humor and charm are something I think will become very important for this run because it will be able to help Sif become a more three-dimensional character as well as balance the nature of the story as Sif tries to become a more battle hardened warrior by any means necessary. This debut issue shows Immonen is able to balance the two sides very well and she’s well on her way in making Sif a breakthrough star much like how Gillen made Loki a breakthrough star.
As I mentioned before, the story focuses on Sif’s quest to become a better warrior and not just one that blindly follows the ebb and flow of Asgard’s wars, in her mind she sees herself as one who is strong enough to fight anyone yet wise enough to know how to prevent a war that would eventually destroy Asgard (again). Her quest will take her to many new and wondrous places and it’s off to a great start with this issue. We see both the calm side of Sif as well as her warrior side. Now we will see her journey as she tries to balance the two and become ever more than she is.
While Immonen is already showing her best on this book, there is little a talented writer can do if the art lacks. Fortunately this book has art that doesn’t lack in any way. Valerio Schiti, someone else I’m unfamiliar with, gives this book (and Sif) a unique look and does a fantastic job with pacing and facial expressions. This is how an Asgardian comic book should look.
Overall, the series is in good hands. I am confident that Sif will be more than able to carry the title until her story is done. The question now is will people who have never read this book give it a chance? Well, with all the talk lately of the supposed lack of female characters having their own books going on these days, I hope people will be willing to put their money where their mouths are and give this book a chance. It certainly deserves to be looked at.
Also, it’s soon to be the ONLY Marvel title to be in triple digit numbering that won’t be given a fake final issue only to be relaunched again with a pointless new #1 issue.
Journey Into Mystery NOW! by Kathryn Immonen and Valerio Schiti has my approval and support! I would love to thank them for picking up the ball and taking it even further! And Thanks to Marvel for not giving us that fake final issue and then another pointless #1!