Published September 5, 2023

See how Loki went from villain to hero to trickster to God of Stories in this official Marvel guide to ‘Loki: Agent of Asgard’ by Al Ewing and Lee Garbett.

Loki contains multitudes. Although the Marvel Universe’s resident God of Mischief has shown himself capable of sinister hijinks and other evil acts, his journey has never quite stayed so straightforward. Along the way, he set out to discover who he truly is, and perhaps never before has that story been so fully realized than it is in LOKI: AGENT OF ASGARD (2014) by Al Ewing and Lee Garbett.

LOKI: AGENT OF ASGARD (2014) tells the tale of a reborn Trickster, one who usurped the form of the “Kid Loki” persona. This younger version–who was born after the death of the original Loki in SIEGE (2009)–once dedicated his life to turning over a new leaf with his fellow heroes in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY (2011). However, he got betrayed by the older Loki’s mischief, given form as a raven called Ikol who pretended he wanted to help. Ultimately, Ikol tricked Kid Loki and took over his body for his own ends, which continued through Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie‘s YOUNG AVENGERS (2013) into LOKI: AGENT OF ASGARD (2014).

After winning control over Kid Loki’s physical form, this Young Adult Loki–an echo of the original–first focused on renewing his nefarious schemes. He grew sidetracked, however, by the strange challenge to prove he could change, despite what his friends, family, and enemies believed. As an “Agent of Asgard,” this Loki became the quiet right hand of the All-Mother Freyja, then-ruler of Asgard, and secretly undertook her shadowiest missions under the auspices that he was an aged-up Kid Loki.

Armed with a sword named Gram–the weapon of Asgard’s first hero, Sigurd, which ironically compels anyone it stabs to confront their deepest truth–Loki actually did what he was told for once and indeed seemed to continue Kid Loki’s mission. But this proved to be the twice-reborn god’s downfall, as Loki unknowingly stole the consciousness of his older, even eviler self, which was saved on-file at Avengers Tower in LOKI: AGENT OF ASGARD (2014) #1.

Loki eventually confronted the truth of his actions in AGENT OF ASGARD (2014) #5, when he led a team of Asgardians–including Thor, Sigurd, a human lie detector named Verity Willis, and another trickster goddess, Lorelai–on a secret mission, which exposed his older self’s imprisonment. It was here that the trick behind the series’ title became clear: the Old Loki was the true Agent of Asgard, not his younger, more altruistic self.

During a confrontation with Doctor Doom, AGENT OF ASGARD (2014) #4 revealed that Young Adult Loki would revert to his true form in the future and once again become the evil Trickster. This would result in the death of that future, thanks to the machinations of the smiling god of evil. Stopping this seeming eventuality became a main series drive that spread into some of Marvel’s biggest events at the time.

One of the most prominent of these events was ORIGINAL SIN (2014) by Jason Aaron and Julian Totino Tedesco, in which Loki and Thor discovered they had a secret sister named Angela from a previously unknown Tenth Realm called Heven. Another event was AXIS (2014) by Rick Remender and a host of artists including Adam Kubert, Leinil Francis Yu, Terry Dodson, and Jim Cheung. Through the magical defeat of a massively empowered Red Skull, AXIS “inverted” the moral alignment of the Marvel Universe’s heroes. As a result, Avengers like Iron Man and Hulk became villains. Conversely, perennial baddies like Sabretooth, Carnage, and Loki himself were compelled to become heroes.

In fact, Loki was so heroic during this period, he became worthy enough to wield Thor’s hammer Mjolnir, transforming him into the God of Thunder in LOKI: AGENT OF ASGARD (2015) #9. That is, he did wield the magical mallet, until the spell used to defeat Red Skull was reversed and the universe’s morality once again flipped to its usual course.

In LOKI: AGENT OF ASGARD (2015) #10, Loki’s “crime that will not be forgiven”–that he stole the life and body of Kid Loki–was finally revealed. So too came to light Old Loki’s secret machinations; that is, tricking the All-Mother into naming him the “Agent of Asgard,” seemingly to make up for his past crimes. In actuality, though, he set into motion his schemes to crush and conquer the universe, mostly to spite his brother Thor’s kingly future.

However, as readers found out in the lead-up to 2015’s SECRET WARS by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribi?, everything dies, including futures courted by conniving gods. Faced with the death of all things, Young Adult Loki pulled one final trick from his sleeve. He resurrected and reinvented himself into a similar, but more brash and bold version of himself called the God of Stories in a bid to defeat Old Loki once and for all, and to stop him from being the author of the Trickster’s final story.

As the Marvel Multiverse faded to the white non-existence of SECRET WARS, Young Adult Loki banished Old Loki for good. As much as he tried to be on the side of the angels, though, Loki learned he can’t really fight “for good” forever. That eternal imbalance remains at the heart of the character and the complexity of his constantly oscillating identity.

In the words of LOKI: AGENT OF ASGARD (2014) #4, “This is the story of Loki. A story between drafts. In the process of being rewritten.” Sure as everything dies and the sun still rises, one thing will always remain true: Loki lies. And sometimes, as was proven in LOKI: AGENT OF ASGARD, that’s a good thing!

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