By Ben Morse
In 2011, terror overtakes the Marvel Universe as Fear Itself envelops its heroes and villains.
To delve deeper into what lies at the root of this climactic event, each week in Fear Files we will speak with Marvel’s biggest creators about exactly what frightens the premiere heroes and villains whose lives they guide.
This week, we speak to Kieron Gillen, upcoming writer of JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY, about Loki, the God of Mischief, recently reborn as a youth and set to reacquaint himself with old feelings as he becomes a major player in Fear Itself…
What is Loki most afraid of?
Kieron Gillen: Old Loki? Being trapped. It's telling what his fate is for most of time in the myths: bound in guts, venom dripping into his eyes and all that. But "trapped" has more definitions than that, and as the god of total freedom, just being tied up forever barely scratches the surface of horror.
Young Loki? He'll give you an answer, but he'll be wrong. He doesn't know really yet. I'm sure in time he'll learn.
To what extent did Loki let fear rule his old life and govern his actions in his former existence?
Kieron Gillen: Twisting the question, I suspect Loki let the fear that he didn't govern his actions rule his entire life.
As Loki is the God of Mischief, how would you describe the relationship between mischief and fear?
Kieron Gillen: There's the question. Fear is one of those scary words. However, there [are] entire forms of entertainment based around fear. Loki, at his most benevolent moments—which are rare—may view creating fear, and then removing it to be the core of much good mischief. That's what a practical joke is. That's what a “Candid Camera”-esque TV show is. If you get him at a less benevolent moment, he'd argue that creating whole certain strands of fear is exactly what mischief is about. Saying something that just creates anxiety in someone for the rest of their life is the ultimate low-level mischief. You know the "I'm sorry to hear you don't satisfy your wife...what? You didn't know? I'm sorry!" move. In other words, Mischief is, to a lesser or greater degree, about precipitating fear in others.
It's also worth noting that Loki, as a general rule, doesn't fear consequences. Sure, he schemes to avoid them. Sure, he's very good at doing that, but the mischief is the thing. He doesn't fear the risk.
Do you feel this attitude makes Loki, particularly in his new nascent existence, more vulnerable to being caught off guard by fear?
Kieron Gillen: I think in his new nascent existence, he's more vulnerable to being caught off guard by everything. This certainly includes fear. One of the interesting things about JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY is that while Loki is as devious as ever, he doesn't quite have the immaculate, perfect poker-face yet. You see the fleshy stuff moving beneath it.
How does fear fit into Loki’s bag of tricks and how does he use it to his advantage?
Kieron Gillen: Before his rebirth, fear was just a fantastic tool of Loki. If he wants to manipulate someone, he provokes the idea of someone's fears.
Just a little prod at someone's insecurities can send them spiraling in a dramatic, doomed fashion. Conversely, our young Loki is mainly a victim of fear. Only Thor actually has any faith in him. In fact, only Thor stands between him and a knife in the night. Can he do anything about it? Unlikely. I suspect our young Loki is going to have to learn to use that fear of him to his own advantage, as quickly as possible.
Will Loki be able to master fear or will it overtake him? Find out in Fear Itself and join us next week for another installment of Fear Files.
For more information on Fear Itself, visit the official event page