Loki: Where Do I Start?

Loki is every idea of a mischievous kid brother all rolled into one, who only gets worse when he grows up. Brought to comics life by the forefathers of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (along with Lee’s brother Larry Lieber), Loki has consistently played the foil to his noble brother Thor and his kingdom of Asgard.Expertly played in the Thor movie by Tom Hiddleston, he has a unique brotherly bond with his brother that sees them fighting, reconciling, and fighting again through decades, and according to mythology, eons. In comics he recently took a more mercurial route as he was de-aged to be a teen and put his mischievous roots to good use as a play-maker in Journey Into Mystery, but for the world at large he will remain a villain until the end of time.

Until Journey Into Mystery, Loki has primary been the antagonist in comic stories, rarely getting the focus on  himself and his own machinations. But we’ve weaved together from the primordial soup that is back-issue bins five essential stories that’ll help you get to know Loki better, for good and for bad.

Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers: This collection brings together three disparate storyarcs in comics, but its root is the excellent but overlooked miniseries Loki by Robert Rodi and Esad Ribic. In that story, the authors follow through on the idea of “What if Loki beat Thor?” and show the green-robed villain ruling Asgard with his blonde-haired brother under his thumb. It succinctly delves into the reality of Loki being successful in his schemes for once, and if he’d ever truly be satisfied. Also enclosed in this trade is an excellent one-off story by J. Michael Straczynski and Olivier Coipel from Thor #12 that gives a modern and gruesome take on Loki’s origin.

Journey Into Mystery: Fear Itself: It’s  hard for people to get a third act in life, but writer Kieron Gillen did just that when he re-imagined the trickster god as a teenager and put him square in supernatural intrigue akin to some mythological version of The West Wing but with more punching. This series is ongoing as we speak, and this trade collects the first stories of this new era for Loki as he confronts his villainous former (or is it future?) self.

Thor Visionaries: Walter Simonson, Vol. 5: Collecting the finale issues of Simonson’s epic run on Thor, this shows his ever-lasting feud with Thor coming to a head as Loki enlists his birth species, the Frost Giants, in an attempt to overcome Thor and his Asgardian lineage. Simonson’s really at the top of his game here, delivering quintessential performances for Loki and Thor, delivering one of the best face-offs they’ve ever had.

X-Men: The Asgardian Wars: Loki may not be the first (or the last) to come to mind when listing off the X-Men’s most memorable adversaries, but this 1985 crossover pitted Loki against the combined forces of the X-Men, the New Mutants and Alpha Flight. It all comes about when Loki attempts to get on the good side of the secret gods who sit above Odin in the mythological hierachy, and inadvertantly pulls in the X-Men in his schemes. When he’s struck down by the gods he was hoping to get on his side, Loki blames the X-Men and all Hell (or would it be Hel?) breaks loose. This brings up some unique imagery such as Storm being reimagined as the Norse goddess of Thunder, and also has lasting effects on the New Mutants character of Magik.

Thor Visionaries: Walter Simonson, Vol. 2: An overlooked story in the larger tapestry of Marvel comics,  this nonetheless is something worth remembering. Simonson and Sal Buscema team up to tell the Surter Saga, where Loki reluctantly teams up with his brother and father to save Asgard from complete destruction by Surtur. It’s also home to one of the best pieces of dialogue for Loki ever, summing up him and his family. Heading into battle, Odin shouts, “For Asgard!” Thor shouts, “For Midgard!” Loki shouts, “For myself!”. Classy.


  1. I think one of my favorite Loki appearances was his team-up with Spider-Man during JMS’s run. I don’t remember which issues those were. “I’m not evil, I’m…complicated.”

    • That was a great issue. That earlier part of the JMS Spidey run was great.

    • Yeah, I would go with JMS’s run too when it comes to some great Loki stuff. The 600th issue in particular has all these revelations on how Loki was setting up Thor to be banished from Asgard from the very beginning of the run.

    • JMS wrote a damn good Loki…I especially loved the issue where he went back in time. That being said, I would hesitate before suggesting JMS’ Thor run to anyone since it is one of the biggest cockteases in all of comics. He wrote a good story, but he eventually took his ball and went home without giving his story any real denouement.

  2. Asgardian Wars was one of my first exposures to Marvel’s Loki and I have always thought it was brilliant.
    Manipulative, Vengeful, Charming, and Arrogant all in one.
    Some fantastic art in that series as well. Great to see it included.

  3. i really liked loki’s roll in siege. all of it was his doing, but he so noblely gave his life to save asgard(has loki ever saved asgard before?). really didn’t see it coming.
    and lil’ loki is an awesome character.