Robot 6

The Fifth Color | Not to bury Sif, but to praise her

JIM_651-tease

This morning I woke up to the Tumblr rumblings that Journey into Mystery would no longer be with us. Sure, it was absent from Marvel’s September solicitations, but I could kind of lie to myself and think maybe the book would skip a month, or maybe the publisher just forgot. I can lie to myself with the best of them! But sales haven’t been kind, and writer Kathryn Immonen left us a very gracious note that August’s Journey into Mystery #655 will be the final issue.

And I cannot take this lying down.

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Journey Into Mystery is an odd title; it harks back to an age of storytelling that we honestly do not have any more. It’s a vague heading, just a walk into something unknown that served the book well when it was a horror anthology, but not when Thor started to grace its covers. “Journey” fit, as his tales were adventurous yarns that took him across the Nine Realms and, OK, maybe “Mystery” was a nice fit as well as the creatures and villains he fought were from myth and legend, anomalies in themselves. Still, Thor: God of Thunder is a great title while Journey Into Mystery could be anything.

Under Kieron Gillen’s wing, that title became foreboding. Loki, being a trickster, has a lot of mystery about him, and his journeys were a metaphor for his character arc as well as exotic locales. Fresh off a high as Marvel’s top movie villain, Loki was an amazing center for Gillen’s run, with bold, dreamy artwork, pop-culture references and realms beyond our imagination. It was like reading a fairy tale at times, one relatable to the modern day and magical enough to be of myth and legend. As all good things do, this era came to an end and Immonen took the reins.

JIM_charmodelWell, Sif took the reins, as she was our main focus through the series. It wasn’t so much of a new #1 status quo where everything was different. In fact, a lot of the best parts stayed the same: Sif went on adventures, and she learned a lot about herself and the lengths that she would go to. We were treated to worlds both urban and fantastic. She had a journey of self-discovery and of myth. The cast was all there, and we got to see something super rare in Marvel comics right now: a family. An honest-to-god family with kids and parents and relatives and siblings, the works. The only other family that comes to mind is the Fantastic Four. From the opening pages, we took a look at Volstagg’s brood of children and his wife, all of whom survived the last great Asgardian catastrophe and were simply putting their lives back together. There was something so inviting about those first pages as we got to know what Asgard was like on a day-to-day basis, when the heroes weren’t home and the hearth was just as important as the sword. It was so lovingly detailed, from the kids at the table reading old Marvel comics to Sif sitting down to chat with Hildegund about her family and what was to come next for them, I could easily see why the warrior woman Sif would go to extremes to protect her people and all of Asgard. I’m such an easy mark for moments where we show what our heroes are fighting for, whether it’s the streets of New York City or the high halls of Asgard; context is a beautiful thing.

Sif heads out on a risky adventure to gain an ancient power, and it’s fantastic. It’s fun (remember fun?), adventurous, full of sword-swinging, monster-slaying action and adventure. It has a variety of characters and monsters that sang off the page under the amazing artists tapped to work on this book. Mostly, it’s Valerio Schiti, who made Sif beautiful and proud, a warrior and a woman, then set her in some of the most fantastic environments and against some amazing-looking monsters. The Nine Realms look like nine different realms under his brush strokes, and even New York looks tall and dark, a realm of a different color. He made all the Asgardians tall, taller than the humans around them, and it worked as a way to remind us the scale on which we were working. The gods were funny, empathetic, almost human at times, but the height difference reminded us that these were immortal beings out of Norse legend, larger than life, no matter how close we felt to them.

