Journey into Mystery: Fear Itself
Remember that business between Hela and Kid Loki? All those shenanigans start right here. If you’ve never read a Loki comic or a Marvel comic, this is not the one to start with. However, if you read Young Avengers: Style > Substance, and you’re craving that backstory, then dig in. Striking a deal with Hela is no easy matter. When such grim magic is committed, unexpected consequences occur. Kid Loki is a much more go-along-get-along kinda character, but when the spirit of his old – and we do mean old – self creeps into his youthful body, an internal war erupts within. Their war is our war. What kind of Loki do we want? Good or bad? The answer is both. Can such juxtaposition exist inside an individual? Marvel sure hopes so.
Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers
Let’s talk Loki, the bastard. The god we see in this story is mean, jealous, and brutal. They want Asgard. They want Thor dead or at least wishing he was dead. Writer Robert Rodi pumps his saga with as much classical mythology as he can. These are titans warring it out with each other. Their rage is bigger than anything we can imagine. Their violence more catastrophic than anything humanity could muster. Artist Esad Ribic brings the weight of the classics upon the character’s shoulders. His paintings are majestic and not the stuff of ordinary comic book panels.
The Trials of Loki
What made Loki, Loki? This short mini-series is designed for the new, curious reader. The Trials of Loki goes back to their early days, causing havoc across Asgard. While Robert Rodi soaked Thor and Loki in a general classical mythology vibe for Blood Brothers, The Trials of Loki‘s Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa meticulously roots this version to its Norse origins. And artist Sebastiàn Fiumara slathers on the horror. These are foretold stories, and as such, it feels a bit like a prison for Loki. What choice did Loki have? The myths willed it. Lots of delicious tragedy to enjoy here.
The Avengers #1
Look, sooner or later, you gotta read The Avengers #1. The Marvel Comics universe may have been born with the Fantastic Four, but it solidified here. And the Loki who brought these heroes together (just as the MCU version did) is a cackling, delightfully two-dimensional maniac. Is it dated? Obviously, but that’s also its magnificent allure. This comic is rooted in a time and a place. It’s history. And it’s essential to the MCU’s cinematic construction.
Fantastic Four #353 – 354
We end this list without Loki. We gotta take a little look at the TVA (Time Variance Authority). These characters did originate within the pages of Thor, but it’s with the Fantastic Four that we got our best understanding regarding their purpose. While inside a space removed from time known as the Null-Time Zone, the Human Torch and the Thing confront the TVA agent Mr. Mobius (Owen Wilson from the Disney+ show). Moby offers to alter history so that the Thing never joins the Fantastic Four on their maiden mission, and therefore preventing the Thing from becoming the Thing. The rock monster thinks about it for a moment, but if he were to take Moby up on that offer, the Fantastic Four would not be there when Earth needed them. No FF means humanity might be caput. The Thing must decline Moby’s offer.
Honestly, if the Thing really wanted his skin condition cured, he should ask Loki. The trickster could certainly wave a wand or something. But, of course, he wouldn’t do so without something in exchange. And the Thing would end up trying to clobber him. The circle remains unbroken.
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