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Is Loki Marvel’s Joker?

Journey Into Marvel – Part 48

loki_joker_facebook_cover_tests_by_lucafon-d5oabrlExtremites, around the premiere of Thor: The Dark World, I read a Forbes article that declared Loki as the only interesting Marvel villain. This article claims because of Marvel’s campy comedic vibe they have yet to produce a villain who has the gravitas of the Joker.

Ignoring that this article disregards the none Disney Marvel adaptations like Fox’s X-Men, which features both Sir Ian McKellen’s inspired interpretation of Magneto and Fassbender’s younger version who is just as rich — and Sony’s plethora of well adapted Spider-Man villains: Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock or the malevolent and off the wall Green Goblin of Willem DaFoe— the article has a point.

I submit that of the villains so far presented in the Marvel Disney World, Loki is the only one adapted faithfully to the screen.

Obadiah Staine is a footnote in Iron Man.

Mickey Rourke’s Vanko is a mishmash of characters.

Shane West’s Mandarin is a spit in the eye.

Tim Roth’s Abomination was well cast in a terrible script.

Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull has too little screen time.

Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is the first villain that poses a threat and that is because his is the only faithful adaptation.

The Joker, in Batman, is the perfect villain.

We often as literary critics get bogged down  looking for important motivations when we dissect villains, but really, as so well reduced in the recent HBO True Detective series, they are the opposite side to a coin. They are the dark in opposition to the light. Joker is the yang to Batman’s yin. He doesn’t hate the Batman, per se, or love him like the Riddler does, he needs the Batman to exist. This is because he is part of the same personality. Batman and Joker are both deficient in one side of their personality and the other character fills in that deficiency. Batman lacks any sort of humour, Joker has an excess of it. Joker lacks any sort of ethics, Batman has an excess of them. So it is with Loki and Thor.

I am not about to suggest that Thor and Batman are one and the same. I have already made the case that he is a parody of Superman. Loki is the same as Joker. Both characters have the same goal … to create chaos for the sake of chaos.

Sure, as time has gone on both the Joker and Loki have gained deeper pathos. In Loki’s case, he wishes to gain control of Asgard for some received slight in his adoption by Odin, but in his initial appearance this was not present.

Journey Into Mystery #85 is the third appearance of the Mighty Thor. He has now fought aliens, restored capitalism to a banana republic, and met his future love Jane Foster/Nelson. In this issue he meets his archnemesis.

Up in a very special place called Asgard, its first appearance, there grows a great oak tree. Within this tree is exists Loki trapped until someone cries a tear for the him and he can be released. Loki, being the most clever of the Asgardians, makes one of the leaves float into the eye of passing Heimdall and he is free.

After this initial plan Loki spends the story creating chaos in his search for Thor.

If it’s a statue, Loki has brought it to life, if it was somehow inanimate, it somehow becomes animate.

Why does he create all this chaos?

Loki never wants to defeat Thor. He just wants Thor to ‘pit wits.’ This is the relationship Batman has with Joker, although without the magic. It’s almost as if Loki wants to play with Thor. It is not a bloodthirsty relationship like Prince Namor or Doctor Doom’s with the Fantastic Four. It’s a battle of wits.

jim85-02

Loki’s first entrance! Ever!

In my mind, there are four types of antagonists: the Scorned, the Megalomaniac, the Ideologue, and the Shit Disturber. Examples of these in Batman would be: the Riddler, the Penguin, Ra’s Al Ghul, and the Joker. On Marvel’s side it goes like this: Prince Namor, Dr. Doom or Kingpin, Magneto and Loki.

Loki’s presence has always been expected when it comes to Thor. Many of Thor’s issues have Loki involved in someway.

And so it is with Batman.

This is evident from Loki’s debut.

Until next time, Extremites, I remain: Julian Munds.

Story I Read:Trapped By Loki, The God Of Mischief!” (Journey Into Mystery #85, Oct. 1962)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pros: This is a really fun issue. More Asgardians. Bonkers Loki plots.

Cons: Character wise, this is a pretty empty episode, but Silver Age comics are often gimmicky and just entertaining.

Previous Review:It Came From The Skies” (Fantastic Four #7, Oct 1962)

Upcoming Review:The Challenge of Comrade X” (Tales to Astonish #36, Oct 1962)

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DC Comics’ Small Screen Advantage: They Aren’t Marvel

This is a wonderful rundown about the difference between DC and Marvel’s issues with TV and Movies.

I for one have been blown away by the CW‘s Arrow. It’s ability to convey the power of the comics it has drawn on and the way it makes a fully comprehensive world is totally engrossing.

Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D. on the other hand is a bit lesser in my opinion. I have been annoyed by the extraordinarily small world it exists in. For instance, when they collided with the events of Thor: Dark World. They just cleaned up after him. This was the only mention. I thought that was a wasted opportunity.

Anyway, have a read it’s a good article.

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Outright Geekery

DC-Marvel TV

It’s been a long and tired argument among comic book fans. A question that virtually defines a comic book fan to his core. A question that has stirred hate, disgust and suspicion among the diehard fanboy and comic newbie alike.

Marvel or DC?

The battle between the two big comic book publishers is long and storied. No one knows when it truly began. Maybe it was the whole golf-course conversation about a certain successful DC superhero team comic and the ensuing team comic from Marvel blatantly copying the method to even greater success. Or the constant back and forth throughout the decades as the companies continued to try and one up each other in sales month after month. No matter how it started, the battle lives and breathes to this day in each and every local comic book shop around the world. The only problem with the argument is that…

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The Star Crossed Lovers of Silver Age Marvel: Thor/Don Blake and Jane Foster

Journey Into Marvel

Story I Read: “The Lava Man” (Journey Into Mystery #97 OCT. 1963)

Odin commands Thor to end his love affair.

