Loki is back in Avengers: Infinity War, so it's time to celebrate the God of Mischief.

Feature

Marc Buxton Kayti Burt

May 1, 2018

Tom Hiddleston has been a scene stealer as Loki, the God of Mischief since his first appearance on the original Thor movie, and that carries all the way through to Avengers: Infinity War. Loki has become as popular as any of the actual Avengers thanks to his suave form of evil. Just leave it to the trickster god to become as beloved as the heroes he clashes with.

Let’s take a look at some of the greatest (and trickiest) moments in the character’s long history…

And There Came a Day…

Just as it was in the movie, in the comics The Avengers formed because of Loki. During one of his games of vengeance against Thor, Loki manipulated an epic confrontation between Thor and the Hulk, getting embroiled in Loki’s machinations were also Iron Man, Ant-Man, and the Wasp. Looking to cause chaos on Earth, Loki caused the first gathering of the greatest force of order on Midgard, the Avengers. But by creating order for some, Loki caused chaos for others.

By creating the Avengers, Loki has created a force that would lead to many conflicts with the evil forces across the galaxy…something that would cause chaos for evildoers everywhere. Loki’s accidental creation foiled the plans of Ultron, Dr. Doom, Kang, the Master of Evil, and even himself. To the villains of the Marvel Universe, the formation of the Avengers was the very definition of disruptive mischief.

Read it in Avengers Vol. 1

The Villain Maker

A great villain makes trouble for the heroes he fights; a greater villain makes other villains to make the trouble for him. Loki had a direct hand in giving long time Marvel troublemakers the Wrecking Crew and Absorbing Man their powers. Think of all the trouble these villains had created for the heroes of the Marvel Universe, a testament to the cunning and manipulation of the ultimate trickster.

Loki also, at one point or the other, directly manipulated or had a hand in the destines of early Thor adversaries Jinku the Lava Man, the Weather Maker, The Executioner, the Enchantress, the Super-Skrull, Surtur, Cobra and his partner Mr. Hyde, and Skagg. These early adversaries of Thor set the stage for the god’s adventures for decades to come and they were all pointed into the conflict by Loki.

The Instigator 

Considered by many to be the first true crossover in mainstream comics, the Avengers/Defenders War would be considered big even today, so think of how big it must felt in 1973. Teaming with the Dread Dormammu, Loki manipulates Earth’s mightiest super teams to clash over pieces of an ancient artifact called the Evil Eye. The crossover spotlights Loki’s ability to force conflict where there should be unity.

Fans were treated to many awesome clashes, some for the first time, like Doctor Strange versus Black Panther and Mantis, Thor versus the Hulk, Captain America versus Namor in a battle of former Invaders, and Silver Surfer versus Vision and Scarlet Witch, all thanks to the machinations of Loki. At the end, of course, Loki betrays Dormammu, showing that the spread of discord and chaos is always more important than victory in any Loki tale.

Looking back on the story, the pacing and format would be mimicked for decades to come as this super battle became the prototype for crossovers to come, and Loki was right in the center of it all with a smile on his face.

He Transformed his Freaking Brother into a Freaking Frog

Most of the Loki stories on this list will be of a pretty grandiose and serious variety, but not all. At times, rather than going for complete destruction of his enemies, Loki would rather annoy the Hel out of them. For instance, the time Loki turned Asgard’s greatest warrior into a frog.

In Walter Simonson’s Thor #364, Loki uses Surtur’s discarded magic sword to finally make his brother croak (oh, yes I did). The adventure was wonderfully silly, but it had the same mythic feel as the rest of Simonson’s run and portrays Loki as the egomaniacal chaos bringer with a sense of humor fans have grown to love. Since the classic tale, a frog named Puddlegulp found a sliver of Mjolnir and is able to transform in Throg, so Loki’s magic continues to add wondrous and strange elements into the Marvel universe.

Start with Walt Simonson’s Thor Vol. 1.

