By: Kathryn Immonen (Writer) Valerio Schitti (Artist), Jordie Bellaire (Colorist)
The Story: Gaea, one of the All-Mothers of Asgardia, fall prey to a strange sickness and needs to be quarantined away from Earth and Asgardia for the time being.
The Review: It seems that Kathryn Immonen does not want us to see her coming miles away when writing her stories. With her first arc being about Sif beating monsters among other things as she explore her more brutal side with some surprising introspection put in and her one-shot issue being not so much about her, I thought I could potentially see what would be coming in this issue.
As it turns out, I was wrong. Thinking that this would follow a pattern where we’d see some new vision or new twist on the Marvel Asgardian mythology with some nice action thrown in for good measure. Well, we don’t get that here, not even by a long shot, as there’s close to no action to be found.
That’s right, in a comic featuring an Asgardian warrior that wants to protect her home land; we get no big battle, boasting or big threat. Rather than that, we get to see more humane interaction as Sif gets worried about Gaea, interacts with other women like the All-Mothers and Jane Foster in Broxton.
Does it sound boring? Sure. Is it? Absolutely not. What we get here is something that shows a more human side to the warrior goddess as she interacts with those around her, mixing funny contrasts with the more mythical aspect of the character and the surroundings around her. There are several scenes in this comic that does help bring another angle to the character of Sif, like the discussion she has with Jane Foster, easily one of the best dialogue in this issue. Here, Kathryn Immonen shows that despite their connection, in close to the same way, to Thor, they are their own character as well and are fully capable of functioning, both literally and metaphorically, in this issue without the presence of the God of Thunder.*
Even without the presence of big name characters and even without action, this issue succeeds with its humor and its humanity, as we get one or two pages dedicated simply to the fact that Sif has to cope with a situation or an area where she is just unfamiliar with, which are mostly confined to the space station part of the story. With a good mix between drama and humor, Immonen shows how versatile she is, but also how these characters are if given a chance to shine. I have to admit that I never did know most of these characters much, yet now I do see the potential for more focus put on them.
Where she’s really smart, though, is how much she lets Valerio Schitti do his thing. A lot of comic writers tend to go toward a lot of prose in their comics, letting the words tell the story rather than the imagery brought in by the artist. Here, though, it seems there is a fine balance, with some parts given more to Schitti himself, like the more humorous aspects of the script in the space station. What makes a lot of the moments work, both the drama and the humor, is mainly due to a specific thing: the emotions of the character. Schitti seems to have a gift when it comes to facial expressions, as I swear I have never seen as many diverse expressions in a long time in a comic. He can do it all: worry, being uncomfortable, understanding and many more, pulling it off with very different expressions with each character. It may come as something small, but it is delightful to see in motion.
Another thing that might seem small, yet is incredibly important to set the quality of this comic is the color work. Here, Jordie Bellaire does astounding work as we get to differentiate the mood of the three different scenes in this issue thanks to her work. Funkier and more diverse colors in space to accentuate the depth and strangeness out there; a combination of warm and cold colors to show the ancient and mythological aspect of Asgardia, with a focus on a single color in most panels to show the human world of Broxton. It is subtle, yet it works rather well to set the mood throughout the issue.
The Conclusion: Even without action or without any big name character, this issue shows you can craft a great issue with good character work and through the exploration of said characters with their interaction through drama and humor. It also does help that both Bellaire and Schitti are doing some great work here as well.
Hugo Robberts Larivière
*I actually really want for Jane Foster to continue being part of this book. Immonen has done some good work making Sif more than just the love interest of Thor, so I do hope she can do the same to our good doctor Foster here.
-Even though we didn’t get to see much of Beta Ray Bill here, the setup for his entrance is gold. He is drawn very well and I am eager to see what Immonen does with one of my favourite character from the Marvel universe.