Captain America : “What’s the matter? Scared of a little lightning?”
Loki : “I’m not overly fond of what follows.” The Avengers

Loki (left) brings his big brother Thor to a battle.

Loki (left) brings his big brother Thor to a battle.

A squad of soldiers pursue an escaped supervillain into an abandoned apartment building. The squad separates to cover more ground.

The lights cut out. A soldier’s pained screams echo throughout the building. Another sees a golden-green flash and blindly fires, killing one of his squad. A dagger pierces the soldier’s throat.

The squad leader finds his troops eviscerated and a survivor curled up in the room’s corner. He rushes over to help the survivor. Loki looks up, flashing a Cheshire grin, and kills the squad leader.

Loki is Thor’s wicked brother. He’s been tormenting the Norse pantheon since ancient times. So when Marvel began publishing Thor comics, he was the perfect archenemy for a god. After all, he has plenty of experience.

So who is he? Why does he hate Thor? What do you mean he’s a good guy now? Let’s find out.

Spoil of War: Loki’s Backstory

Loki: “You could have told me what I was from the beginning! Why didn’t you?”
Odin: “You’re my son… I wanted only to protect you from the truth…”
L: “What, because I… I… I am the monster parents tell their children about at night?
O: [ unwell ] “ No! No!”
L: “You know, it all makes sense now, why you favored Thor all these years, because no matter how much you claim to love me, you could never have a Frost Giant sitting on the throne of Asgard !” – Thor

The comic version of Loki first appeared in the sixth issue of Venus in 1949. He was portrayed as a fallen Olympian who looked and acted like the devil. The one we know first appeared in Journey into Mystery #85. This version was created by Stan Lee and his lesser-known brother Larry Lieber. Two guys with the word lie in their names writing about the God of Mischief; there’s art imitating life for you.

Loki Laufeyson is a Frost Giant from the realm Jotunheim.  He was the son of King Laufey and destined to take the throne. The Asgardian King Odin killed Laufey in battle and discovered the infant. Odin realized that the small and sickly child would never survive in Jotunheim and brought him to Asgard.

Loki was raised as a prince of Asgard alongside his boisterous brother, Thor. He was ostracized by Asgardians for studying magic and politics instead of training for war. He grew resentful of Thor for being more popular and started playing tricks on his brother. These tricks started as petty pranks causing mild mischief, but became nastier as Loki grew older. He was nicknamed the God of Mischief by the Asgardians, though some took it further and declared him the God of Evil.

Agent of Asgard: Loki’s History

Thor: “Why are you here, foul one?”
Loki: “Well, I could never lie to you, Thor. I’m actually the All-Mother’s undercover operative in the cause of niceness and puppies. And I’m here on a top-secret spy-type thingie. SHH! Don’t tell anyone.” – Loki: Agent of Asgard #1

Thor was eventually banished to Earth to learn humility. Loki realized this was the perfect chance to kill his obnoxious older brother and claim Asgard’s throne. None of his schemes could kill Thor. One plot even backfired and brought Thor new allies in the form of Iron Man, The Hulk, Ant-Man, and The Wasp. This motley crew would become Marvel’s premiere superhero team, The Avengers.

Loki fought Thor and other superheroes for decades before realizing he was in a rut. He struck a deal with Hela (two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett in Thor:Ragnarok ) to remove his name from the Books of Hel, which let him reincarnate instead of dying. He was killed during the story Siege and reincarnated as a child called Kid Loki. How original.

KL lacked his adult self’s memories, but retained a feeling of guilt. He became a superhero and joined Avengers Academy, a superhero Hogwarts for non-mutants. He was later transformed into a teenage form to fight a future version of himself. Don’t ask. Time travel is complicated.

During the event story Secret Wars Loki realized his true destiny and became the God of Stories. And the stories the writers gave him are pretty trippy. As the Marvel Universe was destroyed, Loki managed to save Asgard by preserving it as a story. He then entered a new universe and traveled several months into the future so he wouldn’t have to wait for the Marvel universe to be reborn.

Sorcerous Storyteller: Loki’s Powers and Personality

Loki: (picking up his severed head) “An excellent jest. Well worth the price of a stiff neck for a day or so. After all, the first thing a sorcerer of quality learns is to make himself as difficult to kill as possible! Ah, Balder, thy name is laughter!” – Thor #344

Loki has superhuman strength, speed, durability, and an extended lifespan because of his Frost Giant heritage. He is a genius who is considered one of Asgard’s strongest sorcerers. He can conjure the classical elements, animate objects, teleport, fly, create force fields; you name it, he can probably do it.

Loki is a master illusionist and shapeshifter. He frequently impersonates others as part of his plans and uses illusions to further confuse people. Loki is gender-fluid and frequently seduces victims of both sexes, making Loki Marvel’s most popular LGBTQ character.

When forced into a physical fight, he tends to use daggers and spears. He is an expert with many weapons, but rarely uses them because he considers sorcery superior.

Loki is the God of Mischief and a natural prankster. He is manipulative, snappish, and believes he deserves Asgard’s throne. Loki wants to be as beloved as Thor, but mistrust on both sides leaves him only resentment. He has a tendency to think of events in story terms, sometimes breaking the fourth wall. Fun fact: Loki is the one who taught Deadpool to break the fourth wall.

The Actors who Play Loki

Loki made his television debut in The Marvel Super Heroes, voiced by late character actor Len Carlson. He next appeared in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends with John Stephenson voicing him.

Graham McTavish voiced him in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Renowned voice actor Troy Baker has voiced Loki in several Marvel cartoons. He was also the main antagonist of Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers, voiced by Tadashi Mutou.

Loki made his film debut in the Direct-to-DVD Hulk Vs. with Graham McTavish voicing. Emmy-winning actor Tom Hiddleston plays him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Hiddleston’s Loki plays up the sympathetic side of the character instead of the cackling would-be despot. He is considered one of the best villains in the long running movie series.

Didya Get All That?

I dunno? He seems pretty trustworthy. (knifed) Ow.

Thor [DVD] (DVD)


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