It's another edition of Comics You Should Be Reading, featuring Journey Into Mystery!
Comics You Should Be Reading features a rotating panel of Outhouse writers highlighting some of the best, under-heralded books out today.
Journey into Mystery is written by Kieron Gillen and illustrated by Doug Braithwaite.
Synopsis of the book: A long running title that many years ago switched from the original title to that of Thor's only solo book, has once again switched back to its original title starting with issue #622. After his well received run on Thor, he eagerly jumped at the chance to delve into the Thor Mythos even more; making Loki the central figure as Marvel begins its summer event: "Fear Itself."
The always mischievous Loki is now apparently (since we never know with that guy) using his wily ways to help his brother save Midgard (Earth) from the destructive force that has been let loose by the Red Skull's daughter, Sin. On the release of this destructive threat, Odin the All Father has taken control of his people once again; gathering them all up and returning to a newly restored Asgard on the other side of that famous Rainbow Bridge. This includes his son Thor who wants nothing more than to return to Earth and stand against the foe with his fellow brother-in-arms, The Avengers.
It is thanks to Loki that he is able to talk his father into letting him return; however Odin is preparing to destroy the Earth itself to rid the other eight realms from such a monstrous evil. While Thor prepares for the confrontation on Earth, Loki is determined to prove that he can do the right thing and begins his own machinations to help his half-brother.
Reasons why it's awesome: Kieron and Doug have taken a very old group of characters and made them feel new, alive, and young again while adhering to Marvel's necessity for the story to correlate with the summer event. Doing this through Thor's biggest Antagonist is a brilliant move, especially since Loki has gone through his own recent changes since "Siege".
There is a huge question that hangs over every issue: Is Loki really doing this to right some past wrongs or is he slowly reverting to his old ways? Each issue begs the question which has yet to be answered. There's also the fact that Loki has a pet raven now named Ikol who is the embodiment of all the evil that was Loki before "Siege". Kieron's dialogue between the new, unsure Loki, and the voice of his old-self presented in a new way is a rather ingenious take on an old concept.
Add to this story the usual cast of Asgardian characters, including Volstagg who has now been placed in charge of the young Loki and when you're not trying to figure out what the main character is really up to you are simultaneously laughing with and agreeing with the heavy set warrior and his never ending appetite.
If you like ___________, then you'll love this book: This is a hard one because my first reaction would be to shout out Prince Valiant or one of those other Sunday newspaper strips that always seemed entertaining if not daunted by its own history. However both writer and artist have made this uniquely its own, so I will say this: If you ever wondered what the love child of Stan Lee and Walt Simonson would be, the answer is Kieron Gillen.
Don't Take Our Word for It: Here's what Kieron Gillen had to say about Journey Into Mystery!
"I've got a load of one-liners to describe Journey Into Mystery. If
THOR is AVENGERS, then JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY is SECRET AVENGERS. Or It's SANDMAN meets QUEEN & COUNTRY (so, Sandmanbaggers).
It's the WEST WING in Asgard (though, to be honest, it more aspires to be THE THICK OF IT). It's Machiavellian evil-genius TINTIN. It's I, CLAUDIUS from a gods-eye-view. Problem being, none of them really capture the whole thing. Even together, it's missing the charm. They're just cheery shorthand I use to try and make people actually read an issue, because I know that the only thing which really explains the charm and appeal of the book *is the book*. I mean, a phrase I see turn up in reviews is "I don't like fantasy books, but...". It's a book which people who like it on a conceptual level dig, and seems to drag people who abstractly wouldn't be into this thing in too. You'll like it.
Okay. One last try. I'll do a really prosaic description of it: Postmodernist political/espionage fantasy/folklore/mythology book starring the reforming (or is he?) god of Mischief. See? Impossible.
It's a Journey Into Mystery. Mystery is the key word. If it was easy to explain it would imply it's missing the mark.
Best pick up point: Just because this book, at the moment, is directly tied into events of "Fear Itself" don't let that stop you. This book is very easy to jump on board from almost any point, but if you have the means and the funds then pick up every back issue from #622 on, less than 12 at this point.
Final Thoughts: There have been two Marvel books that I rarely collected in my nearly forty years of comic book collecting: Hulk and Thor. There is the exception when Simonson was writing Thor and doing a brilliant job. I'm very proud to have been at the start on this run because I really believe that this book could become legendary with this pair. Don't miss out on the fun!
Written or Contributed by: Brian Burchette