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Marvel: Robert Rodi Sibling Rivalry with Thor & Loki
Posted 08/06/2004
Souce ThePulse
By Jennifer M. Contino

[Image: 3loki1.jpg]In the past few years, Robert Rodi has worked on many different characters in the Marvel and DC universe. He's tackling dozens of Marvels in this summer's Identity Disc and working on one of their most famous southern mutant maidens, Rogue; but that's not all the writer's involved with. He's taking on the world of Thor, but not showing Earth shattering battles, he's showing sibling rivalry. The relationship between Thor and Loki is the stuff of legends and Rodi's examining it this summer in Loki with artist Esad Ribic.

After working on so many different characters for a variety of companies, Rodi told us just why he wanted to work with Thor. "I love the grand scale, the majesty of the character and his world," said the writer. "I haven't really handled anything this resonant or iconic before, and it was tremendously rewarding. I love the opportunity to examine these big archetypal characters from new and different points of view. Thor lives in two worlds. He's a god; he resides in Asgard. But he's also lived a human life, and knows what it is to be mortal. He's constantly straddling the sacred and the profane -- or the divine and the mundane, if you will. Hercules is half human; Wonder Woman is completely so. So there's not as great a dichotomy for them in living in the material world. Thor's part of a creation myth for a large chunk of northern Europe. Which is why I think he resonates even when translated to pop culture. He taps into something primal. What’s a more dramatic image of otherworldly power than thunder and lightning? It’s both poetic and visceral."

The writer's a big fan of Thor. He's got several versions that are favorites. "I recall Walt Simonson's run most fondly," said Rodi. "He's one of the few who actually broke away from just reasserting the themes and ideas Stan [Lee] and Jack [Kirby] first explored in the 1960s. Beta Ray Bill, the Frog of Thunder ... it was all new and wild and fresh."

Sibling rivalry isn't a new topic in any medium to explore. Rodi told us why this relationship is special. "It’s the mythic prototype for all the others," explained Rodi. "Which is what we'll be exploring in this series -- the bind that puts the two brothers in. For one thing, as immortal, cosmic archetypes, they can never have a resolution to their differences. Although in this series, Loki thinks he may have found one."

"In a sense, you don't get to know Thor; you know him already," Rodi continued. "He's folklore; he's mythology; he's embedded in our cultural memory, one of the ways humanity first defined the world. But he's also so big that you can narrow him down without diminishing him. You can turn him into a Shakespearean hero -- more conflicted, at odds with himself, afflicted by doubts and fatal flaws. Though in this series we're actually doing that with Loki, not Thor.

If you're scratching your head at the names "Thor" and "Loki" and don't know much about their comic experiences, no worries. "You should be able to come to this story cold," said Rodi. "It's a re-examination of Loki's life, and all the players are introduced as if for the first time. Odin, Frigga, Balder, Sif, Karnilla, and Hela all have dramatic scenes with Loki that precisely define his relationship with each of them. Loki will also learn a lot about himself when he meets another character, one who's never before appeared in the Thor series, but who has languished for decades in the background, and whose role in the story is pivotal."

"I did an exhaustive study of the Loki legend in all its variations and permutations; and believe me, there’ve been quite a few of them over the millennia," continued Rodi. "In one version, Loki even spends time as a female a gives birth to a dragon. But there are commonalities that bind all the different Lokis together; and that in fact is the hardest thing for our Loki to accept. He's going to learn about his other selves, and their fates, and that's largely what he's going to be struggling against. Loki is the trickster god; he’s the god of deceit. Or at least he was. As our series opens, he's become much more than that. He's achieved everything he's ever desired, and the down side is realizing he has no more use for tricks or deceit. But without them, what is he . . . ? I can't tell you what he realizes makes him tick, because that'd be a spoiler. But it's not what you think."

There's a reason that Thor and Loki don't have a close relationship - or at a very positive brotherly one. Rodi was tight lipped about specifics - he didn't want to spoil the story. However he did reveal, "It's not so much when Thor and Loki's relationship took a negative turn, as why. Someone is responsible, and you may be surprised to discover who. As for why Loki resents Thor: that’s both a very simple and a very complex question. Again, it's what we’ll be exploring. Loki defines Thor, just as Thor defines Loki. This is something Loki realizes in the first issue. It's what he does with this realization that sets up the remainder of the story."

What Loki does - how he's lived his life - Rodi said is also a reflection of the family. "A lot depends on the rest of the family," Rodi said. "If the parents were to acknowledge the subtler, more nuance talents as well as the flashy, heroic ones, it'd be a lot easier to thrive alongside a 'golden boy.' And of course how the golden boy himself treats you is just as decisive. When you see Odin and Thor in this regard, through Loki’s eyes, you might not recognize them."

Working on a project like this isn't without its fair share of challenges. "The language is so florid," began Rodi. "It's devilishly hard to write well. I slaved over the dialogue in LOKI, and I like to think I hit I hit the right mark between the courtly and the conversational. No one in the story ever exclaims 'I say thee nay!' or anything like that.

Rodi hopes this experience isn't his only chance to do something in the world of Thor. "I'd love to do more Thor projects, actually. I’m very comfortable in that world. I've been discussing some possibilities with Marvel, and I'm hopeful something will work out. LOKI being a smash hit would certainly help that along. I'd also like to tackle some of Marvel’s horror characters, who I think are ripe for revival. And I have one last Elektra story I’d like to tell before I’m done with her."

Two issues of Loki are out in July. The first issue hits July 7th. The second issue is in stores July 21st.
As I was reading this teaser article, I was actually sitting here working on a Loki banner for my new RPG, so is it any surprise that I am excited to read this new book? I think the idea of centering a story around the God of Mischief is a great idea that is probably long overdue. He is one of Marvel's oldest villains, and getting a chance to look inside and see what makes him tick should prove intriguing.
I have gotten the entire mini and let me just say, that it is an awesome book. From beginning to end, a delight. The artist is a genius, and I would love to see more of Esaad Ribick's work in the future. Robert Rodi is also proving to be one of Marvel's up and coming talents as well. His work on this book, as well as his work on the new Rogue and Identity disk series' have been pretty decent as well.
When life hands you lemons, you gotta squirt lemon juice and life's eye and make it your B!TCH

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