I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve re-read Loki: Ragnarok and Roll #3, and I’m still not sure where it sits with me. On the one hand, it is shallow, angst-ridden and underdeveloped. On the other, it’s balls-out, blood and guts, gods-beating-the-shit-out-of-each-other comic booking ... and I’m kind of okay with that. Thing is, this issue is the series’ penultimate offering before it rides into the sunset, and as such, I think it will end forgettably as a paler shadow of books that did the mythos of godhood better and the ultra-violence of superhumans with more weight and measure.
Most of the issue sees the assembled guard of old gods, consisting of Hercules, Ganesha, Anansi and a few others, leading a two-pronged assault on the crumbling and split House of Odin. This, in turn, leaves Loki in a position he’s never before been in; an evolution of status, surely, but meanwhile his own questionable moral ambiguity shows a worrying regress. This book is still playing with these Norse gods in new(ish) and exciting ways, which is great ... but there is something all-too-familiar about this book, as well.
For one, the concept of godhood in this series reminds me of that which exists in Gaiman’s American Gods, in that divine physical power is derived from human belief. I know that’s not a fresh concept by any means, but the presentation here is similar, especially as Loki taps into a modern faith in both mass disenfranchisement and its bedfellow, social media, both of which power his cult of personality and strength of divinity.
To me, Loki: Ragnarok and Roll #3 also felt like an issue of Invincible, and is in the same school of (visually violent) thought as, say, the Luther Strode books. This is mostly thanks to the significant yet cartoonish carnage and over-the-top gore that was so prevalent and ridiculous throughout, not to mention the insurmountable odds or sudden and vivid deaths. I mean, someone gets the better part of his arms ripped off in the early going of this issue, while another is literally brained to fucking death ... with a guitar!
Look, I won’t lie, that was pretty darn cool, and even though I did dig a lot of it, the end result was equally hollow. I think Gaylord’s hyper art is the best part of this series, but that doesn’t change his bloated style from being all glamor muscle, without any real or lasting strength. The same could be said of the writing.
Like with Gaylord, some of Esquivel’s stuff here is a fucking bash to consume! He definitely loves searching for punchy and pun-heavy dialogue, and hey, I’m nothing if not a sucker for a good play on words and some classic, sassy backtalk! Unfortunately, however, the few beats that work really well here feel drowned in the repetitiveness of those that don’t.
In the end (which comes suddenly, like it was either a panel too long or a page or two too short), Loki: Ragnarok and Roll #3 was fine if all you’re searching after is a simple, super goddamn bloody book where gods of every description fuck each other up. Look for anything more than that, however, and you’ll probably leave disappointed.
Writer: Eric M. Esquivel Artist: Jerry Gaylord Colors: Gabriel Cassata Publisher: Boom! Date: 4/30/14 Price: $3.99