YOU WERE RIGHT: Journey Into Mystery Is Fantastic

Journey Into Mystery #631

Journey Into Mystery #631

On the most recent episode of the iFanboy Pick of the Week podcast, I shared the fact that there is a grand tradition of you, the iFanbase, being responsible to get us to check out comics that we haven’t been reading. We’re not reading them for any particular reason, just that we can’t read every comic published. If memory serves, the first title that everyone shouted that we absolutely HAD to read was Fell by Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith, and you know what? You were right.  Years have passed, and numerous other titles have been recommended by you and then enjoyed by us. It’s one of my favorite things about the iFanboy community.

A recent example of this would be Journey Into Mystery, written by Kieron Gillen along with artists such as Dougie Braithwaite and Whilce Portacio. Ever since the book launched earlier this year, not a month would go by without at least one of you screaming here on the site or on Twitter that we should be reading it.  And yet, I ignored you.

Why did I ignore you? Well, Journey Into Mystery focused on the new incarnation of Loki, who is now a child, and not only set firmly in the “Thor” family of books, but launched as a Fear Itself tie-in book. For me, that was 2 strikes. Not so secret confession: I’m not the biggest Thor fan. In fact it takes ALOT to get me to read a Thor book. We’re talking like Walt Simonson. So that was one strike. Add to it my lack of desire for more Fear Itself tie-ins, and I was perfectly content with not reading it.

Now, I’m giving many of you in the iFanboy community credit for getting me to read to Journey Into Mystery, and while you certainly helped the cause, this story is slightly different because it took the involvement of another individual to put me over the top. The writer of Journey Into Mystery, Kieron Gillen

What occurs beyond this point may cause you to lose all respect for the writer of Journey Into Mystery


As the writer of two of my favorite comics of all time, Phonogram and Uncanny X-Men, Kieron Gillen and I are not strangers. Numerous embarrassing interviews have lead to somes socializing and it’s fair to say that we’ve become friendly. So it was no surprise to me to see an e-mail from Gillen in my inbox on that fateful day in July.  As I opened the e-mail, I saw it wasn’t about the X-Men or music as I suspected, but rather the email contents contained Gillen raving about what the Pick of the Week percentage was for Journey Into Mystery that particular week on iFanboy.  I politely replied stating that I was happy for him to hear that so many of you were enjoying the book.

The next e-mail from Gillen contained a helfpul infographic that Gillen had created in relation to Journey Into Mystery and iFanboy’s coverage. Or rather, lack of coverage.  With Gillen’s permission, I can share this Infographic with you today:

Kieron Gillen's Special Infographic

Kieron Gillen's Special Infographic

As you can see by the above Infographic, Kieron Gillen is quite insane.

I laughed and deleted the e-mail and went on my merry way. Still content to not read Journey Into Mystery, despite the depression it was clearly causing Gillen.

Fast forward 2 months to late September when I received another e-mail message from Gillen. This one simply had the subject line, “Yes.” and contained no other words. But another Infographic was attached. An UPDATED Infographic that I also obtained Gillen’s permission to share with you:

Kieron Gillen's Special Infographic UPDATE

Kieron Gillen's Special Infographic UPDATED

It was at this time that I realized that Kieron Gillen was really quite insane. For reals.

Once I stopped laughing and looked closely at Gillen’s projections, I came to a realization.

There are alot of comic creators making a ton of comics every week. Usually every creator is excited for the work they’re releasing. Sometimes it’s just a gig and that excitement and pride isn’t there. And other times the creators are excited because it’s expected of them to be. But every once in a while, you see a creator talk about a book with such excitement, passion and sincerity that you can’t help but really believe how much pride they have with their book. It’s this type of excitement and passion that I’ve seen when Rick Remender talks about Fear Agent; when Brian Michael Bendis talks about Ultimate Spider-Man; when Robert Kirkman talks about Invincible or when Geoff Johns talks about Green Lantern. It’s that glimmer of pride and total commitment to their craft. If Gillen, who knows me personally well enough to know that I’m not a Thor fan at all, is insane enough to keep badgering me about Journey Into Mystery, and telling me at every opportunity how proud he is of the book, then maybe it deserves my time.

And so the next day I went to my local comic book store and asked my proprietor to order all the back issues of Journey Into Mystery. I would start at the beginning with Journey Into Mystery #622 and catch up to the current issue. 10 issues later (thanks to double shipping a few times), I sat back and thought, “Goddammit, that crazy Brit did it.” I was hooked.

