Just for comparison’s sake. Apologies in advance for not putting this under a cut! Or for leaving out certain details as I wanted to keep the summaries brief.
2004 - Thor vol 2 #85 - Loki Death (along with everyone else)
With the end of Asgard at hand, thanks to you-know-who, Thor cuts the threads of the god’s fates, attempting to free his people from the endless cycle of repeat storylines Ragnaroks and finally give them proper peace in death. Shockingly, it doesn’t quite last.
Thor wakes up from a long nap, informed that he’s needed on Earth and that all his fellow gods currently exist within mortals there. Possessing the Odinforce, Thor now has the ability to free them from these people, and does so very carefully until lil brother figures out how to screw up his plans.
2008 - Thor vol 3 #12 - Physical Rebirth (in his own body, with a makeover)
Loki needs help to screw around with past events, but can’t do such things in Sif’s body, so he enlists the help of sometimes-daughter-Hela to restore his old body back.
(Take note of the burning & fire themes here, because they’ll become a reoccurring presence.)
Of course, Loki will not switch to using this new body regularly for a few more issues. (Poor Sif.. :( )
2010 - Siege #4 - Death
Attempting to save Asgard from trouble that he started, Loki is destroyed by the Void. Whether accidental or intentional (since he just got done signing a ‘Get out of Hel free’ deal with Hela) is still open to debate, but one thing for certain is that his brand new body is most definitely destroyed.
One quick storyline later, and with the threat of soul-devouring Disir at large, Thor is ready to bring Loki back. But, for whatever reason, (I personally think it happened because Thor was being nostalgic about his childhood with his brother, shortly before he summoned him) Loki is now a child. In both in appearance and memories.
2012 - Journey into Mystery #645 - Mental Death & Rebirth
To save billions of lives, Kid Loki needs to prevent Mephisto from using a fear crown which was created from his thoughts. A companion spirit, whom claims to be something akin to the original Loki, suggests that if Kid Loki allows him to take over his body, he will be erased from existence, rendering the fear crown useless.
Hence, this phantom spirit (aka Ikol, Loki-copy or eventual Aoa Loki) now exists within Kid Loki’s body.
2013 - Young Avengers #11 - Physical Rebirth
In order to aid the Young Avengers against an evil that he intentionally unleashed, (are we sensing another theme?) Loki states that he needs a power-upgrade in the form of an older body. One magic ritual later, courtesy of Billy Kaplan, and Loki has finally grown into a pair of horns.
The transformation seems intentionally a mirror copy of Siege Loki’s first appearance, right down to the green smoke. And there is physical burning occurring. Actually, the only time Loki has been reborn without fire is when Thor is involved. In those case, lightening is present instead.
With guilt from the past and fear of what is to come, Loki is pressured to make a decision. Should he destroy himself once more or simply accept the role of the villain? Instead he chooses a third option. One towards additional changes.
Within his mental plane, he places the horns upon his head. This is quite contrary to the last visit within this realm, when he held the horned helmet against his chest in shame.
It is burning, just as his physical self is doing in real time. A moment later & Loki’s body appears to be obliterated. (or turned into a carpet stain, to quote King Loki)
8 months later, Loki’s lost his shoes and gloves, lowered his shirt, spiked his hair and still hasn’t gotten around to seeing a dentist.
His memory appears faint, but the fact that he remembers where his best friend lives, is a hopeful sign.
Al Ewing put a close to the amazing story arc started by Gillian for Loki. This amazing ending finally gave genderfluid people a character who was beyond the binary role they were placed at birth who came above it. Cut to only a few months later and Jason Aaron makes a terrible Loki design and writes Loki back as the wicked “man” that she had just escaped being. Now this Loki could not be the Loki that became goddess of stories escaping fate. This Loki could indeed be a new Loki created to fill the gap when 616 was remade. That said they sure do act like it is the Loki that had escaped their fate.
It’s like they are proud of the story but not of the results. With Loki 2016 announced, the Mighty Thor’s look at Loki, and Marvel’s editors constant refusal to address Loki as gender fluid. Now these could all come around and be good things but I just somehow doubt it (More so Marvel constantly needing to refer to Loki as different genders as different people). Loki’s story and evolution started from Kid Loki from Journey into Mystery is a powerful metaphor for what many genderfluid/non binary people experience in their lives. This metaphor made Loki a powerful force for the community if only they had know it existed. Loki Agent of Asgard works hard to remind people Loki is non binary although Marvel never really helped people be aware of these facts.
Many non binary people are told they must make a choice, they were born this way and must live out life as this way they were born. Loki’s journey is the attempt to escape this in metaphor while allowing Loki to also be gender fluid in actuality too. Were often give a metaphor for being trans like X-men but without any kind of character that actually represents the group. We had finally in agent of Asgard see Loki flip genders, we see real representation with a very distinct visual. We also had it made clear with Odin as well as Loki that this isn’t just flipping forms like a shapeshifter. Loki says it’s still them in whatever state and Odin says “My child who is neither my daughter nor my son.” to clearly state Loki is neither gender. This is a very important part of making a metaphor also treat the marginalized group well.
So when Loki makes their escape from the fate of being Evil Loki becoming the goddess of stories we see how Loki finally won. Loki had never really been fighting Thor, Odin, Asgard, but fate itself. We see as Loki overcomes their struggle with having to chose who they would be, when Loki decides I am the goddess of stories, that’s who I am not taking the choices they were dealt before it’s an insanely important moment. Loki making this happen is able to escape the end of reality, is able to save good and evil, is able to scare away the oldest gods, is able to defeat evil Loki. This freedom shines in a moment that made me go, “That’s me, this is my hero, this is the person I want to see more of.”
Loki is my hero because Loki represents more than just tricks, quips, Tom Hiddleston’s career, Marvel’s best baddie but Loki represents a community of people who have long been told they don’t have the right to exist. Loki much like the god in Norse mythology truly is only bad because the others want them to be that way. Loki as a person who has gone beyond that, who has gone beyond a binary morality, who has gone beyond a binary gender, that has gone beyond what we’re told. Loki gets to create their own story, Loki gets to give Loki the agency Loki needed. It’s stunning and wonderful and I feel like non binary people need this character. This is a character who deserves more books, this story arc matters, it’s the most interesting character I’ve ever had the pleasure to read and Loki is truly my hero. I can only hope one day my dream will come true.
Want more stuff like this check out #TransComicsMonth or check out my blog.