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Comic Book / Journey into Mystery

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"You are not as wicked as they think."
"I'd have to try terribly hard to be that terrible."
— Conversation between Thor and kid Loki.

Originally an Anthology Comic by Atlas Comics which later became Marvel Comics, Journey Into Mystery is known for debuting The Mighty Thor, in issue #83 (August, 1962), by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The series would regularly feature Thor there until issue #125 (February, 1966). With issue #126 (March, 1966), the comic was renamed The Mighty Thor.

It has been revived as a separate title a few times since then from 1972 to 1975 as an Anthology Comic, and again in the 1990s replacing Thor's book with issue #503, following the Heroes Reborn relaunch of key Marvel properties from 1996 to 1998. Finally the most recent revival of the series was during the Fear Itself event and relaunch of Thor's book as The Mighty Thor in 2010 starting with issue 622.

From issues 622-645, the main character changed from Thor to his newly-reincarnated brother, Loki. Issue 646 started a new arc focusing on Lady Sif, and lasted to Issue 655.


As part of the War of the Realms event series in 2019, Journey Into Mystery returned as a five-issue limited series tie-in written by The McElroys, involving the likes of Miles Morales, Kate Bishop, Wonder Man, and more as they search for Thor's secret baby sister to end the war.

Because all the books under this name are part of the Thor family, all characters from all series can be found here.

Tropes featured in this work:

Early anthology stories

  • Worthless Currency: "There'll be Some Changes Made", in issue #33 (1956) has a man who resents his Revolutionary War era ancestor for spending the family fortune, so creates a time machine that can kill the man before he has a chance to do so. As a result, a strongbox containing the money instantly appears on the table ... and it turns out to be Continental currency, which had collapsed in value by 1778.

Kieron Gillen's Run (Issues 622-645):

