In the fantastic world of the Marvel Universe violence leaves physical, mental and emotional scars -- even on gods. The warrior goddess Sif of the Asgardian pantheon has seen her people's home city come under a number of vicious assaults including Norman Osborn's "Siege" of Asgard, which left the city in ruins.
The city was later rebuilt as Asgardia, but in the recent "Everything Burns" crossover between "Journey Into Mystery" and "The Mighty Thor" the Asgardians were almost destroyed again by the malevolent fire giant Surtur's scheme to burn their rebuilt city to the ground. This latest assault was too much for Asgardian warrior goddess Sif, who obtained the power of an antient spell that strengthened her abilities as a warrior. This took place in "Journey Into Mystery" #646, when she became the title's protagonist, and writer Kathryn Immonen and artist Valerio Schiti made their debut as the book's new ongoing creative team.
Unfortunately for Sif, there were unforeseen side effects and the heroine suddenly found herself lashing out at both friends and family. Those violent outbursts led to her being forcibly transported to a strange new reality. Comic Book Resources spoke with Immonen about this new dimension and her upcoming plans for "Journey Into Mystery" including a team-up with the Superior Spider-Man.
CBR News: Kathryn, in "Journey Into Mystery" #646 Sif obtains the power of the ancient Berserker Spell. In the next issue we discovered she receives more than she initially bargained for. Based on what Sif tells Volstagg's wife and her brother Heimdall in these issues, it sounds like the reason she sought this spell was a reaction to events like "Siege" and "Everything Burns" that have left her emotionally scarred and fearful for her0 safety and that of her people. Is that accurate or is there more to Sif's motivations than wanting to protect her people?
Kathryn Immonen: At the risk of seeming simplistic, Sif's motivations really are as straight forward as that. But I would also say that her feelings about Asgardia and her role in that society are relatively complex. I think she probably feels like her expectations are not unreasonably high for her own behavior and that there are rules of engagement which underpin everyone's actions. Unfortunately, she's made a decision with the best of intentions which has had unexpected (for her) effects. She's not in control of everything. Go figure!
As you mentioned, the Berserker Spell has made Sif a more ferocious and dangerous warrior, but it also makes her prone to rages. It almost feels like a magical steroid in a sense. Is that a fair metaphor or is that an oversimplification of how the spell works and what it's doing to Sif?
That certainly appears to be her reaction to it! As Heimdall has pointed out to her, what's she's done is fine in theory but she didn't think ahead to where exactly she was going to put all this new energy. And there's never any guarantee that you get what you ask for, either.
Have we seen all the physical and psychological effects of the Berserker Spell or are there more to be revealed in upcoming issues?
Nope and yup! Sif, of course, will get some resolution with this, but it's not at all what she expected.
In "JIM" #647 Sif's rages lead to a brawl with her brother Heimdall, a character you really seem to enjoy writing. What is it about the character and his relationship with his sister that you find so interesting? Will Heimdall continue to be a supporting character going forward?
I have this suspicion that Heimdall is kind of a jerk in his personal life, of which he has little to speak of, so it's been fun to invent gaps to fill in. Older brothers are bad enough what with the being older and usually bigger (and I speak from a lot of experience as well as the age of lawn darts and other weapons disguised as toys [cough] Stretch Armstrong [cough]). So can you just imagine having an older brother that is -- actually is -- all seeing? Irritating, at best. So, yes, Heimdall is a player for the rest of this arc and absolutely I'd love to see more of him.
At the end of #647 Heimdall transports Sif to a mysterious reality where she encounters three fleeing warriors and a giant, monster-like figure. What can you tell us about this reality and its monstrous inhabitants?
It's all related back to Asgardia and their story telling history. Conceptually, it's a bit meta-textual but completely concrete and a lot of fun in the execution. These are all monsters that nobody's seen for a long time.
While we'll see more of that reality in "Journey Into Mystery" #648, I also imagine we'll learn more about the three fleeing warriors we spotted at the end of the previous issue. Is there anything you can tell us about these characters going into the issue? Are they new creations? Established characters? And what kind of role will they play in the book moving forward?
These three guys, newly created for this story but based on existing Asgardian ideas, are going to become Sif's new best friends. They're ancient Asgardian Berserker Warriors and Sif is more than happy to fall in with them and eventually she'll have to figure out how to lead them.
The action moves to Earth in February's "JIM" #649. In terms of plot and theme, what is this issue about?
It's about Sif finding a useful context for her behavior. She's enjoyed her taste of "Lord of the Flies" -- now she's going to have to find a way to step back into society and take responsibility for her actions.
That same issue brings Sif face to face with several established Marvel characters, most noticeably the new Superior Spider-Man. What's it like writing Otto Octavius as Spider-Man, and what made you want to bounce him off Sif?
I actually had no idea that this was happening when I asked for Spider-Man. I had just really enjoyed him in the issue of "Avenging Spider-Man" that I wrote and, in thinking about a guest star, thought that he would be a great foil for Sif. So, I confess that I was a little disappointed initially, but it didn't take long to come around to the new dynamic between them.
Artist Valerio Schiti proved he has a knack for drawing the mystical word of Asgardia and its divine and monstrous inhabitants in your first two issues. What can we expect from him when the setting moves out into the modern super heroic Marvel Universe in "Journey Into Mystery" #649? What does he bring to this type of world and characters like the Superior Spider-Man?
Clearly, Valerio can draw anything. I would say that we're all trying to maintain the element of the 'fantastic' even now that we're back on Midgard. The monsters help -- the swords and horses do too.
Your first "Journey Into Mystery" arc comes to a conclusion with issue #650. What can you tell us about the events of that issue, and can you hint at your plans beyond that?
All I can say is we're not letting go of Sif any time soon.
"Journey Into Mystery" #648 is in stores and available digitally on January 30th.