Loki: Agent of Asgard has had a pretty tremendous first arc. Issues one and two were smart, fun stories, and issue three is the frontrunner for my favorite single issue of the year. Issue #4 picks up right where that one left off, changing course for a present-day scrape between Loki and Sigurd the Ever-Glorious. It’s another exciting, fun installment with swashbuckling on clotheslines (and dumpsters) and an ending that leads to a possible resolution – or more likely, given that this is Loki we’re dealing with, an unforeseen escalation.
Al Ewing’s script is, as always, just fantastic. His dialogue is particularly standout this time, especially for Sigurd. Sigurd is the main focus of the story here as Loki’s target for the All-Mother and as the partial POV character for the issue’s beginning and near its end. He’s such a jerk it’s hard to not want to reach into the book and just smack his face into a jelly. You can hear how conceited and full of himself he is, as if he were actually speaking to you in person. But while Sigurd may be a total wipe, there’s no denying he’s a clever one. The guy comes prepared to Loki’s new apartment to steal his sword back, and his proposition to Kaluu is just brilliant. It’s not unlike the plan Loki hatched four years ago that brought us all to where we are today, and Ewing would do well not to let the concept go to waste.
This issue sees the return of another key player from Journey into Mystery and in such a good way I don’t want to spoil it. Verity Willis – a living lie detector and Loki’s potential ladyfriend from issue #2 – also returns as Loki ropes her into a new plan. The All-Mother make their required appearance, with Idunn and Gaea questioning Freyja’s desire to forcibly return all Asgardian ex-pats. Old Loki doesn’t make an appearance, which is not a bad thing, since #3 is a tough act to follow. That leaves this issue squarely to New Loki.
The guy is just a terrific protagonist. He’s sharp, cunning, fun, and trying so hard to be good this time around. He knows that no matter how many good works he does, in the service of Asgardia or otherwise, he cannot atone for what allows him to live in the first place. The crime that will not be forgiven – orchestrating the murder and body-theft of the real Kid Loki. With the way that’s been coming up lately, it’s only a matter of time until the lie is revealed and everything comes crashing down around our boy.
Lee Garbett and Nolan Woodard produced outstanding work in #3, and do not slouch this time around either. There is some fabulous art in this book. Two immediate visual standouts both feature Sigurd: the first is when he unsheathes Gram on Kaluu’s mountain, and the second is the title page, where he scales Loki’s building. Lee Garbett has a real way with faces, and Loki’s is a constant source of pleasure. Garbett’s art, heightened with Woodard’s colors, conveys Loki’s face – whether he’s eyerolling, enjoying himself totally, or filled with a cold dread – to such a degree that you not only know what he’s feeling, but feel the same thing with him. And kudos to Clayton Cowles on an excellent lettering job – he is always good, and this was no exception.
As Agent of Asgard turns in yet another excellent installment, it’s next month when everything comes to a head. Loki defying the All-Mother springs his new plan into action, and all signs point to an intersection with Old Loki. However the details of that play out, one thing is for certain: it will be painful in the best possible way. Don’t miss it.