Monday, June 11, 2012

Journey Into Mystery: Fear Itself #626

Cover by Stephanie Hans

Journey Into Mystery: Fear Itself #626(August 17, 2011)
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Penciller: Doug Braithwaite
Colorist: Ulises Arreola, Andy Troy
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

So if I can just fangirl here for a minute (and based on my blog’s title I obviously have every right to), I just want to say that Kid Loki is one of my absolute favorite things about comic books right now.

What could have been an over-the-top gimmick turned into one of the best and freshest characters in the Marvel Universe and managed to breathe new life into an old villain. Kid Loki is a funny, clever, occasionally dangerous, in over his head, desperate to please and manipulative smartass. And I love him. In fact, I have yet to meet any Marvel fan that also didn’t love Kid Loki.

Due to him, Journey into Mystery is one of my favorite comic series and though #626 wasn’t groundbreaking, it was still a fabulous and fun read.

Part of Kid Loki’s appeal is how much of a schemer he is. Though he is desperate to not become the villain he once was in another life, the trickster god is still a huge part of his personality so if anything, this Loki feels rather closer to his actual Norse myth inspiration: he’s quick-witted, able to see the grand picture faster than anyone else, silver-tongued and adept at pitting major players against one another. His twists and turns are often difficult to keep track of, though I am rather torn on determining if this is an authorial weakness or simply an effort to illustrate Loki as three steps ahead of everyone else, even the reader.

This issue focuses on one segment of Loki’s overall plan and while it is enjoyable to read as an isolated comic, Journey into Mystery really should be read in a volume. There is simply too much going on and too many plans to keep track of to keep reading in single issues. Nonetheless, I was thoroughly engrossed with #626, in which Loki engages yet another major mythic creature, Surtur, into his own private plans. Surtur is a giant fiery beast and his desire to consume and destroy Asgard is as wildly overblown as Loki’s plan is subtly manipulative.  I particularly enjoyed Braithwaite’s art, which emphasized the tiny slightness of Loki against the giant Surtur. Also, I just love Braithwaite’s work in this series and find it terribly refreshing and beautiful.

The only weak portions of this comic for me were the sequences that involved Odin and Tyr. These moments, though important for the overall plot (which we still only know a portion of), just didn’t grip me the way the rest of the comic did. That could very well simply be my biased love for Loki speaking, of course. Nonetheless, I did find myself basically tuning out while reading these portions until the cliffhanger ending.

I have to say that Journey into Mystery is one of the cleverest comic series right now. Between the writing and the art, this book is a pleasure to read and also to simply look at. Now I just have to decide if I do actually want to be Kid Loki for Halloween this year.

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