LOKI: AGENT OF ASGARD #1
Written by Al Ewing
Art by Lee Garbett
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: February 5, 2014
An adrenaline-tweaking, expectation-subverting romp through the realms of men and gods, Loki: Agents of Asgard is proof that blatant, joyful fanservice and excellent storytelling are not mutually exclusive. Loki fans of all eras and all ages (well, maybe not ALL ages – he is naked on panel 2) will freaking love this book.
From the shock of the first panel to the even bigger shock of the last panel, Al Ewing gleefully takes the reader on a wild run with Loki as he acts out the wishes of the All-Mother, the godly triumvirate that rules Asgardia. Loki is a great spy. Not the greatest; he takes a few too many punches for that. But he’s still good. The book does a great job grounding you in his current headspace, and making clear that there is Loki, and there is Loki. The summary at the start makes this an easy jumping on point for new readers, but honestly this book is going to be very special for long-time Marvel readers of several generations.
Ewing does a great job blending what came before with something new. Loki still loves breakfast meats (as well he should), but he’s also acquired a taste for Broadway tunes. Loki might not even own the best moment of the story; I would argue that honor goes to Clint Barton, in a very Fraction-esque Hawkeye Moment. New readers should feel comfortable enough that references to other Marvel stories like Civil War and the most recent arc of Jason Aaron’s Thor: God of Thunder won’t make them skittish. Everything you need is on the page. Though if you aren’t reading Aaron’s Thor, shame on you. The humor is set off nicely with some thoughtful inner monologue about self and identity, which Ewing has said will be a central theme to the story.
Visually, the book is as divine as its roguish lead. From Clayton Cowles’ smart title page to the sexy, bright and crisp combination of Lee Garbett and Nolan Woodard, the panels are fun and fabulous. Loki has never looked better. There are certain angles that make it almost cinematic, but still uniquely comic-booky. I love the Cheshire cat smile, the comedic plunge, and the look of the flashbacks. I even love Loki’s boy band hair. Lee Garbett’s work on Batgirl prepared me for some gorgeous moments, but I feel as though I owe him a Valentine’s Day bouquet for this issue.
Expectations for this book were very high, and I don’t think fans will be disappointed. Loki: Agent of Asgard is pretty, funny, clever and exciting – basically if there were ever a comic book that deserved a second date, this one is definitely it. I’m already on pins and needles waiting for issue 2.
The Verdict: 9.5/10