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Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers Hardcover – March 30, 2011
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The book opens with Thor in chains before Loki, now king of Asgard. He loves seeing Thor brought so low, but finds himself burdened with the actual work of ruling. When Loki is alone, Hela appears to convince him to execute Thor. What commences is Loki's struggle with the decision as his history unfolds. At one point, Balder reveals to Loki that there are many universes, many Lokis, many Thors, all locked in the same cycle. And in all of them, Loki is defeated. What is disturbing is that the Asgardians excuse their cruelty toward Loki as part of a this cycle. Yet, they do not excuse Loki's action on the same principle. He is held accountable; which further reinforces his tragic nature. Loki has no choice in his destiny, but is condemned for it none-the-less.
Loki slowly comes to the realization that, as light needs darkness, Loki needs Thor. But, like all other Lokis, he will not be allowed to escape his destiny. Only this time, the taste of Thor's victory is bitter - for Loki and for readers. I am not certain if the authors intended it to be so, but this story not only makes Loki especially sympathetic, it portrays our usual heroes (Sif, Balder, Thor) as cruel bullies who tormented and ridiculed Loki all his life; dividing brother from brother. When Loki reveals why he will kill Thor and not the others, it is heartbreaking. For the first time, I did not like Thor and I did not want him to triumph.
Usually, I do not comment on art since it is so subjective. However, in this instance I must because it seriously impacted my enjoyment of the story. I HATED it. Primarily, I did not like how the artist drew Loki as a shriveled, ugly old man with missing teeth. It's so cliché for a villain to be ugly in any case, but here it was jolting because Loki is not the typical villain. Plus, he's a shapeshifter. Why would he choose to look that way? It just didn't work.
The book is filled out with two of Loki and Thor's original encounters by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and an excerpt of Loki from the Siege saga. The Lee/Kirby stories were a nice addition, though the Siege bit is an odd choice since it doesn't stand alone. There is also unused art from the main story and the creators' "pitch" for the storyline.
Overall, though I hated the art work, the story was so compelling and emotional I will still give it 4 stars. Highly recommended. One thing readers should note is that though this book includes "Loki #1-4", it should not be confused with Thor: The Trials of Loki, which also includes a completely different "Loki #1-4"!! I almost didn't buy this because I thought it was the same material.
If you want to know what would happen if Loki won, than this tells you. This explores Loki's character more than any other story and out of the hundreds of Thor comics I've read. This showed who he truly was, his motives, his character, everything. I've never read a book so interesting with hardly any action. There's some very memorable quotes in here as well and the artwork fits the book perfectly. It's funny it seems as though Loki has won from the start, but when Loki knows what he truly wants it's too late and loses again like the villain always does. This tells you why Loki can't ever win. Even the characters in this book say he can't, even though he rules over Asgard and imprisons all of them. The characters themselves already know how this going to turn out and Loki doesn't want to admit it. This book made me wanted Thor to win, but Loki to not fail and there can't be both, so the eventual outcome of every story happens. Good always wins, but why does evil always lose eventually? It's like asking why we read comics if we know the bad-guy is always going to lose. Loki loses in this story, because most of his life he's been evil and when he has a turn of heartt, he's just too late. All of this evil choices, brought his donwnfall before he made his good one. It's sad, but you can't feel that bad for him. It's a great story and some of the best comics I've read in a while. I recommend it, you'll truly understand a great character.
It also has my favorite line from any comic series ever in it: "Over all the millennia, only you have ever loved me, Thor. Only you have ever looked at me with affection in place of condescension. Why, then, am I killing you, and not the others? Because you stopped." Breathtakingly heartfelt writing there and I love it.
It is the Marvel version so if you are a mythology fan this isn't accurate, but if you want to see a condensed version of Marvel's history between the two this is the ultimate book for you.