Journey Into Mystery #628

Journey Into Mystery #628

So how could I, a self prescribed anti-Thor book guy, find myself enjoying Journey Into Mystery? A few reasons:

    1. The character of Loki as a child is fantastic
      Although I do prefer to call him Kid Loki.  The concept of this mythological character, the God of Mischief who we know is evil and cannot be trusted, as a child who hasn’t committed any acts to earn that reputation yet is wonderful and Gillen plays it up perfectly


    1. The Fear Itself Tie-Ins actually made Fear Itself better
      Now this is probably more of a criticism of Fear Itself, but I found that by reading about Loki’s adventures with Fear Itself as the backdrop not only made Fear Itself far more engaging, but Gillen and Journey Into Mystery  did a hell of a better job than Matt Fraction and Fear Itself did in explaining Odin’s motivations in the larger story


    1. The supporting cast is remarkably awesome
      Sure, the book focuses on Kid Loki, but every other character is alive with equal energy.  Ranging from Volstagg, to Hela, to a bird named Ikol, to snarling hell beasts, to Mephisto (Seriously, Journey Into Mystery #627 featuring Mephisto could be one of the best single issues of the year), Gillen has fleshed out the world of Kid Loki to be engaging and suspenseful. Never quite knowing which way the story will turn and what the characters may do made the issue to issue movement smooth and fun, the way comic books should be.



Now, I could go on and on singing the praises of Journey Into Mystery, but I wouldn’t want to swell Gillen’s ego too much.  Let me put it simply, as I did on the podcast: Journey Into Mystery may be Kieron Gillen’s best work at Marvel.

And this is coming from the guy who lives and dies by Uncanny X-Men and has been enjoying every page of Gillen’s work on that book.  But sure enough, it’s the book I’m most unlikely to enjoy that has me raving like a lunatic. So much so that a part of me kind of wants to create an Infographic just to illustrate how much I enjoy it. But that would be insane behavior, right?

For those of you in the iFanboy community who suggested Journey Into Mystery: As Vader once said, “You were right.” Thank you for your suggestions. I only wish I listened to you earlier, for clearly you are enlightened.

For those of you not onboard yet, Journey Into Mystery #632 comes out on December 14th and promises not only to be a special Christmas issue, but also an excellent jumping on point. I’ve already jumped on, I encourage you to do the same.


  1. Since this is the best place online today to reach Journey Into Mystery fans, this is where I can finally make my public plea that you all reconsider abbreviating this book to JIM. It’s incredibly distracting. I feel like everyone is shouting at me. More than usual.

    Alternate suggestions:
    Ol’ Thorless

    I’m open to just about anything.

    I got on the book a while ago when Ifanboy mentioned how many readers said it was awesome. And it is. The Fear it’s Self tie in part made sense of an other wise worthless event and it continues to be one of the best Marvel books put out.

  3. And the final panel of the last issue????!!!
    Fans of Simonson’s Thor run HAVE to smile at that.

  4. Glad to have you aboard the S.S. Awesome, Ron. I can’t remember why I checked this book out, as really have no opinion either way of Loki, but I’m glad I did. This books is crazy good.

  5. “The Fear Itself Tie-Ins actually made Fear Itself better”

    Other places I visit, JiM’s other title is “Fear Itself done right”.

  6. I buy EVERYTHING Marvel puts out.

    And Journey Into Mystery is Marvel’s best book right now.

    My wife could only shake her head in pretend interest when I told her how last issue’s Volstagg issue was the best story that had ever been done with a character who’s been around for almost 50 years.

    Kudos for the creative team.

  7. Now imagine how silly it is for people who ARE Thor fans to not be reading this??
    And that many of the folks who aren’t reading this WERE reading Fear Itself and Thor while leaving this on the shelf…
    Also, Ikol and Leah anagrams are great fun–Gillen has masterfully added new characters to the Thor Myrtis while simultaneously playing with the Norse mythology AND paying homage to Marvel’s own version of the mythology simultaneously—the elegance of this incredible tightrope act of storytelling has me grinning every time I read JIM (that’s right: JIM!)

  8. Kieron Gillen could really give Jonathan Hickman a run for his money with those infographics!

    That’s a cool story though and I’ll probably check out next month’s issue.

  9. Agreed on all points. One of Marvel’s best. It has a rhyme scheme, for pete’s sake!

    Also, while Journey into Mystery is, objectively, the coolest name of all time, let’s cut Jimski a break and change the name to Kid Loki and the Mischief Makers.

