A big part of becoming a better person is owning up to your past poor behavior and trying to make amends to those who were affected negatively by it. But when you used to be one of the Marvel Universe's premier gods of evil, that's no small feat.
The title character of Al Ewing and Lee Garbett's "Loki: Agent of Asgard" realizes this, and when his new series kicked off, he concentrated on trying to forge a new identity by acting as a spy for the rulers of Asgard. During his quest, Loki has encountered a number of road blocks, ont the least of which has been his malevolent future self, who wants him to stay evil, and in "Avengers & X-Men: AXIS," a spell that made him more heroic, but heightened his other flaws.
With the Inversion spell of "AXIS" now lifted, Loki has realized he can't run from his sins any longer. Now, he has to confront both the damage he did during "AXIS," as well as the role he played in the murder of a younger and more heroic version of himself. We spoke with Ewing about what that means, the gods that will show up to judge Loki -- including his brother, Thor Odinson -- when Loki might cross paths with the new, female Thor, and the dark times that loom ahead for the "Agent of Asgard."
CBR News: The last time we spoke, you hinted that "Loki: Agent of Asgard" was going to get dark. Now, that dark time seems to have arrived, post-"AXIS." Thor doesn't appear to remember his inverted time, but does Loki remember wielding Mjolnir while he was inverted? How's he feeling going into issue #10?
Al Ewing: The dark time hasn't even started, for the record. Things are going to get much, much worse before they get better. As for Loki -- yes, because certain effects of the Inversion spell have stuck, he remembers everything. And going into #10, he feels pretty guilty. (No change there.) He treated his friends abominably -- he has to apologize to Verity again, and who knows how many times she's going to accept a 'sorry' from him. Lorelei and Sigurd are trapped in an awful Odin-punishment, which again, is pretty much Loki's fault -- and since the Enchantress seems to be leaving her sister to stew for a while, it'll be up to Loki to rescue them -- well, if he isn't derailed by other, more pressing business.
Right before he drops Mjolnir, Loki sees the spectral image of his young, murdered self that once again proclaims, "I am the crime that will not be forgiven." And then, he's not able to pick up Thor's hammer again. How important is the idea of forgiveness to Loki? Is that a concept gods understand?
Loki can't be worthy -- certainly not of Thor's hammer -- as long as his sins hang over his head. We're going to be getting deep into what the idea of "worthy" means for Loki, but lifting somebody else's weapon isn't going to cut it. Gram can't save him, Mjolnir won't save him -- what can? What will? We'll find out -- I've been waiting to tell this story for more than a year now, and it's aged well in the cask.
Back to the question -- I think forgiveness is a concept the gods can understand, because they damn sure understand the lack of it.
I believe issue #10 will be you first chance to really write and explore the now unworthy Thor Odinson. What's it like writing this character?
He's fallen, and he can't get up. There's a lot of negative emotion in there -- he doesn't really get any happy moments. The best he can manage is to laugh at himself for half a minute before the sadness hits again. I'd say losing Mjolnir was like losing an arm to him, but he's lost an arm too, so that feels like a bit of a harsh metaphor. And then we just pile on a little more heartache and tragedy. Thor's going to be saying -- and doing -- some things that are going to be hard to take back.
With Loki's brother playing a role in upcoming issues, do you also have plans for the mysterious woman who's currently wielding Mjolnir?
Not immediate plans, no. Eventually, they're going to have to meet, but Loki's got a lot to go through before that happens, and I suspect the new Thor does as well. But when they do meet -- well, Loki might care about the Odinson, but this is a Thor he doesn't know and has no obligation to care about. So we can expect some kind of clash, I expect.
Who are some of the prominent gods that play a role in the series in the months ahead? Which of these characters are proving to be especially fun to write, and why?
Let's see -- we have appearances from Fandral, Hogun, Volstagg, Sif, Freyja and Odin, all giving their tuppence worth. Most of the action goes to Freyja and Odin, though. Freyja is fun to write, and I've got a moment coming up around -- #15 or so? -- that might make her fans happier with me. If I'm honest, I'm having the most fun with Odin out of all of them -- he's kind of the doorway into some heavy cosmic stuff. I feel like reading Odin should be like having some kind of Phildickian contact with a higher, divine intelligence -- a really belligerent higher intelligence. Who's also your angry Dad.
Odin, interestingly enough, offered Loki a bit of wisdom in the book's "AXIS" tie-ins. What can you tell us about how the All-Father views Loki going into issue #10?
Odin's said it all in the "Tenth Realm" mini, if you were reading that. (The trade paperback is on shelves, if you missed it. If you enjoy Loki, you'll enjoy that, most likely.) He knows Loki, and everything Loki is. Which begs the question of whether he knows whatever Loki will be revealing already.
And Loki doesn't have the monopoly on revelations -- Odin might have a few of his own waiting. You can expect a little more cosmic wisdom from him.
In March, you put the spotlight on your title character's arch enemy, the futuristic King Loki, a character you clearly enjoy writing. He almost seems like a Joker type, in that he has a fun twisted sense of humor and understands and accepts his nefarious role. Is there more to the future Loki than we've seen?
Issue #12 is going to be King Loki telling the story of how he came to be, how we got from the Loki we saw in the Point One issue, before King Loki was unleashed to start messing up the timeline, to the wrinkled, evil maniac perching at the end of Midgard in the far future. And perhaps more importantly, why he came back from there to here -- and why he's mucking about with his own past. Here's a clue: Everything he said when the Sword of Truth was in him was true.
How does it feel to be given a chance to have such an extended collaboration with Lee Garbett in this day and age of changing artists?
I'm incredibly glad to keep working with Lee over such a long term -- not that Jorge Coelho wasn't amazingly good, too! But you kind of instinctively slip into a certain rhythm with artists, and this next stretch is the one we've been planning from almost the very start -- I know he's itching to get to a certain moment.
Over in "Thor," we've been seeing the chaos Malekith has been seeding all over the Ten Realms of Asgard. Will Loki become involved in any of this intrigue in 2015? Or do your plans for the character come spring involve him being embroiled in something else?
He might well do -- or he might not. I have to be a little careful here; what's coming on the Loki front is going to be big, very big, and I want to keep spoilers to a minimum. I will say, though, that fans of epic action across the Realms will not be disappointed by what's coming up from around #14 onwards.
I'll finish up with my now-traditional big thank you to Loki fans everywhere -- I don't make it easy, I know, but those of you who buy this book every month and keep it alive and relatively healthy are my heroes. Without people willing to lay their money down and follow us on this journey, we couldn't make Loki what it is. You're the best, true deceivers!
I'm just sorry I have to break your hearts now.