With the release of "Thor" on May 6, 2011 and "Captain America: The First Avenger" on July 22, 2011, Marvel.com presents the Essentials, a series of articles showcasing each character's expansive history and mythology in the Marvel comics.
From character retrospectives to a look at memorable storylines and interviews with key creators, the Essentials will act as the perfect guide for fans both old and new! Look for new Cap Essentials every Monday and Thor Essentials every Thursday as we head toward the release of each film!
By Marc Strom
|Loki, the Trickster|
Mischievous and deceitful by nature, Loki can't help but cause trouble for Thor and the many other heroes of the Marvel Universe. But sometimes his plots go too far, and amidst all the destruction his actions cause even he can fall victim to his own machinations. This, then, is the story of Loki, from birth to death and back again.
A Mischievous Youth
|Loki in his youth|
Loki sought to become the most powerful Asgardian, and knew that Thor would always stand in his way as his number one competitor.
Comics readers first learned the details of Loki's youth in the "Tales of Asgard" features in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #112-116, collected in THOR: TALES OF ASGARD. The story of his adoption was most recently retold in THOR Vol. 3 #8, collected in THOR BY J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI VOL. 2, while his schemes against his brother were also explored in THOR: SON OF ASGARD #1-9, collected in THOR: SON OF ASGARD.
A Trickster in the Modern Age
|Loki's first appearance|
Loki performed the ultimate trick when he managed to transfer his mind with Thor's. Now in control of his half-brother's body, Loki finally wielded Mjolnir, wreaking havoc on Earth as he attempted to use Thor's powers to take control of the entire world. This only lasted a brief time, however, before the true Thor managed to trick the Trickster into switching bodies once more, returning each to their proper self.
Loki first returned to trouble Thor in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #85, collected in ESSENTIAL THOR VOL. 1 and MARVEL MASTERWORKS: THE MIGHTY THOR VOL. 1, and he unwittingly helped form Earth's Mightiest Heroes in AVENGERS Vol. 1 #1, collected in ESSENTIAL AVENGERS VOL. 1 and MARVEL MASTERWORKS: AVENGERS VOL. 1. The Trickster switched bodies with his brother in THOR #179-181, collected in ESSENTIAL THOR VOL. 4 and MARVEL MASTERWORKS: THE MIGHTY THOR VOL. 9, hitting stores on Oct. 20!
Coveting the Throne
|Loki covets the throne|
When Surtur and his army of fire demons attacked Earth and Asgard, Loki stood beside Odin and Thor to battle defend the Realm Eternal. Because Surtur sought to destroy Asgard, Loki could not let him win, as it would mean the destruction of the very kingdom he so desperately coveted as his own.
Loki took the throne during Mangog's attack on Asgard in THOR #154-157, collected in ESSENTIAL THOR VOL. 3 and MARVEL MASTERWORKS: THE MIGHTY THOR VOL. 7, and joined forces with Odin and Thor during the "Surtur Saga" from THOR #349-353, collected in THOR VISIONARIES: WALTER SIMONSON VOL. 2.
Acts of Vengeance
|Loki's Acts of Vengeance|
The Avengers eventually saw Loki's hand in their troubles and confronted the God of Mischief, once again besting him.
The "Acts of Vengeance" cross-over spanned AVENGERS #311-313 and AVENGERS WEST COAST #53-55, as well as many tie-ins with other Marvel series at the time.
Ragnarok and Rebirth
|Loki and Thor battle at Ragnarok|
Following Ragnarok, Thor eventually made his way back into the land of the living and restored his fellow Asgardians, whose spirits were trapped within the bodies of mortals, to life.
|The new Loki reveals herself|
Ragnarok befell Asgard in THOR #80-85, collected in AVENGERS DISASSEMBLED: THOR. After their return, Loki's machinations tormented his brother from THOR Vol. 3 #5-12 and #600-602, when Sif returned to her rightful body.
|Loki leads the Siege|
Loki's alliance with Doom lasted from THOR Vol. 3 #5-12 and #600-606, collected in THOR BY J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI VOL. 1-3 and THOR: LATVERIAN PROMETHEUS. He joined forces with Norman Osborn in SECRET INVASION: DARK REIGN, collected in DARK REIGN: ACCEPT CHANGE, and led the assault on Asgard that led to his demise in SIEGE #1-4, collected in SIEGE.
In 2000, Marvel launched its Ultimate line of comics, contemporary re-interpretations of their most classic characters. Over the last ten years, the Ultimate Universe has grown to include new visions of many of Marvel's greatest heroes and villains.
With Thor out of the way, Loki infiltrated a group of super-soldiers from around the world known as the Liberators and coordinated an attack on America and S.H.I.E.L.D. before bringing the Norse trolls, dragons and giants to tame the world. The Ultimates reassembled and took Loki down, with Thor sending him back to Asgard.
|Ultimate Loki watches his handiwork|
Loki's attack on Thor and his teammates spanned ULTIMATES 2 #9-13, collected in ULTIMATES 2 ULTIMATE COLLECTION. ULTIMATE COMICS: NEW ULTIMATES tells the story of Loki's latest attack on Midgard, with issue #4 hitting shelves on Oct. 13, and his past will be further explored in the four-issue ULTIMATE COMICS THOR limited series beginning Oct. 6.
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