The pace of this series has been satisfyingly brisk. Loki, our unlikely hero, shows up somewhere, cheats and lies his way through a situation in the most lovable way possible and then is quickly on his way to the next destination. I guess traveling is easy when you ride around on a giant murderous canine.
Gillen’s short tenure on Journey Into Mystery has been riddled with magic, adventure and majesty. The variety of locales and the decisions of how to present them are appeasing to both first time vacationers to the nine realms and those who have timeshares there. Gillen seems to relish the chance to play around in Thor’s world and it shows. I enjoyed this issue a lot, but it’s not because it featured characters like the Mephisto and Tyr or because it does something new and fantastic with one of Marvel’s oldest villains. No, I enjoyed the hell out of this because it was funny.
I never expected to get humor from this venture into the title (and core character) that might be the most closely affiliated what’s happening with the reign of fear now ruling over the Marvel Earth. However then I realized that humor is a large part of working in the world of Asgard, from breaking each other’s balls over the size of each other hammers to belting hearty laughs over a jug of mead, these gods cut up. I find myself chucking along with them, primarily at Loki’s snide and clever remarks to just about anyone who dares say something stupid. While the comic is a legitimate story with serious consequences facing the protagonists, it seems to not to take itself too seriously. The mouthpiece for that is Loki in the glory of all half-truths and sarcasm. This comic probably looks pretty odd “on paper” but it absolutely kills it on the page.
As is routine, when a book is good the art is normally above average. Such is the case with the effort from Doug Braithwaite and Ulises Arreloa. The pencils and light inking are extremely approachable and Braithwaite’s skill with expression and anatomy does wonders for the often statuesque members of this fantasy world. The colors are so soft and foggy that the page feels as if will crumble in your hands like an ancient Norse text. Arreloa’s contribution to this creative team is undeniable.
The gem of this issue is Loki’s reveal of some history concerning the final boss of Fear Itself, the Serpent. This was a huge dollop of info to me as these big events normally don’t let their tie-ins disclose too much in way of the larger plot details (ahem, Flashpoint). We don’t get a litany of offerings about Thor’s uncle, but what is provided is anecdotal, relevant and compelling. Turns out the reason they call him the Serpent might be more rudimentary than first thought.
For a title that I started picking up on accident/a whim, this has quickly turned into one of my favorite monthly grabs. The storytelling is fresh while still not forgetting its roots and the art is distinctive and ideal for the subject matter. It lacks the big time name of the hero we’re accustomed to seeing in the pages of Journey, but our courageous teenage lead has done more than enough to be a serviceable replacement.
Jamil Scalese is just like you — an avid comics fan and lover of sequential art. Residing in Pittsburgh, PA, he is an unapologetic Deadpool fan, lover of the Food Network and proud member of Steelers Nation.