October 24th will be a day that will go down in Marvel history. Not only did Ed Brubaker’s run end on Captain America, you had Matt Fraction end his run on Invincible Iron Man, and Daniel Way end his run on Deadpool. But the run that saddened me the most was Kieron Gillen’s run on Journey Into Mystery. And my god was his final issue a brilliant one.
Spoiler warning for Journey Into Mystery #622-#645
Gillen neatly wraps up every dangling plot thread that he started last year. #645 harkens back to #622, the issue that started this magnificent run. The ongoing prose that has narrated these issues is explained, as is old Loki’s big plot. It’s a big one too. But it’s one that the reader knew was coming all along. That’s been one of the big reasons I kept reading this book; how and when is old Loki going to take his place back? Then once the end is here, you can’t help but beg for it not to come, even though you knew it HAD to come eventually. And if you thought Gillen “killing” Leah tugged at your heartstrings, be prepared to have some tissues ready. Reading what Gillen had in store for Leah is just tragic. It’s proof of how detailed and deep Gillen has made each and every character. Leah has quickly gone from new creation to one of the most interesting new characters in the Marvel universe. I’ll admit, the touching ending that Gillen gave the Leah/Loki relationship made me cry a little. In fact, I’m positive I teared up at a few moments during this issue. It’s the first time a comic book has done that.
The big twist that is going to be discussed is the ending. Yes, Kid Loki is dead. It breaks my heart to say it, but Old Loki is now in Kid Loki’s body. I’ve read a few opinions that this will lead Old Loki to be a good guy, because Kid Loki technically won. Old Loki did nothing to redeem himself. Kid Loki did all the heavy lifting. So in the end, Kid Loki swallows the lie (literally) and proves that he beat Old Loki at his own game. And if Old Loki is going to keep his good image up, he is going to have to act like Kid Loki. He’ll still be the old, scheming ass-hole that he has always been, but he might have some heart now. He didn’t directly experience all the emotions that Kid Loki went through. Now that Old Loki is in Kid Loki’s body, he can experience the trust and love that Kid Loki had with Thor. And while it kills longtime readers to see their favorite character killed off, it’s somewhat rewarding to know that Kid Loki didn’t die in vein.
Stephanie Hans has created the most iconic images of Kid Loki, painting every cover for the series, and it’s a complete treasure to see her paint the interiors. The emotional scenes hit that much harder with the painted panels. When Leah is sent into the past, the silhouette that shows Kid Loki shedding tears is the exact panel that made me cry. And Leah is clearly heartbroken to see the guy she loves and hates so much do this too her, even if she understands. Loki’s eyes play a big part in every panel, and they seem so human. It’s tragic to see him have his conversations and have his eyes become sadder with each passing panel.
If you haven’t been reading Journey Into Mystery, go pick up every trade and read it ASAP. It’s quite possibly the best book that Marvel has been putting out, and a run like this probably won’t come around again. Kieron Gillen, thank you for one amazing run.
Journey Into Mystery #645 gets 5/5