Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Loki: Agent of Asgard #10

When reading comics there are often, if not always, certain issues of a series that you're just constantly looking forward to. Overall they tend to be hit or miss depending on your expectations. This issue is definately a hit.

Oh, that's is deliciously great comic book art.
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Lee Garbett
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Summary: After the crushing events of AXIS Loki, the god of lies, finds himself unable to say anything of the truth. He can't even stom himself from revealing who he really is.

My thoughts: There are so very many things that I love about this comic. It has more drama and emotion packed into it than most series can pull off in their entire runs. It paves the way forward for a whole new set of storylines. And it includes just the right type of continuity that I love.

So a few years ago, real time, Loki got himself killed since he felt that he was stagnating, a death sin for a god of chaos. He made sure to be reincarnated into a completely new youngster who had no knowledge of his prior self's evil deeds. Though scorned by many of his fellow gods and mistrusted by all but Thor this young Loki proved to be a true, but unconventional hero. Then what remained of the old Loki murdered his reincarnation and took over his body, completely missing that he's kinda going against the change he was after but that's another discussion. Up until this issue Thor had believed that the Loki's who's running around has been the reincarnation, young Loki all grown up.

In this issue Loki revealed the truth and Thor unleashes his full wrath upon him. It is glorious and tragic and just and horrible and everything.

The full complexity of Loki's situation and how the reader can view him is brought out in full force here. On the one hand it would be right to loath him. He murdered a kid, a brave, funny and smart kid with infinite potential, and he did it for his own selfish ends and then he steals the kid's identity. That's horrible, it's much more in line with a supervillain that Loki probably wants to admit, but he's fully aware of it.

At the same time he does feel true guilt over what he's done and he's been trying to do good things ever since then, though most if not all of them would directly benefit him in ways other than gratitude, mainly erasing his past records all over the universe so that he can pretend that he's got a real fresh start. The point is that he's trying to do good, he's just pretty crap at it, another interesting parallel that one can make regarding the two Loki's and their methods and motives, but that's for another time.

These two views are represented in the comic via Thor, who loved the young reincarnation and hates the old version of Loki, and Verity, a human who can see through all lies and only knows of Loki in his current heroic form. Their reactions are really well handled as neither approaches it all that well. Verity is too confused and uncertain to really know what to do or say. A stark contrast to Thor, who pounds the snot out of Loki.

It's a confrontation that is full of raw emotion that just draws you in. Thor's rage is terrifying and largely just and Loki's actions when confronted with it can be seen as him achiving the change he always wanted, but too late. The old Loki would never feel this kind of guilt or be so repentent but in this moment it is meaningless.

This emotionally and narratively complex master piece of scene rightfully takes up most of the scene but there's this underlying sense of continuity between this series and the other Thor-related comics that Marvel is publishing, and I like it. It's not much, just a few mentions here and about events in Angela: Asgard's Assassin and Thor: God of Thunder. It's simple and we're shown how said events have affected the characters and it puts the story in a neat little time frame. That's the kind of continuity that I like between my Marvel comics. It makes the titles feel connected and the stories in them relevant to the larger picture. I find that to be the  best method of using continuity and an inter-connected universe since it feels natural.

An emotionally and narratively complex issue that manages to capture all the various facets of Loki's grand crime and delivers on the major consequences of said crime. On its own the issue is a powerful tale about sins, redemption, family and consequences. But viewed as part of this ongoing narrative of Loki's, which really has been going on since 2010, this is the next pivotal step for the character and we, the readers, are fortunate that Loki and his story is in the hands of a wonderfully skilled creative team.

Grade: 5 - ...DAMN!

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