Friday, November 23, 2012
Journey Into Mystery #646: "Stronger Than Monsters"
Journey Into Mystery #646
"Stronger than Monsters (1 of 5)"
Writer: Kathryn Immonen
Artist: Valerio Schiti
Color Artist: Jordie Bellaire
This review begins with a bit of a disclaimer: I don't really know anything about The Lady Sif, outside of her role in last year's Thor movie. I've never really been much of a fan of Thor or the Asgardians until recently, and so I'm coming into this series as a complete newbie to the character of Sif and her world. I'm happy to say that this didn't affect my enjoyment of this issue at all.
Journey Into Mystery #646 begins in media res, as Sif rescues one of Volstagg's sons from Asgard's library, set on fire by the demons of Surtur. Sif explains to the mother of the boy that she's tired of constantly fighting battles after they occur, and this inspires her to seek out a power that can help her destroy her enemies before they attack. Sif remembers the legend of the berserkers, and travels throughout the realms to find someone who can teach her the secret of the berserkers. By the end of the issue though, it seems that Sif has received more than she bargained for.
I really enjoyed the first issue of this new arc. Despite not knowing anything about Sif, I became invested and interested in her story. High-fantasy can become cheesy if not handled well, but Immonen's writing contains enough modern self-awareness to balance out all the flowery speech of the Asgardians. Speaking of which, there is a lot of text in this book. If you find yourself constantly complaining about decompression in modern comics, this is the book for you. There is tons of dialogue and narrative captions throughout this issue, and though it took some time to get through, it never felt overly cumbersome or threw off the pace of the issue.
Valerio Schiti's art was also very good, reminding me somewhat of Cliff Chiang's work on Wonder Woman. Again, Schiti's art maintains this great balance between the Marvel fantasy style and a pop-art sensibility, brought out in these pages by Jordie Bellaire's bright colour work. I hope this art team decides to stay throughout the entire first arc, because after a first issue this good, I'd hate to see it drop in quality.
If you're on the fence about Journey into Mystery, or you're an Midgardian noob like me, give it a look.