Marvel's Loki: A Comic Book Reading List for Beginners
Who Is Loki?
Loki is a Marvel supervillain and the adoptive brother (as well as the archenemy) of Thor. He is the Asgardian god of mischief and one of Asgard's most powerful entities. His schemes and plots have made him one of the most influential and powerful characters in Marvel comics, with his antics ranging from time-traveling to tampering with his own origin to indirectly causing the formation of the Avengers. Loki has been there in many of Marvel's darkest hours, whether by being the direct cause or taking advantage of the shadows. In 2009, IGN named Loki the 8th greatest comic villain of all time.
Where Should I Start With the Comics?
If you're here, then you probably know some of this already. Either you've read some of Loki's mischief in a comic or two, or maybe you're just a fan of Tom Hiddleston's portrayal in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Maybe you're here because of Loki's role in the recent version of the Young Avengers, and you're trying to figure out how/why he's there. Whatever the reason, this guide is for you.
Below is a chronological list of trade paperbacks (aside from the odd Dark Avengers issue). This is a reading order for modern Loki comics.
Timeline of Comics Featuring Loki
1. Thor: Son of Asgard
To understand Loki is to understand his brother Thor and their relationship. Thor: Son of Asgard takes you back to the days before Thor was the mighty wielder of Mjolnir. Here you'll get to see what life was like for Thor—and, in turn, his brother Loki—in those early days.
2. Thor: First Thunder
As I mentioned, to understand Loki, you must first understand Thor. Thor: First Thunder is a retelling of the hero's origin story and Loki's role within it.
3. Avengers: The Origin
As a god of mischief, Loki has a hand in many different turning points and important events in the history of Marvel. This tale is one of those and arguably one of the most important: The formation of the Avengers and just what Loki had to do with it.
4. Thor: Trials of Loki
Finally! An origin story for the man himself. Comic Vine describes it better than I ever could:
The true origin of Thor's archenemy and Marvel's most unpredictable villain! He is the lie-smith; he is the shape-changer; he is the fire that burns. The God of Mischief and Trickery, Loki. Meet the mirthful, beloved young man that made all the Asgardians laugh . . . until the first time he killed. Discover the gnarled roots of his twisted, unrelenting hatred of the Asgardians. And learn the chilling truth of why he'll never be stopped . . . —Comic Vine
5. Avengers Disassembled: Thor
Now that you have a good idea of the beginnings of our favorite villain, it's time to start the good stuff. Avengers Disassembled: Thor is far from Loki's first venture, but it's a good starting point. This tale adapts one of the oldest Norse legends, Ragnarok. The legend tells of the end of days, the final battle in which many of the gods die and the world ends—and, you guessed it, it's all Loki's fault.
6. Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers
This one is mostly an aside, as in it's not a part of the continuity, but who can say no to a little more Loki in their lives? The primary tale is kind of a "What If?" scenario in which Loki gets everything he's ever dreamed of: the throne of Asgard and Thor imprisoned. What more could the god of mischief ever ask for? What he does with these triumphs, however, I think will surprise you.
It also collects a few issues from Journey into Mystery where Loki retells some classic stories from his point of view. All in all, it's a great read, but it has also been adapted into an animated movie if you'd rather watch it (available on Netflix last time I checked).
7. Thor Vol. 1
8. Thor Vol. 2
After Ragnarok, the Marvel Universe went some time without Thor and our beloved Loki, but now they're back! These two volumes are all about Thor as he tries to restore the damage from Ragnarok and reclaim lost friends. Also, Loki has returned in a female body and is kind of hot now.
9. Dark Avengers Issue 1
At this point, we've entered into Dark Reign, the state of the Marvel Universe after Secret Invasion. Loki is immensely important in this era and its conclusion. Loki's Appearances in Dark Avengers, however, are few and far between.
I'll list where each appearance of Loki fits in this chronology, but I do recommend reading the full story. The trade paperback called Dark Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis: The Complete Collection collects the entire Dark Avengers run (minus the two issues in the X-Men: Utopia trade).
10. Mighty Avengers: Dark Reign
These stories are a prime example of how cunning and devious our favorite Norse god can be. This trade collects all of Mighty Avengers throughout the Dark Reign and the conclusion event Siege, so Loki's appearances may be scarce at first, but there is definitely more going on than meets the eye.
11. Dark Avengers Issue 6
12. Thor Vol. 3
This volume features more deliciously devious Loki machinations. Loki ensures Thor can't intervene with his plans. Plans that include Latveria? Oh yea, get ready for some Loki and Doom action. Also, Loki returns to his original body.
13. Dark Avengers Issue 12
14. Thor: Latverian Prometheus
Ah, Doom. Yet another wonderful Marvel villain. But, you don't care about him. Not when our boy Loki is involved. This trade sees the Asgardians rebel against their Latverian host with the help of the outcast Thor and the ever-duplicitous Loki.
15. Dark Avengers Issue 15
17. Thor: Siege
18. New Avengers: Siege
Loki's plans finally come to fruition. War has come to Asgard, and its conclusion brings some surprising developments and death. This is a big moment for the Marvel Universe at large and for the sly god of mischief. Siege is your main story for the event while the other two tell it from different perspectives (the ones that feature Loki, of course).
19. Thor: Siege Aftermath
The battle is over, and the world is forever changed. But there is trouble brewing in Hel and Hell! We've seen the Disir previously as a part of Loki's schemes that led up to Siege. Now, they are the center of conflict brewing between realms. The meat of this story doesn't involve Loki, but we get to see flashbacks of his deeds that allowed this all to happen.
