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Friday, April 09, 2021 

Polygon really thinks newer Loki stories are great

Polygon wrote a list of seven of the best Marvel stories spotlighting Loki, the adopted brother of Thor in the MCU's rendition of the Norse trickster deity, and while they do cite 2 early ones like the time he wound up encouraging the Avengers to become a team in their debut, and the 1986 tale where Thor was transformed into a frog, as expected, they won't make any distinctions between the older tales, and the much newer ones. First, what's this they say at the beginning:
But this Loki was the adopted brother of Thor and son of Odin, a significant change that has become a key part of what makes Loki such a timeless comics character, and so much fun to both read and watch. Who doesn’t occasionally want to root for the non-blonde bombshell, to cheer for the least favorite son?
Now I know Loki may not have been the worst crook in these fictional universes (up to the turn of the century anyway), and there were times when the trickster deity was depicted as seemingly more honorable and decent, but this is still taking a risk of lauding the idea of admiring villains. As I've said before, villain worship is a problem quite a few desensitized propagandists have gone overboard with these days, and unless Loki were to fully reform, as happened at one time with the Sandman following a Marvel Two-In-One storyline, I don't think it's wise to encourage cheering on a crook. Why do villains matter, but not cheering on the goodies?

Now, to take an example of the newer material they sugarcoat, here's something about Blood Brothers, a 2011 miniseries:
While Loki tries to control his newly gained realm, he must reckon both with Hela and his own love for his brother when she demands Thor’s soul. Like most of the best Loki stories, this is one that’s very concerned with the relationship between the heirs of Asgard. If you’ve always longed to see the myth through the eyes of another, this is a great starting point to understand Loki and his relationship with the gods who raised him.
Oh, please. Even the pre-2000 stories where the Asgardians proper aren't closely spotlighted can be good stuff. Not to mention that I'm not desperate to see the story told through the eyes of Loki, if that's the approach taken here. All that does, as mentioned before, is run the gauntlet of lauding villians too much.

Then, here's what's said about Journey Into Mystery: Fear Itself, which was a 2012 crossover connection:
I’m not here to definitively say that Kid Loki is the best Loki ... but you know, maybe he is. Kieron Gillen and co. make a great argument for the younger iteration as Thor returns his newly reincarnated younger brother to Asgard and the pair must find a new path in the wake of the original Loki’s heinous acts. This epic tale begins when Thor follows his love for the brother he misses so dearly to a new version of him. The fact that this new version is a sulky teen with a Stark phone just happens to make this story even better.

Without spoiling too many of its secrets, this is a tale that throws Loki into the unenviable position of savior, giving the reader plenty to chew on in regards to whether or not we can trust our young protagonist. Gillen understands the dynamic duality of Loki that makes the character so engaging, while Braithwaite, Arreola, and Cowles craft a visual landscape that always feels like you’re delving into a forgotten Norse fable.
Let me guess: since the turn of the century, Loki's committed some pretty awful stuff, huh? Enough to make me glad I stopped reading Marvel since? In that case, one must wonder why they think reincarnation or resurrection is going to automatically absolve the newer take on Loki of anything serious he did in the past 15 years or so. Note that this tale is written by the same scribe who retconned Tony Stark away from his biological parents, all for the sake of making the biological heir to his business a character named Arno. Now, here we are nearly a decade since that was done, and this dismal retcon, last time I looked, was still firmly in place, with no interest whatsoever in jettisoning it. Polygon even fawned over a Young Avengers book written by Gillen:
Loki’s biggest hit wasn’t putting together the Avengers — it was putting together the Young Avengers. Young Avengers stands as one of the most fun Marvel Comics of the last decade, and much of that is down to Kid Loki and his definitely-not-maniacal plans.

McKelvie showcases an eye for superhero storytelling that has made him a star at Marvel, flexing a talent for layouts that would see full fruition in The Wicked + The Divine. Gillen gives Loki a magnificent voice that makes him equally frustrating and entertaining.

There’s so much to love about this story and so many characters to lose yourself in, but at its center is the mystery of Loki. Can he be trusted? Do we even want him to be? Isn’t the joy of the character just how little we know what to expect from him? The infinitely re-readable Young Avengers is a high point in Loki’s comic book career.
A better question: can Polygon be trusted to provide a convincing review that isn't knee-jerk? The short answer is "no". Besides, if memory serves, Young Avengers had some social justice theme pandering when it first began. Polygon even pointed to Agent of Asgard from 2014, written by Al Ewing, and say:
Garbett and Woodward bring a fun and lightness to the art that perfectly matches the awesome tone of Ewing’s storytelling. If the heaviness of Norse law and Frank Frazetta-inspired art puts you off diving into the world of Loki, then Agent of Asgard is a great middle ground. It feels contemporary, but never strays from the magic and mythos that makes the character so timeless. Plus, we get naked Loki in the shower singing “The Wizard and I” from Wicked in the first issue. What more could you want?
Ugh, this sounds like a lot of sleaze. It's been apparent for a number of years you wouldn't get a scene with a woman showering naked these days in mainstream, as Loki seems to be doing here, so why do they think it's okay to sexualize men by contrast, if that's what's going on in the tale? If they think this is acceptable because a crook takes the washing position, forget it. They also cite Vote Loki from 2016:
If you like a little political satire with your superheroes, then this miniseries is the perfect fit. Taking on the danger of demagogues through the lens of Loki, we join the Son of Laufey as he embarks on a quest to become the President of the United States. Langdon Foss brings his delightfully unique aesthetic to the tale, which, along with Hastings’ more grounded story makes it feel far more like an Image book than something that would usually be published by Marvel.
Since this was at the time Donald Trump was running, one could wonder if it was meant to be a swipe at him. In any event, seeing how political Marvel was at the time when Axel Alonso was EIC, why do they think it's more like an Image book? Come to think of it, do they believe it was healthy for Image to turn political, if they did? Not really.

And like I said, there only seem to be 2 early Marvel stories pre-2000 cited in this puff piece, so what's the use of telling us all this if they can't bring up more examples from earlier eras? Gushing over very modern stories is way too easy, and suggests they're too lazy to do deeper research into the Marvel archives and find what could be written better.

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I'm guessing neither one of you ever read a pre-Siege Loki story before, correct?

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