Loki #3 // Review
Loki had been king of the frost giant. Discovering how utterly dull THAT job had turned out to be, he left a magical snowman (named Frösti) in charge of the giants while he went out to find himself. Now he finds himself in the presence of a couple of kids in a vast, mysterious library. As the terribly witty Daniel Kibblesmith continues to weave his tale of the displaced god of mischief in Loki #3. Artist Oscar Bazaldua conjures smart magic to the page in an issue with striking color by David Curiel. Kibblesmith makes expanding the Marvel Universe (while casually breaking the fourth wall) look really, really easy in a tale that brings a powerful Marvel deity into an exceedingly relatable light.
The narrative is scattered in the beginning. Don’t worry, though: Loki seems every bit as scattered as the narrative. His narration adorns an opening page aboard a New York Metro bus. He’s just as lost as the reader is. Then there’s an image of him with a sword thrust through his back. All of this is a prelude to the events which ended issue two: a meeting with a couple of cosmic kids who turn out to be the son and daughter of Eternity. The boy is Then. The girl is Now. As Eternity is as old as the whole of the Marvel Universe, they’ve got a lot of explaining to do.
With the introduction of a couple of kids of one of the most powerful characters in the whole of the Marvel Universe, Kibblesmith breezes into a strangely refreshing cosmic direction for the Marvel Universe that feels like a particularly ingenious fusion between the charm of Neil Gaiman and the weirdness of...say...Grant Morrison. Children of any kind are often cast aside and scarcely given the kind of depth they really deserve in superhero comics. Kibblesmith does a brilliant job of making Then and Now very compelling characters even though they are essentially abstract cosmic entities. It’s quite an accomplishment in and amidst all of the other elements that Kibblesmith is juggling here.
With a sharp economy of line and detail, Bazaldua’s work casts the drama of the individual against a very large backdrop. His architectural background for the library at the cosmic realm of the House of Ideas feels suitably ominous. Bazaldua balances the emotions of the individual against the scope of the cosmic with a very deft sense of perspective that never totally overwhelms the story. Curiel’s color is indispensable here. The cosmos within the young bodies of Then and Now feel very vivid in Curiel’s hands. The casually dazzling luminescence of the world Loki has been cast into fits well within the very organic drama that the story blossoms from.
Rather than working on a small canvas or a large canvas for his narrative walk with Loki, Kibblesmith is manifesting a story on several different interconnected canvasses. That range from the ridiculously cosmic to the intimately personal. It’s going to be a difficult dynamic to maintain in future issues. There’s a lot of traffic to coordinate between different story elements. That are going to need to come together at some point. Kibblesmith has shown a great deal of talent so far. It’ll be interesting to see where he takes the series next.