REVIEW: Journey Into Mystery #648

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Journey Into Mystery – A Marvel title which didn’t get renumbered in the great Marvel NOW! reshuffling, even as it gained a new creative team. How could that be? Such a quandary can only be solved by taking a look at this review for Journey Into Mystery #648! Wait, maybe the only question answered will be whether this book is any good…

JourneyIntoMystery648Cover111 JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #648
Writer: Kathryn Immonen
Artist: Valerio Schiti
Color Artist: Jordie Bellaire
Letters & Production: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist: Jeff Dekal
Editor: Lauren Sankovitch
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $2.99

Previously in Journey Into Mystery: Concerned with Asgard’s disturbing tendency to get repeatedly destroyed, Sif looks for a more proactive approach. She finds her solution in an ancient berserker spell, but Sif struggles to control her newly found bloodlust. Forcibly removed to a faraway world by Heimdall, Sif finds herself under assault from a giant creature.

WHO IS THIS SIF?

I heard good things about Journey Into Mystery. When Kathryn Immonen and Valerio Schiti took over, with Kid Loki going over to Young Avengers, they shifted the title’s focus to Sif, Asgardian warrior and occasional paramour of Thor. Sif is a new character for me. My interactions with Thor come mostly when he’s running around with Avengers, and while I might be able to pick Volstagg out of a crowd, I can’t tell you much about Sif. Asgardians are not my thing. But with how Kathryn Immonen writes her, she is immediately recognizable. Three issues in, and I feel like I have been reading Sif’s adventures for years. Immonen’s strength on this title is uncomplicated, straightforward adventuresome storytelling, with a laser-tight focus on Sif herself. When she utters “I am Asgard,” it resonates.

This issue is the third installment of a five issue arc, and it focuses mostly on action. But what action it is! Sif finds herself in Asgard’s dumping ground for berserker-types, a land of eternal battle which has ground up most of her berserking predecessors. She assembles a crew from the remaining warriors, and proceeds to beat the crap out of the humongous monstrosities populating the landscape. And then It ends with one hell of a hook.

 OOZING STYLE

One thing that leaps out immediately from the page is the color. Jordie Bellaire must be one of the best colorists in the business today. Her work on this title and Manhattan Projects shines a light on an oft-neglected member of the creative team, and in this issue her talents are on full display. Sif’s battle with a giant orange robot monster is alive with color; gouts of blue and red blood splash across the page, while Valerio Schiti’s art brings loads of energy to the proceedings. Schiti has an appealing, cleanly detailed style. He is able to do great action scenes and interesting character details with equal aplomb. Without question, this is one of Marvel’s best looking titles. Fans who chase good art should give Journey Into Mystery a look. Jeff Dekal also deserves credit for a strikingly dramatic cover.

BOTTOM LINE: ADDED TO THE PULL LIST

The buzz surrounding Journey Into Mystery spurred measured expectations in me, and this title more than met them. With Northlanders no more, I have been looking for some worthy Viking-style entertainment. Thor: God Of Thunder is more of a cosmic title, whereas this has all the Asgardian ass-kicking a soul could want. It is a lot of fun, with a mythic backbone and a pulpy heart. Journey Into Mystery #648 earns four and a half out of five stars. Check it out.

Rating: ★★★★½

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