JIM_651Journey Into Mystery #651 is a self-contained story where an adventurous little girl runs into dwarves and Fenris Wolf and is not only smart enough to go get help at the sight of the great beast, but clever enough to outwit the wolf in the final panels. The Warriors Three, Sif and Thor are all there, but it remains this amazing little tale of one of Volstagg’s daughters having herself a late night adventure. Because of this, I set it on my store’s front counter as my pick of the week and had the absolute delight to sell a few copies to fathers looking for a comic for their little girl. Imagine that! It’s a feeling I don’t get to have with Marvel comics as much as I would like to, as Marvel doesn’t have a lot of books aimed towards kids, but this issue fit the bill. I couldn’t say the rest of the series was going to work for young female readers, but the fact it could take an issue to talk to an all ages audience speaks a lot for how well this series was written. Immonen has a great way with the heart and being able to tell fantastic space stories one moment and look through the eyes of a child the next is not something a lot of other writers could attempt.

I don’t want Journey Into Mystery to end. I want to praise what the book has become to longtime readers of Thor and fans of Gillen’s Loki. I want to put it in the hands of more young readers. I want as many people as I can to know that this book is quality, something special and unique on the stands and just because it’s being cancelled is no reason to give up. We comic fans can be a pretty cynical bunch, and I have totally done my share of griping and complaining about how things could be better. It’s in our nature to love too much and be disappointed in anything less than the best. Trust me, Journey Into Mystery is one of Marvel’s best right now, and it would be a shame if everyone didn’t get a chance to enjoy it while it’s here.

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Comments

35 Comments

::: Slow clap::::

Exactly! This book is awesome. Everybody go out and buy extra copies and tell them how awesome this book is. This isn’t a big-blockbuster-crossover book; it’s just good old-fashioned storytelling.

Sort of wish that, instead of canceling the series, they’d just retool JiM with a different lead like Beta Ray Bill or the Warriors Three. Actually they could go with the Enchantress and have a morally grey magical manipulator female main character; that’d combine the best of both the Loki and Sif runs.

Amen to that.

I’ve been praising this book constantly for its fun approach toward stories and character and it really saddens me to see it go. I really do hope they give this creative team another chance or at least another title where they can show-off their talent.

I agree. I thought the first issue stumbled a bit (it was difficult for me to figure out what was going on), but since then, it’s been a joy to read, and the art has been lovely, funny, and great.

Sad to see it go, this was one of my favourite marvel series. The writing and art are both fantastic. Can’t help but wonder if sales may have been better if it had started renumbered at issue 1 so more people would have tried it out.
I hope enough readers respond and maybe marvel will try again with Sif and this creative team.

“I want to praise what the book has become to longtime readers of Thor and fans of Gillen’s Loki”

Beyond that, it’s remarkable in what has become for people who were not necessarily fans of Thor or Asgard themes.

I buy half a dozen of them titles, and this is what excites me most. This does not need huge interdimensional wars, time travel, or large cross-overs, and yet the story has much more impact. I think the title may not have had as many fans as others, but they seem to really enjoy the title.

Tom Fitzpatrick

June 14, 2013 at 7:31 pm

Maybe ol’ Walt might be doing a second run of The Mighty THOR!

Wouldn’t that be something?

Nah, not gonna happen. :-(

Definitely one of the best. Been enjoying it since it’s (most recent) start. The Loki arc was masterful. Sif’s run is less crafty, but still a lot of fun. Gonna miss this one. Looks like a lot of Marvel $2.99 books are going away. Hmmm. Wonder what’s happening there.

I started picking up Journey Into Mystery when Immonen started writing and Sif became lead. It has been a highlight of my comic purchases every month since. The art is astoundingly beautiful, the characters well written and it was such a relief to see a female lead that wasn’t wearing low cut tops and was leading the charge rather than following. I’m absolutely devestated that this excellent title is being cancelled. I think quality will out and if they kept it going with Immonen writing, it would find a wider audience. If they release a trade of the Sif run, I will be wholeheartedly reccomending it to every comic fan I know. A real shame to see such a great title go while they’re printing X-men titles in the double digits and a number of Wolverine trades. Not that I’m slagging off X-titles, I pick up and enjoy all new and uncanny, but the list of Marvel titles just lost a bit of it’s variety and a comic that was shaping up to place Sif as the Wonder Woman of the MCU.

