Journey Into Mystery (1st series) #641

Issue Date: 
September 2012
Story Title: 

Kieron Gillen (writer), Richard Elson (artist), Ifs’s Ifansyah Noor (colorist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Stephanie Hans (cover), John Denning (assistant editor), Lauren Sankovitch (editor), Tom Breevort (executive editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)
special thanks to Nelson Ribeiro

Brief Description: 

Loki and Leah damage or destroy several important symbolic places for Otherworld in the real world. Thus weakened, Otherworld has no choice but to accept the Manchester Gods’ offer, which in effect is a kind of parliamentary democracy. With Wilson’s help, Loki and Leah pay Hellstrom, who tells Loki he did the right thing. However, now Loki is forced to pay Hela, getting her a sip of the Holy Grail. With that, her hand is healed and Leah – her handmaiden – dissolves. Hela leaves the disconsolate Loki with the riddle of whether or not Loki is Hela’s father, even though that doesn’t appear to possible. Asgardia’s All-Mother is not pleased with what Loki did, even as he wonders what the problem is. The problem is that the Manchester Gods are now paying their secret ally Surtur, who doesn’t plan an industrial revolution as they believed, but… doom.

Full Summary: 

Salisbury Plain, Britain:
Loki and Leah prepare certain devices given to them by the urban gods and attach them there. And now a mere press on a button of the Stark phone! Loki announces cheerfully, and they get the festivities under way. There really is an app for everything!

Do they really have to wear these? Leah asks. They do, Loki insists. It’s symbolic. And they both put on Guy Fawkes masks. He presses the button and Stonehenge explodes. Symbolism is important!

And soon other symbolic places go the same way. The Long Man of Wilmington, Hadrian’s Wall (a segment thereof), Glastonbury Tor.

He has become death! The destroyer of Otherworld! Loki exclaims. He is the lightbringer… and similar satanic exclamations. Somberly, he suspects this is the worst thing he has ever done. Sent to aid Camelot and their mythological friends, only to betray them and ensure they come crashing down.

Ahem, Ikol (an aspect of the former Loki) harumphes. He’s said worst he’s ever done, young Loki stresses.

Leah coolly remarks it was necessary and relatively kind. If Otherworld must fall, better it fall quickly. The loss of the holy sites will hurt the ancient regime as surely as a loss of the Manchester Gods would weaken them.

She agrees with him? he asks in disbelief. Please not so loud, she tells him. People will think their bickering is just a cover and they both worked so hard to establish their mutual enmity.

In Camelot, Arthur, Merlyn, Captain Britain and others are gathered, when Herne rushes in, shouting the wall is breached. The Manchester Gods ride forth! Spells flickered, arms grew weak. A great weight fell upon their heart. Where are they? Arthur demands

Merlyn’s Tower, Castle le Fey, the Green Chapel, the Starlight Citadel, all are attacked. Where are they not? Herne retorts.

Arthur wonders how they could move this way. The Manchester Gods sweep in on their engines. Merlyn explains they’ve done to Otherworld what Loki threatened to do to them. The Lady of the Lake suggests they can still rally. With enough cunning and wit, it’s not too late.

A fire envoy from the Manchester Gods enters through a window, announcing it is not too late for a treaty. They have a simple choice. Will there be peace in Otherworld? Or will there be ruins? With that question asked, he flies off.

So soon they meet for an armistice. Master Wilson points at the places to sign. Arthur angrily spouts that reading isn’t one of their baleful inventions. With a flourish, Master Wilson takes the signed treaty. Otherworld’s domains are their domains. Their icons in the real world will be reconstructed. They’ll arrange a parliament. They will certainly have representation there.

Arthur snarls the Manchester Gods brought down years of tradition and put in place this strange… He says “strange,” Wilson interrupts him. They say “the new.” It really is a matter of perspective. And as a true Northern satanic figure, clearly he personally believes it’s better to rule in hell or Hull, whatever’s closer.

Here’s their little spies back. He points at the imprisoned Loki and Leah. Captain Britain asks the kids if they are hurt. Loki apologizes that they were discovered. He wasn’t much use.

