No Really, Trust Me: Pan’s Review of Loki: Agent of Asgard #4

It’s that time of the month again, friends: time to be irritated, aroused, and emotionally compromised. By which I mean it’s time for Agent of Asgard.

When last we left our dashing not-hero, he was in possession of a magical sword that didn’t belong to him and his evil adult self was gallivanting through Asgard’s past, shooting fish with bazookas and otherwise messing junk up. The consequences of Old Man Loki’s prying and meddling are yet to be revealed, but the consequence of stealing Sigurd’s sword is pretty straightforward: a pissed-off Sigurd. Thereby follows the plot of Agent of Asgard #4, wherein Sigurd climbs many vertical surfaces, Loki wears tight pants and has ulterior motives, and Verity has had just about enough of all this.

*aspirates heavily*

*aspirates heavily*

As it turns out, Sigurd doesn’t care all that much about the sword itself, what he needs is its truth-revealing magic to help him bargain with a black magician. This mysterious man promises to ensure that Sigurd is reincarnated upon his death, instead of being sent to Hel (which is like Hell with two l’s, except colder and more, you know, Norse). Apparently there are some Valkyries hanging about with a grudge against him, and seeing as Valkyries are the ones who escort souls to Hel, Sigurd needs to find a loophole that will keep him out of their grasp.

Though Sigurd goes to great lengths to make himself invisible and creep into Loki’s apartment, he makes the mistake of doing so on the night Loki has invited Verity over for dinner and a little crime proposal. As Verity can perceive any manner of dishonesty, spoken or otherwise, she has no trouble at all realizing that there’s an invisible Asgardian in Loki’s living room. Awkward.

First there’s some flirting, then there’s some fighting, then there are more than a few dick jokes, and at the end of it all Loki ends up swordless and bleeding in a dumpster where he belongs. In spite of all Sigurd’s efforts, however, the truth-magic in the sword does him no good. The creepy magician turns out to be Mephisto (lord of Hell with two l’s), who is looking to take advantage of Sigurd’s desperation and snatch up one more wayward soul. Loki, having dealt with Mephisto before, manages to weasel Sigurd out of his infernal contract, only to send him off to Asgardia’s dungeons on the All-Mother’s orders, making it rather a bad day for Sigurd overall.

I'm basically literally Satan and even I think you're a dick, Loki.

I’m basically literally Satan and even I think you’re a dick, Loki.

Much to the delight of internet denizens on the whole, we see some deeply satisfying evidence in this issue that Loki may have a teeny-tiny (read: massive) crush on Sigurd, in spite of the fact that the two are at odds for the time being. When Sigurd announces that he’s taking his sword back, he adds, “I will make it up to you…I’m thinking dinner, a little dancing, see what happens…” Given his lack of eye contact, Verity and Loki each assume that he’s talking to them, and when it turns out that he intended the invitation for Verity, Loki seems a bit affronted and immediately turns on the smolder.

I feed off attention and I need you to tell me how pretty I am.

I feed off attention and I need you to tell me how pretty I am.

It’s not unlike Loki to taunt his opponents, but the sheer ferocity with which he forces “sword” and “weapon” euphemisms into the conversation makes him seem a bit desperate for Sigurd’s attention, especially since Sigurd doesn’t really respond in kind. Part of Loki’s indignation may stem from the fact that Sigurd was hitting on Verity in a decidedly douchey way (interrupting her when she spoke, putting on airs, persisting when she was plainly disinterested) but that indignation hardly accounts for all the awkward dick banter. Al Ewing has already confirmed that Loki is bisexual, so all we have to do now is come up with a clever ship name.

After grudgingly following the All-Mother’s instructions and sending Sigurd back to Asgardia, Loki reveals that he has spent the last few weeks putting together a team with the intention of breaking Sigurd—and everyone else that Loki believes has been wrongly imprisoned—out of the All-Mother’s dungeons. Loki’s team is comprised of Verity, Lorelei, himself, and Thor, making for a neatly gender-balanced group assembled entirely without coercion. For Loki, doing anything without coercion is a rare feat.

While the prospect of Loki and Thor cooperating is exciting, Loki’s brief encounter with Mephisto has given us some ominous foreshadowing. As anyone who followed Gillen’s run on Journey into Mystery will know, Loki acquired his new young adult form by annihilating a child version of himself and inhabiting that child’s body. Thor doesn’t yet know that Loki is cruising around in the stolen body of a murdered fourteen year old, and the god of thunder is unlikely to react positively to this, especially since it would mean that his newfound trust in Loki is effectively based on false pretenses.

It's surprisingly roomy in here.

It’s surprisingly roomy in here.

Mephisto insinuated that he knows the whole story behind Loki’s murder and body-snatching, which suggests that it’s only a matter of time before everyone else finds out. Though it will certainly put a strain on his relationship with Thor, the fact that Loki’s crime is being directly addressed in Agent of Asgard is a relief. One of my biggest fears going into this series was that Loki’s history of stealing other peoples’ bodies (no, this isn’t the first time he’s stolen a body) was going to be swept under the rug in the interest of cleanly “rebooting” the character.

The last body Loki forcibly inhabited was Sif’s, and the true heinousness of using another person as a meat puppet was not really addressed in a manner that I found satisfactory. Though a portion of Young Avengers Vol. 2 was dedicated to Loki’s guilt over killing Kid Loki, Agent of Asgard has attracted a lot of new fans with little to no history in Marvel comics, and failing to properly acknowledge why Loki is a teenager now and why that is Very Not Good would be remiss indeed.

So begins the countdown to Operation: Asgardian Storm, Operation: Get Senpai Sigurd to Notice Me, and—hopefully—the fateful reveal of the true extent of Loki’s transgressions. Agent of Asgard #5 promises to be a doozy.