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Loki Agent of Asgard #5
Written By: Al Ewing
Art By: Lee Garbett

Some might say that this new “Loki: Agent of Asgard” series is a desperate attempt at putting movie universe Loki into comic book continuity.  While a cynical world view, it’s not entirely unjustified.  After all, the Loki of old was a mustache twirling, card board cut out with his primary motivation being “Make everything miserable for Thor”.  Sure he had quite a bit of character development later on, but even in “Siege” he seemed to lose track of any character motivation.  So “Loki: Agent of Asgard” seeks to fix that by swapping out the wrinkled old crone Loki for smoldering sexy Tom Hiddleston Loki.  Not the first time Marvel stole from its own movie universe, and it seems to be working out.

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The premise for the book is that after quite a lot of convoluted continuity (see: “Siege”, “Journey into Mystery”, “Young Avenger”) Loki is back from the dead and is now employed by the all mother as her own personal agent.  His job is to perform tasks in order to forgive past grievances.  He achieves these goals through extensive trickery and illusions in the most stylish ways that only Tom Hiddleston Loki can.  All in all, it’s a great revitalization of the character—except it’s a bit of a reset to zero really.  Loki was originally the God of Mischief, not evil.  His role here can best be described as “Gambit in the 90s”.

He’s at times silly yet others he’s the straight man, commenting on how ridiculous his own lore comes across.  Yet always he’s conniving and plotting and it is fantastically entertaining to watch him be three steps ahead of every adversary he comes across.  In the first issue he invades Avengers tower and tricks Hawkeye into shooting Bruce Banner with an arrow.  It’s the kind of trickery that doesn’t leave lingering repercussions—I mean how much damage could a raging Hulk do in a skyscraper?

This issue deals with the execution of a mission Loki had been planning and setting up since the first issue.  The goal is to break into Asgard’s maximum security prison for the very worst of Asgardians—and he’s assembled quite the team to pull it off.  So essentially this is a heist.  I love heists.  Heists can save a book for me or make a good book great.  Who here has read “Super Crooks” by Mark Millar?  All of you should grimace and raise your hand because it is a terrible travesty… but it’s a heist.  There’s something about a team dynamic, gadgets and gizmos, trickery and sleight of hand that is absolutely fascinating.  And this book has all of that.

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First, Loki’s team consists of Lorelei, Thor, and a new girl with a penchant for seeing through lies.  So just the inclusion of Thor should make some hearts skip.  He’s only really in the book for a few panels but they are very incredible, dynamic panels.  What’s funny is his role is to provide a spectacle as a distraction.  So of course they smear him across a double page spread in a grand showcase.  Lorelei takes the number two spot next to Loki as the two break into Asgard while their last team member is able to lead them through as their eye in the sky.  The whole thing is incredibly fun yet with a hint of sophistication.

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It’s not hard to see the path Marvel hopes to take Loki.  He’s on the path of redemption, becoming a regular hero within the comic universe; a tall order even if he wasn’t the perpetrator of “Seige”.  No character within the Marvel universe has any reason to trust him, and his abilities of illusion and manipulation don’t lend any credence for him.  There are ways to go about it though.  In “Invincible”, Omni-man devastated an entire city at the very start of the series—And everyone saw it!  He has had to continuously pay for it as well; essentially he has been exiled from Earth despite saving the universe.  There was a time when even his own family didn’t trust him and wanted nothing to do with him.  And yes, he does have a degree of self-pity and depression but he’s also focused on making up for the sins he’s committed.

The question comes down to is “Loki: Agent of Asgard” good?  Yes.  Should you buy it today?  No.  Let me explain.  The problem with this book is things start to become convoluted over time.  I lost track of at least a few plot threads over the course of these five issues.  Now, I may be one of the most forgetful people on this planet but I do understand the mechanics of comic books.  What I’m saying is this series will be much better if they’re all read together, like in a graphic novel.  So either wait for the trade to come out or commit to rereading a lot of the previous issues.

“Loki: Agent of Asgard” is still good though, about 88% Invincible.

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