Exclusive Interview: Al Ewing brings the magic to Loki: Agent of Asgard
He is one of Marvel Comics’ top villains, virtually created the Avengers super team, along with Dread Dormammu set the Avengers against the Defenders, and has spent recent days among the Young Avengers.
In March, Loki, Asgardian God of Mischief (some would say “Evil”), gets his own ongoing under the team of Al Ewing and Lee Garbett.
To get the mythology of this book, Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer met exclusively on Midgard with scribe Ewing to discuss the coming mag.
Cosmic Book News: Al, how do you make a longtime villain like Loki fresh? He has been a hero, an anti-villain, a woman and a kid. What is left?
Al Ewing: Frog Loki.
No, I kid. Loki's been through more physical changes in a short time than most characters in the Marvel Universe have, but that's how being the God Of Mischief is sometimes. In terms of emotional and mental changes - which are a lot more interesting - I don't think he's gone through any more than, say, Cyclops, or Captain America, or Spider-Man. In fact, I think just about everyone in the MU has been evolving rapidly in the last ten years. Come to think of it, I've changed almost completely myself, and I'm safe out here in the real world.
So hopefully I can just have Loki continue to exist in this fizzing landscape of possibility and he'll stay cool, fresh and fashionable. But if that doesn't work - Frog Loki.
Al Ewing: Well, most Marvel characters see the MU through their own particular prism, and Loki's no exception - there's going to be a fair amount of Asgardian and magic-related stuff. But we're looking at all of that stuff through the prism of the spy genre (and also, since it's Loki the lying, cheating trickster god, the heist genre). It's a weird mix, but so far we seem to be pulling it off.
And of course there's another aspect, which is Loki's inner world. He's a very complicated character and in some ways his own worst enemy, and we're going to be exploring that.
Al Ewing: Twice! If I'm counting correctly.
Loki, in his new incarnation, has earned a degree of... not trust, exactly, but something close to it. Whether he deserves any trust or trust-like substance is another matter. Or whether the All-Mother deserves his trust. Or whether it's not even more complicated than that. Sometimes people want security enough to ally with people they really shouldn't - and I'll leave you to work out who the various 'people' are in that sentence.
Al Ewing: It is a bit easy, in places. Loki has a selection of spy-type gadgets - they just happen to work off Asgardian magic rather than Midgardian science. There's not so much difference between seven-league boots and jetpack shoes if you think about it - just like there's not much difference between the secretive, back-stabby world of spies and double-agents and the kind of lying, cheating and assorted naughtiness Loki gets up to before breakfast.
Al Ewing: It'd be truer to say he's got his own version of the Impossible Missions Force - or Ocean's 11.
Al Ewing: I'll keep these quite light and spoiler-free. In issue #1 he's taking on a certain popular super-team for a special mission that we won't spoil - one which brings him into contact, and combat, with his beloved brother. Who suddenly seems a lot less brotherly. Hmmmm.
Then in issue #2, it's a face-off with old flame and fellow younger sibling Lorelei, who's stealing her way across the casinos of Europe. And in issue #3... we reach the limits of what I can keep spoiler-free. Loki does fight a giant otter in that one, though, I can tell you that.
Al Ewing: Page one, panel one. We kill Thor. The God of Thunder is six feet under. Once he was a frog, now he's croaked. He's a Thorpse. Et cetera.
Al Ewing: I will tell you that! I pretty much already did.
In fact, we decided to go extra fan-service-y and have him fight the particular six Avengers from the big film thingy that was doing the rounds not so long ago. (My idea, I'm afraid. I couldn't resist.)
Al Ewing: Oh, I'm a huge fan. Lee brings just about everything to the table if you ask me, including the table. He's got a brilliant art style that's both clear and evocative, and a real mastery of expression and nuance. He's given our Loki a personality all his own, and I count getting new bits of art through from him as one of the highlights of my day.
Al Ewing: Well, Mighty Avengers is out every month! So far, it's making people happy and getting a lot of good reviews, which is nice. I can only promise it'll get even wilder as the year continues - I just saw a spread today that made my eyes pop with its cosmic greatness, and in a few short months it'll do the same to you.
There's also two Zombo trades out from 2000 AD, available in the US and the UK, my novel The Fictional Man is still on sale, along with my other ones, and I just got done with Iron Man: Fatal Frontier for those on Comixology. There are other things going on - a few projects in various media - but I can't talk about those just yet.
Cosmic Book News would like to thank Al Ewing for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. We would also like to thank Marvel’s own Chris D’Lando who helped make this interview possible.
“Loki: Agent of Asgard” #1 hits stores next month!