One of the crucial steps in the evolution of Loki from anti-hero into a truly heroic figure was a sense of selflessness. Up to this point, he was taking noble actions, but for a selfish reason. So does he cross that line in this issue, and make progress in his journey…?
Daniel Kibblesmith, Oscar Bazaldua, Victor Olazaba, David Curiel, Carlos Lopez, and Clayton Cowles wrap up the first arc, leading to Loki’s true mantle…
Loki faces Nightmare one-on-one, the God of Lies facing the God of Fear. Nightmare quickly learns about Loki’s worst fears… and how horrifying the Asgardian’s life really is. Is it enough to defeat the monster?
Kibblesmith’s solution to the conflict is incredibly clever. He shows a great understanding of his lead and the antagonist, structuring a fight between the two that goes beyond the standard superhero dust-em-up (even showing how ineffective two gods poking at each other with swords and axes would be). The only thing it’s lacking is the menace that the previous issues filled Nightmare with, shifting him a bit more into a traditional supervillain role, rather than the horrorific villain we saw in the last couple of issues.
One of the best things about the issue is the time Loki takes to talk to Nightmare’s victim, the young woman he had tortured and manipulated. He connects with her on a personal level, and makes sure she knows he empathizes. Then he offers her help in a completely unexpected way that makes the solution land on a human level, not the fantasy style that it set up. It’s great work by Kibblesmith.
Bazaldua and Olazaba do strong work here, carrying the emotional weight of the story through the entire issue. From the prologue, with Loki being told his first lie by Odin, to the simple conversation in the park. However, towards the end of the issue, the figures become incredibly slight, with the anatomy of the characters on the page tapering off. It’s a bit distracting and off-putting, especially considering how good the first half of the issue looks. The colors by Curiel and Lopez are great though, using light and color to compliment the line art, and the script.
Loki, the God of Stories, may be millennia old, but his journey wells fresh and exciting. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Loki #4 is available now from Marvel Comics.