Writers: Kieron Gillen and Matt Fraction
Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico
Colourist: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: Virtual Calligraphy’s Clayton Cowles
(Note: This issue continues from Mighty Thor #20, and into Mighty Thor #21)
Previously, in Journey Into Mystery: Released by Loki in order to defeat the Serpent during Fear Itself, Surtur has enacted his plan to completely destroy all of creation, working alongside Loki’s former BFF, Leah. The Nine Realms are at war with Surtur’s minions and the Manchester Gods, as well as the Vanir. The one hope in the war effort seemed to be Thor, but Loki tricked his brother into a trap, and left him to drown in a lake of Surtur’s fire, apparently revealing his true colours as a villain once again.
Continuing to sow seeds of doubt, Loki also caused the assembled Asgardian hordes to turn on Volstagg, temporary King of Asgardia. However, when he reported back to Surtur, Loki took the opportunity to steal Twilight’s Shadow, the silhouette of Surtur’s all-powerful Twilight Sword, and flee Muspelheim. Surtur released the Hel-Wolf, one of the first creatures wrapped up in Loki’s schemes, to track down and kill Loki.
I’ve said this before, and with one issue to go of Kieron Gillen’s Journey Into Mystery, there isn’t much opportunity for me to say it again, but if his run on this book has to end, then Everything Burns is the perfect way to end it. This penultimate issue of the crossover (and Gillen’s run on the series) epitomizes everything that makes a good comic book, and does it with flair, ease, and the feeling that everything so far has been building to something truly special, which we are now getting in spades.
With another handful of whiplash-inducing plot twists, this issue flips everything we thought had been revealed last issue on its head. Kid Loki remains the most unpredictable protagonist I’ve ever seen, and his true colours are finally shown (we hope. There’s still an issue for more flipping) and it’s tear-jerking. This is a story that could only be told with the younger Loki that has starred in this series, and would never have worked with the older Loki, giving this a truly unique feel as a story and as a character piece.
And whilst all of this superb character-driven story is going on, there’s still the matter of a Nine Realms-wide war going on, which Gillen doesn’t neglect either. King Volstagg gets a great spotlight, with some more of Gillen’s superb character work going on with him too; Volstagg was around during the Fear Itself arc of this series, but then faded into the background for a while, but now returns to the fore, feeling all of the damage that his previous actions have wrought, and trying to cope with the impossible situation he now finds himself in. Gillen doesn’t let the fact that Volstagg is usually comic relief ever stop him from showing how strong and underestimated he is, and his relationship with Fandral and Hogun is given a great spotlight for two pages.
Let’s not forget Thori either, the little firebreathing dog that Loki has been working extremely hard to train since seeing a little of himself in the pup; Thori’s part in this issue isn’t majorly important, but feels both inevitable and unexpected. Remember that heart-wrenching, tear-jerking feeling you got when Leah ‘died’ back in issue #641? Say hello to it again here.
Journey Into Mystery has one more issue in which to wrap up Loki’s storyline, and that’ll be the end. After two practically perfect issues, it only remains to be seen how Gillen will finish everything off, and in true Journey Into Mystery fashion, there’s still everything to play for. Far be it for me to predict the future, but I can safely say that the final issue of Gillen’s run on Journey Into Mystery, like this issue, and the rest of them, will be truly unforgettable.
GO Rating: 5/5