This is another of the Atlas Era Masterworks volumes by Marvel. The Atlas Era is loosely defined as titles that began in the 1950s. Foremost among them are the horror/mystery/suspense/science fiction titles of which Journey into Mystery was one of the first. This volume reprints another 10 issues (21-30) originally dated January 1955 to January 1956.
The reason why 10 issues were spread over 13 months was the introduction of the comics code beginning with issue 23. In his usual outstanding introduction Dr. Michael Vassallo makes much of the supposed effects that the code had on the stories. Based solely on the stories in this volume I was hard put to discern any change in story quality. There is a difference in content - no vampires in code books for instance - but you have to know what to look for.
Artistically the stories are a real treat. Indeed the artwork is almost certainly the major appeal of the series. The reproduction is, as always, top notch and does the artwork full justice. One cannot praise series editor Cory Sedlmeier too highly for his attention to detail in this regard.
Normally I can't give Atlas titles five stars because of the usually wretched writing quality. Maybe my expectations are becoming more realistic or perhaps the writing was better in this volume (although I would be hard pressed to give details) but I found myself enjoying this volume more than previous ones. So five stars to Atlas Era Journey into Mystery #3.
I still can't recommend any of the Atlas books to the casual reader looking for some good reads but the comics sophisticate who knows what the Atlas Era was all about should really enjoy this one.