A low-key approach to Marvel’s Norse pantheon, Journey into Mystery was a pun-filled trip through supernatural underworlds in which nothing was too semantic. Following Marvel’s “Siege” event, which served as a blowoff for several long-running storylines of the time, the supervillain Loki had both set up a huge threat to the Marvel Universe, and subsequently sacrificed himself in order to stop it. Why did he do either of them? That was the question, and Journey Into Mystery was bound to answer it.
The series sees Loki reborn into the body of a young boy, apparently at the design of his past self. But this new Loki has a fresh start and comes at life with a new approach – he wants to redeem his past, it seems, and become the hero that he finds himself surrounded by every day in Asgard. And so he begins his journey, amassing an unruly series of alliances which may help him becomes the greatest defender his people have ever seen…. Or destroy Asgard entirely in a sea of promises, lies, and betrayals.
Written by Kieron Gillen and with artists including Doug Braithwaite, Stephanie Hans (who was arguably made into a star through her work on the covers, which ultimately led to her painting the final issue in full) and Richard Elson, the series delighted in wordplay and turns of phrase, finding doom in punctuation and salvation in homonyms. Loki’s journey was marked by a series of statements and declarations, which brought him allies and enemies in equal measure – and sometimes swapped one for the other, as the real intent of his carefully-worded choices came to light.
A labyrinth within itself, Journey Into Mystery was a funny, light-hearted, dark-natured comic which propelled the character into the limelight just in time to become Tom Hiddleston in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It also played a role in totally changing how superhero comics could be told… and retold.