It's easy to see why Marvel would have jumped at the pitch for "Vote Loki." Over the past year, U.S. presidential race has been stranger than fiction at times, so a comic series with Loki running for office seems hard to pass up. Though there are some good ideas in "Vote Loki" #1, Christopher Hastings and Langdon Foss' debut issue never quite clicks into place.
The basic premise involves a journalist named Nisa, who had her home destroyed by a superhero battle and later exposed the non-usage of the promised funds to rebuild what was lost. In the present day, she finds herself tangled up in Loki's sudden popularity at a political rally, before becoming directly involved in his decision to run for president.
Nisa is the real protagonist of "Vote Loki," which is a smart idea. Hastings realizes that the way to make the series work is to have someone serve as the voice of reason and sanity, and that's clearly not Loki. It gives the series a mouthpiece to stop and boggle at some of the funnier moments, like when Loki shifts gender in part because he isn't polling well with women. The problem is that Nisa herself never comes across as that compelling a character; she's good at reacting to the strangeness around her, but -- aside from exposing the corruption over the housing project -- we never get any sense of what drives her or what she's interested in. She's a bit of a blank slate here, taking in a lot of dialogue from other characters.
Foss' art is incredibly variable. I like how he draws the faces of some of the characters here, with very thin lines and exaggerated features. Nisa's terrified face at the bottom of page 4 is a good example of how it works; her eyes are almost bugging out of her face and her mouth is open, but it's never over the top. Unfortunately, Foss' rare attempts at action sequences fall flat. On the next page, Nisa looks incredibly stiff and posed as she runs away. There's no sense of movement here whatsoever. It's too bad, because the intricate details -- like the burst of mystical energy behind Loki when he first reveals himself -- look great. Similarly, the depictions of Loki himself are dashing and dangerous in either gender, but moments like when Thor shows up to confront Nisa just look sloppy and strange, and I wish there was some more consistency in how the art comes across.
"Vote Loki" #1 just doesn't come together in the way it should. There are little moments that are fun and the overall concept is clever, but -- for now -- Hastings and Foss' finished product doesn't live up to its potential.