In the fourth issue of Loki: Agent of Asgard the reader doesn’t get to see very much about the title character, rather Sigurd reigns supreme in a pretty mediocre issue.
LOKI: AGENT OF ASGARD #4
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Lee Garbett
Colourist: Nolan Woodard
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Editor: Will Moss and Lauren Sankovitch
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SWING AND A MISS
Loki: Agent of Asgard, despite being an obvious ploy for the twenty-something-tumblr-user-female-market, has picked up in the most recent issues and Al Ewing had proved to me that he actually knew what he was doing with this book.
Then I came to Loki: Agent of Asgard #4 and found myself rather disappointed. It opens with Siguard (Asgard’s first hero – and points to Ewing for using a character of colour), ascending a mountain “somewhere in Tibet”. It is there that Sigurd meets Kaluu: Master of Black Magic. Sigurd explains to the less-than-receptive Kaluu that he is seeking to enter the cycle of reincarnation to avoid whatever tortures might hay for him at the hands of the Valkyrie.
Through a flashback we see Loki and Verity on what could be a date. It looks like a date? Loki’s cute. Verity’s cute. The status of potential date-hood is interrupted by the appearance of – unsurprisingly – Sigurd. He and Loki fight (quite creatively inside a dumpster), and Loki dies.
In the fourth issue of his own book.
It could have been a really meaningful moment were it not so transparent. Ewing shows his cards a little in this move. Loki: Agent of Asgard #4 is the first moment in this entire series (so far), where it feels like Ewing is working within a predetermined framework rather than letting the story grow organically. It’s a bit upsetting as a member of the target audience for the issue because it makes Loki’s solo title feel contrived – which it is.
Back to the plot of Loki: Agent of Asgard #4 – Sigurd and Kaluu come to an agreement (in the form of a blood pact), Kaluu reveals himself to be a much bigger villain than we were initially introduced to and Loki, in a rather unsurprising move, comes back to life! Much like Ewing, Loki shows his hand and the audience gets to see that the entire plot of Loki: Agent of Asgard #4 has played out according to Loki’s plan. The devilish contract between Sigurd and Kaluu’s-actual-identity is resolved and the God of Mischief and Lies completes his mission for the All-Mother. That last little detail is important as he failed in his last task for the ruling triumvirate of Asgard.
The final page of Loki: Agent of Asgard #4 is the most interesting development of the entire issue. It features Loki, Verity, Lorelei and Thor and a creative use of the word “AGENTS”. As interesting as it is, I’m not certain is that splash page alone is worth the price of admission to Loki: Agent of Asgard #4 as a whole.
Much like the recent Young Avengers series out from Marvel the best thing about Loki: Agent of Asgard #4 is the art. Lee Garbett has a cool style (not dissimilar to Jamie McKelvie’s of the previously mentioned Young Avengers run), that lends itself to the semi-sarcastic and self-aware tone Loki: Agent of Asgard is going for.
My main confusion is why Loki wears black nail polish throughout the issue and the series as a whole? Perhaps it’s a solely stylistic thing, but every time I see his ebony nails I find it … weird.
Colourist Nolan Woodard breathes a lot of life into Garbett’s lineart always garbing Loki in something green, if not always suggestive of his original Norse costume. However, I wish Siguard had been given a similar treatment (perhaps featured in wine red as a heroic figure?), rather than garbing the legendary hero/anti-hero in greys
Loki: Agent of Asgard #4 is a beautiful looking comic book, the colouring draws distinction between the quote-unquote “good” characters and the quote-unquote “bad” characters. It is well crafted for a series that focuses on a mythological character based in the world of magic.
ONLY IF YOU’RE INVESTED
If you haven’t been invested and involved in Loki: Agent of Asgard up to this point this issue is not a necessity. It may play out better when read as part of a collection. The previous four issues up to this point have grown in quality to this point and I can’t but hope this is just a swing and a miss rather than a strike out from this point on.