This little episode was mentioned in passing in Thor: Ragnarok, which also kind of ties in to…

He Turned Into a Snake & Stabbed Thor

OK, so this one didn’t actually happen on-screen, but it’s too good not to mention. In Thor: Ragnarok, Thor recounts this very traumatizing experience from his childhood to Bruce and Valkyrie illustrate just how mischievous Loki can be. When they were kids, Loki transformed himself into a snake because he knows Thor loves snakes and then, after Thor picked up Snake-LokiLoki transformed back into Loki and stabbed Thor. They were eight.

According to an interview director Taika Waititi did with Empire Magazine Podcast, that scenario was one of about six the director and actor tried out as improv on the set. 

Watch Thor: Ragnarok on Amazon

X-Men/ Alpha Flight

Believe it or not, for a while in the ’80s, Alpha Flight was a pretty big deal. So when writer Chris Claremont and artist Paul Smith came out with a two part X-Men and Alpha Flight event, it garnered lots of fan attention. Like the original gathering of the Avengers, big events need big villains, and there are none bigger than Loki. In the series, Loki creates the Fire Fountain, a mystical site that can grant the mortals of Midgard super powers. Loki does all this to manipulate a pantheon of Northern Gods into believing he can do a good deed for mortals. This act brings the attention of Alpha Flight and the X-Men, and, of course, chaos ensues.

Loki tempts the heroes but they reject him, foiling his scheme for a power up. The whole event is a testament to Loki’s nature as a manipulator, a being who sees others as pawns for his games and power grabs, but also includes awesome character work by Claremont, particularly on Loki, a character that would seem to be out of the creator’s mutant wheelhouse, but what can we say, a character like Loki just brings out the best in people.

Acts of Vengeance

One of the more beloved early Marvel crossovers, Acts of Vengeance was a simple premise played to perfection. A stranger convinces a group of master villains to team up in order to bring down their foes. The stranger convinces the baddies that switching opponents would be the key to a villainous victory. Of course it was Loki.

It seems like such a simple plan, but beneath the surface, Loki’s plan was just a way to ferment chaos in the hero and villain community. The master villains were a who’s who of Marvel evil. Dr. Doom, Mandarin, Magneto, the Red Skull, the Kingpin, and the Wizard made up Loki’s cadre of villains. The God of Mischief engineered a breakout at the Vault to give the master villains a group of soldiers to send against the heroes. The chaos that followed was pure spectacle with the villains turning on each other while the heroes were occupied by the escapees.

Loki’s plan was pure mischief, why else team up Magneto, a Holocaust survivor, with the Red Skull, a Nazi war criminal? Things turned ugly quickly while Loki basked in the turmoil. Loki did it all in the hopes that, during the chaos, the Avengers would be destroyed. He may have been defeated by the end of the story but Acts of Vengeance was such an awesome Loki story because of the cunning way he used the biggest heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe like pawns in his private little game.

Blood Brothers: Loki Wins

This grand but unsettling tale of Loki’s ultimate victory written by Robert Rodi with stunning painted artwork by Esad Ribic is a psychological look into the character of Loki. This story may or may not be in continuity (it’s hard to tell with immortals), but in Loki #1-4, Loki finally wins. He has achieved his goal of total victory and has finally put Thor into bondage. He has it all, and as the series unfolds, it becomes clear he has never had less.

The series opens with Thor chained to a dungeon wall and Loki, finally, as ruler of Asgard. The tale of a villain triumphant magnificently morphs into a tragedy focusing on why Loki, the forgotten son, hates Thor and his Asgardian brethren so much. The series spotlights Loki’s brilliance just as brightly as it does his fatal character flaws, ones that will never allow him to triumph completely and leaves him in tragic cycle of violence and shame.

Like all great villains, Loki sees himself the hero of his own story. If this is true, this series is the tragic fall of a hero that only exists in his own mind.

Read Loki on Amazon

Lady Loki 

After the latest of the many Ragnaroks that have taken place in the pages of Thor, the God of Thunder had to find the lost Asgardians and restore them to their godly form. When Loki returned, the other gods were shocked that he now took the form of a woman.

