Loki In Animation - A Retrospective
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Part Three -
The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes premiered in fall of 2010 on Disney XD. The first five episodes of the show were split into 20 micro-episodes which were released online prior to the shows' premiere on television. Loki here was voiced by Graham McTavish (reprising his role from the Thor portion of the Hulk Vs. animated movie) and he debuts in the episode entitled "Thor the Mighty". The first act of the episode features Thor on Midgard, stopping the Wrecking Crew from stealing a shipment of Stark tech and meeting Jane Foster for the first time. He is soon called back to Asgard by Heimdall who tells him the Frost Giants have attacked and they need his help in defeating them and protecting Odin. The army is lead by Loki, who plans on overthrowing Odin and claim the throne of Asgard, which he believes is rightfully his. Thor arrives and defeats all the Giants but is then confronted by Loki. The battle scenes in this episode are pretty brutal (especially when the Asgardians are pitted against the Frost Giants), and Loki gets a chance to use some pretty impressive spells during his showdown with Thor (for example turning into a swarm of moths to avoid being hit by a thunderbolt). Loki is however defeated and brought in front of Odin, who banishes him to the Isle of Silence. Thor is then ordered by Odin to remain in Asgard and protect it during the upcoming Odinsleep - the Thunder God however refuses and returns to Midgard. Towards the end, on the Isle of Silence - which had a pretty creepy atmosphere - we see Loki pondering and it is revealed that everything that happened in this episode went according to his plan. This confirms his status as a mastermind and as he mentions, "No one is ready for what comes next".
During the course of the first season, after the Avengers assemble as a team Amora and Skurge the Executioner are seen recruiting villains for their own team, the Masters of Evil. While all of them are defeated by the good guys, Amora claims that everything is still going according to plan and reports this to a shadowy figure (who is obviously Loki). Later, after Thor and the Avengers confront Amora and Skurge for unleashing the Casket of Ancient Winters, the two villains escape back to Asgard - when Thor tries to follow he discovers something is blocking him from return to his home. This prompts him to ask Iron Man to find a way to transport him back, leading to the Avengers learning of the mythical Nine Realms and how to access them. In "This Hostage Earth" (the first part of the three-part season one finale), the same Masters of Evil that were defeated earlier are sent by Amora to eight different locations, each one having a magical Norn Stone with him which would enable them to break the walls between the Nine Realms and bring all mythical creatures to Earth. The Avengers split and fight the villains, but the battle ends when they all hit the magical Stones at the same time - which results in the heroes being transported to the mythical Realms, with Thor awakening in Asgard, where he sees Loki sitting on the Throne.
In the next episode ("The Fall of Asgard"), Loki reveals himself to be the master planner behind pretty much everything that happened on the show so far. From the beginning, his attack on Asgard seen in the episode "Thor the Mighty" was meant to fail; him being exiled to the Isle of Silence was all according to his plan. Once the other Asgardians and especially Thor thought he was out of the way, he returned and set things in motion. While Thor was busy on Midgard (again thanks to Loki, and the Enchantress who had the mission of gathering the Masters of Evil), Loki started conquering Asgard during the Odinsleep, and soon after the other mystical realms. All, expect for Midgard. Now that Loki has apparently obtained Odin's powers, he is basically unstoppable. Meanwhile, the other Avengers manage to survive the attacks of mystical creatures and try to re-group, to take part in the final battle against Loki. As a small side note, Hela Goddess of the Dead (and Loki's daughter) appears in these episodes as well but only Captain America meets her.
