This one-shot doesn’t skimp. Within its twenty-two pages, we get a sense of who Sif was, who she is, and who she will be. We get a sense of her almost-human existence in Oklahoma and her godly powers of combat in the depths of space. This issue has range, and it makes for an effective transition from the J. Michael Straczynski version of the character to whatever she’s up to with “Siege” and beyond. It’s also a strong story in its own right.
Kelly Sue DeConnick writes a Sif that Wonder Woman could take some notes from. She’s powerful, but with a purpose. Sif has something to prove, but mostly to herself. If you haven’t been following “Thor” for the past couple of years, you may not know that Sif, warrior goddess, was one of the last Asgardians restored to power by the god of thunder. He barely saved her from death, as Loki had used her body as his own shell, while her soul was moments away from drifting away, inside the body of a terminal cancer patient. Thor’s last-minute save returned Sif to her proper form, but unlike the rest of the resurrected Asgardians, she chose to stay on Earth. In Oklahoma.
This story picks up from that, with a Sif who hangs out in local bars and reacts, with disgust and rage, at the slightest hint that Loki might be nearby. “Again he means to claim this body for his pelt,” thinks Sif, in one of many razor-sharp lines of narration from DeConnick. But it’s just the landlady, not Loki. And the weapon in Sif’s hand is just a broken plunger handle. Her life is considerably less glorious than it once was.
DeConnick plays up that contrast between the heightened glory of the Asgardian realm with the all-too-mundane world of Broxton, Oklahoma. Sif is out of place, and she knows it. So when Beta Ray Bill comes in with a mission for Thor, and Thor is nowhere to be found, Sif is eager to accept.
The mission itself takes Sif and Beta Ray Bill (and his new gal pal, which creates some awkwardness) into space as they pursue the hijacked Scuttlebutt, Bill’s ship. Scuttlebutt has been taken over by an infectious force, and the ship, in an effort to protect Bill, won’t allow him back on board to expunge the threat. So it’s up to Sif but, in an ironic twist, this gang of alien baddies is actually a kind of space-mind-control-influenza-of-doom, and they want to infect Sif. They want to take over her body. And, of course, she’ll have none of it. The Loki scars run too deep.
Ryan Stegman draws all of this with grace and visual humor — he’s able to pull off the heroic fight scenes in space and the down-home small time look of Broxton — and he walks that line between Sif’s sexy power and her dignity. Some of Stegman’s pre-Marvel work was a little more lascivious than what we see here. This is not an exploitative version of warrior maiden at all, though. This is a comic about a woman taking back her life, taking back her identity. It just happens that her identity involves fancy Asgardian battle armor, funky headgear, and a big ol’ sword. Visually interesting, all.
This is a confident issue from DeConnick and Stegman. It does more than bring Sif back into play in the Marvel Universe. It makes us care about her, and cheer her return.