“Trust me. I know what I’m doing.” Loki utters in the stunning opening panel of “Loki: Agent of Asgard.” Although the titular hero may utter the phrase, these lines are actually a message from Al Ewing. It takes a lot of trust to push a fan favorite character through a transformative journey. In this thoroughly impressive debut, Loki becomes something completely new albeit a little familiar. Ewing and Garbett never forget their history while they twist what we know into something unusual. Its utterly fascinating.
As with most Marvel NOW titles, Loki begins with a sizeable info dump. It’s colorfully written, sure to make you laugh, and pitches the series perfectly. Loki is reborn new and youthful. He’s ready to pay for the sins of his past. He’s accepted a role as an agent of Asgard trying to make amends with all those he has wronged. Except, he’s not trusted, nor should he be. He’s still the same old Loki, although he swears he’s new and improved.
Al Ewing isn’t so sure. He takes time to revel in these questionable character moments. You’ll never be sure if you should trust Loki, but you’ll be along for the ride. The comedic voice in the narration is sure to entertain, and it provides a colorful dose of exposition that feels slightly sinister in how calculated and callous it’s communicated.
Loki comes clean about a lot of things. He’s an open book, or so it seems. He doesn’t want to be hung for his past offenses but aims for atonement in whatever way possible. By the end of the issue you should be fully in doubt as to whether or not this whole thing was one big lie, but that’s half the charm of Loki, and Ewing totally gets it.
Lee Garbett’s art is stellar. His opening panel is sure to drop jaws. His youthful depiction of Loki fills the book with certain energy. His panel in panel artwork lends an engaging and frantic pace to the story that keeps up with Loki’s narration. His throwbacks to the past show an incredible juxtaposition to who these characters once were.
The entirety of the issue is clean and pops off the page. Everything about it is new and youthful like Loki. Pacing is never a problem. The book is actually over far too soon.
Al Ewing and Lee Garbett have managed to twist a character like Loki in a dynamically new and fascinating way. This debut calls everything we know about the character into question before ending with a bang that throws all this business into an investigation of the truth. I’ve never had the pleasure of reading a debut issue that is bookended with such wonderful high notes. This is a heavenly new chapter in a storied character’s history that is sure to surprise and sow doubt. Loki cannot be an easy character to master but Ewing and Garbett make it look effortless.
Rating 4.5/5 Skulls.