Journey Into Mystery #654

Posted by Undeadpool (532 posts) - - Show Bio

The Good

Kathryn Immonen has taken one of the most unlikely characters to focus an entire book on and done just that. Sif was always a background character at best and shoehorned love interest at worst for a very long time, but even when she was more than that, she was rarely, if ever, the focal point of a story which left her a great deal of untapped potential. Immonen has taken that and crafted a fascinating, shockingly introspective, book about being adrift in an ever-changing world and this issue takes that notion to heretofore unseen levels. Stranded on a massive garden in space in an attempt to heal the All-Mother Gaea, Sif is shocked when Beta Ray Bill crashes his ship, seemingly losing both it and his other passenger in the process. When Gaea goes missing, and something strange begins to affect their minds, the two just can’t seem to bring themselves to work together again and go their separate ways. This issue brings those plot threads back together in a surreal, shocking way that changes a great deal about both the book’s stars. Immonen writes with a certain effortless whimsy that could easily clash with the book’s more serious moments, but never does because it doesn’t feel like an affectation. This is a book about Norse gods and horse-faced aliens, there should be a certain tone of humor and mirth pervading the whole thing.

Valerio Schiti is on pencils and inks with Jordie Bellaire on colors, and this book, already underrated, has some of THE BEST art on the shelf thanks to these two. The art matches the writing to a tee with mellow, smooth linework and colors that cause a snap to attention when the action abruptly kicks in. This is one of the stranger locations we’ve seen in the Marvel Universe, but these two render it effortlessly (or at least with the ILLUSION of effortlessness) and even manage to match the simultaneous whimsy and seriousness that the writing calls for. Every panel breathes, there’s an incredible illusion of motion but also of LIFE. These pages feel real, which is no small feat considering how off the wall odd most of them are.

The Bad

There are a lot of plot threads and obscure characters with strange names to keep track of. The book also calls upon a lot of what’s been going on behind the scenes in the Asgardia corner of Marvel, which isn’t the most well-travelled ground, so at times one may find oneself asking “Wait, who’s this again? Which one is this??” and the book moves at such a clip that this can be daunting.

The Verdict

It’s worthwhile to get to know these characters, because they’re being written in some of the most interesting, nuanced and subtle ways of any of their existences. This is a book that has it all: high drama, action, heartbreak, and a ton of humor to top it all off. It’s one of the most under-the-radar books in the Big Two’s arsenal and it absolutely deserves more recognition, if not higher sales. It's a book that takes some very usual genre conventions and applies them in a very unique, dynamic way to create something original out of something we've already seen.

Staff
#1 Posted by RedQueen (1171 posts) - - Show Bio

I've absolutely loved this book since the focus shifted to Sif: it's an utter shame the book is ending after the next issue. It was always at the top of my pile. Fantastic review, I agree completely on the art and the writing.

#2 Posted by TheHeat (450 posts) - - Show Bio

Am I the only one disturbed that Sif actually dated Horse-face? This is worse than Wanda's relationship with Vision.

#3 Edited by RedQueen (1171 posts) - - Show Bio

@theheat: I think he's adorable :) I also think bats are cute, so I don't know whether my opinion on the matter is entirely valid.

#4 Posted by garlyle (28 posts) - - Show Bio

Love this series, and hate the fact that it is ending. What is so amazing is that there are so many marvel series limping along in mediocrity that get to stay because they have an "X" in the title, or have to do with the Avengers, but this fantastic series is getting the axe. I can't escape adds for X titles, Avengers, whatever pointless and disappointing "event" is coming next, but I don't think I have ever, EVER seen an add for this fantastic series.

Marvel gives these talented female writers a shot, they knock it out of the park, issue after issue, but receive a fraction of a fraction of the marketing support so many lesser titles, written by men, receive. Damn shame. Great issue, and I am really going to miss this series.

#5 Edited by sparty-dbq (781 posts) - - Show Bio

@garlyle: I do recall seeing a few ads for this series, but they obviously were still not pushing it as much as they should have.

#6 Posted by New_World_Order (12622 posts) - - Show Bio

@theheat: What's wrong with Sif dating Beta Ray Bill? It's not as if she's a human.

#7 Posted by Mucklefluga (2525 posts) - - Show Bio

This sounds so good! But Asgardians and the like just don't interest me. Aagh.

#9 Posted by Akindoodle (981 posts) - - Show Bio

@redqueen: IT'S ENDING?! When? Who? How? Where'd you hear that from?! Now I feel guilty that this is partly my fault.... I- I haven't bought the last two issues. I say this shamefacedly. WHAT HAVE I DONE?! NOOOO!!! And do you know who's taking over after this run in terms of creative team and characters? (hint, hint, the Warriors Three with this current team would be as good a place as any). It's like Demon Knights all over again. I start getting really attached to the characters and then it's cut short. Why is life like this?! Universe, must you treat me so?!

#10 Posted by Owie (3630 posts) - - Show Bio

@redqueen: IT'S ENDING?! When? Who? How? Where'd you hear that from?! Now I feel guilty that this is partly my fault.... I- I haven't bought the last two issues. I say this shamefacedly. WHAT HAVE I DONE?! NOOOO!!! And do you know who's taking over after this run in terms of creative team and characters? (hint, hint, the Warriors Three with this current team would be as good a place as any). It's like Demon Knights all over again. I start getting really attached to the characters and then it's cut short. Why is life like this?! Universe, must you treat me so?!

They talk about it in the letters page. It's official--it's being cancelled altogether from what I understood. And it's too bad. I took a while to warm up to this after the excellence of Kid Loki, but now I really like it.

#11 Edited by RedQueen (1171 posts) - - Show Bio

@akindoodle: @akindoodle: @owie: Yep, it is indeed ending. As for the when: Issue 655 will be the last. Who; Marvel. How; blame those that can make decisions like this. It is entirely your fault - WHY DIDN'T YOU BUY THE LAST TWO ISSUES?! This is your fault. Alas, seems the book is being dropped entirely for the time being, but possibly expect it to make a return in November with Thor, Sif and the Warriors three making recurring appearances. Again, you bought this on yourself... If only you bought those issues.... JIM I will miss you so.

#13 Posted by Owie (3630 posts) - - Show Bio

@redqueen said:

@akindoodle: @akindoodle: @owie: Yep, it is indeed ending. As for the when: Issue 655 will be the last. Who; Marvel. How; blame those that can make decisions like this. It is entirely your fault - WHY DIDN'T YOU BUY THE LAST TWO ISSUES?! This is your fault. Alas, seems the book is being dropped entirely for the time being, but possibly expect it to make a return in November with Thor, Sif and the Warriors three making recurring appearances. Again, you bought this on yourself... If only you bought those issues.... JIM I will miss you so.

Ummm...I did buy the last two issues, and everything else in JiM since the beginning of Kid Loki.

#14 Posted by RedQueen (1171 posts) - - Show Bio

@owie: yeah, I replied to the comment you replied to.

#15 Posted by Akindoodle (981 posts) - - Show Bio

@redqueen: I'M SORRY OKAY???!!!!!! This is heartbreaking.... I-i can't deal with it! *runs off boo-hoo-hooing*

#16 Edited by Ben3000 (45 posts) - - Show Bio

Finally picked this issue up and man it was fantastic. I can proudly say this will be my first series I have picked up all the single issues for. Such a shame that this is ending. Hopefully Journey Into Mystery will come back one day.

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