The season one finale is "A Day Unlike Any Other", and it features a long battle between the Avengers (aided by the inhabitants of Asgard who weren't enslaved), and Loki who now has access to the Odin Force. The Trickster God proves to be more than a match for the Avengers, at least until Iron Man returns, with his new Uru armor. During the battle, Loki smashes Cap's shield just to prove how powerful he is now. Loki is slowly going mad with power and no longer cares about his original plan - he knows he's about to unleash Ragnarok and destroy the entire Nine Realms. He is stopped however after the Avengers manage to "repair" the flow of the Odin Force through Yggdrasil (the Tree of Life), and re-direct it back to Odin. Once the All-Father regains his rightful powers, he punishes Loki with a fate worse than death: he is now the prisoner of the Midgard Serpent, a giant snake who drips venom from his fangs into the Trickster's eyes. A pretty creepy punishment, but you can't really say it wasn't well deserved (and apparently consistent with the Norse myths).
During the second season, Amora the Enchantress is captured by Surtur the Fire Demon and transformed into one of his minions (a story-arc which unfortunately was not given any resolution by the end of the series). The episode titled "Powerless" (which didn't actually air on TV in the US, but was released on DVD instead), marks Loki's final appearance on the show. He is still a prisoner of the Serpent, until Amora sets him free and offers him a chance to get his revenge on Thor and the Avengers. She first casts a spell that removes the powers of the heroes on Earth - with some pretty weird results - and then re-activates the Destroyer, an enchanted and unstoppable suit of armor and gives Loki control over it. The now powerless heroes still manage to defeat Loki and end his scheme. By the end of the episode Loki is back in the grasp of the Midgard Serpent, and Amora goes back to her new master Surtur. Overall, this is the weakest story the show has to offer but it was still somewhat enjoyable.
Looking back, this show's version of Loki was pretty awesome. Even though he didn't really appear that often during the first season, he made his presence felt throughout most of the episodes. His design here was great (I think those lines under his eyes look cool) and his voice actor was great as well.
And the most recent cartoon to feature Loki is the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series which currently airs on Disney XD. The show sees Spider-Man as a hero-in-training for SHIELD, working alongside a group of other teenage heroes (Nova, Power Man, Iron Fist and White Tiger). Supposedly aimed at a younger audience and focusing more on comedy than action or drama the show has some good moments but most of the time isn't anything special. Here Loki is voiced by Troy Baker and has appeared in two episodes from the first season; each one of his appearances also guest-starred the Mighty Thor.
Loki debuts in the episode "Field Trip", where he uses magic to transform Thor into a frog (a nod to the Pet Avengers team from the comics). Spidey and the rest of the so-called Team Awesome follow Thor to Asgard where they discover that Loki has taken over the land during the Odinsleep. The teenage heroes aren't powerful enough to defeat Loki and his army of Frost Giants but they get help from Eitri the Dwarf who creates special weapons for them to use in the next battle with the Trickster God. The battle ends when Spidey manages to trick Loki into turning Thor back to his normal self, by mentioning that Loki isn't really worthy of ruling the world, since he could only defeat his half-brother while he was turned into a frog. Once back to normal Thor easily defeats Loki and the day is saved. Before escaping, Loki vows that he will have his revenge on Spider-Man. Overall it was a decent episode but felt a little too boring at times.
The Trickster God returns in the episode "Run Pig Run", where disguised as a hotdog salesman tricks Spidey into eating an enchanted hotdog that turns him into a pig: Spider-Ham, another nod to the comics. For the most part of the episode, Spider-Ham is chased through the city by a hunting party lead by Skurge the Executioner - all part of Loki's revenge scheme apparently. Spidey's team-mates and the Mighty Thor, as well as SHIELD try to keep him safe from his pursuers. The ending of the story is a little anti-climatic as well - the day ends and the spell is lifted, turning Spidey back to normal. Loki is then knocked out by Spidey with one punch. Not a great episode, but I guess it still had a couple of neat moments.
Loki's design on this show isn't really anything special - his voice actor is good, but so far the stories featuring him haven't been too impressive. Hopefully if he'll appear again during the second season, the episodes will be better.
Considering Loki's status as Thor's arch-nemesis, I think it's safe to say Loki will be seen in a cartoon soon enough; the upcoming Avengers Assemble animated series might be the place.