Remember how I told you last month that Agent of Asgard #9 was devastatingly depressing and that it would probably ruin your day? Well I’m beginning to think that maybe you should just curl up under a rock and read only Mameshiba factoids for the rest of your life, because the feels just keep on getting feelier.
The figurative cat is out of the… well, the meat suit, in Agent of Asgard #10. A combination of curious events from the last several issues has left Loki unable to tell lies of any kind, and Thor—by an accident of phrasing—forces Loki to reveal what the reader has known all along: that Old Loki has killed eir reborn child self, taken over its body, and has been living in that stolen body for years now. In doing so, ey has deliberately allowed everyone else to believe that Old Loki was still Kid Loki, the mischievous but good-hearted child whom most people in Asgard had come to accept. Understandably, Thor does not take the news well.
When Loki spills the whole dark, twisted tale, Verity does her best to talk the situation out, but Thor files into a grief-stricken rage. Refusing to hear Loki’s claims that ey is a changed person, in spite of all ey has done, Thor throws Loki out a window and destroys his sword, but can’t quite bring himself to strike a killing blow. Instead he drags Loki back to Asgardia and reveals the truth to everyone, removing the responsibility of punishment from his own shoulders. What exactly that punishment will be remains unknown.
Readers have been waiting for this reveal for something like two years now, and it is every bit as bittersweet as I expected it to be. It’s critical to the narrative and to the relationship between Thor and Loki that this secret be revealed at some point, but over the course of Agent of Asgard, Loki has become genuinely decent and likable. Though the past still looms over em, ey has worked hard to make emself the sort of person that Thor can love and trust. Though Loki is certainly no longer Kid Loki, and though eir intentions in stealing Kid Loki’s body were nefarious to begin with, Loki felt genuine remorse after the fact. Ey is also no longer outright malicious or deceptive, and eir efforts to rightfully earn Thor’s affection were real, but in light of the truth, it’s unlikely that Thor will be able to see the changes in Loki as anything other than an elaborate deception to make it appear as though Kid Loki were still inhabiting his own body.
Though one of the longstanding conventions of the relationship between Thor and Loki is that Thor—against all reason—will always give Loki a second chance, this betrayal is more profound than average, and knowing their history, Thor’s reaction is more than justified. For all intents and purposes, Loki has killed Thor’s brother (another version of Loki, but one who Thor loved) and Thor himself is changed as well. He is unworthy of Mjolnir and is going through something of an identity crisis, so although he did not kill Loki outright, his uncertainty about himself will make reconciliation even more difficult than usual. That’s not to say that it won’t happen, after all; if Thor didn’t forgive Loki I think the fabric of the universe would fall apart. It’s more a matter of how long it will take for Thor to trust Loki again, and how messed up the both of them will be when it all comes back together.
Although Loki was a huge dick to Verity in the last few issues, ey has lately apologized, and when Loki tells his story, Verity is unwilling to believe that the quirky, nerdy Loki she has come to know is really a brutal murderer. This makes her wrong, but it also makes her the only person in the Nine Realms still potentially on Loki’s side. If anyone is going to break Loki out of Asgardian superjail, I’d put my money on Verity. She was tricked into a jailbreak in issue 5, so to see her orchestrate one would be deliciously humbling for Loki. Thor isn’t likely to be of much help; he can’t even figure out what’s going on with himself, much less his relationship with Loki.
More angst and pain is undoubtedly on its way next month in Agent of Asgard #11; same feels time, same feels channel.