I had just added this title to my pull list, and begun reading the back issues. Truly sad to see this go. It may be that this is a harbinger of the complete end of this kind of storytelling (stand alone, fun yet exciting) at Marvel. Just a sad day. And maybe the end of their 2.99 books?

Good books like this get canned, while shitty stories like Iron Man, AvX, 10 wolverine books and Age of Ultron sell through the roof. This is backwards people, read good books! Read good writers! Dont read books just because of the character in them, it doesn’t mean its a good story!

best books by marvel right now are daredevil, hawkeye, JiM and maybe (hopefully?) the all female X-men book.

Amazes me that fans always complain that there are not enough quality books out that feature the ladies in the main role. Then when you get one, they don’t support it.

Brad Frederick

June 15, 2013 at 9:20 am

I think it should also be mentioned that Valerio Schiti’s artwork was excellent!!

Most fun I have had with Sif since well the Heroes Reborn JiM “Lost Gods” storyarc… David Fullam and Alex both make great points. I wish more people bought quality, backed up their stances and gave books like this a chance. There has to be room for books like this to survive…

It is terrible if the book has indeed been cancelled. Sif is such a lovely character, amongst most books with male leads. Immonens’s run has been fantastic, with the artwork complimenting it perfectly. Maybe she could join the Fearless Defenders!

Yeah, this is a real kick in the bits.

I don’t understand the decision. I mean, i understand low sales = expendable. But what I don’t get is how a company as large as Marvel, with the resources of Disney, can’t abide a low selling title that is, in terms of quality, head a shoulders above almost every other title it publishes.

Have they learned nothing over the years? If the Marvel of old had been this impatient, we would never have had Uncanny X-Men. If the DC of old had decided that sales trumped everything else, we would never have seen the Vertigo titles.

This news saddens me greatly! I added this to my pull list on art alone, and the storytelling did not disappoint. If Marvel doesn’t have the faith to keep a book like this going, then I hope they at least keep making use of Immonen’s amazing gift for storytelling. The industry could use more writers with her gift for storytelling.

I swear if that Shit fearless defenders book doesn’t get canceled while this great book has to, I will lose my mind

Wow I am sad about this being cancelled. Why can’t we just have a few stand alone books doing their own thing? Why must every book be tied into something and guest star Wolverine?

Hate to see a good series go while the horrible and mediocre ones remain. It was one of the few Marvel titles that I actually enjoy reading.

Man, another EXCELLENT marvel book gets canceled. All the BEST marvel books get canceled.
Same happened to DARK AVENGERS. and for the obvious reasons: They dont have movie-avengers in them. SAD marvel, sad.

Dark Avengers wasn’t what I would call a quality title. It felt rather muddled and out of place, and the characters weren’t particularly memorable. Sad to hear about the end of Journey into Mystery, however. I was just about to pick it up on comixology. Sounded like a fun book.

Commiserations to fans of this series, but not something I’m torn up about. I loved JIM when Loki was the lead, and gave it a shot when Sif took over despite having zero interest in the character. The first issue, while adequate, failed to catch my interest and I dropped it thereafter. I’m willing to stick with a character I like even if the story is lack luster, or follow a story with an unknown cast if the plot is interesting. But a character I don’t care about doing something I’m not interested in? Sorry, but no.

A pity that decent books like this gets canceled while books that cater to pointless shock value is still around.

I’m going to miss this great book, thanks yo all who were involved :(

this put a dampener on my day seeing this news .JIM is one of the few marvel titles that is a good mix of swords an sorcery with hints of the modern world and a family element . i’m genuinely sad the run is coming to an end while other crappy books which are selling like hot cakes with not a shred of charachter that JIM has in spades.

While this title ultimately was not my cup of tea, it is a bummer they were not given a longer run as they were a fine team. Kevin Feeley sums up my feelings about current day Marvel. Indeed all of the interesting or great books have dropped like flies…

Sad.

