I’m sure someone somewhere has already tallied how many full-scale apocalypses the Marvel universe has been through. The number is sure to be dwarfed only by the number of apocalypses it has avoided. Well, we were less lucky than average this time, because the gods are dead (along with everyone else) and reality has been destroyed. Way to jazz up a Wednesday afternoon. As I mentioned before, this latest disaster is part of a larger Marvel event called Secret Wars that has something to do with all the Nine Realms all smashing into each other, but the immediate problem in Loki: Agent of Asgard is that Evil Old Man Loki has aligned himself with Hela and freed Jormungandr to attack Asgard. Meanwhile, back on Earth, Loki Nouveau (ie “The God(dess) of Stories”) remembers only one clear thing from eir prior life, and it’s that Verity Willis was eir only real friend.
The soul-crushing downward spiral into madness and despair continues this month in Agent of Asgard #11, both for the reader and for our dashing anti-hero(ine). As if being constantly consumed with guilt and distrusted by most wasn’t stressful enough, Loki’s Big Dark Secret is now public knowledge in Asgard, and if there was ever hope for reconciliation, it’s likely long since gone. Over the course of #11, Loki finds emself completely friendless, then virtually homeless, then mostly naked, gagged, and tied to a chair. It’s a wild ride.
Hello again, believers and nonbelievers, and welcome to Part 2 of my The Wicked + The Divine Deity Field Guide. Like last time, we will be investigating the history and lore associated with some of the gods represented in the series. Because the series is ongoing and we learn more about each character with every issue, I’d like to make a few remarks and corrections about Part 1 of the guide before we delve into new territory. When I wrote Part 1 of the field guide, information about the god Baal was still being deliberately withheld by the writer. This was important to the narrative, as he was a suspect in a murder and tension was building, but it made my job much more difficult. I assumed, therefore, that “Baal” was Baal-hamon, a fire god whose followers reportedly burned their children alive. In The Wicked + The Divine #4, however, it is revealed that he is actually Baal Hadad (more commonly just called “Hadad”), a god of storms and lightning. Considering that the in-universe theologian drew the same initial conclusion that I did, however, I don’t feel too bad about my deductive powers.
The Morrigan, likewise, was a mysterious character, because the reader was initially led to believe that she was dead. This was actually a trick played by Baphomet, which is in keeping with my assumptions about him being a slightly ridiculous sort of “poser” god, without the same gravitas as most of his divine counterparts. The Morrigan is very much alive, and reflecting the triple nature I mentioned briefly, is actually three entirely separate people depending on her mood.
Now that some of last month’s baggage is picked up, I am pleased to present Part 2 of the deity field guide: arranged, researched and extensively guessworked by yours truly. Continue reading
If at any point this Wednesday you happened to hear a screech of victory carried on the early autumn air, that was probably me. Sorry if I startled you. As any regular readers will surely know by now, I have been both deeply invested in and deeply dubious of Al Ewing’s claims about Loki’s gender fluidity and the appropriate representation thereof. Over the course of ten issues, I went from cautiously optimistic to staunchly pessimistic to pleasantly surprised, but though the hints and mentions of Loki’s unconventional relationship with gender have been leaning in the right direction, they have heretofore remained simply hints and mentions. Rejoice, happy readers, for the cloud of vagueness has passed, the indistinct hand-waving has coalesced into fact, there shall be no more shrugs and “ehh” noises. As of Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm #5, Loki is expressly and unambiguously stated to be both male and female in nature. Raise a glass.
I’ve been reading Marvel’s Thor comics since long before the movie came out. I think I was immediately captured by Thor’s and Loki’s stories since I viewed them as an opportunity to learn more about Norse mythology. After reading the comics for a few years and then finally seeing the first live-action film, I started picking up books on actual Norse mythology and even read the Edda at one point.
It was then that I realized that my original assumption—that I could learn about Norse mythology through Marvel’s Thor—was not the best assumption to make. There are still many things about the comics that are in line with actual mythology, and before studying the Edda I did know that there would be some differences between the two narratives. After all, I didn’t think it was quite a big deal that Marvel made Thor blond instead of redheaded.
However, it didn’t occur to me before reading the Edda just how vastly different they would both be. Marvel even went so far as to change Asgardian culture to reflect beauty standards today, with very little regard to actual Norse ideals, especially when it comes to gender roles.
Before we get into this, I should point out that reading about Norse mythology and the Edda by no means makes me an expert on the subject. So please feel free to correct me if I get anything wrong.
Last week, I talked about “The Warriors Teen”, the first section in Son of Asgard, a twelve-issue story about Thor’s youth by Akira Yoshida and Greg Tocchini. In some ways, I like “Enchanted” more than I like “The Warriors Teen”, but in other ways, I find “Enchanted” very problematic. It does have a lot of positives; for starters, it really delves into the issues Sif faces as a female warrior in a male-dominated world, but unfortunately, the story falls into many sexist and stereotypical traps along the way.
Spoilers ahead, and a trigger warning for sexual assault.
If you’ve read enough of my articles, you know I’m usually a fan of DC Comics over Marvel. However, with DC’s recent record in the amazing game of “Let’s See How Many People We Can Piss Off,” I’ve started paying more attention to Marvel characters not named Tony Stark.
Here is a shocker: Loki’s character is interesting as hell. But not because of his actions in the movies or comics. It’s not because Tom Hiddleston plays him so well (although he does). It’s the actions before we even see Loki the first time that make him so interesting.
This review is a little later than I wanted it to be. I held off writing it so I could watch the movie at least twice. Normally, my opinion of what I like and don’t like in a film tends to change drastically after seeing it numerous times, and looking back, I can say with almost 100% certainty that I greatly disagree with many things in the posts I wrote about The Avengers and Man of Steel. So I figured it wouldn’t be fair to do the same for Thor: The Dark World. That said, I might as well not have bothered with multiple viewings, because my opinion of this movie has not changed in the slightest since the opening night. Of course, since I’ve willingly subjected myself to it multiple times, you can probably already guess that I liked it.
Spoilers be ahead.
I’m pretty sure the Avengers is still in theaters, and if you haven’t seen it already get your ass there or we can’t be friends anymore.
…You’re back. Did you enjoy it? Damn straight you did. Now you may have noticed the guy in the silly hat and the green and gold armor that did all that bad stuff. Loki has gone from a figure in Norse mythology to a full-on badass villain in the Marvelverse, but you can see him or variations of his trickter god character elsewhere too. Spoilers for both American Gods and Supernatural below.
The Loki of this story bears little resemblance to the Marvel villain, at least as far as daddy issues are concerned. In this book by Neil Gaiman, the characters Low-Key Lyesmith and Mr. Wednesday (secretly Loki Liesmith and Odin) cook up an elaborate, decades-spanning scheme to sacrifice the gods of the new world (media, the Internet, etc.) and the gods of the old world (Anansi, Bast, Ganesh) at once to restore themselves to the power they once knew.
When does Supernatural not feature in an OMPCJ discussion? It’s just so rife with unpackable religious imagery! Anyway, the main trickster in Supernatural turns out to be not Loki, but (spoilers for S5) Gabriel, but he plays the trickster game up until (and a little bit after) the big reveal; even the other non-Judeo-Christian gods who appear in season five’s “Hammer of the Gods” believe him to be Loki, inviting him to their anti-Apocalypse pow-wow and referring to him with the Norse god’s name.
Where else do the trickster gods lurk? I was tempted to include the kooky-sounding anime Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok but having not actually watched it I feared doing it injustice. Let me know in the comments, and as always, tune in next time to get some religion!