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Journey Into Mystery #649 – Review

JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #649

By: Kathryn Immonen (Writer), Valerio Schiti (Artist), Jordie Bellaire (Colorist)

The Story: Sif and the berserkers are in New-York and they have to fight more monsters that are currently spreading on the whole planet. Fortunately, they are helped by the Superior Spider-Man and other heroes.

The Review: The more I look and read this title, the more I find this to be close to the antithesis of the previous tenure. Kieron Gillen’s story about Kid Loki had the flair of a Shakespearian drama mixed with humorous undertones, telling the tale of a god of mischief trying to change a nature he had close to no idea he ever had, a clean slate of sort. With Kathryn Immonen, this becomes a book where Sif is a victim of a berserker state of mind influenced by a spell, where she is becoming violent and impulsive, wishing to do battle with monsters and all the like.

The themes couldn’t be any more different, yet it is a great strength, with Immonen doing her own thing instead of mimicking what came before. She succeeds in creating a great female-lead book with cool action, great humor and some surprisingly funny moments, bringing it all in one swift stroke into a great title. To mix all of this together selflessly is very hard, yet she manages in Journey Into Mystery.

What she also manages to do is bring the whole story into the Marvel universe at large, which is not something that is usually seen in most book involving the Asgardians, at least not in such fashion. It has been a staple in hose kind of books to sometime see people like Tony Stark or Steve Rogers popping up to talk with Thor or others, just to let know the rest of the universe was still there, but they did not necessarily participate in the action. Here, Immonen brings Hellcat, Monica Rambeau, Namor and the new Spider-Man all together to show the fallouts of some of Sif decision, landing them some cool moments while she makes it funny all the while.

Of course, it is all the humor that really brings this whole book up, as even though the story, mythology and character work is pretty good, the humor makes that book a must-read. Be it with the guest stars, the villains, the dialogues or the interactions with each other, Kathryn Immonen does not miss a single beat with jokes, creating a book that is actually funny. The single page showing just what is happening in Tokyo is absolutely hilarious, as well as the reference to a certain American show close to the end of the issue.

As nice as the story, humor and reference to the whole Marvel universe are, a book can become quite stale if the art does not follow in the same quality footsteps. Fortunately, the artist here is Valerio Schiti, who brings energy, talents and a great sense of pacing to the whole thing. His action scenes, despite being bloody and gory, are especially clean in their details, never bringing out so much details that it muddles the whole thing and makes it incomprehensible. Considering the great number of such scenes in the issue, it is great to see someone so precise in his drawing. The same could also be said in the expressions and poses his character makes, making them talk and act in accordingly to the script, enhancing it instead of just cooperating with the story. Even Sif hair is carefully drawn and posed, showing us the dedication Valerio Schiti has in his trade. He is greatly helped in all of this by the colorist extraordinaire that is Jordie Bellaire, who makes the scenes looks even livelier with her choices of colors, bringing up the bright colors quite a lot in this issue.

The Conclusion: This issue shows how fun this book truly is. With the great action, character moments and a plethora of Marvel characters, Kathryn Immonen is making an excellent book with the help of Valerio Schiti and Jordie Bellaire.

Grade: A-

Hugo Robberts Larivière

Some Musing: So, Immonen is capable of doing great action, really humorous dialogue and knows how to properly write Monica Rambeau? Quick, someone gives her Nextwave to write!

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2 Responses

  1. Schiti and Bellaire are still amazing (especially Schiti’s gorgeous Sif), and I enjoyed the vignettes of other monster attacks and the lecherous banter between Spider-Ock and Sif. Frankly, it was a pleasant shock that the two of them actually avoided doing the typical Marvel “hero fight.”

    That said, I would have preferred an issue less grounded in the Marvel Universe – I’ve been digging the fantasy atmosphere. Still very strong stuff, though. If only Gillen had been able to get such a strong artist as Schiti – Stephanie Hans aside, the previous artists were mostly undistinguished (and Portacio’s material looked genuinely horrible).

    And, by the way, was that supposed to be an ersatz Donald Trump or what?

  2. If these monsters were the worst Asgard had to offer, banished to a land to fight Berserkers in perpetuity, the heroes of Earth seemed to dispatch them quite easily. Sure, those pages were fun, but also seemed to trivial. (Agreed, however, that the Toyko page was a homerun. That forlorn monster made me smile.)

    The Superior Spiderman guest-spot reeks of a marketing ploy as his presence added nothing to the story outside of a few “the spider-man”
    jokes and Spider-Ock leering at Sif.

    However, these quibbles aside, this was, again, an extremely enjoyable issue. The dialogue was, perhaps, a bit too quippy for my tastes, but I understand that’s pretty much a given in comics these days, especially at Marvel (from my very limited Marvel reading).

    Schiti and Bellaire are the real draws here. The art is dynamic and powerful and the colors just pop across all the various palettes employed.

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