Loki's surge in popularity has landed the character a new solo series at Marvel titled Loki: Agent of Asgard — with a secret agent angle, some pronounced "sexiness," and "a lot of humor."
Written by Al Ewing with art by Lee Garbett, the Loki series launches in February and will cast the trickster as Asgard's Secret Service agent, working from "his own pad in New York" on missions assigned by the All-Mother.
The creative team promises that the spy-meets-superhero series will feature a markedly sexy Loki, and a script that will infuse humor into the mischievous character's missions.
Working out of New York will also give Loki the opportunity to interact with other Marvel characters — in the first issue, he'll fight Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow and the Hulk — yet his secret agent activities will also keep him tied to Asgard.
Although readers have recently been following the adventures of a young Loki in series like Journey Into Mystery and Young Avengers, Loki: Agent of Asgard will feature an "all-grown-up" Loki — after a magic, as-yet-to-be-revealed-in-story growth spurt.
But as readers know, Loki's inner identity is older than he looks — and Ewing hinted that the new Loki series might see Thor discover Loki's secret. "Gosh, it'd be awful if he found out the entire ugly truth, wouldn't it?" the writer said.
In Loki: Agent of Asgard, the character will continue trying to prove himself to a world that rightfully mistrusts him. The creative team will explore whether he can redeem himself, even though he's a "conniving, duplicitous S.O.B."
Newsarama talked to Ewing and Garbett about the new title and the makeover they're giving Loki for his assignment as Agent of Asgard.
Newsarama: Al, let's just start up front with the basic premise of this ongoing Loki series. How would you describe it in a couple sentences?
Al Ewing: Loki's taking the role of Asgard's secret weapon, doing missions to secure the future of the realm. Loki's always been a schemer, trickster and general con artist, and now the All-Mother of Asgard is putting those skills to use.
Nrama: Did you come up with that idea?
Ewing: [Marvel Editor] Lauren [Sankovich] gave me the general concept, including the title, and asked me to pitch for it. It sounded like a whole ton of fun right from the get-go, and since I was squeeing over the Journey Into Mystery ending, just like everyone else at the time, the idea of taking the baton from Kieron was too tempting not to sign up for.
The spy genre — and the sexy grifter genre, which is the other half of the equation — is full of double-dealers, liars, ulterior motives and ethical compromises. It's the perfect place for the personification of trickery to strut his stuff.
Nrama: Lee, why do you think "secret agent" fits a character like Loki?
Lee Garbett: Loki cuts a dashing figure now and his new, heroic stylings, coupled with his tricksiness, means he's the perfect candidate for the secret agent on daring missions. I'm drawing it like he's loving every minute of it.
Nrama: How are you approaching the style on this series to match the story concept?
Garbett: I try and let the script dictate the body language and acting of a specific scene and then make the art convey that, stylistically. As I'm on full art duties, it gives me a lot more control over the mood and tone of the pages.
There's a lot of humor in Al's scripts, and that's something I love to try and hit just right too.
Visually, Loki's a lot leaner, more fluid than characters I've worked on recently, so I'm trying to get that into the performance. He's not the blocky superhero, he's more cat-like. Regal but slightly preening and self-satisfied too, so there's a lot of his personality I want to get across. He's a dream to draw, really, because he just drips with character.
Nrama: What's the setting like? Where does this take place, and what sort of things are you getting to draw there?
Garbett: Loki's got his own pad in New York, so we'll be seeing him there a lot of the time, hanging with his Big Bruv, etcetera.
I'm really looking forward to getting Loki in amongst the Marvel Universe and dealing with their reactions to him and vice versa. Maybe creating some magical doohickeys to help with his secret agent work.
Artistically, I'm hoping I can put my stamp on this book and give it a strong visual style. This is one of the first books I've inked myself and probably the first chance to really be "me" on something, so I'm really excited about it. I'm mainly inking with a brush, so it should have a more organic, energetic feel.
Nrama: After his role in Journey Into Mystery, Young Avengers and the Marvel films, there are a lot of fans who adore this character. As you start his story in Loki, do you consider him a sympathetic villain?
Ewing: I don't think he's a villain anymore — in fact, a huge part of Kieron's story, and I'm carrying that story on, is about whether Loki can break out of the binary concepts of "hero" and "villain," whether it's possible to escape the box he's been nailed into since his first appearances. He's not a good guy — he's a really bad guy, and he's done terrible things — but he's trying to change. Can he? Should he be allowed to? Is that a form of getting away with his crimes? I guess the question of whether he can be sympathetic or not will be what saves or dooms him in the end.
Garbett: The fact that he's trying to prove himself to a world that rightfully mistrusts him is one of the great things about this book. Can he redeem himself? What happens when everyone constantly suspects you and thinks the worst?
Do you eventually revert to type?
That said, Loki is a conniving, duplicitous S.O.B and that's what keeps you on the edge of your seat and makes for fantastic potential, story wise.
Nrama: It keeps you on your toes.
Garbett: You're never sure when Loki is going to pull the old switcheroo and stab you in the back. Sometimes literally.
Nrama: Al, you mentioned earlier that this series fits into the "sexy grifter" genre. It's interesting that you specifically said "sexy," because the character of Loki has become a sex symbol, thanks to the Thor and Avengers movies, as well as Journey Into Mystery. Will the "sexy" aspect of the character be specifically incorporated into this series?
Garbett: Shamelessly and gratuitously — if you consider the naked shower scene on page 2 gratuitous, that is.
Nrama: [Laughs.] So we'll see his sexy "back?"
Ewing: Loki has a beautiful bottom and we'll be seeing plenty of it. I think a certain degree of sexiness is integral to the spy/hustle genre, and besides, it's fun.
Nrama: At the end of Journey Into Mystery, the older Loki had taken over Kid Loki's body. So who is this Loki now? Can you describe any aspects of his personality?
Garbett: We see most of his aspects on the page 2 shower scene.
Nrama: [Laughs.] OK, but besides his sexiness in the shower, can you give any examples of his personality as the series starts?
Ewing: A few bits and pieces: he feels guilt about what he did to Kid Loki. His greatest fear is falling back into his old persona and having that awful crime be for nothing.
He can't quite hate his brother any more — in fact, he's learning to love him. They're getting on better than they have in centuries.
Thor, of course, thinks he's dealing with a grown-up Kid Loki. Gosh, it'd be awful if he found out the entire ugly truth, wouldn't it?
Nrama: So it sounds like Thor shows up in the series?
Ewing: We'll see Thor. I try to keep Thor in civvies when he guest-stars in Loki — he's there as Loki's Big Dumb Jock Brother, not as The Big A-List Star.
Nrama: What other Asgardians are in the book?
Ewing: Obviously, the All-Mother is involved. And in issue #2 — the return of Lorelei! There'll be others, too, but that's enough spoilers for now.
Nrama: Then to finish up, is there anything else you want to tell fans about Loki: Agent of Asgard?
Ewing: My promise to you, dear readers — we will always, always lie to you.