While Tom Hiddleston has lit up the silver screen as Marvel Comics untrustworthy trickster god Loki, the comic book version has spent recent years in a younger "Kid Loki" form. But this February, the mischief maker is all grown up.
Announced this weekend at New York Comic Con, Marvel announced that as part of their All-New Marvel NOW! rollout of series, "Mighty Avengers" wrier Al Ewing and artist Lee Garbett will team for "Loki: Agent of Asgard." The new series will not only bring the green-and-gold god to a more adult age, it'll also cast him in an espionage-tinged tale where he undertakes missions for the Norse world's All-Mother in an attempt to redeem himself...or not.
CBR News spoke with Ewing about the series, and below the writer describes how an aged Loki doesn't necessarily mean a return to his Stan Lee/Jack Kirby roots as a villain, why life as a spy suits the sometimes villain well and how Thor will (seriously) die in the very first issue.
CBR News: So I think that the first question everyone is going to have on this series is about the new form (or maybe "classic form") the trickster god will be taking in the book. Loki's been a woman and a teenager over recent years. What's the transformation back to adulthood show off about who Loki at his core?
Al Ewing: Well, there's adulthood and there's adulthood. Loki isn't the old self, emphasis on old, that he used to be. He's as adult as, say, Kate Bishop – a young man of stolen wealth and varied taste with the universe as his oyster and a penchant for black nail varnish. So we're stripping that story right back to the basics and giving him at least the illusion of a fresh start - back to the core of the trickster, the mischief-maker.
At the same time, this doesn't seem to be a series set amongst the pomp and circumstance of Asgard's more Shakespearean end of storytelling. What does the "Agent of Asgard" distinction and what seems like a pretty espionage-esque feel do to modernize this story?
Well, it's set much more in the world of Midgard - one of the recent evolutions of the character is that he's come to enjoy living amongst mortals as much as his brother does, and we'll be carrying that on. I feel like it's nice to mix the two styles - get a good helping of the epic fantasy of Asgard, while at the same time sticking to the espionage/con-artist genre. Two great tastes that taste great together.
Having a guy who's traditionally a villain – as charming or as sympathetic as he may sometimes be – at the lead of a series is always a fun challenge. How does that change your overall outlook on the book?
He's traditionally the bad guy, but at the same time one of the big themes of the book is Loki's ongoing attempt to escape from that definition. He has, ironically, committed some pretty horrific crimes in his attempt to get away from being stuck as a villain, and his biggest fear is surrendering to the gravity of that narrative and slipping back into his old self. Because that would mean all the pain he caused and all the pain he went through was meaningless. What's nice about that is that it's a threat that's looming over him in the real world as well - they don't call it "the illusion of change" for nothing.
The big concept of All-New Marvel NOW! in general seems to be a first issue that shows off everything about the series in as big a way as possible. How does this book match that idea?
We give Loki a big mission and introduce all the main themes of the series, essentially. I won't spoil the twists, turns and outright lies we'll tell the readers, but it involves Loki versus The Avengers – the six Avengers most likely to mark us out as utterly shameless, natch – and the introduction of the Big Bad who'll be giving Loki trouble for the foreseeable future.
I see we've got a reference to "the death of Thor" in the first story? Dare I say it, but there sounds like there's almost something...tricky about that idea. What can we expect or not expect on that front?
We kill Thor. He's dead on page one. Dead is dead, and he's dead forever. Pushing up daisies. Joined the choir invisible. He's deady dead dead. We've got a whole bag of dead with his name on it. D-E-A-D spells dead. Jason Aaron's writing the decomposition. He's worm food. Killed off. He's a Thorpse. He's dead dead dead dead dead dead dead dead DEAD.
Lee Garbett is your partner here, and as an artist he's got a style that shows off a more classic illustrative sensibility while still feeling modern. What's it been like seeing him take on this spy-flavored series?
Lee's fantastic - he's got a really cool, sharp, clear style and his storytelling is great. He nails the cool elements, the sexy elements and the humour beats that are important in a book like this. When his name was suggested for the project I jumped on it like a ravenous wolf.
You've been doing some work at Marvel for a pretty minute, but now with an arc or two of "Mighty Avengers" under your writing belt, how does "Loki: Agent of Asgard" work a bit differently than your Marvel work to date?
"Mighty Avengers" is a very upstanding, heroic book, full of positive messages about being a decent human being and doing right by other people. "Loki" is kind of the other side of the coin. It's low-down, two-faced, a big jerk of a comic that openly and constantly lies to its readership. Seriously, we're going to lie to you. All the time. It's this comic's nature.
Also, we're killing Thor off.