By Rob Rodi, Pascal Ferry, Frank D’Armata and Clayton Cowles.
Picked up a whim from Travelling Man, Journey Into Mystery 626.1 leaps straight into a ‘Point One’ introductory issue and gives us an enjoyable examination of central-character Loki, as seen through the prophetic demonic visions of an eldritch creature with a purple beard. Yes, this issue is written by Rob Rodi. How could you tell?
The greatest thing about the issue – and something I’m hoping shows up repeatedly in the regular series – is the inclusion of a talking raven. Let’s just get this out the way now, you guys. I’m a big fan of talking animals, even since a child when I used to have in-depth conversations with the pet guinea pigs at school. And here, opening the issue, is a talking raven. Y’know what? I’m already in the bag for this issue, no matter what comes next. If every Point One issue began with a dismayed talking animal scolding the title character, then I’d almost certainly start picking up fifty issues a month.
So, the basic premise of the issue is that Loki summons up a demon who can see into the minds of other people. His goal is to find out what each of the supporting cast truly thinks of him as a person, and if they trust him. This works as a way of quickly jumping from one character to another, offering up sharp glimpses of each Asgardian before moving on. And, these characters all happen to have appeared in the Thor movie, which meant I knew who they all were. Sort of. We get a scene with the Warriors Three, then one with Sif, then one with Odin and Heimdall, before Thor steps in.
This is perhaps the one issue I had with this, uh, issue. It’s a clever premise in that it introduces all the different Asgardian characters and characterises Loki simultaneously. However, the scenes themselves all feel a little forced and staid, as if we’re seeing a dream sequence rather than the characters interacting in real time. We’re meant to think that Sif, Odin and the others are all having these conversations with each other, but instead it feels as though the characters are being forced into discussing the topic of Loki. Having three different scenes one after another with Loki as the subject certainly tells us how the other characters worry about him, and if he has reformed. But it also feels like we’re being told the same information three times in a row.
However! Tis but a minor nitpick. The twist towards the end, which sees Thor show up for a bit, isn’t surprising but is entertaining. Not least because it offers a different perspective on our title character, but also because it allows artist Pascal Ferry to have a go with some action sequences. While I could watch Pascal Ferry draw a conversation for 22 pages in a row (which, I gather, is what happens sometimes over in Matt Fraction’s ‘The Might Thor’), it feels mighty relieving to have him let loose with a bit of punching and hammering. Backed with colourist Frank D’Armata, who gives gloss and pout to every scene, Ferry’s artwork is the standout of the issue. His characterisation of Loki, innocence and naughtiness combined, is perfect. Also, letterer Clayton Cowles has a lot of fiddly fonts to work with, and handles them brilliantly. Comics Vanguard: representin’ for letterers!
And here’s the victory for Rob Rodi and regular series writer Kieron Gillen – it makes me want to pick up the continuing series. DESPITE THE FACT THOR IS AWFUL! I cared nothing for any of the Asgardians until I read this issue, and now I find perhaps 1/3 of them to be somewhat interesting. This is a victory, you guys. That’s a powerful statement for me to, y’know, state. This would be like me saying that I enjoyed a story featuring The Hulk. The story makes Loki compelling, entertaining, and possibly even worth following. There are at least three points where you will giggle.
There’s also a talking raven.