Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers is a five episode mini-series adaptation of the graphic novel Loki.
The story, from the Marvel Knights series, does not tie into the Thor film, the Marvel Film Universe, or even the canon of the comics.
It instead depicts what is essentially an alternate Asgard, on in which Loki, whose identity as the son of an Ice Giant was never hidden from him has been plotting to take control of the throne of the gods for thousands of years. The story opens after his attempt is successful, and explores the psychology of the usurper who has taken the throne from his own father and brother.
Loki is our nearly sympathetic protagonist, and the story covers his complications in ruling Odin’s great kingdom. His primary conflict is the disposal of his brother, whom he still loves. He knows that he must execute Thor, now that he had been defeated, and he seeks to convince himself that this is the correct path.
It becomes further complicated when he discovers that he is not the only Loki, that there are an infinite number of other Lokis in the multi-verse, none of whom ever succeed in their plot to rule Asgard.
Loki is tormented, twisted, and very confused. He struggles with the knowledge of his destiny, and seeks to subvert the universe itself. The characters all wax philosophical as Loki visits each of the major players in his story, and the tale of Loki’s life and rise to power are explained in flashback and introspection.
The tale is a talky one, which fluctuates frequently between showing Loki’s guilt, and explaining his motivations. There is little in the way of action or combat in other than the flashbacks.
The animation is a combination of morphing of the original illustrations, and some shadowy CGI figures. At times the style is distracting, but as the tale engages, it can be forgotten.
Overall, the story is entertaining and engaging, but it’s not really a story about Thor from the comics. This story would work on all levels, even if there were no such comic book character. In fact, the themes of the story, the characters, and especially the conclusion, work better if considered as a story about the mythological figures, rather than the comic books.
Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers is available now from SHOUT! Factory and Marvel Knights Animation. Follow me on Twitter for a chance to win a copy of this title.