As a woman, Loki faked magnanimity, fooling his fellow gods into trusting hher. Ah, but this is one of the greatest examples of Loki’s trickery as he was secretly in the restored body of none other than Lady Sif. While in the form of a woman, Loki traveled back in time, killed Odin’s father, Bor, arranged for Odin to adopt him in the first place, convinced the Asgardians that the heroic Beta Ray Bill was a shape shifting Skrull, and basically enjoying the irony of secretly inhabiting a body that his brother once fervently and frequently boinked. When Thor finally found out that Loki inhabited Sif’s body, he managed to free his former lover, but Loki had the last laugh forging an alliance with Dr. Doom which left many Asgardians dead.

Loki’s time as a woman was one his/her most deliciously evil eras, when the trickster was at the height of his game of layered manipulation.

His Very Own Avengers and Siege

During and after his time as a woman, Loki turned his attentions to the Avengers and the rest of the Marvel Universe. During this period, Loki joined the Cabal, a cadre of villains that pulled the strings of the Marvel Universe when Norman Osborn was the head of SHIELD (which Norman called HAMMER).

As a member of the Cabal, Loki was  able to use the guise of the Scarlet Witch to cajole Hank Pym into forming a squad of Avengers Loki would control. Loki couldn’t resist manipulating a team he helped create into being a hit squad of his own. When Cassie Lang, also known as Stature, found out and expelled Loki he gained revenge by manipulating Norman Osborn into attacking Asgard (which was located in Broxton, Oklahoma at the time). With this gambit, Loki was able to manipulate the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe. He served in the familiar position of wild card creating as much chaos in the lives of evildoers as he did the benevolent forces.

At the end, Loki was seemingly killed by the Sentry, but not before Osborn was brought down and a new power structure took the reins from HAMMER. Loki was the wrench in the works, the agent of change that fractured both sides of the eternal battle of light and darkness, and he did it with style.

He Sabotaged Thor’s Coronation

In the first Thor film, Loki sabotages Thor’s coronation by letting Frost Giants into Asgard. When Thor seeks revenge against Jotunheim, Odin banishes him to Earth where he first meets Jane & co. and learns about Midgard.

Back on Asgard, Loki is up to his usual games, taking control of the kingdom while Odin is in Odinsleep (or, as I like to call it, Odinnap). In order to preserve his power, Loki straight-up tries to kill Thor, which is not the first time that happens, nor will it be the last.

Watch Thor on Amazon

Kid Loki 

After his foray as a woman, Loki was transformed into a twelve year old child. This transformation turned Loki from one of the most malevolent characters in the Marvel Universe to one of the most sympathetic. As a kid, Loki is a completely different being, one that still has a gift for untruths and misdirection, but one with a huge heart and a kind spirit. He didn’t remember his past sins but he is all too aware of them, making him determined to use his ability to lie, cheat, and steal to help people. Kid Loki had a special interest in the people of Earth, loved the internet, particularly viral videos and memes, and spent hours on his Stark Phone.

Of course, Loki gonna Loki…

Tried to Take Over Earth…Again

Two Avengers movies ago, Loki was the Big Bad trying to rule Earth with an iron fist… or, you know, a Scepter.

Watch The Avengers on Amazon

Having been given command of the Chitauri by none other than Thanos himself, Loki shows up on Earth, grabs the Tesseract, and begins plotting his ultimate oppression. It’s not a good look for the God of Mischief, and one that is obviously foiled by the Avengers… though not before Loki allows himself to be captured in order to take out the helicarrier.

Loki Pretends to Be Odin, Rules Asgard

As we see in the first act of Thor: RagnarokLoki has been quite mischievous during Thor’s absence from Asgard. After returning from the presumed-dead, Loki messes with Odin’s memory, leaves him at a home for old folks in New York City, and then rules Asgard in his stead. During his tenure as Odin-LokiLoki erects a statue in his own honor and stages a production called “The Tragedy of Loki,” which he watches again and again. Actors who make cameos in the big “Tragedy of Loki” scene include: Matt Damon, Sam Neill, and Luke Hemsworth.