Patrick: Secret Wars isn’t something that’s happening to the Marvel Universe. Secret Wars is the result of specific planning and action from an entire team of editors, publishers, writers and artists. It exists by sheer force of will and accomplishment, about as intentional of a thing as can happen in comics. Loki: Agent of Asgard 14, bearing the “Last Days of” banner, explores the idea of the agency of the storyteller, even if that storyteller happens to be a character from within the story. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Loki: Agent of Asgard 12, originally released March 18th, 2015.
“It’s not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you.”
Rachel Dawes, Batman Begins
Spencer: If there’s one character who’s taken these words to heart even more than Batman, it’s Loki. From its very first issue, Loki: Agent of Asgard has been about Loki attempting to change his destiny by erasing the sins of his past and replacing them with noble missions. If nobody could remember his crimes, then surely that would make him a good person, right? On that same wavelength, King Loki poses a threat because his actions threaten to trap his young counterpart in the role of “villain” for all of eternity. It’s this idea of a narrative defining a character, established over 12 issues, that makes King Loki’s big twist hit so hard: actions mean nothing. Loki is Loki, and nothing can change that. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Taylor are discussing Loki: Agent of Asgard 11, originally released February 18th, 2015.
Spencer: When reading a new book, it’s easy to feel like the story is malleable. Sure, we know the ending has already been written, and, in fact, is already printed on the upcoming pages, but until we’ve actually read those pages, there’s always a feeling of freedom, like maybe, if we wish hard enough, we can push the story in the direction we want it to go. Once we’ve finished the book, though, that feeling goes away; the ending was always concrete, but now that we’ve seen it with our own eyes, the idea that maybe we can influence its outcome essentially vanishes. Al Ewing and Lee Garbett make that idea literal in Loki: Agent of Asgard 11. The series has always been about Loki’s attempt to reform, but the arrival of his evil future self — “King Loki” — essentially makes that impossible. If King Loki represents the end of Loki’s story, as plain is if it’s written on the page, then what chance could Loki possibly have to escape that fate? Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Loki: Agent of Asgard 10, originally released January 21st, 2015.
Spencer: “I’m sorry” is an incredibly powerful and versatile statement, capable of mending anything from minor transgressions to grand betrayals if used properly, but it’s not a cure-all. The wronged party has no obligation to accept an apology, and there are some rare occasions when an apology alone just isn’t enough — and sometimes an apology can even be selfish, such as if the guilty party apologizes simply to ease their own conscience rather than to make it up to their victim. In his long, infamous career Loki has tried out every kind of apology possible, and Al Ewing and Lee Garbett’s Loki: Agent of Asgard 10 finds the God of Mischief at his most sincere, but also apologizing for what might truly be an unforgivable offense. Has Loki used up the last of his goodwill? Does he even deserve to be forgiven? Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Suzanne are discussing Loki: Agent of Asgard 4, originally released May 7th, 2014.
Patrick: This issue borrows its title from one of our favorite / least favorite entries from TV Tropes. The trope is known as “Let’s You and Him Fight” and refers to the all-too-common occurrence in superhero comics that forces heroes to fight each other. Presumably, this stems from our desire to see our hypothetical “who would win in a fight?” conversations played out on the page. But it’s not like we ever really get an answer to that question — those hero-fights always end in ties — and the brawl is just prelude to a team-up. We may be watching Batman vs. Superman in 2015, but they’ll be chumming it up in Justice League of America in 2016. This is Loki we’re talking about here, so it’s not quite so simple. Take a look at that title again: it’s “Lets You and Him Fight,” conspicuously leaving the apostrophe out of “Let’s.” (Someday, I won’t care about the absence of apostrophes in titles, but that’ll have to be next week.) Al Ewing takes our understanding and expectations of this trope and subverts them by applying a handful of others, creating a truly innovative piece of fiction made up of all old pieces. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Loki: Agent of Asgard 3, originally released April 2, 2014.
Patrick: I remember seeing a featurette on Kill Bill, Vol. 1 in anticipation of Vol. 2. In it, Quentin Tarantino mentioned a few of the storytelling accomplishments of the first movie. For the most part, Vol. 1 is an emotionally satisfying episode in and of itself: an emotionally and physically devastated woman finds the means, the will and strength to fight back. But Tarantino points out the importance of establishing the mythology of a Hattori Hanzo sword. By the time the second flick rolls around, they’re legendary, and their legacy adds an almost supernatural element to the fight between The Bride and Elle. I mean, it’s Hanzo Sword vs. Hanzo Sword for crying out loud! The thing is, the only way to communicate how powerful these blades are is to tell us stories about them. Al Ewing continues to explore the power of myth by having his antagonist craft his own mythical sword, not by forging the blade, but by forging the story of the blade. Continue reading →
Today, Scott and Spencer are discussing Loki: Agent of Asgard 2, originally released March 5, 2014.
Scott: The world is built on lies. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that anyone who’s achieved great success wouldn’t have gotten there without at least a little bit of dishonesty. We’re encouraged to lie on our resumes. It’s practically a requirement during job interviews. Can you imagine if politicians couldn’t make any false promises while campaigning? They wouldn’t be able to say anything. And it’s not always such a bad thing. We lie to be polite. We tell our waiters that everything tastes great even though we’ve only taken one bite. They smile and life goes on. It’s harmless. In Loki: Agent of Asgard 2, writer Al Ewing and artist Lee Garbett point out just how common lying really is. It may not be possibly for two people to converse for ten minutes without one of them lying. Now what if Loki, the God of Mischief, is put in a situation where he can’t lie? The outcome might surprise you…
Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Arielle are discussing Loki: Agent of Asgard 1, originally released February , 2014.
Patrick: You guys, we live in a post Avengers world. Generally, that movie changed the way the world viewed superhero movie franchises and it changed the way we viewed shared cinematic universes (everyone’s trying to ape that shit now). But very specifically – it changed Loki profoundly. Throughout the Thor flicks and Avengers itself, Tom Hiddleston’s take on the character proved to be more charismatic and nuanced than the casts he was supporting, and the zeitgeist changed around this character. He’s not just a compelling villain, he’s a frustrated anti-hero with sex appeal and a undeniably attractive ability to work the room. Between that, and Kieron Gillen’s excellent run with Kid Loki on Young Avengers, it’s hard to deny that the meta-narrative is one of a discovering that Loki is someone we love, more than someone we love to hate. Writer Al Ewing is right on board with that assessment, but is quick to acknowledge that this version of Loki is just another story, and if we start looking at all of the Loki stories, well, me might not like what we see. Continue reading →