With only the 3rd issue of this title, Al Ewing bravely mixes things up for a story that barely features Teen Loki at all and instead focuses on Old, Evil Loki. Of course, they are the same person, and as this intriguing time-travel story shows, their paths are definitely entwined.
Old Loki has been imprisoned by the All-Mother, but it can’t really hold him, and so, after looking over Teen Loki’s date with Verity from last issue, he escapes… into the past. Here, Loki meets up with a young version of his own adopted father, Odin (who, in a nice touch from Lee Garbett is drawn to look a lot like Thor. Garbett’s art is excellent throughout, and I liked how his style adjusted for the somewhat darker tone of the story) and sets in motion the series of events that got this story going.
Loki and Odin come across a giant Otter which Loki kills for food and clothing. Later, they come to an Inn, and it is revealed that this Otter was actually a shape-shifting human, and the son of the Innkeeper. To make amends, Loki is sent to get enough gold to cover the dead Otter fur, or Odin will be killed. The way Loki retrieves this gold is very cool indeed, as rather than try and trick the dwarf-turned-fish that owns it, he just shoots him with a bazooka. In this story, Loki’s biggest trick is not lying at all. With his last breath, the dwarf curses the gold, saying that it will reveal truths, and therefore stop Loki from lying, but since he’s giving away the gold, he’s not really bothered. Loki and Odin are free to go, but the cursed gold reveals the true nature of the Innkeeper and his family. One son is driven mad with greed for the gold, and kills his father and wounds his brother before running off with it. The other brother’s truth is a desire for vengeance, and so he forges a magic sword to help him get it. This sword is Gram, which should be a familiar name to readers of this series, and should get your brain working into overdrive with the time-travel craziness here. The greedy brother, Fafnir, is so greedy that he actually transforms into a dragon to protect it.
The story then skips forward a few 100 years or so, and brings Sigurd a legendary hero of Asgard into things. I’m not too familiar with this character, either from the original Norse Myths or the comics, but Ewing gives us a good sense of what he’s like here in only a few pages. I also liked that he’s black, I never had a problem with Heimdall being black in the Thor movies, and it’s cool to see that reflected in the comics. Sigurd comes across the vengeful brother, who sends him to kill the dragon that used to be his brother with the magic sword Gram. Sigurd does so, bringing the heart of the dragon back to the Inn, but the brother plans to betray him. He is warned by a bird (who is obviously Loki) and in the end is able to defend himself and keep the sword for himself.
The story then jumps again, to just after the death of Bor. Old Loki again visits Odin and tells him to take Gram and lock it in a box with 5 keys and scatter them around the world. These are the keys that Teen Loki searched for in the All-New Marvel Now Point One one-shot, and so all of this was set up by Old Loki himself after the fact. But Old Loki wasn’t released by Teen Loki until after Loki had the sword anyway! And he needed that sword to release Old Loki from Thor’s body! Man, time-travel is confusing, but I think I get it. Or maybe I don’t.
The issue ends in the present day, with Sigurd, who is still alive but has hipster glasses, going up the mountain to retrieve Gram, only to find it missing. He somehow knows that Loki has it, and it looks like there’s going to be a clash between them. Unfortunately, he’s going after the wrong Loki!
This was a very surprising issue, but I think it worked, the time-travel is a lot to wrap your head around, but even if it doesn’t quite cohere, the actual story itself was highly entertaining. I mean, we got to see Loki shoot a giant fish with a bazooka, you can’t complain.