Friday Feature: Loki: Agent of Asgard

So when this title was first announced, it was met with equal numbers of excited claps and derisive sneers. I’m a big fan of sneering derisively at those who sneer derisively at new ideas, so I made it a point to check this book out last month when it debuted.

Recently in Marvel’s Loki stories, the original (evil, old, scheming) Loki was “killed” and a new Loki was born. The past couple of years of the title Journey Into Mystery have been about this new kid-Loki and his adventures.

Loki: Agent of Asgard seems to be a spiritual successor to that storyline, if not a direct continuation. It’s about a young-adult Loki, still a trickster god, but now working with Freya and the leadership of Asgard as their covert operative. It’s unclear as of yet whether he is trying to clear his name with the Asgardians, or if this is simply a convenient way to live for a while. Either way, it’s a good read!

Loki in this story is handsome, charming, funny, and generally more lovable than he is evil. From thence the fanboy sneers came. When the title was first announced, much was made about this “new” Loki’s likability.

(Aside: Much was also made about his sexuality. The authors announced that Loki would be bisexual in the new story, and would change genders at different points. Fanboys puffed out their chests and said, “That’s just fanservice to all the fangirls that want to see Tom Hiddleston make out with Chris Evans!” I have two responses to this: 1. If that’s really true, GREAT BUSINESS DECISION, MARVEL! Appealing to fans is how you sell books! I’m sure that’s why a new book with Wolverine in it comes out every year… 2. Let’s put our thinking caps on for a moment and remember the character comic-book-Loki is based on, Mythology Loki. Mythology Loki is a shapeshifting pansexual schemer who once turned into a female horse, was impregnated by a male horse and gave birth to the horse that Odin rode. The fact that comic-book-Loki hasn’t already expressed some bisexuality or gender-fluidity is frankly quite a surprise.)

It’s easy for a story to go wrong when writers try to make a character that was previously villainous into a sympathetic, loveable, “hero.” Loki: Agent of Asgard does it well though. The book is well-paced (so far), legitimately funny when it tries to be, and interesting. It also doesn’t require any previous knowledge of kid-Loki’s story – which is good because I didn’t really have any.

So far it’s been a kind of “grift-of-the-month” book, but with enough characterization in each issue to keep me reading, and with only two issues under its belt, it has a lot of room to grow. I do have one minor complaint with the first issue, and that is that in a few pages is portrays Thor as a drunken bully. There’s a lot of good reasons to do this: the story is told from Loki’s point of view so naturally his view of Thor will be more negative than others, it has a good basis in other stories (including mythology), and the author wanted to. It’s a matter of taste, of course, but in the recent cultural meta-narrative (through other comics and movies) we’ve seen Thor grow out of his bully-ish nature and more into a loving brother and leader. It was a shame to see him revert like that.

Bully-Thor notices Loki through a window.

Even with that small complaint, if you’re at all interested in a charming-scoundrel archetype character, comedy comics, or Loki, I would give this book a try.

And hey, if nothing else comes of this book, it will give skinny dudes another cosplay option for the next few years! (+1 p0int, skinny dudes)

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