UPDATE: Marvel has announced that the price on "Journey Into Mystery" will remain at $2.99. The cover art originally released was incorrectly created with a $3.99 price.
In the wake of Marvel NOW! and Marvel Comics' major title relaunches, today at the Marvel Next Big Thing press conference the comic book publisher took the time to announce another creative switch as Kathryn Immonen takes over from Kieron Gillen as the writer on the ongoing "Journey Into Mystery" series starting with issue #646.
Led by new "Journey Into Mystery" writer Kathryn Immonen and editor Lauren Sankovitch, the conference began as Sankovitch said they wanted to change up the focus of the book, now focusing on the Lady Sif rather than Loki.
"We had it Loki-centric...going forward with #646 we wanted to mix it up a little bit," Sankovitch said, adding, "Sif's been in the thick of it, she's a warrior born, she's got a lot of fight and verve and fire to her!"
"We talked at length about what this story could be and what her story could be, and it all came down to...one single question: what does she want? I think Sif, above all, wants to be a better warrior," Immonen said, joking, "She makes a lot of good decisions and things turn out perfectly!"
On a more serious note, Immonen said Sif will be making bad choices in her quest to be a better warrior, saying that this would be a journey of self-discovery for the character as she has always been defined by the men around her, especially Thor and Heimdall.
Speaking of her first story arc, Immonen continued, "She wants to be a better warrior and she goes to find that thing that is going to help her do that."
"In fact you might even say things go berserk!" Sankovitch laughed. "There are consequences for everything and going berserk has its consequences," she added.
Immonen reluctantly admitted readers will see some familiar faces popping up but said that the idea was to take characters from all over the annals of Asgardian history. "Familiar faces, but nobody I think you would expect," Immonen said.
The writer also confessed she felt "spoiled" for choices when it came to writing the Asgardians. "There's an inevitability about them," Immonen said, adding, "Because they don't have alter egos they're almost more human in of themselves and makes them more interesting to write."
Turning it over to press questions, Immonen described her take on Sif as a warrior who is trying to be something more.
"I don't think that she's just a warrior...we've often seen her leading the charge but we haven't seen her in charge," Immonen said. Laughing, she continued, "It's kind of like my dog! My dog is a very committed hound dog! He's very committed to his path, but when he goes he assumes you're right behind him...[Sif] just leaps and she never looks back, she just assumes they're as committed to the cause as she is."
"The other thing I find interesting...I see a similarity with her and Loki because neither of them can ever be Thor, and I think that would have more effect on her than anything else," Immonen added.
Sankovitch then said the new series artist would be Italian artist Valerio Schiti, adding, "He draws great beasties...he's making a splash at Marvel."
Immonen then told reporters she wasn't drawing directly on past Thor stories for her run. "Sif has been an important but ancillary character and I think there's a lot of her that has yet to be explored," Immonen said.
Touching on the movie version of Thor, Sankovitch said there still remained to be seen if elements of the movies trickle into the series.
"If Marvel Studios wants to do something based on my book, I would be ok with that!" Immonen laughed.
Talking about her specific take on the book, Immonen praised Gillen's arc and told reporters, "I love the tone of what he did, I even love the excess of prose!"
"Having said that, my fervent hope is to follow with the same kind of spirit of adventure, and we're looking at the Sif issue as a first arc," Immonen said.
Tonally, Immonen said that she saw the Sif stories as more action-based than what has gone on in "Journey Into Mystery."
"Lauren and I are both determined that there's a lot of kicking ass and not taking names...she's an action fighter in a way that Loki is not," Immonen said, adding, "Typically I'd say what I do a little different than most is I don't use the talking to get to the fighting, I use the fighting to get to the talking."
"Most definitely, the spirit of adventure and this fantastical realm that Gillen played with with Asgard and going to other worlds...and all of this mythology that he played around with," Sankovitch added. "Hopefully we give the readers some insight into characters that haven't had a chance to shine."
Talking about real world Norse mythology and to what extent it will influence her run, Immonen said that the Marvel mythology has always veered away from the original myths, but there were subtle influences in her arc.
"The Marvel Norse mythology plays so fast and loose with what exists...the influence is that I have this general feeling with this story and the character and their actions it's underpinned with this idea that there are things that are even more ancient than we know about...and possibly more dangerous," Immonen said.
As for what sort of beings Sif would be fighting in this new, action/adventure oriented "Journey," Immonen brought the conference to a close by promising "lots of monsters" in her run.
"But she also falls in with a group of guys and they have a very interesting relationship," Immonen added.
"She finds herself with a group of warriors who has a different outlook on what is good and proper," Sankovitch said. "They really test how she sees herself and how she wants to comports herself going forward."
"And lots and lots of monsters!" Sankovitch added.
"I'm writing that down, this is great!" Immonen laughed, ending the call.