“Loki and Lorelei, Sitting in a Tree…”
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Lee Garbett
Colorist: Nolan Woodard
The second issue of Loki’s new series takes an interesting turn with the introduction of a new character named Verity Willis. While the main story of the issue is about Loki stopping Lorelei in the midst of a casino heist, it is done within the framework of Loki meeting Verity at a speed dating event and him explaining the past few weeks to her. What interests me about this is that Verity has the power, if you want to think of it as such, to see through all lies. Sure it is a bit too convenient to have the God of Lies himself randomly encounter a girl who cannot be lied to, but I am willing to overlook that since it it creates a fun dynamic with a character who you could never (and should never) trust. Thor has long been considered Loki’s foil, but that was never entirely accurate since the main point of contrast between the two is on matters of honor. Loki’s opposite would more likely have been someone who just plain never lies, but we have seen in the past that this approach can be particularly boring. Having a character who cannot be lied to, on the other hand, has potential.
Let us take a step back and focus on the story’s main plot for now, though. The casino heist that is central to the action is a lot of fun, and has just enough misdirection to keep it interesting. Most of the misdirection comes from playing on expectations, and trying to determine how Loki fits into it, but it is well executed and will probably trip most people up (I know it did for me in several cases, though I did catch a few). Writer Al Ewing is getting better with Loki’s voice, and though it does not really match with what we have had from Kieron Gillen in Journey into Mystery and Young Avengers it is distinctive and entertaining in its own right. The story does also make good use of one of Loki’s more recently acquired powers (revealing which would be a bit of a spoiler), though not one that is perhaps well advertised yet.
In addition to Verity it looks like Lorelei will be joining the cast, at least for a bit. She is not exactly a new character, but it has been a while since she has been in wide circulation so she may as well be (though she is being featured in this week’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode, which should help). She is the sister of Amora (better known as the Enchantress), who has been a thorn in Thor’s side many times. Loki actually has quite a long history with her — mostly revolving around schemes to take over Asgard — so her addition to this book is not so quite out of the blue as it may first appear. Naturally there is a lot of mystery surrounding what exactly Loki needs her for since he is supposed to be fighting on the side of the angels now (not really, but he is playing the long con right now). Most importantly she seems like an interesting addition to the book, and it will be good to see more of her.
All of which brings us back to Verity, who has seen just enough of Loki to be intrigued by him. Oddly enough he is also the only person at the speed dating who does not lie to her, which is what gets her attention. There is a lot of potential to this character, and she adds a sense of grounding to the book as well as a much needed human perspective. She may be being positioned to be a love interest for Loki, but I think her real value is her ability to keep him honest. Loki has gone for so long without a character that he cannot manipulate in some way or another that having Verity thrown into the mix should at least provide some interested word-play as he has to dance around the truth without lying.
Issue two is a much better effort than the first issue was, and that was not exactly setting a low bar for the standards to begin with. The two new additions to the cast have a lot of potential, and the heist in this story is itself entertaining enough to carry the issue. There may be several parts of the story that feel too convenient (though it is possible there are background details we do not know yet), but ultimately these are easy to overlook in light of the strong writing. This is a book worth reading.