  10. Dear Kieron. If you happen to read this, please write a mini series starring Thor, Hercules, and Loki all living together and the hijinks that ensue. Please title this series “Two and Half Gods”. Thank you.

  11. JIM is my favourite Marvel book right now, not that that’s saying much but I love it.

  12. It’s a miracle that there’s any row left un-hoed in Asgard, but sure as hell, Kieron Gillen has found it. Undoubtedly, he is doing the best work with the Aesir since Walt Simonson himself, and I don’t say that lightly. Skill and love have married to create “Journey Into Mystery.”

  13. I’m so glad to hear this Ron! JIM has been some of the best comics coming out of Marvel lately and it’s all because of Gillen’s perfect writing and the art by Braithwaite, Portacio, and Elson.

    Also, Gillen is kinda crazy…

  14. JIM has been my POTW six times in the past ten issues. I think I might have a problem where I love it too much.



  16. Gillen is rocking all his marvel work. Even all the way back to when he took over Thor for a bit.

    Now when will he team up with Jamie Mckelvie for something Marvel?!

  17. Those graphs make me want to try the book!

  18. I’ve been reading Journey since Gillen’s run started, and agree that it’s one of my favorite books every month, possibly the best book Marvel’s putting out at the moment. When Fraction originally brought Loki back as a kid, I thought little of the idea, but Gillen has made it work conpletely. Plus, thanks for the shout-out to the supporting cast, which is first rate — I hope Leah will be around for awhile. Also, that Volstagg stand-alone was outstanding.

    When Fear Itself ended, I read Journey first that week ’cause I cared more about the ending of Journey being ruined than I did about the ending of the event itself . . .

    Ron, you mention Phonogram, what was that? So far, pretty much all I’ve read of Gillen is the Thor stuff, so I’d like to see more. I did cave and buy X-Men #1, despite my long standing resistence to being sucked into the X-Men again. Glad I did too . . .

    Finally, can we have some priase for Hans’ covers? So beautiful . . .

  19. I have enjoyed this book from day 1 and it has never let me down once. Its one of the few books that i have to read first when it comes out, now i just wish it would be digital, then everything would be right in the world.

  20. I have been reading this book since it changed back from Thor to J-Myst (not shouting at Jim). The storyline here has been incredible and fresh.

    This was probably the best Fear It Self book that was put out, even though it was simply a tie in book.

    To me when I read each issue, I feel like I am learning some new mythos of Asgard, almost like a back story from Middle Earth. You already know the main story, but the stories behind the story are very fascinating.

    Probably one of more positive books Marvel is putting out lately.

  21. An excellent book. The tips from iFanboy to iFanboy is one of the things that make this site great.

  22. Good to see some recognition happening…loki dokey has been packed full of awesome, and is one of a very few books i truly look forward too-hell i might even hunger, not yearn that is for girls. I have been following Gillen since Phonogram and his craft just keeps gutting better.

    You don’t even necessarily need to be a Thor fan, this is the most excellent adventure of a young god whom one day will destroy asgard, or has destroyed asgard- but is not that person yet, but may not become that being, dependant on how things roll, but he is that god, but we are the sum of our experiences, which are driven by our free will…is there free will? or are we just playing our predetermined rolls….

    Just read it, you would be playing the fool if you don’t.

  23. Thanks to some wheeling and dealing on ebay I have the Lil Loki run on its way…I have been on the fence but it’s time to make the leap…

  24. I am quite excited for the future with Surtur now, and I had basically zero understanding of the character until I started getting this book. I knew of him, but not about him.

  25. Yes!!! I told you!

  26. I just found 622-628 (including the .1 issue) at half-price books! I’ve been reading them this weekend. It’s really fun. I love Kid Loki. He kinda reminds me of Damian Wayne (just a little). can’t wait to finish what I have so I can catch up with the last few issues.

    • I really think that if DC/Marvel do a crossover anytime in the near future, it should feature a Loki/Damian team-up. Maybe they could drag Stephanie Brown and Leah along with them? I mean, how great would that be . . ?

  27. You made me impulse-buy the whole run. Looking forward to reading it. It looks promising.

  28. Just finished 622-631 and it’s awesome. I was not entirely convinced I was going to like it but I was clearly mistaken. I think I need to re-read it again but this time slowly to savor how damn fine this book is.