The gods of the Marvel Universe are perhaps even more flawed than the humans that worship them. While they may struggle to do the right thing and be more than just the personification of an abstract ideal, their mythical and divine natures can often cause errors in judgment, or erratic and irrational behavior. The Asgardian gods Loki and Thor know this very well. The half-brothers have struggled against their own natures for centuries, while navigating the mercurial temperament of their father Odin, the former King of Asgard.
But while Thor and Loki realize their father’s that his role as Monarch meant he had many secrets, they have no idea that some of those secrets are about the nature of their family and the cosmology of Asgard itself. This July, in the five-issue “Original Sin” tie-in “Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm,” writers Al Ewing and Jason Aaron and artists Simone Bianchi and Lee Garbett uncover those secrets, revealing the existence of a long lost sister the pair never knew existed: Angela. And along with receiving a sudden extension to their family tree, the two gods also learn of the secret Tenth Realm of Asgard from which Angela hails. CBR News spoke with Ewing about the project, which was announced during Marvel’s “Original Sin” panel at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo.
CBR News: Al — you and Jason Aaron are co-writing “Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm,” which I understand expands the world of both your books, “Loki: Agent of Asgard” and “Thor: God of Thunder,” in major ways in that it establishes a mysterious Tenth Realm of Asgard and gives your protagonists a long-lost sister in the form of Angela. What’s it like dealing with these new elements to the Asgardian mythos? Will they have an immediate impact on the story you’re telling in “Loki: AoA?” And will “Loki: AoA” publish the same time as “The Tenth Realm?”
Al Ewing: “Loki: AoA” is taking a two-month break while “The Tenth Realm” is going on. Hopefully our readers will find these five issues — packed with not only their recommended monthly intake of Lee Garbett art, but also with a heaping helping of superstar Simone Bianchi — an ample compensation. If not, we’ll be back with issue #6 in September, and it’ll be like we never left!
[Editor Wil Moss confirmed for CBR News that “Thor: God of Thunder” will be taking a one-month break and will also return in September with issue #25]
Obviously, these are huge new elements to add to the Asgardian setup — and they’re not the only things that are going to have a seismic impact on the Asgard-related books going forward. People going into this thinking they know all the twists and turns we’ve got waiting for them are in for a bit of a shock.
You’ve already gotten a chance to briefly play with the Thor/Loki dynamic in “Agent of Asgard,” but in “The Tenth Realm” you’re playing with two family dynamics for Loki that you have not touched on yet in his father and the long lost sister he never knew he had. What do you find most interesting about Odin and Angela? What’s the dynamic like, between the three of them?
I suppose I find Odin interesting because he’s pretty close to the idea of the gods as capricious, often brutal, forces of nature. In the Marvel Universe, Odin was known for his mood swings, his rages and his unreasonable behavior as much as for his nobility or sense of justice. You never quite knew which Odin you’d get, which was fun.
As for Angela — she’s a character with a particular warrior code, a system of ethics that’s slightly foreign to what we usually see in Marvel heroes. (And we’ll be seeing more of that code, and the culture she’s from, as the story unfolds.) So that’s always good; the chance to look at the universe through a different set of eyes and assumptions. Plus, it’s nice writing a character who can kick Thor’s head in any day of the week and twice on Sundays.
As for how Loki fits in with Angela and the Tenth Realm — well, he’s not sure about a new sibling coming into the mix just when things are finally going well between him and his brother. On the other hand, the Tenth Realm offers him something Asgard never could — though you’ll have to read the book to find out what.
Is this primarily a story about Loki and Thor dealing with family secrets and the anger of Angela? Or are there other elements going on as well? Will readers get a chance to explore the Tenth Realm?
There are all kinds of other elements, but I think I’m sworn to secrecy on anything that hasn’t already been revealed. But a big theme over the course of the five issues is where you belong. Is it the home you grew up in? Or is it the home you find?
As for the Tenth Realm — yes, we’ll be getting deep into its politics, its philosophy, its history — the works. And this is only the start — we’re opening a can of worms for Asgard that I don’t think will ever be fully closed again.
This story is being brought to life by your regular Loki collaborator artist Lee Garbett, but it also features the work of writer Jason Aaron and artist Simone Bianchi. What’s it like working together with all these guys on this one big story?
Very cool! Jason threw some invaluable plot beats into the mix — there’s stuff in here that’ll have a huge, seismic impact on his “Thor” run, and it’s very kind of him to let me have a crack at it. Meanwhile, Lee remains Lee — the artistic genius whose gorgeous line and awesome character work Loki lovers everywhere have fallen in love with. And then we’ve got Simone, whose work I’ve devoured for years — I can’t wait to see him bring the Tenth Realm to life. Not to mention the various action-packed shenanigans people get up to in it.
I’m having the time of my life, and Loki lovers will enjoy this just as much as Thor fans. It’s the first true team-up between Thor and the newest iteration of Loki, and it’s a doozy! And Guardians of the Galaxy fans will find plenty to hold their interest at well, especially the giant space battle in issue #2!