I’ve haven’t read too many Thor comics in my time and I honestly regret it. Thor’s a fun character and a ton of awesome writers and artists have added to the Golden Avenger’s long list of illustrious deeds, but I’ve never had a reason to pick up his books.
That all changed when I saw Chris Samnee’s art on the Roger Langridge penned “Thor The Mighty Avenger.” I really enjoyed the series’ unassuming innocence; it was a breath of fresh air in a medium filled with hyper sexualized and hyper violent content. I know Marvel has been gearing up for the jawsome looking Thor flick with plenty of new series but there hasn’t been one I’ve really dug like Langridge and Samnee’s all-ages delight.
However while reading for my Unlimited Highlights freelancing (which you can check out here) I came across the amazing Loki mini-series by Rob Rodi and Esad Ribic. Up until now I had never really given the Thor/Loki dynamic any careful thought but Rodi did a wonderful job of humanizing the malevolent prankster into someone I could empathize with.
Before I had read the Loki series I had always seen him as Thor’s annoying younger brother but through this amazing series I realized that he’s less a recurring nuisance and more an integral part of the Thor mythos, working as a perfect foil to his half-brother’s obvious heroic attributes.
After reading through the mini I’m of a mind to say something as outlandish as the Thor/Loki struggle may be the best hero/villain foil in all of comics, even trumping the Batman/Joker dynamic. While the Batman vs. Joker relationship is a great metaphor for sanity vs. insanity, Thor and Loki have something a little more permanent. Batman and Joker are mortal characters in comic books, while Thor and Loki are immortals in their comics, but also ancient gods of Earth. That they were once worshipped in our reality adds a bit of metafiction to their conflict. They are very literally linked by destiny, fated to clash time and time again as each Ragnarok brings about the Twilight of the Gods.
In the mini-series this issue is thrust into the forefront: Without Thor, who is Loki? Therein lies the truth that Loki lashes out against, that he is fated to fall to Thor in every universe, that his role is that of the schemer, the trickster. Unlike Thor who is destined for glory, Loki will only ever know darkness and defeat. There’s just something so human about his struggle. Every hand is against him and yet he fights to defy his destiny.
I don’t want to spoil everything about the books so I’ll just stop here. I recommend the series wholeheartedly and to anyone who enjoys Thor, mythology, or just comics in general: You won’t be disappointed. It’s a stunningly captured tale that lays bare the inner workings of a relationship that goes much much deeper than ever I gave it credit for. This is Loki’s story. Seriously, read it, you’ll be glad you did.