20. Thor: The World Eaters
A new era has truly begun, the Heroic Age, and trouble comes to the Asgardians once again. This time, it's a force from another reality that threatens all of the nine realms! Also, and more importantly, LOKI IS BACK! But wait, isn't he just a wee bit . . . wee?
21. The Mighty Thor Vol. 1
Prepare for the arrival of the World Eater! Something in the heart of Yggdrasil, the World Tree, has the Silver Surfer's attention, and it's up to Loki to save the day! After all, little Loki just wants to be loved. Love him!
22. Fear Itself
23. Journey Into Mystery: Fear Itself
24. Journey Into Mystery: Fear Itself Fallout
The ancient Asgardian god of fear has been awakened, and he has a major beef with Odin. The world slips into chaos as The Worthy, this fear god's minions (transformed heroes and villains), wreak havoc to feed their master the fear he craves and provide him the power boost to take down the king of Asgard.
This is yet another major event in which Loki is at the heart. At least Loki didn't create this mess, but he's bound and determined to help his big brother stop it! By any means necessary.
25. The Mighty Thor Vol. 2
This trade contains a prequel to Fear Itself detailing the true history between the god of fear and Odin. Then we see the Asgardians, including Tanarus the God of Thunder, rebuilding their home. Something is definitely amiss about this new god, but only Loki seems to recognize Tanarus as an imposter.
26. Journey Into Mystery: The Terrorism Myth
Fear stuff left over from Fear Itself has taken root in the minds of thousands of people the world over, including Loki! When the nightmares trapping these people prove deadly, Loki teams up with Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan. Also, you know you want a Hel-Hound! Especially one that breathes fire and shouts obscenities.
27. The Mighty Thor Vol. 3
Loki only actually appears in a small portion of this trade, but that portion adapts several ancient Norse myths, and that alone makes this trade worth buying, in my book. If all you want is the Loki bits, try to get your hands on The Mighty Thor Issue 12.1. The main story of the trade is pretty good, however:
- There are encounters with long-forgotten creatures who communicate through dreams and were locked away by Odin.
- Dr. Don Blake finally shows back up, the poor bastard.
- And then there's the Deconsecrator! Who's like Thor except METAL.
28. Journey Into Mystery/New Mutants: Exiled
It's crossover time! The New Mutants encounter an ancient and forgotten Asgardian hero, but the truth of his exile may just be the end of them. The Disir are back, and San Francisco is ravaged by forbidden magic. Also, Loki. You know, the important part.
29. Journey Into Mystery: The Manchester Gods
It's about to get British up in here! The British Isles are in civil war. Well, at least the magical realm of Otherworld is. The reps of Otherworld go seeking aid from other Pantheons, including Asgard, but they are turned away. Well, publicly. The All-Mothers of Asgard decide that while they cannot interfere officially, they should do something to stop the Urban Pantheon threat. Thus, Secret Agent Loki is sent to save the day.
30. The Mighty Thor/Journey Into Mystery: Everything Burns
This one is so epic that I just can't find the right words to describe it. So, I'll let Comic Vine tell you what's up:
The first Aesir/Vanir war was the darkest time in Asgard's past—so dark it was seared from their history books. But now, rebels strike against Asgard, and a second Aesir/Vanir war breaks out! As Surtur's all-consuming fire rages across the nine worlds, Thor and Loki go on the run. Thor hatches an unconventional plan to stop everything burning, while a desperate Loki journeys into the heart of Surtur's fiery kingdom to . . . parlay?
What vile secret hides at the heart of this new war? Can the All-Mother of Asgardia save the nine realms? And when Thor finds himself trapped in the underworld, the truth about Loki is finally revealed! As Loki's future and past collide, who will judge a god? —Comic Vine
31. Young Avengers: Style > Substance
With Loki's Journey Into Mystery run complete, Kid Loki joins the Young Avengers, and it's epic. A new team forms, featuring our favorite villain/hero, and if you read the last trade, I shouldn't even need to convince you to get this one. This particular trade collects the first five issues.
32. Young Avengers, Vol. 2: Alternate Culture
This trade collects issues 6–10.
33. Loki: Agent of Asgard
Agent of Asgard began in January 2014. Here are some quotes and details about it:
- "Loki's taking the role of Asgard's secret weapon, doing missions to secure the future of the realm. Loki's always been a schemer, trickster and general con artist, and now the All-Mother of Asgard is putting those skills to use." —Al Ewing
- "Announced at New York Comic Con 2013, this new ongoing is a part of the All-New Marvel Now! initiative beginning in 2014 and will feature 'a great new, sexier Loki.' There's a swashbuckling element to him as he sets off on these adventures. He's all derring-do and dashing and loving every minute of it." —Lee Garbett
Where to Get Your Loki Comics
In case you haven't read my Getting into Comics guide (linked below), I'll list here a few different ways you can get a hold of these comics:
- Your Local Comic Book Shop (If you have one, support them!)
- Your Local Book Store (Books a Million, Barnes & Noble, etc.)
- Amazon.com (or other online bookstores)
- Your Local Library (Seriously, you'd be surprised by how many comics you can get there and save your wallet some heartache.)
New to Marvel Comics?
- Getting into Comics: A Beginner's Guide to Marvel
A guide for those of you getting into Marvel comics for the first time.