The first arc of LOKI: AGENT OF ASGARD has come to an end and it marks some big changes in the character. Issue #6 is going to be a jumping on point for new readers and has Loki squaring off against Doctor Doom during the AXIS comic event. Writer Al Ewing answered a few of our questions about the series and what we can expect in the upcoming arc.
COMIC VINE: What makes issue #6 such a great jumping on point?
AL EWING: Issue #6 is where we get deep into the real arc of the book. One advantage of the hiatus for Tenth Realm is that #5 is out on the stands and I can talk about it with the assumption that people have either already read it or can go and buy a digital copy now, before they read any further. SPOILERS, everyone.
Back? Good. So for the first five issues, Loki was acting as the Agent of Asgard for the All-Mother, performing missions for Asgardia - although usually with his own agenda in mind, which was finding out the reasoning behind the missions he was getting. But now he's found out that the All-Mother's goal was securing the future of Asgard, setting the future that we've seen in Jason Aaron's Thor in stone and removing the creeping horror of uncertainty from the life of the everyday Asgardian. Which doesn't sit well with Loki, who prefers the freedom of an uncertain future to the alleged comfort of predestination - knowing that he's doomed to become King Loki, the maniacal agent of the Asgard of Tomorrow, is his worst nightmare.
So from #6 on, we have the war between 'our' Loki and the future Loki - the Agent of Asgard - coming into the open. Both sides know what they're up against now, and there can only be one winner. And Loki's fighting against almost impossible odds, considering that the universe itself wants him to regress to being a one-dimensional baddie. It'll be something to watch.
CV: Loki will be meeting Doctor Doom in the upcoming issue, and both characters were teased in the upcoming AXIS event. What can we expect from this meeting?
AE: We can expect a clash of the titans - two of the most iconic villains of the Marvel Universe, both trying to be better, each seeing the other as the bad guy. As Fantastic Four readers will know, Doom - assisted by Valeria Richards, one of the few people he has any time for - is trying his hand at altruism. So there are some definite thematic links between Doom and Loki right now - unfortunately, Doom thinks that one sure-fire way to do good for the world is to take Loki out of it. And he's one of the few mortals on the planet with the smarts and the ability to kill our favorite trickster god off.
CV: Will this issue be laying the seeds for the upcoming event?
AE: "Laying the seeds" is a little presumptuous - I think Rick already laid most of the seeds in his own books. But if the event is an approaching storm, we'll definitely be hearing some rumbling thunder and seeing the occasional flash of lightning in the distance... getting closer.
CV: What kind of changes will we see in Loki now that he found out he'll eventually become the older Loki?
AE: He's taken it badly. We'll be seeing some of that in the Tenth Realm tie-in - his cynicism's ramped up a little, which is, of course, playing right into King Loki's hands. And we'll be seeing him even more determined to somehow wriggle out of that fate - before, it was just something to avoid in the abstract, but now it's something he knows for a fact will happen to him unless he can do the impossible and change the arc of the universe itself.
And maybe he can't win. I mean that sincerely - I'm not 100% certain how this is all going to wind up. I think I know, but when you're dealing with metafictional trickster gods at war, saying you know the story will end the way you planned it to is just asking for trouble.
CV: Younger Loki, in this series, has been a pretty cool character and it's nice for fans to get to see him star in his own book as more of a hero. Because of AXIS, will we be seeing him turn towards "the dark side" and what info can you give fans about that?
AE: I can't say much on this - the last thing I want to do is spoil any of the twists and turns of AXIS - but Loki will do anything he can to avoid turning to the "dark side". Not so much because he's seeking redemption, but because the idea of being boxed in to any one definition is anathema for him. He's got to be free, and he'll do whatever he has to to stay that way.
CV: After the events of issue #5, what does this mean for the "Agents of Asgard?"
AE: There's only one Agent of Asgard - and that's King Loki, agent of the Asgard of the future. So, yeah, it turns out that even the title of the series was a trick on the reader. That's how we roll here at Loki Towers. And it's probably not good news for 'our' Loki that his own book is named after his greatest enemy...
CV: This book has a great sense of humor and jumps between being a fun, heist book and a comedy. Did you intend to keep that feel for the next arc?
AE: Things will slowly get less fun from here on out - Loki #5 was a massive emotional roller-coaster for most of the readers, and things are going to get darker as we move towards the end of the arc I have planned. There'll still be fun and comedy beats though - I'm of the opinion that you need a little comedy in your drama. It makes the dark moments even darker.
CV: Will Lee Garbett be returning to art in the near future or will he just be doing covers?
AE: Lee is back with issue #8! Even with the hiatus, Lee's got so many pages for the Tenth Realm tie-in - and I've seen them, and they're awesome, so Loki lovers who pick it up will be very happy - that he can't leap straight back in with #6. But we're going to be working together on Loki for as many issues as we possibly can.
CV: How did Jorge Coelho get involved in this book and how long will he be on the book?
AW: He'll be doing #6 and #7. You'd have to ask Wil Moss, our editor, about the ins and outs of him getting the gig - I'm just glad he's got it. I loved the issue of Zero he did for Ales Kot, and I'm definitely plotting the issue with his style in mind as much as possible. It's going to be a fantastic couple of issues!
CV: For those interested in the book, but have yet to check it out, what would you tell them to entice them to read?
AE: Well, obviously any fans of Loki - in any medium - should be checking us out. But we don't want to just be a book for Loki fans - we don't want to exclude anyone who wants to come in and have a good time reading our comic. Ideally, the characters, themes and concerns we deal with should resonate with everybody to an extent.
Loki is for everybody. Because comics are for everybody.
Thanks again to Al Ewing for answering our questions and make sure to check out LOKI: AGENT OF ASGARD #6, and while you're waiting, check out the first arc from Al Ewing and Lee Garbett!