Time to pick up with Loki: Agent of Asgard! Issue #3 has Old Loki on the cover. I can’t say I’m super excited, I like this series because of new Loki, but we’ll see how it goes. If you’re just tuning in, I’m doing my Loki reviews in the form of live reactions as I go along, paying special attention to Loki’s possible genderfluidity/bisexuality/etc. Skip to the Final Thoughts to avoid spoilers.
Right off the bat, we have this from Old Loki. He’s watching himself and Verity from the last issue, so it isn’t as if Young Loki is in female form. Is Old Loki being condescending? Calling Young Loki a sissy? In a leap of hypothesizing, maybe Young Loki is genderfluid but Old Loki isn’t? Old Loki is putting more emphasis on “precious” than “girl,” the overall attitude is clear, but the reference is unexplained.
Again, this is a story about stories. We follow Old Loki into the past, where he meets a young Odin and tells him a riddle. Then Loki kills an enormous otter and they eat it. (It kinda makes sense in context… kinda. Poor otter.)
Love the eyes. It’s also interesting to watch Loki’s references to himself — we’ve said before in this series that Old Loki had turned from the god of mischief into a god of evil, and there tends to be a line drawn between the two, but not always.
Wait! The otter was a shapeshifter, and when his brothers see Odin and Loki wearing his fur as their cloaks, they’re understandably miffed. Loki manipulates them into wanting gold rather than revenge.
“Yes, yes, naughty us.”
There’s only one treasure hoard to cover those skins (apparently). The treasure of Andvari the Dwarf, who’s taken the form of a gigantic pike to protect it.
Andvari: Who goes there?
Old Loki: Loki am I — Liar, trickster, and come for your gold! So fork it over, old fish!
Way to announce your intentions! Funny how tricksters are often the most honest of characters. I also must say that I like the way Loki’s modern dialogue is used in the midst of old-fashioned storybook-style narrative.
Odin promises Loki a favor for saving them, and Loki asks for a box with five locks and five keys. He tells Odin what to put in it, but we don’t know what immediately. After that, the story follows the brothers who received the gold — because of course the dwarf-pike put a curse on it. The gold brings out the truth, and the truth isn’t always pretty. Sometimes the truth is that your brothers are vengeful greedy murderous people. This story involves deaths and transformations and the hero Sigurd and I recommend you buy the issue and read it. The most relevant bit is the creation of Gram, “Asgard’s bane,” a sword of truth. Most often the truth just hurts, but sometimes it kills.
The sword is what Loki asks Odin to put in the box. Loki creates a myth that will still be around in the future, that the sword is for Loki, and it’s the one Young Loki has in the present. In the final panel, we see Sigurd coming to get his sword back.
I actually really enjoyed this! The basic idea is that Loki went back in time to create a fable. The writing is extremely effective in that regard, it really feels like a modern character walking around in an old fairy tale and meddling with it. Very skillfully done indeed. Also, I should mention that Sigurd is black now, apparently an innovation, as Google is just showing me your stereotypical blond Scandinavian dude, and he’s got a real down-to-Earth charisma. Loki calls him “Sigurd the sometimes-glorious,” apparently he’s got issues with making promises to ladies and then breaking them, but he’s got a hero’s air. The next issue should have a showdown between Loki and Sigurd, among other things, and I’m super excited!