Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Finally--The Day of Loki!

Loki, the God of "Mischief"--jeez, what a handle to have attached to yourself if you're a god. Other Asgardians snagged descriptive words like "Thunder," "Brave," "Dashing," and Loki gets saddled with "Mischief." Of course he can't go around proclaiming his alternate handle, "Evil"--you can't very well scheme in the midst of others if your descriptive name is always reminding them that you have deadly intentions for them.

Loki spends so much time lurking in the shadows that we forget sometimes how formidable he can be if he's decided to fight you. Ruthlessness and a complete lack of honor go a long way, especially when they're combined with utter contempt for your foe--and Loki has done well in those instances when he's not worried about Odin finding out about his illicit activities:

Fortunately for Balder this time around, the Death Goddess feels the urge to yawn:

Even Thor feels that Loki would whip the Avengers with no problem:

(A perspective a little at odds with The Avengers #1, where the team defeated Loki before they even had a name--and mostly by Ant-Man's doing. Maybe Thor thinks that the absence of the Hulk is a factor now. What do I know.)

Loki has gone up against Thor a number of times, and done pretty well. Of course he's done very well when he's enhanced his power in some way, such as with the Odin Ring or by tapping into Dormammu's power. But a true match-up of these two would involve levelling the playing field in some fashion. Thor would have to put his hammer aside (and no using spells, either!)--while Loki would be free to be ruthless, but no use of magic, and no norn stones or other objects to give him an edge. Just strength against strength, no holds barred.

Which is sort of what we got in this deadly confrontation:

In another of Odin's tantrums where he stripped Thor of his powers, Thor retains his natural strength, but none of the endurance and stamina that comes with the so-called "power of Asgard" which all Asgardians have available to them--and of course his hammer has lost its enchantment. Naturally, an evil god like Loki would never think of taking advantage of such an opportunity. Also, I believe the city of Beijing has some of the cleanest air on the planet.

So when Loki faces Thor this time, it's not exactly on equal terms. Punch for punch, the two are as matched as they ever were; but if only one of them can withstand the blows, the other is at a severe disadvantage, as Loki's attack makes clear in this first exchange:

Thor, of course, is no stranger to battling against the odds, and so he makes a fight of it (while he still can). But with Loki feeling no need to resort to sorcery in response to Thor's resistance, his advantage over his half-brother is becoming apparent:

Thor wasn't overly concerned with the danger to mortals or causing widespread damage in the streets when he battled Hercules in New York, and he's made similar choices when battling other opponents.  In this situation, he doesn't have the luxury of letting that concern take precedence since he's fighting almost totally on the defensive. Perhaps it's to his credit that he does so anyway, though it proves his undoing:

Sif and Balder show up to interrupt Loki, but it's really Odin who spoils the fun by adopting a scorched Earth policy and depriving everyone on the scene of their Asgardian power--which means that Thor's misery now has a lot of company. And so it falls to Loki to call this fight for us:

I wouldn't underestimate spineless jackals, Thor--one of them had you hoisted over his head like a sack of potatoes just a moment ago.


Murray said...

I always took the basic battle levels of Thor and Loki to have been established in The Mighty Thor #180-181. Drawn by Neal Adams. With a little mystic mind-swapping, Loki has possession of Thor's body and vice versa. And in the climatic fight, full of ruthless gloating, Loki/Thor is just kicking Thor/Loki's butt around the block.

So, to defeat his brother, Loki has to stack the odds in some dirty cheating way.

But that ongoing battle is so well documented, that it is always a startling treat to see Loki tangle with other Marvel folk. Loki vs the Silver Surfer made me swallow my gum. Loki is tough!

Still, the best writing makes use of Loki's silver tongue. Oil and half-truths and set one foe against the other.

Anonymous said...

Just finished reading much of this sage in Marvel Essential Thor Vol 3. Did Sif not recognize Blake's cane? Wasn't she aware of the Don/Thor thing? I love reading the stories but I do miss the letter pages. You picked up so much more of the story from the reader's comments.

And seeing Sif's attire from the 60s and comparing that to her dress from The Avengers Earth Mightiest Heroes Beta Ray Bill episode!!! Night and day. In the Ballad of Beta Ray Bill, a cartoon mind you, she more closely resembles Sue Storm from the cover of FF 375. A "classic" issue recently covered of at Bronze Age Babies.

And the holding of the wrist with one hand to help double the blow!?! Classic Kirby, classic God of Thunder!!!! I was hoping you'd comment on it in this post or at least link it to you other posting.

Deep off topic aside: Do you think Loki would pronounce "charade" as we Americans do, sure-raid, or would he be evil and go French, chah-rod?

The Prowler (Odin once deprived me of my ability to smell cheeseburgers to teach me humility).

Anonymous said...

Loki was such a tiresome one-dimensional character and too much of a cackling "pantomime villain". I was reading a novel earlier this year called " The Gospel Of Loki" in which Loki isn't evil but just resentful because he's never accepted by the Asgardian gods. Modern Marvel comics have made Loki into a much more interesting character - the whole "Kid Loki" storyline in Journey Into Mystery was really enjoyable I thought.

Murray said...

I'll certainly second that, Colin. That's what I was trying to suggest with the best writing using the silver tongue.

"Kid Loki" was darned good. "Teen Loki"...I'm less impressed.

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