|I miss funny covers like this one.|
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Lee Garbett
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Summary: The final battle between the heroes that have turned evil and the villains that have turned good is nigh and Loki is tying up loose ends before having to face off against his brother, now a barbaric madman.
My thoughts: I haven't followed any of Marvel's big event story lines for the last few years. So it's always kind of annoying when of the titles I read gets dragged into one of them since it'll often halt that series' current storyline dead so that it can deal with something that's completely different from its own premise. I get why it's done, to entice people that don't read the comic into buying it since it ties into the event story, and I don't begrudge the creators that. But it's still annoying since it's rare that the series can actually continue its story and be a part of the larger narrative that is an event comic.
In the four issues that Loki: Agent of Asgard has been tied to the Axis series the quality has been irregular, when the series is usually rather phenomenal. Thankfully the final tie in issue contains a strong story that manages to be a part of Axis but uses the premise of that series, that some heroes and villains have switched sides on the alignment chart due to mental tampering, and tells a personal story about Loki trying once again to change his destiny against the will of the universe.
Here Loki starts out as a heroic figure, free of guilt for his past crimes but uncertain about his new role in the universe. Then he becomes hopeful for the future and certain that he can do what he's always wanted to do, change. The most interesting Loki stories tend to be the ones where Loki tries to change his role in the narrative of the Marvel universe. In this issue he physically duels against Thor, while they're on the moon, but he's really fighting to forces that be and hopes that the thing that's made him good and Thor evil will be what finally allows him to change. But since this is a tie in to a larger event Loki's battle does not happen in a vaccum and that fact is what ultimately dooms him. The narrative triumphs again. It always does.
The fight against Thor is seperate from the final battle of Axis but it still ends up being influenced by the larger and, to most readers, more important storyline. That's a fairly clever way of using a comic's status as an event tie in, or maybe I'm just reading too much into it. Either way, Al Ewing has written a great targic end to his final in the Axis crossover and set up things wonderfully for the future of the series.
Lastly we've got the art. For the most part it is good but not great. But it is a treat to see Loki's design as he reveals his final trump card against Thor and the page where Loki's sins come crashing down on him again is hauntingly beautiful.
All in all it's a fun issue that's a fair bit above the usual dullness of tie ins to big events, managing to keep its own story and tone going in an interesting and tragic direction. Loki: Agent of Asgard is generally a great series and this issue is a perfect example of that.
Grade: Great - 4