A refreshing break from Fear Itself
While this title has been very strong and has provided some of the best Fear Itself crossover issues of any Marvel book, EVERY SINGLE ISSUE of the title thus far has been within the crossover, so it's a refreshing change of pace to have a one-off here that works towards defining Loki's reborn and changed character outside the perameters of crossover-land.
A rare .1 issue not done by the regular or upcoming series writer, Rob Rodi manages to do a strong job on this issue nonetheless, as he has a history with Loki (see his first self-titled miniseries). Rodi's grasp of the character, perhaps with some editorial guidance, makes for a guest-writer issue with a voice that closely matches the regular book. A strong feat for what is essentially a fill-in.
This issue is on-the-whole uneventful, and ultimately missable for regular series readers, but it is still quite enjoyable, and of course, it is beautiful to look at for Pasqual Ferry's art. Still, enjoyable as the issue is, the way it jumps between loosely connected scenes for "talking heads" conversations with different groups of Asgardians, it winds up feeling somewhat like a "clip show" episode of a TV series. For all the issue's guest stars and all their talk, we learn nothing new from this issue. Asgard does not trust THE GOD OF LIES. Shocking.
What's more worthwhile is to witness how young Loki responds to what he overhears. Also to see how this reborn and inexperienced Loki is able to be overcome by the unexpected, in ways the previous, older version of himself would not. This issue really cements the relationship between brothers Thor and Loki, and is surprisingly touching, especially considering how little "screen time" they share.
One more strength I feel I should point out is this issue's use of Heimdall. It's brief, but in this issue Heimdall has a conversation with Odin about Loki, and throughout the conversation, Odin treats Heimdall with a large amount of respect and even deference, which I'm not used to seeing from him. It seems almost as if Odin considers Heimdall as more of an equal than just about any other Asgardian, and this is an intriguing thread I'd like to see fleshed out.