Essential Thor

Essential Thor: King Loki

Look back at the rare times when evil won and Loki held sway over the kingdom of Asgard!

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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!

Loki on the throne

By Matt Powell

This week in Essential Thor we examine the times when evil won--specifically when Loki Laufeyson became ruler of Asgard. With treachery and deceit as his commanding traits, Loki's ambitions were rewarded in his ascension to the throne of Asgard, no matter how brief. Join us as we acknowledge the reigns of Thor's mischievous brother.

From the Odinsleep Comes a Nightmare

Loki first takes the throne

Loki's relentless quest for power is without qualms or modesty--even for his adoptive father. The trickster proclaimed himself the ruler of Asgard as the Allfather, Odin, laid in hibernation under his power-recharging Odinsleep. Loki seized his opportunity while the rightful heir, Thor, was away battling the powerful Mangog. Acting as a veritable lord of loopholes, Loki cited to Thor that under Asgard's laws his absence automatically forfeited his claim to the throne, allowing the second son to succeed him. Thor's protests to challenge Loki's rule were rebuffed and his urgings to unite to fight Mangog denied as Lord Loki proclaimed his place as simply to rule, sending the Thunderer to face the villain--and possible death--alone.

Loki proclaimed himself Lord of Asgard in Odin's absence in THOR #154, found in MARVEL MASTERWORKS: THE MIGHTY THOR VOL. 7 as well as ESSENTIAL THOR VOL. 3.

With This Ring, I Am Thy Lord

Loki steals the Odinring

Loki seized another opportunity to rule Asgard as Odin laid indisposed once again. Utilizing rage-filled mountain giants to attack the realm and create a distraction that would allow him to steal away to Odin's inner chamber to claim his prize, Loki snatched the Odinring for himself, physical and undisputable proof of leadership worn by the ruler of Asgard. The guards of Odin momentarily prepared to attack Loki, but relented despite his evil nature in deference to his title as a prince of the kingdom, granting him access to Odin's bedside. Loki took the ring and boastfully proclaimed himself as the new ruler of Asgard to Thor, presenting the ring as evidence with a legion of guards supporting his reign in spite of their own reservations.

Loki took the coveted Odinring for himself in THOR #175, collected both in MARVEL MASTERWORKS: THE MIGHTY THOR VOL. 9 as well as ESSENTIAL THOR VOL. 4.

While Thor's In Love, Loki Will Lead

Loki near-victorious

Loki turned his evil intentions to tainted love in order to remove Thor as an obstacle in his plans. Loki capitalized on the mystical Lorelei's affections for Thor and created an enchantment to keep his brother completely in love with her and under her control. Under Lorelei's suggestion, Thor proposed to award Loki the throne of Asgard without reservation. The love spell damaged some of Thor's relationships with his compatriots, but ultimately he came to his senses and disposed of Loki before the mischief maker could ascend the throne.

Thor's enchanted love story is recounted in THOR #359, one of the many classic stories found in THOR VISIONARIES: WALTER SIMONSON VOL. 2.

Lord Loki Laments His Sovereignty

Loki victorious

While revenge is never a doubt in Loki's motivations, we rarely see remorse in his disposition. Loki formed an alliance with various rulers in the Nine Worlds, including Karnilla, Queen of the Norns, to aid him in his final assault to rule Asgard. The evil one imprisoned Odin, Thor and any other member of the royal circle who would challenge his rule. However, the administrative demand of being the ruler of Asgard gave Loki pause in feeling the full joy of being king. Loki refused the requests of the citizens of Asgard, but demanded their respect. To gain that respect, Loki followed the urgings of his daughter Hela, and prepared to publicly execute Thor and cement himself as the future of Asgard. In his thoughts, Loki feared without Thor he would have no purpose and, despite his previous claims, he could not execute his brother. Once freed, however, Thor held no mercy for his repentant brother.

Asgard under Loki's rule is chronicled in the limited-series, LOKI #1-4, found in the upcoming THOR: BLOOD BROTHERS collection.

The Devourer of Worlds Targets Asgard

King Loki faces Galactus

A key component of Loki's evil lies in his extraordinary cunning. Loki lured Galacatus, the Devourer of Worlds, to Asgard to feed his hunger and to combat the warriors of Asgard as they took arms against him. Loki knew many Asgardians would fall against the all-powerful Galactus and simultaneously remove a number of threats to him taking Asgard for himself.  Even Thor sacrificed himself to save what was left of his war torn home by becoming a herald of Galactus in exchange for Asgard's freedom. Later, Thor went rogue from Galactus' side to return home and discovered the truth behind his step-brother's plot. When Galactus returned to Asgard to reclaim his herald, Thor allowed the world-eater to consume his former home, claiming the realm was tainted by Loki's treachery and resembled nothing of a home to him.

The story of Thor's life as Galactus' herald can be found in WHAT IF?: THOR #1, collected in WHAT IF?: MIRROR MIRROR.

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