Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Rich Elson
Colourists: IFS’ Ifansyah Noor and Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: Virtual Calligraphy’s Clayton Cowles
Previously, in Journey Into Mystery: Loki and Leah have been sent across the pond to England in order to aid the forces of Otherworld against the invading Manchester Gods. These avatars of change have been marching across the British subconscious and decimating King Arthur’s realm, with no one to stop them. Loki enlists the aid of Daimon Hellstrom, who locates the sources of the Manchester Gods’ power—which Loki promptly destroys.
Entering the stronghold of the Manchester Gods, Loki meets the leader of the industrial revolution, who explains the reasoning behind their attacks. As he listens, Loki realises that he has been on the wrong side all along, and now wishes to help the Manchester Gods. Meanwhile, Hela has informed Loki that he still owes her a debt, and tasks him with getting her in to see the Holy Grail, the most precious of Otherworld’s artefacts.
This arc of Journey Into Mystery hasn’t felt very organic in the way that it fits into the tapestry of things; whereas previous arcs have either built on what Loki has done before, or been a part of a crossover event that helps move things along, the Manchester Gods arc has felt a little out of place. This issue shows us just how wrong we are, and how important this arc will be to the finale of Loki’s adventures, moving all of the pieces into place for the last act, which begins next month.
This issue has some of the best character work throughout the entire series, which has always been a strong point regardless. Loki’s outburst near the end of the issue, when he has lost everything and done all he could to do as the All-Mother has instructed, feels long overdue. Loki has been trying so hard to get out from under the shadow of his former self, and no matter how hard he tries, something goes wrong. Now he finds himself at the end of his rope, and snapping is the exact response that you would expect. Gillen pulls this off flawlessly, without a wasted or poorly chosen word, and this compounds superbly with an earlier scene in the book that just makes everything so perfect.
Said earlier scene can’t really be discussed without spoiling it, but it deals with Hela’s request to see the Holy Grail. The outcome of this storyline has been predicted by a few, but I hadn’t seen it coming in the slightest, and it just goes to show how far back Gillen plotted out this storyline to make it fit into the overarching story. I mentioned last week how comics that elicit emotional responses are instantly some of my favourites, and this scene alone would have been powerful, without the rest of the book to back it up.
The final scene in the book is presented as an epilogue, but it’s really more of a prologue for what is coming next. Going all the way back to the first arc of this series, Gillen drags back the plot threads that have been left hanging, and now they begin to come into play. With a perfectly narrated segment that ends on a truly chilling note, it’s safe to say that once the next arc of this book is done, nothing really will be the same again.
I have gushed about this series since it came into play during Fear Itself, and I will continue to do so until it ends, and likely for years afterwards. It’s not too late to jump onto one of Marvel’s best ongoing series, and you owe it to yourself to check this book out. Kid Loki’s journey may be close to ending, but his legacy will live on in this title, whether he likes it or not.
GO Rating: 5/5