In many ways, Robert Rodi and Esad Ribić’s Loki series was the god of mischief’s quintessential story, perfectly encapsulating what makes him such a compelling character. Since its initial release in 2004, the four issue mini-series has been collected under the title of Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers, and is certainly worth reading, as it provided Loki with a breathtaking amount of nuance.
Rodi and Ribić’s masterful tale began with one of the greatest openings to any comic, immediately establishing Asgard’s startling new status quo. The so-called Mighty Thor has been stripped of all his power, chained up and kneeling in front of his brother, Loki. At long last, the god of thunder’s arch-enemy had achieved his greatest victory, becoming the ruler of Asgard. This dramatic first scene brilliantly set the stage for a magnificent character study that would show Loki in a whole new light.
Loki Can’t Escape From His Dark Destiny
By placing Loki in his dream role as Asgard’s king, Rodi and Ribić created a scenario that really put their central character to the test. In theory, Loki should have been at peace, finally possessing all the power he had ever wanted, yet his reign soon left him feeling restless and unfulfilled. Fixated on his painful past, Loki lashed out at all those he encountered. He sorely lacked any real followers, with his Asgardian subjects still seeing him as the god of mischief. Ribić’s atmospheric artwork excellently captured the pain of Loki’s existence, portrayed as the product of a flawed Asgardian society.
As a result, it seemed that Loki could never truly be content, facing obstacles at every turn. The creative team pitted the Norse god right at the center of a Shakespearean tragedy. There was a tinge of nihilism to the dialogue in this story, with the idea repeatedly being brought up that Loki was doomed to fail in every universe, that his defeat at Thor’s hands was an inevitability. Therefore, this was fundamentally a very personal story about a man desperately trying to have some semblance of control over his life. Any power Loki held as Asgard’s ruler was merely illusory, ultimately imprisoned by the forces of fate.
Loki Received Phenomenal Character Development
The series notably employed a very character-driven structure, with the narrative completely pivoting around Loki’s encounters with Asgard’s biggest players. While the likes of Sif and Balder the Brave painted Loki out to be a trickster, the son of Laufey made persuasive arguments for why he had been severely mistreated by his social circle. As such, this was a story that continually played with the truth, demonstrating that there are multiple dimensions to Loki’s character.
Having a story from Loki’s point of view revealed an incredibly sympathetic side to him, continually misunderstood by his fellow Asgardians, who failed to see him for who he really was. Because of this, Rodi and Ribić’s Loki title worked wonders for its titular character, giving him so many layers. The god of mischief is undoubtedly one of Marvel’s most complex characters, and this comic is a powerful showcase of why that is the case.