Kieron Gillen so flawlessly defined this latest incarnation of the title character over the course of “Journey Into Mystery” and “Young Avengers,” that the idea of another writer chronicling his solo adventures sounded like a recipe for disaster. In one of those instances where I’m quite happy to be wrong, Al Ewing effortlessly picks up where Gillen left off. Still doing odd, off-the-books jobs for the Asgardia Triumvirate, their current deal is that for every successful mission one of Loki’s past crimes will be erased from history. Right now his current assignment is rounding up a couple of Asgard’s wayward children: Lorelei the seductress, and Sigurd the (not all that great) hero. It’s part of a journey that will take him to Avengers Tower, Monte Carlo, a mountain in Tibet, and some of the most heavily guarded cells in Asgard. Yet even as he does Asgardia’s bidding, the God of Mischief is ever furthering his own agenda. Except, could this be the one time that the people pulling his strings have his best interests in mind as they try to shield Loki from… himself?
Ewing provides some twisty plotting in the five issues (and a prologue) collected here that form the first part of an even knottier story. I know that I said the writer’s work on “Original Sin: Thor & Loki” made me want to check out this series. After finally reading this first volume, I regret not doing it sooner. Comparisons to the previous writer aside, Ewing really nails Loki’s quick wit, cleverness, and penchant for self-destruction. He also comes up with a winning foil to the character in Verity, a woman who can see through any lie. We also get the perfect villain in Old Loki. Yes, his very presence suggests that the hoops our Loki has jumped through in order to reinvent himself are all for naught, but… he is Loki after all. It’s more a question of just what kind of scheme he’s running here. All of this is great, and the art from Lee Garbett is fine. The visuals aren’t mind-blowing, yet they’re easy enough on the eye and his character work is quite good. This is a great start for a series that is set to wrap up in another couple months. No matter. I’m already under the impression we’ll be getting one of those runs that’s good from beginning to end.