JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #650

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

The Story: Sif returns to Asgardia with her berserker’s friends, learn some truths about herself, then defend Broxton from a huge threat.

The Review: The conclusions of multi-part storylines in ongoing serials are always difficult to pull, as there can be no true conclusion to a character or a story based in a shared universe. Writers may conclude an arc by teasing the incoming one or by directly leading into the next chapter, but things are never quite over. It would be hard to do something conclusive with close to any character of the Marvel universe, as though Wolverine’s or Captain America’s story is over, we all know they will get a new writer, a cameo or make an appearance in another team book before they continue their daring adventure. There is close to no real thematic conclusion at the end of any arc nowadays.

Of course, there are certain exceptions, like this month’s issue of Journey Into Mystery, which conclude in a pretty complete manner the very first arc called ‘’Stronger than monsters’’. In this arc, we saw Sif wanting to be able to protect Asgardia by herself, desiring more power to do so. Te meet her end, she went to a witch to have the berserker enchantment cast upon her, to strengthen her resolve and to become a competent enough warrior in order to complete her task. Of course, being a berserker means becoming much more violent and brash, which was the exact result that happened on Sif as she became an aggressive, yet utterly entertaining character with her shenanigans that included beating monsters, meeting ancient and outcast berserkers and teaming up with Spider-Ock to beat up more monsters. It was a fun ride in which Kathryn Immonen made some neat addition to the Asgardian lore while she focused on Sif, making her a much more endearing character in the process.

Of course, every story must come to an end in some way and this month’s issue see the conclusion of this chapter. In here, we get to know just what exactly the witch did to Sif and how she was affected by the enchantment in the first place. The big surprise here is that the enchantment never turned her into an aggressive being in the first place. The way it had affected her was that it granted her some extra strength and that’s about it, with her new attitude being simply Sif’s reasoning of what should happen if she became berserk. In other words, Sif was so convinced that she had to be violent that she acted that way to go through her anger issues. In many ways, I am conflicted about this revelation. On one hand, it is a thoroughly nice twist on the whole theme of the arc that grant us some more depth and some development on Sif as a character, on another hand, it gives us something that is a little bit scary about the character. If I recall right, the very first thing she did when the berserker enchantment was activated on Sif, she killed the witch and beheaded her, grabbing her severed head and putting it in a bag before going for a drink. In some ways, this doesn’t seem right.

However, it is pretty much the only thing that doesn’t feel right in this issue, as the rest is pure gold like the rest of the arc. We still get some of the funny stuff, like the berserkers discovering the joy of pizza and the big action like the scene in Broxton, but we also get something that is rare in superhero comics: closure. Indeed, Sif does finally get her lesson, some of the events and some of the characters move on with their life (like the now pizza-loving berserker, who I really hope will pop up later) and the theme and tone that was properly introduced in that arc is concluded on a happy note. It is something refreshing, to say the least, to see something so rare occur in a comic.

What’s not so rare, but is always pleasing to see would be quality art, something that Valerio Schitti delivers in spades. That artist is seriously talented, bringing us great action along with calmer moments with ease. His characters speak for themselves with their very evocative poses and facial expressions. I’d say that Valerio Schitti is a true gem that seems to be destined for great things at Marvel, but right now he is killing it on this book, so I’ll be happy about the visuals of the book as long as he is there as far as I can see. Of course, his expertise would be nothing without the great work of Jordie Bellaire on the colors. Her mix of warm and cold colors, both in the quieter and more violent moments are really making things pop out of the pages, which make a good-looking book even better.

The Conclusion: The conclusion to the very first arc continues in the same vein as the rest of Kathryn Immonen’s take on Journey Into Mystery, as her version of Sif proves that this book can be filled with humor, great action and terrific art. Heavily recommended.

Grade: A-

Hugo Robberts Larivière

Some Musing: -Next issue, we get a lone tale before we get something that I never thought I’d never see again: Beta Ray Bill! God I love this book.

-Anyone else saw the South Park references in the end of book. It seems that Valerio Schitti is actually having fun drawing this book, or that at least Kathryn Immonen does when she writes the script.

Grade

Conclusion