Welp, the whole Marvel universe is coming to an end. Again. You know, as usual, thanks to yet another over-arching Marvel tie-in event called Secret Wars that Loki: Agent of Asgard has been awkwardly shoehorned into. To be honest, I have only the most general idea of what is going on in the rest of this tie-in, because like most people I can’t be bothered to read dozens of other series in conjunction with this one, but suffice to say that the world is ending. This marks the fourth such multi-series tie-in in just fourteen issues of Agent of Asgard, which leaves very little room for the actual title character of the series to develop while ey is busy playing backup to everyone else’s central plotlines.
Then again, there is the issue of whether or not the title character even is the same title character that we started the series with. The awkward young Loki we have come to know (and love?) has now been remade yet again into the bedraggled, slightly sickly-looking “God of Stories” who seems to have inherited only the vaguest impressions of young Loki’s memories.
Issue #14 opens with Odin, who has dreamt of a pantheon of ancient gods. These mysterious beings tell him that if he, in the vaguest sense, “defeats his enemies” he will inherit the reborn world after the end of this latest cataclysm. Odin goes to a council where representatives from all ten realms have met to discuss the situation, and demands in a rather frenzied way that they all submit to his command, as he is the only one capable of leading them through what appears to be the end times. When they all tell the Allfather—in exasperated tones—that he is being ridiculous, he goes to his wife Freyja and carries on being ridiculous, much to her disapproval as well.
Meanwhile, back at Verity Willis’s apartment (which is surprisingly spacious for Manhattan, she must have a cushy job) Loki is admiring eir own chest hair while Verity becomes increasingly confused about why this weirdo she doesn’t recognize is shirtless for no reason in her bathroom. She demands to know if ey is the same person as the Loki she knew, something that the latest incarnation of Loki doesn’t really seem to know emself. Ey also does not seem to particularly care, except to say “it is not dying” but “that’s the thing about stories, they have to end to mean anything. I can’t be Loki forever.”
Realizing that Verity is dissatisfied with this answer, Loki tries a different tack. Announcing “I’m nobody’s but my own. I’m me. First, last, and always,” ey shifts into a female body. This was perhaps not the most helpful way of easing Verity’s concerns, as she has never seen Loki take female form before, but it seems to make Loki happy, at least, because ey remains in that body for the remainder of the issue. In the midst of this conversation, some explosions go off in the distance, more indicators that the end is nigh and yadda yadda, and that whatever the Avengers are fighting lately is big and scary.
But let’s not forget about Future Loki, who is still hanging about the nine realms, messing with things. As Odin and Freyja arm themselves for whatever nonsense is going down, Future Loki makes a deal with Hela and Tyr to free Jormungandr, the world-serpent, one of Loki’s monster-kids. Clearly stuff is about to get much worse.
The most frustrating thing about Agent of Asgard lately is that in spite of diligently buying every issue in the series, I barely know what’s going on anymore. I know these universe-wide tie-ins are common with Marvel series, I know they do it to make money, but having this many tie-ins in such a short spinoff series is confusing and distracting, especially to new readers, who this series was meant to reel in. It is unsurprising to me that sales have declined so much.
Even the writers seem a bit fed up with trying to explain what is going on these days. While the intro page is normally at least two paragraphs of eloquent language and detailed explanations, this month’s recap was a scant five sentences, delivered in abrupt tones, that ends with an exasperated-sounding “That’s pretty much all you need to know.” One of the Tenth Realm’s representatives on the council also breaks the fourth wall a bit. When Odin rages about the world coming to an end, she responds with “as has been the case time and again these past months—and always coming to nothing.”
The only saving grace of this issue for queer little me was the fact that Loki’s new self seems to have the same feelings about gender that eir most recent prior self did. Ey still seems to switch bodies for reasons unrelated to deceit, and ey refers to emself as “he” and “god” when male-bodied and “she” and “goddess” when female-bodied. If anything, taking female form was sort of tactless in this instance, as it confused Verity further, but ey stuck with that form throughout.
Now if we could just get back to Loki solving his own problems instead of other peoples’ problems, we might have a series worth reading.
Follow Lady Geek Girl and Friends on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook!
OK. Now I’ll talk continuity nobody can be expected to know so feel free to ignore me.
I’m reasonably convinced that Loki cursed this title. I mean way back in the Young Avengers promotional one-shot there was a “help wanted ad” that ended with: “Be there or be involved in a string of massive corporate crossover events for your entire run”. It sounds way too fitting.
I don’t follow the event either but from what I gathered is that Marvel actually ended the world in the first issue (I’ve no doubts that they will remake it by the end of it, but Loki’s tie-in will take place before it anyway).
The Asgard stuff… It seems like King Loki decided to play Ragnarök. As in Marvel that is (or at least was, last time I checked Thor destroyed it) a cyclical event (put in place by the beings Odin dreams about at the begining of the issue) I’m wagering some of the people hope for getting it to repeat again and so reseting the world. Saving the nine realms by destroying it basically.
… My life is wasted.
Oh, boy, I might have lingered on those panels of a shirtless Loki much longer than necessary. :p The only crossover I ever read and cared about was Tenth Realm and to me, it felt less like a crossover and more a continuation of AoA.
This issue was great if not a bit confusing but one thing really irritated me. Loki’s transformation really reminded me of a Timelord’s regeneration if you watch Doctor Who. I mean what is the point of him forgetting everything, he is not a timelord he is LOKI. But other than that I really liked it, I was confused, somehow I managed to get by.
ALSO loved loved how you used in your blog post you used gender neutral pronouns for Loki. Bless you!
While reading the issue I noted Loki was very… hyper. It makes me think that ey is going to be shifting between different aspects or different personalities, like a story can be retold in different way so can Loki can be “retold”.
Pingback: No Really, Trust Me: Pan’s Review of Loki: Agent of Asgard #15 & 16 | Lady Geek Girl and Friends