Back in 2004, Robert Rodi and Esad Ribic wrote the comic Loki, a four-part mini-series told entirely from Loki’s point of view. I briefly mentioned this comic a while back here. Loki delves a lot more into Loki’s psyche than other Thor comics, and it manages to make Loki a lot more sympathetic and show him as something other than pure evil. Through Loki, we begin to see the horrible things the oh-so-honorable citizens of Asgard have done to him, which drives Loki into evilness. The comic doesn’t so much as agree with Loki as it simply shows the struggle between him and Thor in a new light, and it also shows that Asgard and all its heroes are not as moral and honorable as they claim to be.
A few years back, another four-part mini-series was released, titled Thor: The Trials of Loki. Around that time, the original Loki was renamed Thor and Loki: Blood Brothers, and a four-episode motion comic for it was also released. I get the feeling that Loki was re-released under a different title, due in part to the new mini-series and the motion comic, but also because of the live-action movie. The new title has never sat well with me, if only because I feel as though it would be more fitting for Trials of Loki. Furthermore, at the end of Loki, Thor murders Loki right after Loki decided he doesn’t want to kill Thor, and for a crime that is by far not Loki’s worst. I don’t think Thor viewed Loki as a blood brother at the very end.
Additionally, since the comic is told from Loki’s point of view and we get to see all the horrible ways Asgard has victimized him as well, we are treated to scenes of Thor strangling Loki for Lady Sif’s and Balder’s amusement and other things that can only best be described as abuse. None of these acts are justifiable, and no one cares about them except Loki, making this entirely Loki’s story. It should never have become Thor and Loki: Blood Brothers, since it’s not Thor’s story. It should always just be Loki.
However, title aside, this is one of the best runs I have ever read. Visually, it’s rather stunning, and the art only serves to enhance the setting and mood. Narratively, by choosing Loki’s perspective, it presents another side to an already well-known story. It adds some villainous traits to the heroes and it causes the readers to sympathize with Loki on a more personal level.
The summary for it reads as thus:
For thousands of years, the wise king Odin has reigned supreme over the golden realm of Asgard—flanked by his brave son, Thor, and the beautiful Lady Sif. Together, these regal Norse gods protect Asgard from all dangers—including the nefarious schemes of the wicked trickster Loki, Thor’s stepbrother. Driven mad with jealousy and hate, Loki forever plots the destruction of his fellow Asgardians—only to be defeated time and time again. Thus it is told in the legends of Asgard.
But what if these legends only tell one side of the story? Perhaps Odin, Thor and the rest are not nearly as noble as they claim to be? In this surprising tale, writer Robert Robi views Asgard from a most unexpected perspective: that of Loki himself. After a lifetime of disgrace and humiliations, Loki has finally won his most cherished prize: command of all Asgard. With Odin overthrown, Thor held helpless in chains and Sif imprisoned, Loki is at long last master of the realm. With the kingdom in his hands, Loki at last discovers the truth about himself and his destiny.
Throughout the run, we see the many things that drive Loki to villainy, why he feels he must do what he does, and how torn it makes him feel. Some of the indignities which Loki is forced to suffer through at the hands of the other Asgardians are ones that he doesn’t bring on himself. Others, not so much. Loki blurs the lines between good and bad, and nothing is clear-cut anymore. Without a doubt, Asgard and Loki victimize each other, and they all seem to be caught in an ongoing loop. Loki claims that Asgard started it, and Asgard claims that Loki did. It’s unclear which is true, but the end result is that they war with each other with no end in sight.
Loki presents everyone from Thor in a whole new light. It manages to stay true to their characterizations while completely turning a reader’s perspective of them on their heads. In the end, it’s hard to agree with one side or the other, because they are both capable of acts of evil. If you’re a Thor fan, this comic is a must-read for you.