For one brief moment, Loki had everything he dreamed off – then it was ripped away. In Avengers & X-Men: Axis #9 the immortal trickster wielded Mjolnir thanks to his inversion and triumphed over his Asgardian brother… but that’s all gone. The only thing worse than not having something is having something and having it ripped away from you; but it’s about to go from bad to worse.
In a conversation with Newsarama, Loki: Agent of Asgard writer Al Ewing says that in January’s #10 Loki deals with the ramifications of Axis including his newfound inability to always be truthful while also finding himself in what the writer calls “the final battle” for the various Lokis from comics in recent years. Who’s side are you on: Kid Loki? King Loki? Or perhaps the present-day Loki who is a mixture of both?
Newsarama: Al, Loki: Agent of Asgard #9 featured Loki get everything he wanted – Mjolnir, respect, and even got to beat Thor. And then it all got taken from him, even his brother not even remembering what happened. Where’s Loki at now, mentally?
Al Ewing: It's a low point - he's fairly angry and bitter, his brother isn't willing to accept the truth and he's alienated or outright betrayed his closest friends. Readers of Angela: Asgard’s Assassin will see the brothers sniping at each other a little, and there's some bitterness between them. It'll all come to a head in Loki: Agent of Asgard #10, which is where things get even worse.
Nrama: The Loki/hammer scene was in Avengers & X-Men: Axis #9, but Loki: Agent of Asgard #9 really fleshed it out with action and also some subtle nuance thrown in there. What’s it like sharing a moment with an event book like that?
Ewing: Interesting! I've tied into events before, but this was the first time I've shared a scene. I think it was something that needed to be given extra space in Loki's own title, and it was fun working inside what Rick had already laid down - by adding that middle to the fight, I got to spin it a little towards the themes of the Loki: Agent of Asgard book, which are slightly different to the themes of Axis. I think if people read both books, they got a really full, rounded experience, but at the same time, if they only read one, they weren't short-changed - which is what it's all about.
Nrama: Loki and Amora also share some moments before their inversion was reversed. What was it like being able to write Loki and Amora inversed as they were?
Ewing:Inverse Loki and Amora were a lot of fun - basically writing a 'heroic', couple as the worst, most horrible, least sympathetic people in the world. It was an opportunity to take a look at the idea of 'good' and 'evil' as fixed points that you can switch between via a spell, versus the more difficult idea of morality and personal responsibility as a continuum. Everyone has a duty to try to be better than they are, and Thor isn't excused because he's 'evil' according to a spell, and Loki isn't excused because he's 'good'.
Nrama: And Loki’s one of the few inverted who remembered their time under that spell. Will that be followed up on by you in future issues?
Ewing: Well, Loki's a special case, as we'll see. It turns out that there are a few lingering after-effects to deal with - for instance, while Loki's personality is back to normal, he's still finding it impossible to lie, or even not tell the truth. So the lies of omission that he fooled Verity with, despite her power, are no longer available to him. So in that sense, yes, we're following it up.
Nrama: Moving forward, the solicits for Loki: Agent of Asgard #10 promise some heady things – Loki as a truthteller as you mentioned, as well as a talk between him and Odinson about Kid Loki. What should readers look forward to in January?
Ewing: Pain and heartache. This is the part of the story where the wheel of fortune turns and dumps the protagonist right in it. Things have been getting increasingly worse for Loki ever since he came back from the Tenth Realm, and now we're getting to the point of no return. Things are getting dark and unpleasant and shot through with horror in pretty much everything I'm writing at the moment - you'll see it coming up in Captain America & The Mighty Avengers, in Doctor Who, in Judge Dredd, like I'm flushing something out of my system - but arguably Loki has it worst of all. So that's something to look forward to!
Nrama: And forward even further, the February solicits tease and the March solicits show the older, King Loki, looking especially villainous. What’s coming down the pike in that regard?
Ewing: We're getting to the final battle between the Lokis now - the final end of the ongoing war between Present-Day Loki, the young fellow with the quick wit and dashing good looks, and King Loki, his wrinkly future self, who's mucking about with the natural order of time and space like an evil Bugs Bunny. Only one of these two can survive. Only one can win. Who will it be? You'll have to keep reading to find out.
Nrama: For those that may be coming into Loki: Agent of Asgard fresh after Axis, can you describe the distinction between the various Lokis here in this series?
Ewing: Actually, #10 will do a pretty good job of summarizing the story so far. But the short version... there was a Loki who died, and through his shenanigans was reborn as Kid Loki, who was a good guy. But the Old Loki had left an echo of himself behind, which Kid Loki was using as an adviser, and through more shenanigans this echo ended up taking over Kid Loki's body. (Kid Loki died.) The new Loki developed a conscience and guilt while adventuring with the Young Avengers, and is now trying to be better. He's very afraid of becoming evil again. King Loki, meanwhile, is his proven future self, who is... very, very evil. And fiddling with the events of the present for reasons that have yet to be explained, but are undoubtedly as evil as he is.
Phew! If you read Kieron Gillen's Journey Into Mystery and Young Avengers runs - well worth your time and dime - you'll get all of this told far better than I could tell it. Apart from the King Loki stuff, which I did tell. That's all in the first Loki: Agent of Asgard trade, and the “Tenth Realm” crossover.
Nrama: Speaking of crossovers, let me ask this as my last question. Maybe I missed it but has Loki had anything to say about the all-new Thor that’s recently debuted?
Ewing: They've not met yet. But I can't imagine they won't... sooner or later. And while Loki loves his brother, there's nothing saying he has to love Thor.