Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Book Review: Loki - Journey Into Mystery

When Earth is plagued by an epidemic of fear, ancient prophecy says only Thor can stop the monstrous threat of the Serpent, but without help from Loki, Thor is certain to fail. Aided by a handmaiden from Hel and a demon puppy, Loki must risk everything to find redemption—or doom himself for eternity. Either way, a Nightmare lies in wait hoping to rule the world, and Loki will have to risk everything on his craziest scheme of all!

Meanwhile, new gods threaten to disrupt the status quo, throwing everything out of balance. Loki must act as a responsible ambassador, but will the Nine Realms end in Surtur’s fire? Young Loki must cross the realms to reclaim his own story, outwit ancient enemies, struggle to do the right thing, and avoid falling in love.

Loki: Journey Into Mystery, a novelization by Katherine Locke of Kieron Gillen's graphic novel, will be released December 19, 2023. Titan Books provided an early galley for review.

As noted on the cover, this an adaption of a Marvel comic book run that started in 2011. I did a quick comparison of the first issue of the tale after reading the first four chapters of this book; Locke is very faithful to Gillen's tale though she does excise some of the side-plots to make the novel flow a bit better.

I had not read the comics from whence this came, so I was not sure why there is a young Loki at this time. Apparently a 2010 event was when Loki "died" - only to be reborn as a youthful kid version we see here. I grew up on the seasoned, bitter adult god who was always looking to best his brother Thor and make trouble on Midgard (Earth). This is a very different kind of vibe. That being said, Gillen's arc is an epic story of deception and battles.

I am not sure, though, whether this collection of story arcs benefits from the prose treatment. Locke seems like a good choice given her young-adult novel experience. Her treatment of the source material works well enough in most parts, but in other places it does not. Characters are often introduced to the story with very little visual description or detail. The comic version would not need to describe these folks; it benefitted having an artist to include the visual aspect. Background details are not often given here; the original source material would expect the reader to know a lot of that (having been targeted for comic readers, after all). So, unless this novelization's reader is steeped in Marvel lore, they might find themselves a tad lost.

In the end, I have to wonder for who this would be targeted. Comic fans would have likely read the original. Marvel Cinematic Universe fans may find themselves a bit lost.

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