  • Admiring the Abomination: When Loki releases Surtur, he makes sure to take a photo of him with his Starkphone
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Leah makes no secret of her attraction to Daimon. Her reasoning is that everyone likes a bad boy.
    • It includes Hel-Puppies too!
    Kid Loki: I'm a bad boy!
    Leah: Not actual boys.
  • Always Save the Girl: Surprisingly, Loki actually plays this trope straight for Leah. Well, for Leah, at least
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Loki and Leah have a bit of this dynamic
  • Big Bad: First arc of Kid Loki's run starts with Serpent as Bigger Bad and sets up Surtur and Mephisto for rest of the story. Turns out they all were pawns of Old Loki.
  • Bookends: Kid Loki's arc of the series begins and ends with a confrontation between old Loki and young Loki in the space hidden in the dot of the question mark.
    • Also, the covers of Journey Into Mystery 623 and Journey Into Mystery 645 (the second and last issues of the run) are inversions of one another.
    • Journey Into Mystery 622 starts with the line, "In the end, many of the answers ended up being 'Loki'." Journey Into Mystery 645 starts with the same phrase, only "the end" is replaced with "the beginning".
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: At one point, Loki grabs the narration boxes and tears them up but this is actually a subversion, as later it's revealed that the narrator of the story is an actual character in-story.
    • Loki also directly addresses the audience a few times in the last chapter.
  • Break the Cutie: Up to Eleven.
  • Brick Joke: Early in the run, there is a bit of narration that refers to Leah as Hela's left hand, in contrast to Tyr being Hela's right. Turns out that she is literally Hela's hand, although the artists never seem to agree on whether it's her left or her right
    • In Journey Into Mystery 625, Loki is dealing with the aftermath of bringing some dire news to Hela. When he recives worse news, he reports to her handmaiden Leah, who tells him he "already brought" dire news, so he corrects himself with "Dire-er news!" Almost at the end of the issue, he runs up to Hela and Mephisto, who are having Parley, and loudly declares "DIRE-EST NEWS!" and Hela looks exasperated.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: In the recap of issue #632, Ikol and Loki are the ones in charge of giving a summary of past events in the series:
    Ikol: What about Odin's brother, the Serpent, attempting to rule the world through fear itself? And Odin almost killing everyone to stop him?
    Kid Loki: Fixed it. A Tuesday afternoon trifle.
  • Central Theme: Change is good. The new is good. But this is a single run in a single series that is part of a huge mainstream comic continuity, so it's never going to last.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Fear Crown
  • Chekhov's Gunman: the Leah that Loki wrote into the Serpent's story in issue 629
    • Also, remember the Teller from the 626.1 issue that didn't seem to have anything to do with anything? Yeah, he's actually super important to the plot
  • Chronic Villainy: Old Loki / Ikol in the end
  • Continuity Nod: Hela explicitly references the time she sent adult Loki into the past to engineer his own adoption.
  • Creating Life Is Unforeseen: Loki wrote Leah into the Serpent's biography, thus creating a copy of her accidentally.
  • Creator Cameo: Gillen himself appears in one panel while Loki and Leah are meeting Daimon Hellstrom in a pub during the "Manchester Gods" arc.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: The Teller, i.e. the narrator of our tale.
  • Downer Ending: To kid Loki's story.
  • Eat the Evidence: Facetiously suggested in the first issue.
    Volstagg: I could eat Loki. There would be no evidence. A perfect crime!
  • Et Tu, Brute?: When Thori betrays Loki, Loki gets pretty broken up about it.
  • Face Palm: Leah does this frequently around Loki.
  • Fake Defector: Loki does this a few times.
  • Fate Worse than Death: What happens to kid Loki in the end.
  • Foil: Loki identifies quite a bit with the hel-puppy that he names Thori since they're both supposedly unalterably evil beings. The difference between them is Thori loves being what he is and happily reverts to form the first chance he gets, while Loki does everything he can to avoid his fate.
  • Gainax Ending: Gillen had to post an explanation of what had happened in the ending on his tumblr, because at least half the fanbase didn't understand what had just occurred.
  • Gambit Pileup: There are a variety of different factions competing against one another in Journey into Mystery. However, this is notable as probably being one of the few cases where a character competes against HIMSELF. Which became his new status quo of questionable godliness after this series.
  • Guile Hero: Kid Loki.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Subverted with Thori, played straight with the Manchester Gods and later kid Loki
  • Heroic Suicide: What Kid Loki does to save everyone from Mephisto
  • Hope Spot: At the end of the Everything Burns crossover with The Mighty Thor, they've succeeded in defeating Surtur, Loki's been definitively given Thor's trust, the Nine Realms know that it was Loki who saved them, Leah's back (sort of) and they're all going to live happily ever after. JUST KIDDING Mephisto has the Fear Crown and Loki has to annihilate himself to get rid of it.
    • Loki's "Damn me" on the final page could be seen as a hope spot. As far as character development goes, being able to admit that he is at fault is absolutely huge for Loki and it indicates that Kid Loki's final words have achieved something significant. Unfortunately he quickly follows it up with a more standard "Damn you all" indicating a return to his old self. Later series confirmed that: no, he didn't return to his old self, and is quite determined to not become like that again, for his misfortune many many people want him to.
  • Little Miss Snarker: Leah
  • Magpies as Portents: The magpie rhyme is an overarching theme - the run begins with a group of magpies on a quest through the Nine Realms after old Loki's death, and the remnant of evil Loki takes the form of a magpie to follow Loki around.
  • Memory Gambit: Loki's reason for creating kid Loki via his resurrection without his memories in the first place. He sets himself up with a new, baggage-free life in order to regain trust among those that wouldn't before for one of his own schemes that would allow 'him' to change, all the while setting things up to create a situation that would force kid Loki to take on his personality. Kid Loki claims victory in that he "dies" knowing he did change, while the original Loki setting up this scheme in the first place proves he never will. And it later turned out that the scheme resulted in a new Loki, who takes after both of them, but is neither of them. Shouldn't the guy be called Loki Lokison by this point?
  • Meta Fiction: Very much so.
    Loki: We all know how this story ends.
  • Mood Whiplash: This quote about sums it up:
    Journey Into Mystery: A comedy in 30 parts (or a tragedy in 31)
  • My God, What Have I Done?: This is Loki's reaction after seeing the Manchester Gods working with Surtur.
    • After taking over his younger self's body, Loki's last lines in 645 of "Damn me." seem to imply this. Unfortunately, he follows it up with "Damn you all." Later series confirmed that: Yes, he really does blame himself for this.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In the Everything Burns arc, everything that Loki did in the earlier arcs comes around to bite him in the ass. "My predicament has become terribly on the nose."
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Master Wilson, the leader of the Manchester Gods, is a fusion of famed Manchester music scene personality Tony Wilson and Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Every good thing Loki does ends up screwing him over down the line.
    Ikol: Humans see groups of magpies. Magpies don't. Magpies know they stand alone. ... There is only ever one for sorrow.
  • No Shirt, Long Jacket: Hellstrom. "A guy's got a certain reputation", after all.
  • Rewriting Reality: Loki created a chance to win against the Serpent by forging his biography. Not only did he need to get access to said book but also required a special pen (the shadow of Surtur's sword), and ink (Leah's blood) to pull this stunt off.
  • Running Gag: Daimon is never going to put on a shirt, Loki.
  • Screw Destiny: What kid Loki is trying to do in being a hero instead of a villain. It's what adult Loki's trying, too, even though it is very heavily implied he is destined to fail.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Despite everything he accomplished, the friends that he made and the respect and trust that he earned, kid Loki ends up being annihilated and replaced by old Loki with no one the wiser to his fate. Sure, he won in that he was good, but it still means nothing in the long run. Because status quo is God in mainstream superhero comic books.]]
  • Stable Timeloop: the second Leah was sent back in time and became Hela.
  • Status Quo Is God: Kid Loki ceases to exist and the original Loki comes back.
  • Talking to Themself: Loki and Ikol, since Ikol doesn't really exist in the physical world.]]
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Everything always comes back to being Loki's fault.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: "Hellstrom! What's wrong? Do you need anything? A shirt perhaps?"
  • Wham Episode: Issue 641 Leah's goodbye and Surtur being revealed behind the Manchester Gods that Loki just helped.
    • Issue 643 Leah is revealed to be the Leah that Loki wrote into the Serpent's story, and then Loki tells her that he's sick of being hated and mistrusted by the Asgardians, that he resents Thor for bringing him back to them, that he honestly is upset about what happened to Leah and wants to help her, and that he wants to let everyone burn in Surtur's fires. And then he dumps Thor into a lake of lava. It turned out later he hadn't really switched sides, but he still dumped Thor in the lava and (probably) wasn't even lying about most of what he told her.
  • Wham Line:
    • When the Herald of Surtur reveals their identity to the readers. "Leah of Hel knows Loki's character better than her own."
    • And a few issues later, from the same person no less: "Ikol. The bird. You know he doesn't exist outside your head."
  • With Friends Like These...: Loki and Leah. In fact, he once figured out when someone was impersonating her due to the fake Leah being too nice.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Loki/Ikol's is kind of the most brilliant
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: How kid Loki and some of his enemies usually do battle.
  • You Bastard!: In the final panel of Gillen's run, Loki looks directly at the reader while saying "Damn you all." This is very much in line with the book's Deconstruction of Status Quo Is God.

