Journey Into Mystery #646: A New Mystery

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Journey Into Mystery found a new Asgardian lead character in issue #646, as longtime supporting character Sif finally gets an adventure of her own. The series also features a new writer in Kathryn Immonen. So how does Sif make out in her maiden voyage?

The story starts out with Sif rescuing one of the many children of everyone’s favorite rotund Asgardian, Volstagg the Voluminous. Sif returns the child to his family only to find something that disgusts her: the Asgardian children know very little of their people’s heroes and legend. Immonen fund a unique way that is a nod to the title’s history; the Volstagg children are proudly showing Sif issues of Journey Into Mystery from the early 1960’s giant alien monster era! To the kids’ defense, that what happens when you pretty much live in the middle of Oklahoma.

By the second half of the issue, the series’ new direction is pretty much set. Sif is on a quest to find out what had happened to some of the forgotten mythological characters of Asgard’s past, but also seems to want to establish her own place in the hierarchy of the Asgardian pantheon. The first issue ends with her seemingly beheading Aerndis, some sort of mythological teacher who might have been an enemy of the Asgardians. The last page has Sif sitting at an Oklahoma bar having a beer or two, with what appears to be Aerndis’ bloody head in a bag next to her.

On the art end, Valerio Schiti just knocks one out of the park. The Italy-based artist just knocks it out of the park on this. It’s just amazing to look at it. His style skews toward the thinner linework side but is great. In the opening story you can see that he’s more than just your average comics artist; he can draw children and women very well, something that many a comic artist can’t master.

Some of the dialogue was a little rough (with the Asgardian/old English vocabulary) to get through at points, but Journey Into Mystery was a pretty good first issue for a new direction. I do want to see where this story goes but I’m not sure if this is going to be a monthly purchase. I think I’ll be talking more about this in April when the first collected volume comes out.

Siege: Norman Osborn and Loki’s Failure

I finally got around to reading Marvel’s Siege and realized something: even though they set in motion the destruction of Chicago’s Soldier Field and the subsequent casualties, Norman Osborn and Loki were trying to be heroes.

Unfortunately for them, they go about it the wrong way.

The goal of the Soldier Field incident was to spark a war between the United States and Asgard, giving a chance for them to be seen as heroes by their respective people, which would finally give them a chance to ascend to power legitimately. Norman would shed the image of being the sociopath Green Goblin and overcome that stigma by forcing Asgard out of the United States. Loki, always seen by the Asgardians as being a power-hungry, manipulative trickster, would be seen as a great hero by protecting kingdom. These acts of heroism would allow Norman to be the President of the United States and Loki could take the throne of Asgard, finally fulfilling their quests for power.

There plan is flawed, and soon their diabolical plan is exposed. Norman is captured as a war criminal, pretty much ruining any chance of him being perceived as being a brave and noble hero.

Thanks to their arrogance, Loki suffers a much worse fate. Norman lost control over the insane minded and insanely powerful Sentry who winds up killing Loki. But before Loki dies, he shows a character trait that separates him from Norman. Loki has the potential for good. Realizing that he himself is the sole reason for the destruction of his beloved Asgard, he arms the Avengers with the enchanted norn stones that give them a fighting chance in stopping the out of control Sentry.

Their actions in Siege shape how the characters will be regarded in the future. Norman is still insanely power-hungry, blaming his failures on a re-emergent Green Goblin persona and is plotting a new way to take over the world. Loki, after showing noble and selfless acts in an attempt to save Asgard, has been reincarnated as a child and is given a second chance to redeem himself for his past transgressions.