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Journey Into Mystery: The Complete Collection Vol. 1

Kieron Gillen (Author), Assorted Illustrators

Marvel Comics (Publisher)

Review by Carolyn Marcille

There have been so many retellings of villain backstories recently that the genre is in danger of becoming a bit hackneyed. Characters get revised so often that it starts to become difficult to view anyone as being villainous. But, as with most things, Loki is the exception. Journey into Mystery cleverly and believably undergoes the eminently difficult task of rehabilitating him. After Loki dies trying to save Asgard (after attempting to destroy it himself), Thor misses his brother and resurrects him as an adolescent, hoping that new Loki will be good. The problem is that no one trusts Loki, including the reader. But no one knows this better than Loki himself, and watching him game characters far more powerful by mortgaging their past impressions of him is both pleasurable for its cleverness and devastating for its implications: even if current Loki does the right thing, the actions and subsequent impressions of past Loki may be powerful enough to ensure that his hard-won goodness simply won’t matter. While the artwork is sweeping and spectacular, rife with beautiful monsters and otherworldly settings, it is the psychological wrinkle concerning the fruits of memory and impression that really give Journey into Mystery its power.

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