Good Reads: Journey Into Mystery #646-650
“Stronger Than Monsters”
Lady Sif makes a triumphant return to the Journey Into Mystery universe with a five part series, “Stronger Than Monsters”. She’ll continue her main character reign of this series for a few issues after these, and that is a good thing.
In the Stronger Than Monsters series, Sif seeks out Aerndis to learn the ancient berserker incantation in an attempt to become a ferocious and fearless warrior. After attaining her wish, her temperament turns to rage and she becomes unpredictable with a unquenchable bloodlust. In hopes of lengthening Sif’s ever shortening fuse, her brother Heimdall transports her to another realm overrun by vicious giants to “blow of steam”. She meets previous berserker outcasts of Asgard and even a newly mind swapped Spider-Man in her travels through each realm.
I was introduced to Sif in Journey Into Mystery issue #646 and was instantly a fan. Sif reminds me of Red Sonja, just with more clothing, more personality, and ten times more deadly, at least in this form anyway. She’s a wild free spirit who has nothing to prove, yet still feels she has everything to prove. Usually this strong willed Michelle Rodriguez cliched female type lead character bothers me, but Sif manages to shack up and lay rest in my heart. Plus her incessant rage filled outbursts that are followed by decapitation and multiple stab wounds are adorable.
Lady Sif’s extreme character is no mistake, it’s something you can tell was planned very well from the beginning by this Journey Into Mystery curator, Kathryn Immonen (not to be confused with her husband Stuart Immonen). I can’t express enough how impressed I am by Kathryn’s writing in this series. The story has an excellent blend of bloody good action and slap stick comedy, although Sif’s comedic side tends to be more tongue in cheek.
My favorite moments in the series happen in issue #649 where all of the monsters released from the exiled realm start terrorizing Earth. Civilians scatter and super heroes unite to protect endangered cities, that is until a giant green Godzilla like lizard attacks Tokyo, who’s citizens are neither frightened nor impressed with his presence. The whole story is such a super fun read.
Luckily some class act art from Valerio Schiti comes with Kathryn Immonens’ great narrative. Schiti’s style is one to be admired, something that immediately smacked me in the face to grab my attention. Every panel is clean and extremely detailed, nothing is lost in even the craziest of action sequences. Characters are surrounded by bold lines and have even bolder facial expressions. A lot of credit is probably due to colorist Jordie Bellaire who’s choice of bright distinct colors really help Schiti’s art pop.
This is an opportune time to hop into this series, get to know Sif for a few more issues before Beta Ray Bill throws his hammer into the mix. The “Stronger Than Monsters” story runs through issues #646-650 of Journey Into Mystery from Marvel. Kathryn Immonen and her team have made a really enjoyable and immersive experience, one I highly suggest getting your hands on.