Really sad to see this end. Kathryn Immonen is an amazing writer. She just does character, drama, humor and pacing so well. And the art is gorgeous!

I think this book would’ve done better if it had been relaunched under Marvel NOW.

I don’t understand why Marvel didn’t do that.

Marvel didn’t promote the book at all. I’ve seen no interviews with the creative team. Nothing.

All Marvel care to promote are Bendis books or Avengers books.

It’s the smaller selling books that need the bigger promotion! Marvel are such idiots.

Now, with JIM finished, it means the Marvel line will have less diversity in it. Everything now is Avengers or X-Men. I loved JIM for being independent and creative.

Journey Into Mystery has been the best run going since they brought it back.

I liked Gillen on Thor; I thought he did a nice job finishing up one of the best Thor runs. But when Thor brought back Loki as kid Loki, I thought that was the stupidest thing that Thor could possibly due. Regardless, I picked up the first JIM issue to be fair, and much to my surprise I loved it. From that moment on, JIM was always at the very top of my pull list.

When Kathryn Immonen took over and the series changed to Sif, I was sad to see Gillen go, but the series remained very good. I’ll admit I’m behind (I’m behind on everything right now, been reading some older runs and other things have my attention lately) but as soon as I have some free time, I will be picking up what I’ve missed on Comixolgy.

I’m sad. I’ve waited for Sif to take a leading role in something since her one-shot a couple of years ago, and this was exactly what I’d waited for! Great writing, great art…what went wrong that the book needed to be cancelled?

I don’t think anything went wrong with JIM it just wasn’t selling well enough. There is no desire to put out a unique, quality, engaging book anymore, just a desire to increase the bottom line.

@solocmpr: I don’t htink that it’s fair to say that there’s no desire to put out a unique, quality, engaging book, because Marvel *did* put this book out. I really enjoy both this series and the also-canceled, also-praised-here Red She-Hulk for giving us good, interesting comics starring female leads set squarely in the Marvel universe, but not featuring standard superhero adventures. And I bought them, but apparently not enough of us did.

So while I don’t think Marvel does this enough, I do think they deserve credit for trying something different this time.

If the majority of you complaining about this haven’t figured it out by now: your imagined army of angry fans over something like this, Stephanie Brown, or whatever the outrage of the moment happens to be is not the opinion of the majority of comic buyers. Look up what a “silent majority” is.

Internet traffic alone does not guarentee the popularity of any movement or opinion. If that were the case then Ron Paul would be president and Snakes on a Plane would be the highest grossing movie of all time. Learn this lesson and never again will you be flabbergasted in the face of these events.

Really a shame, though from the beginning this one felt not long for the world. Nothing groundbreaking, but tremendously fun plots and characters, and absolutely stellar art from Valerio Schiti. I’d love to see what he does next, though unfortunately the likelihood that it will be anything I’m willing to read is damn slim. Fingers crossed that he works on a project that is interesting and gives him a chance to draw lots and lots of monsters. Hey, if Fiona Staples ever needs to take a rest from Saga …

The writing was fabulous, the art was fabulous… I’m so sorry to see this book go.

Journey into Mystery was innovative the way Marvel & DC were innovative in the 80s. The fact that Journey into Mystery is being cancelled is an excellent example why I collect so few Marvel titles (and NO DC titles).

I was on the fence about continuing to buy Uncanny X-Force but I liked Journey much better. I collect 3… THREE! Marvel titles. I’m going to give Hunger a chance to be a forth.

I loved Sif, I loved the comic book action, I loved the comedy in truth moments and I actually loved the romance. This was a Top 10 book for me.

I go where the story telling is great… not just good. I go where the ideas are innovative… not regurgitated. I guess that’s why I follow more Image 7 Dark Horse comics today.

Sad, sad day for Marvel.

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