“To be fated to lose, to know that destiny itself is the architect of my torment, can it be true that to be Loki is to be without hope? And if so, to whom can a God appeal for mercy?” -- Loki
Let's admit it. We all often find ourselves rooting for the villain more than for heroes. Loki, from Marvel Comics, is no exception. In fact, the adapted character (played by Tom Hiddleston) from Marvel Movie Universe is by now a full-fledged pop culture icon adored for his wit and flair and even happens to have a rabid fangirl following. With “Thor 2” already out and with more Marvel movies around the corner, the time felt right to take a break from my everyday DC fanboyism and explore some Marvel. After some digging, I came across this book which also happens to have a motion comic adaptation of it (released in 2011) building up to the release of the first “Thor” movie.
In the comic, the Loki we readers face is entirely different from the Loki we saw in the theatres. The whole comic portrays a much darker side of the Loki we know, a much grim, gnarled and tortured look into his mind and his being. The comic can also serve as a bit of a shock to readers who are more used to the lighter, sci-fi version of the Asgardians as portrayed in the movie universe as opposed to the grim (and more accurate) representation of the Norse mythological world and its characters. This comic serves to portray the complexity of Loki's relationship with Thor and the rest of the Asgardian pantheon.
The story follows Loki, and begins as he triumphantly gloats over his victory over his bitter nemesis and stepbrother Thor and his dream of ruling Asgard finally coming true. We watch Loki as he struggles to rule despite being 'The God of Misrule', with the likes of the Norn Queen Karnilla and Hela, the ruler of Hel, making numerous appearances throughout the comic. In the process we see Loki's origins, and the roots of his villainy. We even see how it stems from neglect and condescension from others (ahem, Jon Snow), and how his insecurity and isolation lead him into being who he is. Of course, things don't get any better for him in the book still, but this book brings out the much more human side to Loki which one can't help but sympathise with.
This book is very psychological, and the storytelling, quite viscous. This book shows why Loki needs Thor, and likewise (quite reminiscent of Batman and Joker's complex and almost disturbingly amorous chemistry). It also shows to some degree why Thor got to be the hero he is by having Loki around. One of the factors that really set this book apart is Esad Ribic's artwork. It would serve to be an escape from the sci-fi-esque artwork from other Thor comics and add to it a rather heavy, brooding atmospheric appeal which serves to bring out the weight of Robert Rodi's articulate and verbose writing. The motion comic adaptation also shows very heavy adherence to the comic with very little changes in the artwork aside from the very minimal movement to bring out the aesthetics of the renaissance styled artwork. If you love Thor stories, gritty characterisation and heavy dialogue and have a knack for the darker side of the much beloved mythologies, this book is for you.