WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for War of the Realms #1 by Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, Matthew Wilson and VC's Joe Sabino, on sale now.
After years of buildup during Jason Aaron's run on various Thor titles, Marvel Comics has finally launched its newest event series, War of the Realms. The Dark Elf Malekith and his army have conquered the majority of the Ten Realms, with Midgard the last remaining realm for the villain to conquer.
Instead of just affecting those closest to the God of Thunder, War of the Realms has now become a serious problem for the entire Marvel Universe. The first part of Malekith's plan involves taking those he considers major players off the board, beginning with former residents of Asgard: Odin, Thor, Loki and Freyja.
Odin was attacked on Asgard by Dark Elf assassins in the opening moments of War of the Realms, and Spider-Man was able to assist Freyja and Jane from falling to a sneak attack while swinging through New York City. That leaves Marvel's most popular siblings, Thor and Loki, in Malekith's crosshairs. While the evil Frost Giants, Trolls and Dark Elves march on Midgard, Thor finds himself trapped in Jotunheim, home of the Frost Giants. Luckily, Earth has no shortage of heroes ready to defend it, with the Avengers appearing as the first line of defense. Of course, when there is a war there will be inevitable casualties, and War of the Realms is no different.
A fan-favorite Marvel character seemingly joins Odin on the War of the Realms kill list, but just like Odin, this person's final fate remains to be seen.
Father And Son Bonding Time
One one side you have Malekith, Vlik, Kurse, King Laufey, Sindr, Dario Agger, the Queen of Heven and the Enchantress. Opposing them are the Avengers (Captain America, Iron Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Blade, She-Hulk and Ghost Rider) joined by Freyja, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Punisher, Daredevil and Doctor Strange. Just as the two forces collide, Laufey swoops down to grab Freyja in his oversized, chilly hand. But before he can inflict any damage, Loki makes a last-minute save by chopping Laufey's hand off.
Loki was originally on Malekith's side of the war, even going so far as to stab his own mother, Freyja, in the back with a knife. However, as those familiar with Loki know, he can never truly be trusted. The God of Lies and Mischief always planned to betray Malekith, which is why the Dark Elf tries to have Loki killed before invading Midgard. Of course, Loki survived and comes to Freyja with news of Thor's current situation in the Land of Frost Giants. According to Loki, Thor is the key to stopping Malekith and ending the War of the Realms. To prove he's serious and worthy of being trusted, Loki allows himself to be eaten by his biological father, Laufey, and treated liked a late-night snack.
Freyja is the only Marvel hero who shows any emotion over Loki's apparent demise. This could come down to his traitorous nature, or Loki's pattern of faking his own death on several occasions. Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have seen Tom Hiddleston's Loki "die" in Thor and Thor: The Dark World, only to magically return each time. Loki's death scene in Avengers: Infinity War may look pretty concrete, but one can never be too sure he won't find a way to slither his way back once again. A War of the Realm resurrection for Loki at the last minute to help save the day isn't too crazy of an idea.
We can also look to a recently-concluded Marvel event, Infinity Wars, for an immediate example of a first-issue death being a fakeout. Infinity Wars #1 saw Gamora, as Requiem, kill her former Guardians of the Galaxy teammate, Star-Lord, only for Peter Quill to be brought back to life in the very next issue. It's more likely that Loki won't return to War of the Realms that soon, but we're going to assume we'll see the Trickster again before War of the Realms reaches its climatic ending.