Odin commands Thor to end his love affair.

Recently, like most of you, I journeyed through the cold and blustery snowbanks of Canada to my local cinema in order to bask in the glow of Thor: The Dark World. I won’t go into much detail about the film, as I am sure most of you are Chris Hemsworthed out, for I know I am, but I will say that the film focused on an aspect of the Thor mythos that was not present in the first film; his forbidden relationship with Jane Foster. I loved how the film embraced, and thankfully not nauseatingly, the predicament the two are in. Thor is a godlike alien and Jane is a lowly human. In a Galactic racist sense, it makes … well… perfect sense for the relationship to not totally please all extended family involved. Like any good love story Jane and Thor overcome their differences and love conquers all in the end.

This love story is certainly not the creation of Hollywood, it finds its roots in the comics, and this issue is the first time we get to experience the difficulties beyond the ‘will they/wont they?” cliche.

As the story begins we find Thor doing what he does best, saving the world from ultra criminals, but in the back of his mind he is tortured by the thoughts of his beloved Jane. She just doesn’t seem to love him back. If Thor just told Jane he loved her all of this turmoil would be fixed. The crux of the issue, as is shown through a ghostly window appearance of Odin: the All-Father, is Thor cannot admit his love for her or he’ll loose his divinity.

OH the ASGARDITY! 

Things are never simple for Gods.

It doesn’t make much sense for Odin to forbid this love affair out right beyond the, as I said before, galactic race thing, but it happens.

The reason why Jane can’t admit her love for Don Blake, because she still doesn’t see Don Blake as Thor, is far more selfish. She doesn’t think Don is strong enough to handle a woman. She bases this on the fact that he is disabled (for Mjolnir appears as a cane, and a very stylish one at that, when Thor is Don) and shy. I gotta say, all the women presented thus far, with the exception of Jean Grey, in the Silver Age are written really vain and unpleasantly.

I wonder if Stan Lee and the others were working a personal something out.

Anyway, Jane tells Don that she is going to move her base of operations to Dr. Blake’s nemesis Andrews’ practise.  I assume Dr. Andrews is Don’s nemesis as Don reacts pretty violently to his name. This is the first time Dr. Andrews has been mentioned.

You are probably wondering why I am focusing in so much on the soap opera that is going on with Don. This focus is because this is the meat of the issue. The fight

Lava Man!

Lava Man!

with the Lava Man (who in later comics is referred to as Molto) is little more then a sideshow.

Lava Man arrives on the Earth’s surface having popped out of a volcano to take back the surface-world for his people.

Oh look another subterranean race who hates humans. 

How many civilizations are down there, I wonder.

Loki also managed to make a cameo in this one. His presence is becoming more and more prevalent. I love that these two, Thor and Loki, seem to be in constant combat. However, my love doesn’t extend to the banality of forcing pointless cameos into a narrative that does not need one.

Loki only pops up to explain that he set the Lava Man loose. Why is this necessary?

Can’t we have a villain spurred on to defeat Thor without the extra motivation that he is doing it either for, or in spite of, Loki?

This goes back to my earlier discussion about Loki being the only decent threat to the Thunder God. No other character seems to even come close.

The Lava Man poses no threat. Thor smites the Lava Man with a single blow of Mjolnir.

There is one small moment when the God is trapped in concrete lava, but he quickly makes mince meat of that predicament. The balance always seems to be off.

Even though the balance is always off in Thor stories, I always find myself grinning like the Cheshire cat after I read them.  What is it about Thor that makes me become a child, bowled over by the melodramatic goings on of Don Blake and Jane Foster, and totally willing to overlook tacky moments with Loki?

Maybe it’s because as the most recent Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D episode said: “Thor is dreamy.”

He certainly is and his stories are always wildly fantastical

Rating: 3 out of 5

Pros: Don Blake and Odin’s conundrum over the relationship with Jane, the fireworks with the Lava Man and Loki’s cameo.

Cons: Jane Foster’s unlikability. The cliche of the Lava Man. Loki’s cameo.

Previous Review:  “Music to Scream By” (Tales to Astonish #47 Sept 1963)

Upcoming Review Tales of Asgard “Home of the Mighty Norse Gods” (Journey Into Mystery #97 Oct. 1963)

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Life In Plastic: TOY REVIEW: Thor & Kurse (Thor: The Dark World)

Check out this review of the new Thor: The Dark World toys. They look fun! And my wallet is already burning a hole in my pocket!

Nerditis

DarkWorld-Portcullis

Thor: The Dark World has sneaked up on me. Really, I totally forgot it was coming out! So hey, Thor fights Dark Elves – not D&D Drow, but things based a little more on the original Norse dark elves. That’s about all I know at the moment. Jane Foster may or may not be in danger. I know how it sounds, but I am looking forward to this movie… I just have no spoilers. Oh hey, the toys are already here! I wasn’t able to find the Dark Elf soldiers, and I only snagged one of the Thor variants and Kurse.

DarkWorld-KurseLookToTheSide

Kurse in the comics is an Asgardian trapped in a suit of armor, filled with rage and revenge fantasies against Thor.  He received his armor from The Beyonder, and is trapped in it – it also is garish yellow and gold, and pretty comic-booky.  Kurse in the movie?

DarkWorld-KursePackaged

“This…

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