Remember when that guy did that thing? Then the bad guy with the moustache blew up that place? No? PoP! does, and we’re here to tell you what happened Previously in…
He’s little. He’s French. He’s starring in one of the best books you’re not reading. He’s Loki, and he’s not what you expect him to be.
The path to the current version of Loki began during Marvel’s Siege crossover, which found Asgard under siege (see what they did there?) by Norman Osborn and his Dark Avengers. Over the months leading up to the attack Osborn had been manipulating the incredibly power – and incredibly crazy – Sentry, who Osborn deployed to destroy Asgard. Losing control, the Sentry transformed into his evil alter-ego The Void, and promptly destroyed traditional Loki.
Now, as we’ve come to expect with comic book characters, especially those of the god-like variety, Loki’s death was only temporary. At least in the sense that the character of Loki was soon returned to us, though not quite as you may have expected. In Thor #617, Thor journeys to France, where he finds the reincarnated Loki in the form of a young boy. As we’ve seen him do before, Thor returns Loki’s Asgardian form with the power of Mjolnir – though surprisingly he remains a child. Through his rebirth, Loki has lost his memories of his past evil deeds, but retains a sense of mischief that suggests the trickster god is still present. It’s this dynamic that sets the stage for the stories to come in Journey into Mystery.
Beginning with Journey into Mystery #622, the title tells the story of the young Loki as he watches Asgard prepare for the threat of the Serpent, as detailed in Marvel’s Fear Itself crossover. With his brother Thor in chains, Loki takes it upon himself to find a way to save both Asgard and Earth from certain destruction. A quick stop at the world tree reveals to Loki what it will take to stop the Serpent, leaving the child momentarily broken at the understanding of what must unfold. Pulling himself together, he begins utilizing his godly talents for manipulation to gather the pieces he will need to save two worlds.
The beauty in the story of Loki’s attempt to stop the destruction of the Earth is his realization that, in order to prevent something bad, sometimes you must allow something bad to occur. Loki begins by freeing Thor, and with his brother now set down a path that will lead him to face the Serpent, Loki gathers himself a team.
He tricks the monstrous Hel-Wolf into serving him. He travels to Hel, where he not only enlists the god of war Tyr into his service, but manipulates a deal between Hela and Mephisto by first setting them against one another and later uniting them against a false threat from the Serpent. Through the deal he secures the services of Hela’s handmaiden Leah and four of the Disir – former valkyries of Bor, now cursed to feed only on the souls of exiled Asgardians.
For the next piece of Loki’s plan he must travel to Limbo, which he does by betraying the Hel-Wolf, allowing the Disir to strike him down, and riding his corpse into Limbo. Here he negotiates with Surtur for the shadow of his blade Twilight in exchange for freeing Surtur and allowing him to destroy Asgard. The final member of the crew comes in the form of the Destroyer, driven by a surprising choice that I’ll leave for you to find on your own.
All of the pieces now in place, Loki leads his crew into the Serpent’s Asgard. With the Destroyer creating a rather destructive distraction, the Disir and Tyr fight their way through the Serpent’s forces until the group reaches the library. Here Loki reveals the true nature of Twilight’s Shadow, and by doing so creates the single weakness in the Serpent which allows Thor to defeat him. And as the final piece of his plan Loki calls for Surtur, freeing him from Limbo and fulfilling his promise to allow Surtur to destroy Asgard – the Serpent’s Asgard. Hey, he never said WHICH Asgard Surtur could destroy. Oh Loki, you scamp.
Now, those of you who’ve read Fear Itself are familiar with the price Thor was destined to pay in order to defeat the Serpent. Through his manipulations of the situation Loki ensured this outcome would come to pass. He saved two worlds and prevented war, and yet, if any of his friends or family were to discover his hand in the victory they would likely consider him a villain. The more things change the more they stay the same.
Kieron Gillen’s Journey into Mystery has been a consistently strong book, and in my opinion is the better Asgard-centric book on the stands. Looking at the sales numbers, this title is following a path very similar to recent cancelled titles X-23 and Daken: Dark Wolverine. With the story of Loki’s efforts to sabotage the Serpent complete, starting in #631 the focus of the book will be on Loki in the post-Fear Itself world. Issue #632 comes out on Wednesday, and now that you’re caught up on what’s come before it’s the perfect time to get on board, PoP!ulation. I encourage you all to give this book a shot – before it’s too late!