Many characters wrestle with personal demons, but Marvel's "Loki: Agent of Asgard" is literally at war with himself. The young Asgardian trickster god's quest to forge his own destiny has brought him into conflict with a malevolent future version of himself that wants to insure the young Loki becomes an insidious villain.
And as if that weren't enough, the two Loki's conflict is about to develop a new wrinkle thanks to the events of "Avengers & X-Men: AXIS," where Loki, his brother Thor, the Asgardian sorceress Amora (AKA the Enchantress) and a number of other heroes and villains were affected by an Inversion spell, a magical conjriing which has altered the moral compass of those caught in its wake.
Writer Al Ewing will explore how the Inversion impacts his title character in a new arc that kicks off in "Loki :AoA" #8. In advance of the issue's release, we spoke with him about the personality of the inverted Loki, how the character's actions will lead to tragic and dire consequences, and the redesign series artist Lee Garbett gave the inverted trickster god.
CBR News: Much of "Loki: Agent of Asgard" is about your title character's quest to become his own being rather than the villainous one fate seems to dictate he must become. In the book's upcoming "AXIS" tie-in, you'll deal with Loki's exposure a mysterious spell that transformed his personality. How long have you known about the story for "AXIS?" And did it inform or impact your initial plans for "Loki?"
Al Ewing: A little of both. I've known about "AXIS" for a while, so I had plenty of time to work out how it would fit into the story I've been telling since issue #1 -- I get the feeling it's been in the works for much, much longer than that, though. But it did seem like a good opportunity to explore some of the things "Loki" is all about -- good and evil, heroes and villains, and whether change is something that comes from outside or within. "Loki" is all about the grey areas of life, and this story is no different.
At what point in the main "AXIS" series does "Loki" pick up? Will readers who are not following "AXIS" have a difficult time following this issue?
"Loki" #8 picks up after "AXIS" #3 -- the inversions have happened, and the Inverted Loki is out doing good and fighting evil. I've done my absolute best to make sure that readers will have a clear idea of what's going on without needing to read anything else -- the important emotional and plot beats for Loki are all here. We share a little with the main "AXIS" book across both issues to make sure of that.
Obviously, reading "AXIS" will give you extra, but if you can only afford to read "Loki," all the relevant data is right there on the page, and the two issues form their own story with emotional (and physical) consequences that matter to the ongoing LOKI plot.
What kind of god does Loki become? The solicits suggest that he almost has a Fandral the Dashing quality about him.
Those solicits were a lot of fun, and influenced the whole comic -- it's all done in a much more old-school style, with super-feats, wild and wooly villains, and lots of swash and buckle. But underneath -- things are getting dark. "Loki" the comic is mirroring Loki the character there. On the surface, he's as dashing and noble as any hero you could hope to meet, but -- well, what happens when someone who lives right on the line between good and evil gets inverted? We'll find out.
It's not just Loki that gets inverted; the solicits for issue #8-9 suggest that his brother Thor is changed as well.
You'll be seeing a lot of Thor in the main "AXIS" book, although being Loki's brother, he's very important to this two-episode arc as well. Their relationship is pretty much what the whole thing hinges on, and -- without getting too spoilery -- the events of the crossover leave it in a far rockier place than it was before. Even after the dust of "AXIS" settles, some of the hurt and wounds suffered will still sting. And we'll be covering every painful detail, true believer!
What kind of mischief do the inverted Thor and Loki get into in "Loki" #8-9?
Predictably, I can't/won't say much -- I'm a little wary of spoiling plot details, especially since these Loki issues explore one or two of the juicier plot secrets of the main book. But I will say that, with both brothers inverted, the bad feelings between them that we'd thought dead are very much alive and well, and we'll see what might well be the final battle of that old feud. (Setting up for the first battle of a brand new, subtly different feud, obviously! But we're getting into spoiler territory there.)
What can you tell us about the reactions Loki's friend Verity Willis and Loki's future self will have towards his Inversion?
King Loki, as readers may recall, is the reason Loki is in "AXIS" in the first place -- if he hadn't met Doctor Doom during Doom's jaunt into King Loki's horrible future, Loki would never have been involved with the whole business. So it's no great surprise that when we do see him -- watching events from his cell-slash-headquarters, as is his wont -- he's laughing his wrinkled behind off. We're getting closer and closer to finding out what he's really after -- but whether he takes a more direct role remains to be seen.
As for Verity -- well, she doesn't like the new, "improved" Loki at all, for reasons that will become apparent. Not all changes are good changes.
Who are some of the other supporting players in this arc? I understand the inverted Loki will cross paths with Loreli.
Lorelei and Sigurd both have roles in this arc, as the tragedy hinted at back in #5 plays out. What with the special guest appearance from Amora, the Enchantress, it was a no-brainer to have [her sister] Lorelei involved -- we'll see what happens between the inverted Amora and non-inverted Lorelei, and whether "Good Amora" is, in her own way, just as toxic and unpleasant to her sister as "Bad Amora" -- or whether she's more so.
Artist Lee Garbett returns to "Loki" with your "AXIS" tie-in, and it looks like he really enjoys drawing the new Loki.
Lee's designed the new costume variation, and he's really thrown himself into the Saturday Morning Cartoon-ness of "Good Loki". You can see a real difference in everything, from the way Loki smiles to the way he holds himself. And the "Loki turns into a unicorn" scene we've been teasing is beautifully done -- worth the price of admission for #8 on its own, horned beast fans! Plus, Lee's a brilliant emotional artist -- he can get a whole personality across in just a few lines -- and I'm extremely glad to have him on board for the searing emotional intensity of the next few issues, which are going to descend into naked heart-shredding reader agony in very short order.
"Loki: Agent of Asgard" #9 hits in December, with a new arc following after. What can we expect from your plans for the series in 2015?
Oh, gosh. Things are going to get serious. Issue #9 is the end of our "AXIS" tie-in, and sets things up for the shocking events of issue #10 and the coming collapse of everything the readers have held dear. I've been saying for a while that the crap is headed fanwards, but now there's no stopping it -- the train is heading for the dynamite, and if things are ever the same again, it's frankly no fault of ours.
I want to finish up with a general thank you to everyone who's laying down their hard-earned readies for this book, and especially those who've pre-ordered every issue with their retailer. You are the beautiful ones who keep this groovy Loki show roaring down the road of greatness, and I don't feel I'm being unduly biased when I say that Loki fans are the greatest fans of anything in the world, including sunlight and the laughter of children! Tied equally for the position with "Mighty Avengers" fans, natch! And if you're buying both -- you are the golden gods for whom the Earth was made! Live, love and be fabulous together, stupendous ones! Excelsior times one billion!