And so it came to pass that Loki Laufeyson, frost giant by birth and Aesir by the will of Odin, did die a noble death to save the All-Mother Freyja, sacrificing himself and being devoured by his own father. But swallowed whole, Loki bode his time before bursting forth from his father’s guts at the time when he was most needed and all seemed lost. Thus did the tide of the War of the Realms turn, and Loki came to fight by the side of his adoptive brother, Thor.
Once the war was over, Thor assumed the role of All-Father of the Aesir and placed himself upon the throne of Asgard. So too did Loki, having proven his worth and loyalty to the family that raised him, take a throne for himself, claiming sovereignty over the realm of Jotunheim – land of the frost giants. And for a time all was peaceful and quiet. And Loki grew bored.
Uneasy lies the head which wears the crown, so they say, but it is the responsibilities of rulership that sit ill with Loki rather than a stylish hat. But Thor is determined to teach his brother some sense of noblesse oblige… even if he has to literally beat the sense into him.
The mythological character of Loki is complicated. While he causes trouble and all manner of grief for the Aesir, he is also usually the person who solves most of their problems. The fact that he was usually responsible for causing the problem in the first place is besides the point, at least in Loki’s mind. Everyone loves a trickster when he isn’t tricking them.
It wasn’t until fairly recently that Marvel Comics’ Loki began to resemble the Loki of myth rather than being some mustache-twirling villain and we probably have Tom Hiddleston’s fans to thank for that. Hiddleston put a charming spin on Loki and made him into a sympathetic figure, despite his double-dealing ways and the comics rushed to copy that. For that reason, I was curious how Loki would be presented in this, his new solo series and how exactly they would try and make Loki into a more heroic figure in the wake of the recent crossover.
The short answer is that they don’t. Oh, Loki isn’t a villain in this book and he does do heroic things to defend his realm from an invasion by Nightmare. But Loki would much rather go out and gamble in Midgar than mediate the disputes of his simple-minded subjects, who begrudgingly respect him as the slayer of the old king, even if they personally can’t stand following the orders of a stunted, pink-skinned con-man.
Daniel Kibblesmith’s script cranks up the comedy, but not quite to the ludicrous extremes seen in Thor: Ragnarok. There’s a fair bit of exposition to crawl through in setting up the status quo. Thankfully, Kibblesmith does a fine job of explaining everything for those who didn’t read the recent War of the Realms crossover.
The script is well-matched by the artwork. Oscar Bazaldua proves a versatile creator, who can draw magical realms and barbaric giants as easily as high-rolling supervillains and a casino floor. The color art by David Curiel is heavenly good.
While Loki #1 won’t be everyone’s glass of wine, it’s a solid start for those who enjoy a spirited story of trickery unbound. Those who only know Loki from the Marvel movies would do well to pick this one up and learn the truth behind the God of Mischief. And the lies too, of course.