A little later in Camden, London, Loki tells Daimon Hellstrom that he used all the information Daimon gathered to cause a complete change of power in Otherworld. Is he angry? Hellstrom replies he’d be angry if he wasn’t getting paid. But if this Wilson guy settles the debts, they are good. Loki played the field as he saw it. And talking as a guy who usurped a few thrones in his time, he can get behind a rigorous uprising. There is one thing though: The whole double-double-crossing cross scheme. What are they not telling him?

Loki replies he can only be as he is, but he wants people to trust him as much as they are able. Daimon remarks he is a manipulative little brat and he’d trust him as far as he can throw him. Luckily, that’s pretty far away. Loki is tiny and Daimon is pretty damn strong.

Debts settled, Leah remarks, except what he promised her mistress. He knows, Loki sighs. He was putting that off as long as he could.

Soon Loki leads Hela and Leah through some of Otherworld’s secret passages. Hela complains that, since the black blades of the Disir cut her hand from her, she has known no peace. No healing in her realm of death will close the wound. This was arranged how exactly?

Loki explains that Wilson owes him. He distracts the Lady of the Lake with that most portentous of opponents: Masses of paperwork.

They come into the presence of the grail. Triumphantly, Hela drinks from it, telling him his debt to Hel is repaid. Her hand begins to regrow. At the same time, Leah begins to dissolve.

Leah tells Loki not to be so sad. She is a handmaiden. Sacrifice is in her nature. Loki waves. Good knowing her, B.F.F. “Best friends forever.” She looked it up. He reaches for her hand and can’t touch her. She thanks him. She appreciates the sentiment. But did he ever really think it could be true?

Leah is gone and Hela is restored. Loki begins to cry silently. Hela turns around, remarking that the legends say he is her father. What does he think? Leave him alone, he snarls.

Alone with his familiar Ikol he asks him what was the truth. The crow replies it is one of the mysteries. Loki was of an age with Thor. Hela ruled her domain long before he was born. How could he be her father? But the Aesir all seem to think it true. Despite a lack of any evidence. It makes no sense. But when closely examined, myths rarely do.

Perhaps it is for the best, he suggests. If Loki is Hela’s father, then affection between them is-- Loki calls him a fool. It’s not about the kissing! She was much more important than that!

Later in Asgardia:
The Allmother furiously asks Loki if he understands what he has done! He did as they commanded! Loki replies. He brought peace to Otherworld. If they are unhappy with the result, they should have provided a more thorough commission. He begins to rant that their new allies sit in parliament. They rule Otherworld and are good people. Apart from their loss of political power, their old allies are perfectly fine, and most importantly no one is dying.

Freyja wants to interrupt him, but he tells her to listen for once. He did all for them. They have no idea what he had to sacrifice for them and Asgardia and everyone. He doesn’t expect gratitude. But if they don’t want Loki to save them, don’t ask Loki to save them! He asks them: what is the problem here?

The problem:
In Otherwold Master Wilson talks to an ally through a doorway to another dimension. He reports it is done. From his prototype, they’ve grown a harvest in Otherworld’s fertile soil.

And when will their debt be settled? the ally asks. The god-spore tithe is being delivered as they speak, Wilson replies. He hopes his ally’s own industrial revolution goes as well as theirs. He misunderstands is the reply. Surprised, Wilson asks what other purpose could these magnificent machines serve but the betterment of all?

Doom! is Surtur’s reply.

Characters Involved: 


Master Wilson
Daimon Hellstrom
Freyja, Haea, idunn (All-Mother)
Captain Britain
King Arthur
Lady of the Lake
Heroes of Otherworld


Story Notes: 

The Starkphone apparently is the Marvel equivalent to the iPhone.

The “Guy Fawkes” masks Loki has them wear as they ruin the ancient sites has become famously used by protest movements.

“Better to rule in hell than to serve in Heaven” is the line Satan famously spouts in John Milton’s “Paradise Lost.” He might feel different about Hull which is a northern-English city.

In mythology, Loki is the father of Hela, which creates some problems for the timeline. Journey into Mystery #645 will explain this conundrum in quite a new way.

Surtur is the ancient and most terrible enemy of Asgard, a harbinger of Ragnarok.

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