The crossover arc, Everything Burns, ends here. It is a collaborative work by Kieron Gillen and Matt Fraction (discussed previously on Hawkeye post). One thing that comes across with Kieron Gillen’s comic writing is that he is a very intelligent man. It is not just his work with Journey into Mystery, set up with Norse mythological language, but with Uncanny X-Men, where modern day English is so eloquently used. Matt Fraction has been writing Thor for a couple of years and both authors are leaving this book for the Marvel Now reboot. Gillen’s Loki is a key character to this arc but his background is worth mentioning. He initially died saving his brother, Thor, during the Siege crossover, but Loki being a trickster, he would find a way to cheat death. He was reincarnated as a young boy with no knowledge of his past indiscretions but still with a mired reputation. He had a spiritual guide, in a sense, as a raven called Ikol who represents his previous incarnation. The ultimate question would be can he reform and not tread the path already trodden. Alan Davis is a veteran to the comic drawing board and has been highly regarded for decades. He has pencilled for the big companies including all the major superheroes so his calibre can never be questioned. This is the culmination of Loki’s story intertwined with the invasion of the nine realms by the devil Surtur, which was instigated by Loki himself.
I have been a faithful reader of Journey into Mystery, since it was penned by Kieron Gillen, and I see this crossover as Loki’s final labour. It is impressive that the events occurring in this book refer to Loki’s shenanigans since his inception. Couple that with the huge cast and plot confusion can easily pervade. I have had to go back to the earlier JIM issues to catch up with current events but I really enjoy seeing the stories and arcs link together. Especially since the master conductor Loki has orchestrated everything, but unfortunately not everyone is playing the same song. The writing is solid but action is the theme of the book, except for Loki’s musings, which are particularly apt and succinct. The fighting sequences are grand and impactful as Thor fights a devil who is significantly larger than everyone. The size of the task is really borne out with the pencilling and I have to mention Javier Rodriguez colouring as the hellish scene is bathed in glorious shades of yellow and red. Loki has two facial expressions, that of fear/concern and that of wicked conniving and both are pencilled well and excellently timed. This book delivered a great finale in plot and action.
The key for this arc for me is Loki himself. His introspection gears towards power and selfishness with a dabbling of guilt and remorse. Loki feels the need to prove himself using his higher intellect, he manipulates people and relationships for the greater good but in actuality it is really for his own self-interests. Thor will always be his older brother who is courageous and heroic but Loki will not stand in that shadow cast. He tries to prove his naysayers wrong but often leads to debts he is unable to pay with Thor always forgiving and rescuing. This book shows how the two brothers come together to save the nine realms but by completely different methods. Loki grows as boy but fails to mature as a man and is left with the knowledge that he saved the realm with his guilt intact. This tale has been woven for many months and it has a fitting end, as well as a journey into mystery for a little boy named Loki.
“Oh, where has Ikol gone to?” 9.5/10