Loki #4 // Review
Lies come easy to the god of mischief. Lies alone cannot save him from a horribly tangled sense of unreality as he engages with the dark lord from a realm beyond night in Loki #4. Writer Daniel Kibblesmith engages in a hearty bit of storytelling that tumbles the master of lies through a strange journey into self-discovery. The issue is drawn by Oscar Bazaldua, who continues a very satisfying opening arc for the young title. The title makes smart use of Loki’s journey outside the confines of his home realm Jotumheim into Midgard and strange realms beyond.
The issue opens with Loki remembering his first lie. He’s a kid hunched over a balcony staring off into space with his adoptive father standing next to him. It’s a simple, honest moment for Loki that reveals a certain amount of vulnerability. That vulnerability is explored in greater detail in the issue ahead as Loki embraces the entity known as Nightmare. It’s a showdown between the two gods. Loki is in a very strange space that engages further into his own identity. Loki delves a bit further into relations with tech genius Tony Stark as he finds a rather unique way to engage in combat with the lord of nightmares.
Kibblesmith’s wit weaves a scattered story together that focusses quite squarely on the inner psychology of the god of mischief. It’s been a fun journey thus far. Kibblesmith finds just the right balance between Loki’s confidence and uncertainty to keep it all together in a fascinating mix of narrative elements. The dialogue is as crisp as ever. Every scene hangs together in just the right way, even if it doesn’t entirely feel like it should. Kibblesmith clearly knows what he needs to do to get Loki from Point A to Point B, but he’s leaving things open just far enough to make it seem as though he might just be making the whole thing up as he goes long without any grand design. Oddly enough, the overall appearance of what might be a weird and strangely dreamlike narrative fugue is part of the series’ appeal thus far. That strange uncertainty is particularly substantial in this issue. The resolution of the battle is very, very witty, and actually manages to pull out some genuine wonder at the nature of the god of mischief in action. Very clever stuff.
There’s an evident sense of movement across the page in Bazaldua’s art. The story emerges from a sharp mix of different angles. Drama is carried in and out of action with nuanced little changes in facial expressions and body language. There are dramatic and dynamic bursts of action that explode out of the issue. Bazaldua brings the fantasy of the story down to earth with style and poise.
Kibblesmith and Bazaldua guide Loki through an in-depth analysis of his history and personality as he engages in a search for his destiny that seems to be rendered in fragments that are so scattered that even he isn’t terribly well-equipped to understand them. The initial story arc is fun and breezy while getting substantially into the depth of human understanding through the thoughts and feelings of a god. It continues to be a very sharp journey.