Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Comics
cover art

Original Sin: Thor and Loki #1

(Marvel; US: Sep 2014)

In every major conspiracy theory involving the United States government, there’s one key factor that ensures that every conspiracy inevitably fails. Simply put, human beings are terrible at keeping secrets. This holds especially true in this day and age where any major leak that can be revealed in under 140 characters is exposed with uncanny ease. Even before the age of social media, the powers that be couldn’t even cover up the Watergate scandal. And if any major power can’t cover that up, what hope do they have of covering up something bigger?


For actual gods, however, the capacity for keeping secrets is considerably greater. Gods don’t have to worry about nosy press or renegade bloggers. They have the kids of powers that the FCC only dreams of. But the events of Original Sin have revealed that even gods aren’t immune to whistleblowers. The death of the Watcher and the revelations of his many observations have had the impact of a billion Edward Snowdens. Among those revelations include some very distressing details regarding Thor’s family life. But this isn’t one of those secrets that involve a god siring one too many demigods. This involves the kind of censorship that erased an entire realm from existence. It’s like a divine version of the Kennedy assassination, except this one actually happened.


Original Sin: Thor and Loki #1 deal directly with the impact this revelation has on Thor. The release of all the Watcher’s secrets showed him that he has a sister and that there’s a tenth realm his father never told him about. It’s the kind of revelation that has been lacking in other parts of Original Sin in that it really does shake up the entire foundation for certain characters. For most of his history, Thor’s world has been pretty solid. He knows who his parents are, who his family is, and the nature of the world they inhabit. This completely undermines all of that, setting the stage for the kind of family upheaval usually reserved for Opera.


In addition to shaking up Thor’s world, it also firmly integrates Angela’s history with the greater Marvel universe, completely detaching her from the world of Spawn. This might not sit well with some because it makes her an entirely different character on many levels, but the process laid out in this story does so in a way that still feels genuine. She’s still Angela. She still has all the same qualities and attributes. Her circumstances are simply different. The same applies to the Tenth Realm. This isn’t the world of Spawn. This is the Marvel universe and now Angela has her own unique place in it.


This also means that Angela’s origins are considerably different. Her life, and the role of Heaven, is built around war and tragedy, two themes that have often been part of Angela’s persona. On paper, it sounds outrageous that Odin would have a daughter born before Thor and an entire realm had been severed from the rest of Asgard. But as the history of this tragedy unfold, it feels appropriate and not overly contrived. The extent of this tragedy actually warrants the isolation of an entire realm and the utter censorship of Angela’s existence. Unlike the Richard Nixons of the world, it isn’t done out of paranoia or greed either. These acts were born from the pain and anger created from overwhelming loss. Odin and Freya’s heartache is palpable under the weight of the truth. They don’t come off less as gods and more as heart-broken parents.


There are so many emotional undertones throughout this striking revelation. It inspires Thor to seek out his lost sister and find the Tenth Realm, even if it means teaming up with Loki. However, some of those emotional undertones are lost in some of the ongoing side-plots involving Loki. They act as a distraction at times to the main narrative, which is the revelation about Angela and the Tenth Realm. However, this does not take away from the weight of that narrative. There are so many potential ramifications for Asgard and the Nine Realms. Thor and Loki are just beginning to explore those ramifications. What remains unclear, however, is how this fits into the greater narrative created by Original Sin.


This event as a whole has branched off into many different stories involving revelations surrounding many different characters. This has led many of the tie-in stories to become more detached from main story and Original Sin: Thor and Loki #1 is no exception. Thor literally just ditches the rest of the Avengers after he finds out about Angela and the Tenth Realm. There’s no strategy to his actions. He just leaves. While it’s understandable that he would seek to understand these revelations, it essentially takes him away from a conflict that hasn’t been resolved. It’s one thing to fight other battles in a larger conflict. It’s quite another to just ditch that run away from that conflict when things are still exploding. That’s like Peyton Manning walking out of a football game in the middle of the second quarter.


Even if this tie-in is only minimally concise with Original Sin as a whole, it certainly delivers the impact that was intended for this event. Aside from a few distractions, the events of Original Sin: Thor and Loki #1 send Thor and Loki on a path to directly confront these dark secret that have been suppressed for so long. What makes these secrets all the more remarkable is that they’re presented in a way that give no indication that Marvel only recently acquired the rights to Angela. It’s a seamless dark revelation, if ever there was one. Most revelations from powerful authorities aren’t nearly this smooth, which is only a further testament to how secrets at any level can have an impact.

Rating:

Jack Fisher is an aspiring writer and novelist. He owns and operates X-men Supreme, a website dedicated to his own world of X-men, and the X-men Supreme Official Blog, where he also reviews comics. He has a degree in Communications and has self-published two books, "Child of Orcus" and "Skin Deep." Follow him on Twitter @MarvelMaster616


Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements
PopMatters' LUCY Giveaway! in PopMatters's Hangs on LockerDome

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.