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!
|Thor & Loki: Childhood rivals|
By Matt Powell
This week in Essential Thor, we examine a rivalry between brothers almost as immortal as the gods themselves. Bound more by competition than blood ties, Thor and Loki's tale of brotherly aggression stretched back all the way to their youth and the roots of Loki's bitterness. While Thor's valiant nature can not be denied, it was certainly challenged at every turn by his mischievous brother. Join us as we as we take a look at the brothers' early years as adversaries.
It's Like Taking Apples From Storm Giants...
|The beginnings of Loki's jealousy|
As a youth, Thor's determination to prove himself worthy of wielding the enchanted Uru hammer Mjolnir drew him to many quests to prove his bravery. In an early expedition, Thor and Loki traveled to the home of a family of Storm Giants to retrieve the stolen golden apples of Idunn. At every chance Loki sought to sabotage his brother, first by throwing him out into the open to catch the giants' ire, then stealing away to get the apples himself and fleeing to receive all the credit. Thor valiantly outmaneuvered the giants and fled with his brother, and in the end Odin knew the truth of the young duo's journey and rewarded the Thunderer as the true hero with the right to lift the enchanted hammer a little higher, strengthened by his increasing valor.
Thor and Loki invaded the home of the storm giants in the classic "Tales of Asgard" segment from JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #100, found in THOR: TALES OF ASGARD.
The Hole in Asgard Is The Key To Glory
|Loki plots against Thor|
Thor eagerly wanted to prove himself worthy of his father's enchanted hammer, and when the forces of evil sought to overrun the kingdom, the young hero demanded to do his part. Thor was denied his first opportunity to aid his home by Heimdall, guardian of the Rainbow Bridge. Loki saw his brother's blind loyalty to Asgard and exploited it by tricking him into guarding a hole that could serve as a secret entryway for enemies to enter. Unknowingly to Thor, Loki created the hole and informed foes of the kingdom to enter through it with the hope they would overwhelm his brother, leaving Loki to pursue the hammer for himself. Thor fought well and long enough for his sounds of battle to alert Odin and reinforcements to come to his aid. Thor proved himself once again and tested his increased strength on the hammer, lifting it higher than ever before.
Thor's one-man raid on the forces of evil can be found in the "Tales of Asgard" story in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #101, collected in THOR: TALES OF ASGARD.
Loki: Son of Asgard, Son of Mischief
|A young Loki|
As teenagers, the trio of Thor, Sif, and Balder proved virtually inseparable--much to the chagrin of the ousted Loki. Jealously filled Loki, and the angry youth enchanted a few spiders to become giant-sized and attack the young allies as they talked in the imperial armory. The three defied Loki's plan to tear them apart and worked as a unit to defeat the spiders, discovering they had even more strength together than separately.
Later, the three set out on a mission to gather the elements needed for Odin to forge a powerful sword. The first task led the group to obtain a scale from the dragon Hakurei, who was alerted to the young warriors' arrival by Loki. Thor and his allies succeeded in retrieving the scale, harboring the suspicion of Loki's malicious involvement in their affairs.
Young Loki seized any opportunity to hurt his brother, especially in his heart and his affection for Sif. The trickster joined forces with Amora the Enchantress to keep the love affair between Thor and Sif from blossoming. Sif desperately appealed to Loki for help in getting Thor to love her above any other female who had his attention. Loki and Amora magically bound a love spell to a mirror with the promise of Thor blindly loving anyone who holds the mirror after he sees his reflection in it. Amora paralyzed Sif and took the mirror and Thor's love for herself with Loki adding insult to injury to Sif as she watched on. Ultimately, true love rose above all and Thor and Sif realized their true feelings for each other, once again stymieing Loki's tricks.
Thor, Sif, and Balder defeated Loki's enchanted spiders in THOR: SON OF ASGARD #1, while Loki informed Hakurei of his brother's arrival in THOR: SON OF ASGARD #2 and Loki and Amora's exploitation of Sif's love can be found in THOR: SON OF ASGARD #8. All these tales and more appear collected in THOR: SON OF ASGARD.