Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Review - Loki: Ragnarok and Roll #1


"You're honestly going to believe that maniac over me? He carriers around a hammer like it were some sort of security blanket. And not just to battle--everywhere! He takes the thing to the market!"

Loki gets a bad rap. He's an extraordinarily intelligent and sharp-tongued god who never quite seems to fit in, regardless of the company he keeps. BOOM! Studios has another audience in mind they feel will be a better fit for him in Loki: Ragnarok and Roll #1. The issue is written by Eric M. Esquivel, illustrated by Jerry Gaylord, colored by Gabriel Cassata and lettered by Ryan Ferrier.

Loki is sent to Jotunheimr with Thor to negotiate peace with the Frost Giants. Turns out though that Thor isn't exactly the best negotiator, laying waste to the entire civilization and getting Loki kicked out of Asgard in the process by Odin. What he finds on Earth is something slightly unexpected: a world of outcasts that appreciates his style. What follows next is Loki finding a new calling in life that is less duplicitous manipulation and more electric guitar strumming.

At first, Loki: Ragnarok and Roll #1 starts off exactly as Marvel's Thor did, in that Thor and his entourage are sent on the same diplomatic mission that results in Thor's banishment. Where it takes a turn in the other direction is by having Odin ban Loki instead, sending him to Earth amidst an audience who he fits better with anyway. Loki has always been something of a black sheep in Asgard, not quite as godlike in terms of physical prowess and forced to rely on his intelligence and wit. That's what makes Esquivel's premise subtly brilliant, in that Loki seems to fit better on Earth among musicians than in Asgard with gods. It's a story that is told with a lot of humor and poking fun at the god complex so to speak and presenting Loki as more of a mortal.

Gaylord's illustrations are an appropriate fit for the story. All of the gods in Asgard are appropriately muscular and physical specimens for the most part. There's one scene that features gods who aren't Norse and they're done in a way that really captures their stereotypical personas very well. Cassata's coloring also adds a rock and roll vibe to the book, as the relatively muted color palette makes the work feel sufficiently vintage. Panels blend together in a myriad of ways that keep the visuals looking fresh and the reader's attention on all the great art.

Loki: Ragnarok and Roll #1 is a really cool concept. Esquivel subverts the more familiar Loki tale and offers up one that thrives on Loki's outsider status, capitalizing on it to the extent that it's the crux of the story. Cassata's art proves up to the task of successfully conveying to the reader the new musical world that Loki is taking up residence in. Thor's mythology has been at the forefront of pop culture lately thanks to Marvel's interpretation of it, which is part of the reason why Loki: Ragnarok and Roll #1 works so well. It's a book that's definitely worth checking out if for nothing else because of it's tongue-in-cheek look at the reverence of gods, both by mortals and amongst themselves.

Loki: Ragnarok and Roll #1 is available in stores February 19 with interiors below.







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