Kathryn Immonen's Run (Issues 646-655):
Verily, can you dig it?

  • Aloof Big Brother: Heimdall to Sif.
  • Amicable Exes: Beta Ray Bill and Sif, aside from some bickering. Justified, given that Bill's girlfriend just died.
  • Anchored Ship: Sif still has some feelings for Bill, and while they've acknowledged their past relationship, he's astutely devoted to Ti Asha Ra. Sif helps reunite the couple after she saves Lady Gaea from a mysterious infection.
  • Back for the Dead: Beta Ray Bill's girlfriend Ti Asha Ra is brought back in issue 653, only to die.!
    • She comes back again in #654, only to be revealed that something or someone planted Bill's ship AI in her body when his ship crashed.
    • She comes back for good alongside a healed Lady Gaea in #655 and a cube housing Skuttlebutt.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Sif literally does this to a dragon like creature in issue 646.
    • Issue 647 has other examples such as a bar patron attempting to get physical with Sif and Sif battling her near Odin level powered brother Heimdall.
  • The Cameo: Kids dressed like Kyle, Stan, Cartman, and Kenny are among those that play with Sif in a snowball fight.
  • Central Theme: Sif's run seems to continue on theme of change, though Sif herself believes that change leads to decadence from past glory.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Sif in nearly all of her fights in the first arc including a severe one to Fandral.
  • Dirty Kid: Hilde, who simply grins with pleasure upon seeing a fully naked Thor out of bed in the middle of a situation while everyone else covers their eyes.
  • For the Evulz: Svip was revealed to have killed most of his own men for his own amusement and tried to attack Broxton simply to satisfy his thirst for battle.
  • Friends with Benefits: Sif and Thor.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: Volstagg's kids, whose sharp comments on their own culture make Sif question their society's current path.
  • Lady of War: Lady Sif.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Even when Thor is in the middle of combat wearing nothing but a bedsheet around his waist, it never comes off.
  • Mythology Gag: The Monsters that appear in issue 649 of the first arc are actually taken from pre-Thor anthology issues of Journey into Mystery original 1960s run.
  • Papa Wolf: Volstagg.
  • The Missus and the Ex: Sif and Jane crack a few puns at Thor's expense when Sif comes to see Jane for medical advice about Lady Gaea.
  • The Snark Knight: 'Berserker' Sif loves to tear into foes verbally as well as physically.
  • Trickster Mentor: Aerndis the witch, her 'Berserker' spell only loosened Sif's normal restraints and everything was just meant to show Sif that the defenders of Asgard were not weaker then those of the past, enemies had just become craftier.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: The summaries for the Seed of Destruction arc indicate that this will occur between Sif and Beta Ray Bill.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Poor Rro turns out to become this for Tokyo.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: A big theme in Sif's first arc, thanks to the Berserker Spell power up she gets in the first issue.
  • Would Hurt a Child: 'Berserker' Sif.


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