Well, true believers, we’ve reached the seventeenth and final issue of Loki: Agent of Asgard, and in spite of the many annoyances up to this point, Ewing has done a pretty swell job of wrapping things up in a positive and meaningful way. The issue focuses on emotional resolutions more than tangible ones, which helps to clarify what Loki’s underlying character is really like after his several deaths and rebirths. As universe-ending cataclysms go, this one turned out minimally cliché and we finally seem to have gotten back to the series actually being about Loki—now that it’s over, of course.
After the events of the last issue (where the gods battled and the universe came crashing down, same old, same old) Loki and the disembodied soul of Verity Willis find themselves in a blank void, facing down the mysterious uber-gods, who are evidently a tier above god-tier. These gods live off the life force of living things in the form of their stories, which Loki now happens to be the last remaining reservoir of. Not keen on being “harvested”, Loki makes cryptic insinuations that the Asgardian gods did not create humans, as they believe, but instead humans created the gods by weaving them out of their imaginations and collectively willing them into being. Ey asks the uber-gods if they know for certain that they were not created he same way. If they were, after all, a god of stories would have total power over them.
Fearful of having their existences remade at Loki’s whims, the uber-gods flee and Loki reveals with a shrug that ey may have been right, but was mostly aggressively bluffing. In the immaterial void, Loki then encounters eir previous self/future self in the form of Evil Old Man Loki who is also Young Adult Loki. Because time no longer exists and Young Adult Loki was fated to become Evil Old Man Loki, things have gotten a little mashed up. Past/future Loki laments eir inability to change, and God of Stories Loki reminds em that in spite of everything ey did wrong, in the end, ey was remade as a new self with the specific power to change fate. So all in all, the plan worked, just not in the way ey intended. Also, the universe was destroyed, which was kind of a shitty side effect, but hey, you win some, you lose some. There are then affectionate forehead kisses.
When all is said and done the fate of Loki and the universe remains uncertain. Ey crudely draws a door on the fabric of the void with a permanent marker, opens it, and leads Verity through, presumably on to more adventures. It is assumed, based on the narrative so far, that Loki’s power over stories will allow em to remake much of the universe with all that he has collected over eir many past lives, but what the consequences of that might be are left hanging.
It is a satisfyingly open-ended conclusion that successfully wraps up what Loki has gone through in this arc and how ey has changed, but still leaves the reader interested in what he might do next. I would argue, even, that it is Ewing’s most successful issue of the series so far, from a narrative standpoint. It really leads me to wonder what he might have been capable of if Loki hadn’t constantly been bouncing from one tie-in to the next throughout the series, being shoehorned into other characters’ stories as the Marvel overlords dictated.
While I won’t say the series was stellar overall, it certainly had its moments of brilliance in between all the tie-in garbage. If Ewing were to head up another Loki series I’d certainly give it a go, but I’d be praying all the while that it would turn out less frenetic and disjointed than this one. To my knowledge, there is no follow-up Loki series in the works yet, so it may be a while before we figure out what Loki does with eir blank canvas universe. It might be explained as an aside in another serial, or that story might simply be skipped over so the rest of the Marvel universe can go back to business as usual, which tends to happen frustratingly often for the sake of expediency.
It would be interesting to see an episodic series of Loki re-creating people and events from memory, seeing what ey embellishes, what he misremembers, and what ey outright changes. Does ey have total authority do that now, as the god of stories, or would there be a moral struggle involved? Would Loki feel obligated to remake things exactly as they were, or would ey feel a duty to make things “better”? Has eir new role granted em more or less objectivity? I suspect I may have to turn to fanfiction for this—it doesn’t really feel like Marvel’s style—but it would be far more interesting than the world ending over and over again.