Journey Into Mystery #648

Story by
Art by
Valerio Schiti
Colors by
Jordie Bellaire
Letters by
Clayton Cowles
Cover by
Marvel Comics

Kathryn Immonen and Valerio Schiti's "Journey Into Mystery" #648 continues to be an incredibly adept book that's simply a joy to read. While this issue doesn't feel hugely important in the grand scheme of things, it sets Sif up well for her continued adventures and is still hugely fun.

Immonen's Sif is bold and ballsy. She's full of honor and can't get enough action (the words piss and vinegar come to mind -- but in the best possible way). She's nearly impossible to resist, an almost accidental charm that's in full effect in this issue. Whether she's decapitating monsters or calmly telling a Bezerker not to touch her breast, she does it all with the same verve. In this issue Sif destroys one monster and then another, before meeting some new "friends." There's some limited and necessary backstory in this issue, but Immonen cuts it wisely short. She only gives readers what they need, keeping things simple, and not flashing out of the current time frame, instead just letting her characters tell stories around a campfire, which feels real and right.

At the end of the issue Immonen unexpectedly drops Sif into "our" world and it seems imminently promising. As a fan of fish out of water stories, and more specifically as a fan of what Immonen has already done so far with Sif, I find myself pretty excited for what the character will do next.

Schiti's art continues to just leap off the page. He handles the intense and fully engaging violence with an enthusiasm that is contagious but he's also brilliantly skilled when it comes to pulling off Immonen's humor. Schiti's Sif is so powerful and athletic, graceful and merciless -- she cuts a magnificent heroic silhouette and it's easy to believe she is every bit the fighter that Immonen presents her as. The facial expressions and character acting in general continue to be a strong point of the book, which is a great counter to the brutally stunning action. Jordie Bellaire's colors are fantastic and she's clearly enjoying his work as much as Schiti. While there's a lovely saturation to her action scenes, her night scenes have just the right nuance, and her green-toned scene with Aerndis and Heimdall is lushly gorgeous.

This is a creative team and book that snuck up on me. Immonen, Schiti and Bellaire are surprising and impressing me with the one fine issue after another. There's a deftness of hand in both idea and execution that makes "Journey Into Mystery" a joy to read.

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