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Loki: Agent of Asgard #5 – Review

By: Al Ewing (story), Lee Garbett (art), Nolan Woodard (colors)

The Story: Loki finds himself and realizes he was better off lost.

The Review: For the purposes of discussion, let’s all agree that right now, Loki has one big secret: the murder of his younger self, the “crime that will not be forgiven.” True, he’s confessed it to his Young Avenger pals, but it’s a bit like dealing with your newfound atheism or homosexuality. You can proudly flaunt it to everyone else in the world, but as long as you keep it from your Bible-worshipping, you’ll always feel a little bit trapped.

Loki will be feeling especially so after this issue, now that he’s discovered the goblin-ish Loki scheming from the wings is not a manifestation of his past self, but his future. We’ve all known the real conflict in the series would come to this: the Loki trying to change versus the Loki who loves who he is. It bodes ill for the ultimate outcome of the battle that older Loki completely outmaneuvers younger Loki here. Able to freely traverse the past and see into the future, older Loki can shut down the younger’s plan of attack before he even conceives of it. It’s a foregone conclusion.
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Thor: God of Thunder #17 – Review

by Jason Aaron (Writer), Ron Garney, Emanuela Lupacchino (Artists), Ive Svorcina (Colorist)

The Story: Thor brings the pain to Malekith as the final fate of the league of realms and the dark elf criminal is revealed.

The Review: Not all titles are winners. There will always be an arc, a character or a certain addition to the story that readers will dislike or certainly not appreciate as much as the rest. Quality is not something consistent in most titles after all, nor is personal appreciation. We may love something, but there must be highs and lows in order for the better elements to be easier to perceive.

It is then, to my surprise, rather nice to see that while this arc might have begun in the most obvious of ways, with Malekith being presented just in the time for the movie, there was an actual direction to the story. While the general progression to this point had some good and bad parts, Jason Aaron does show that he can actually do something with some less-desirable elements in the book.

The first thing that Aaron manages to do is actually surprise readers, throwing twists after twists in this issue alone, providing for a great number of satisfactory scenes for those who had no idea of the actual direction the story could go for. With the story being rather straightforward before, the writer makes for a nice use of what had been set up earlier to provide for something rather inventive and expansive for the nine realms and its future in the Marvel universe.
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Thor: The Dark World – Movie Review

By: Too many to list—IMDB it.

The Story: Can we for once have a beautiful space phenomena without destroying the universe?

The Review: It’s a funny thing about gods.  As much as their tales fascinate us, they themselves tend to remain unrelatable, their actions frequently and bizarrely arbitrary.  Even those divinities accounted wise will act with extreme pettiness or foolishness on occasion.  That, more than anything else, reveals the human invention behind the great myths.  Even as the storytellers strive to grasp at ideas greater than themselves, they are limited by their own understanding.

That’s really the endearing thing about the Asgardians in the Thor films.  They’re so very, intensely noble, and they perceive so much of the ills that befall the universe and will eventually doom them, yet they often lack the ability to reflect upon themselves.  That was the crux of Thor’s struggle in his first movie, and here, while he possesses a greater measure of introspection than before, he remains unable to see beyond the contours of his heart—and that is exactly what makes him so accessible, despite his divinity, and so beloved as a hero.
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Journey Into Mystery #651 – Review

JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #651

*100th review. Hurray!*

*Ahem.*

Kathryn Immonen (Writer), Pepe Laraz (Artist), Jordie Bellaire (Colorist)

The Story: During the night, one of Volstagg’s children wanders in Asgardia, meeting Fenris, the wolf of mythology. Hilarity and wonders ensues.

The Review: From what I can see of the Asgardian side of the Marvel universe, all is well. We get Kid Loki in Young Avengers, our main and most important character in Thor: God of Thunder and pretty much everyone else, yet mostly Sif in Journey Into Mystery. With such a large cast of possible character and a whole world full of mythology and possibility, would it ever be possible for Kathryn Immonen to take full advantage of such a rich mythology?
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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.
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The Fearless Defenders #1 – Review

By: Cullen Bunn (Writer), Will Sliney (Artist), Veronica Gandini (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer)

The Review:  It’s Ladies Night at the House of Ideas, which I guess is reason enough for a certain amount of celebration; mainstream comics are a bit of a sausage-fest after all.  So, when a book featuring two badass babes going all out to raise a ruckus pops up on the shelf, it is perhaps a debt owed by all red-blooded man-nerds to pick it up. All that ogling of Frank Cho’s libidinous artwork had to come at some kinda price, right fellas?

I jest, of course, but there’s a kernel of truth hidden amongst my pseudo-chauvinistic posturing. We often hear the case put forward in the comic book press that women, diverse ethnic groups and those of a non-hetero persuasion are much maligned when it comes to the world of capes and tights. This book tackles all three hot topics at once, and does so naturally and succinctly. Any move towards equality in the super-powered community deserves at least a respectful nod for trying to make right…but at the end of the day, the main thing we care about as readers is comics that tell a great story filled with engaging characters and dynamite visuals. On those terms I’m afraid this issue comes up a little short.

The basic premise is a good one. I love an Odd Couple pairing and Misty Knight and Valkyrie are nothing if not that. Teaming the “Badass private investigator,” with the “Last Shieldmaiden and defender of Asgardia” is a scenario ripe for terse, witty banter – two more opposing worlds it may be hard to find. It’s a set-up that was at the core of one of my favourite comic runs of the last few years, Greg Pak’s Incredible Herc, where street-smart, likeable techno-brat Amadeus Cho proved a perfect foil for the tragi-comic Greek God Hercules. There’s not a whole lot of interaction between Misty and Valk’ here but the combination certainly has a lot of potential.

The team-up itself takes a while to occur. The story begins with Misty in the middle of a mission from Archeologist Dr Annabelle Riggs to retrieve some stolen Asgardian artifacts from a band of mercenaries. The job gets messy when a villain (who I can only assume is Morgan le Fey) interrupts and makes off with most of the loot. Misty makes her way back to Dr Riggs at her dig site with the one artifact she was able to recover, though she could hardly have picked up a worse one – once activated this Asgardian ‘music box’ plays a tune that reanimates the dead. Zombies ensue, Valkyrie turns up to help Misty, and the book sets up its stall from there.
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Journey Into Mystery #648 – Review

JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #648

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

The Story: The still-berserk crazed Sif has to confront a giant robot and her desire for violence in the unknown realm her brother Heimdall has banished her to.

The Review: I was a fool. Absolutely unconvinced about the change of writer and lead character on this title, I could not even perceive the potential here. How could Kathryn Immonen make as good a title as Kierron Gillen did with Kid Loki by using Sif the warrior lady? It seems that in my foolhardiness, I could have missed out on a great title. Thankfully, I have been convinced by people in my LCS to try it out.

Thank god I did.

This may seem like some kind of hollow praise, but this title is really something out of the ordinary. It mixes funny moments, violence, badass quotes, mythology and plain silliness in such a way that it creates something unique, a title that is both funny, yet utterly full of awesome action. The script itself lends itself to it, as the fight between Sif and the berserker’s warriors is intense, well laid-out and just plain exciting. The next moment, we get some explanations and great dialogue between the three warriors and Sif that cements the fun and adventurous tone of the series and the issue. Kathryn Immone is having fun here and it shows with the tone she is setting here.
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