Journey into Mystery The Birth of Krakoa
Written By: Dennis Hopeless
Art by: Djibril Morsissette-Phan
Colors by: Rachelle Rosenberg
Lettering by: VC’s Travis Lanham
The“Journey into Mystery” title returns, and Marvel has decided to take the title back to its 1950s roots. This comic is a mashup of genres, with elements of horror, intrigue, and military themes, while using the history of Krakoa and the howling commandos as a hook. In pop culture short form this comic is: part Twilight Zone, part John Carpenter’s The Thing, and part Godzilla.
Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos have crash landed on a mysterious island, after receiving collateral damage from an atomic bomb. While on the island the commandos are separated, and each of them faces a unique danger. Nick Fury is caught in an ever-changing cave system, while others find themselves becoming one with the island’s vegetation. This being a prequel and directly mentioned in the title, the reader already knows that it is Krakoa (The Island the Walks Like a Man) that the commandos are facing.
Both Krakoa and The Howling Commandos, are characters I typically have only a passing knowledge of. In general, I even avoid military/war-themed comics. But, I am incredibly grateful I read this issue. The 1950s throwback to the original thesis of Journey into Mystery had me hooked. Make no mistake this is a horror comic first and foremost. It is hard making a mystery/horror story suspenseful in a prequel setting but Hopeless pulls it off in spades. You know the main characters have to make it out alive, yet the suspense and mystery drip off every page. I also highly appreciate the tie into an anti-nuclear message, as Krakoa was a monster made from our own destructive nature. Hopeless is not subtle with the message either as there is a clear exchange, between Nick Fury and Krakoa, that shows remorse and regret for the constant growing war machine. Again this cycles back to the origins of the title, which originated in the 50s at peak fear of nuclear annihilation.
Morsissette-Phan’s art is something I have not encountered before, but he has made me a fan. He pulled off a difficult task of turning the setting into a character itself. The sequential storytelling showed how dynamic and alive everything in the background truly was. Having inked his own work he uses darks and negative space to really sell this as a book in the horror genre. Rosenberg’s coloring is also a star on its own as she plays with darks while the mystery is at its deepest, and brightens the color scheme when the conclusion is reached. The art in this issue was storytelling at its finest.