By Ryan Haupt
Everyone’s favorite trickster god gets a makeover for All-New Marvel NOW!
Loki finds himself in an officially sanctioned new role as Asgard’s subversive defender in LOKI: AGENT OF ASGARD. We spoke with writer Al Ewing and artist Lee Garbett to get some details.
Marvel.com: For those only reading YOUNG AVENGERS, where Loki is still a teenager, how did he suddenly get all grown up?
Al Ewing: You’ll have to read YOUNG AVENGERS to find out all the specifics, but magic was involved. And scheming. Lots and lots of scheming.
Marvel.com: And where did the idea to turn Loki into a secret service type agent come from?
Al Ewing: That came from series editor Lauren Sankovitch; it was an integral part of the premise when she asked me to pitch for the book. It feels like an organic continuation of the role he played in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY, where the All-Mother often sent Kid Loki off to do various bits of dirty work. Although he was a bit less capable of the kind of cool spy action he’ll be pulling off in this series.
Lee Garbett: It's a wonderful idea. He's always been working some angle, some objective and the fact that he's now on official business is brilliant. Especially as we still don't know whether to believe he's doing anything that isn't for the benefit of himself somewhere down the line.
Marvel.com: And how does he get stuck in this role?
Al Ewing: There are things he wants from the All-Mother, and things the All-Mother wants from him, and they have a mutual arrangement. Essentially, as Kid Loki hinted, Loki’s fresh start is by no means a done deal; it’d be very easy for him to slip back into his old self, the super villain trapped in endlessly recurring defeats, which would be worse than death for him. The All-Mother has a way to help Loki avoid that terrible fate, but there’s some quid pro quo involved.
Marvel.com: Loki and the All-Father have a long and sordid history, what is his relationship with the All-Mother like?
Al Ewing: Depends which All-Mother! While politically, “the All-Mother” is one being and of one mind, in reality it’s a coalition of three very different Mother-goddesses with different outlooks, and that’ll be important a little further down the line.
Marvel.com: What kinds of missions is the All-Mother planning for Loki?
Al Ewing: Missions that are relevant to the future security of Asgard. For example, in issue #2, Loki’s given the job of tracking down Lorelei, the Enchantress’ younger sister, who’s been out in the realm of Midgard getting up to mischief. Whether Loki and Lorelei’s relationship mirrors that of their older siblings—well, you’ll have to pick up the book to find out.
|Loki: Agent of Asgard by Frank Cho|
Marvel.com: Loki doesn’t seem like the kind of character who’s very good at following orders, how does he handle being told what to do?
Al Ewing: He’s not told what to do exactly; he’s given an objective and left to accomplish it in his own way. There may be a larger plan at work that he’s being asked to follow, but then Loki always has his own plans going on. And plans within those plans.
Lee Garbett: Oh yeah, you can always bet Loki's working some angle and seeing things steps ahead. He's a long game player and his lack of allegiance to anyone but himself always keeps you guessing and on the edge of your seat. You're waiting for the hammer to fall—no pun intended—and that's what makes him such an exciting character.
Marvel.com: Visually, is this the same Loki we’ve seen before, or can we expect something new befitting his new role?
Al Ewing: [YOUNG AVENGERS artist] Jamie McKelvie’s done an absolutely awesome job designing a new look for Loki. Expect a degree of sexiness to be oozing everywhere.
Lee Garbett: Yeah, Jamie's design gives us a great new, sexier Loki. There's a swashbuckling element to him as he sets off on these adventures. He's all derring-do and dashing and loving every minute of it. There's a real glee he feels in “being Loki.”
Marvel.com: Loki has undergone a surge in popularity thanks to his role in the Marvel movies; has that affected your take on the character at all?
Al Ewing: I did have Tom Hiddleston [Loki from the Marvel Cinematic Universe] partly in mind when writing him, but that’s been pretty much overtaken by Lee’s take on the Loki look. Also, in the first issue, he will fight Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow and the Hulk, because we are shameless, shameless, shameless.
But I’m also a huge fan of Kieron [Gillen’s] work on the character, so that’s kind of the definition of Loki for me, the personality he set down.
That said—I’m not Kieron, and I have my own way of doing things. So Loki will be a little different after his growth spurt. More my kind of Loki. You’ll have to see what that means.
Lee Garbett: Tom Hiddleston's performance is so nuanced and attractively flawed it'd be crazy to not try and add that to the mix and I've definitely got his performance in mind when drawing him but at the same time I don't want it to be too restricted by likenesses, etc.; it's more the vibe I'm after. That magnetism and dark charm. Those are the touchstones. That and keeping him sexy.
Marvel.com: How much fun is it to work on a character like Loki? Do you find his mischievous endearing, frustrating, or a little of both?
Al Ewing: It’s a lot of fun. I identify quite strongly with Loki, and that’ll probably be fairly obvious in the book. As for his mischievous nature, well, it can be frustrating in that I’ve always got to think of these convoluted plans and these endless tissues of lies. But I get to write all kinds of fun superspy shenanigans too, so that’s good.
Lee Garbett: Al's perfect for this book. I'm going to start calling him “master of the dark smarts.” I think we're all in for lots of surprises seeing what he does with the character.
For me, what I love about Loki is you always sort of hope he'll come good, and redeem himself. You sense he's trying to do the right thing and that he could be a great hero if he'd only let himself—and then you realize that's also part of the trick. You've been had too—and then you sort of cheer anyway because he hasn't been compromised.
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