Warning: There will most definitely be some spoilers for Loki S1E5 “Journey into Mystery”
So let’s go ahead and jump into the awesomeness of this episode’s title: “Journey into Mystery.” Loki’s first appearance in comic books was in the pages of Journey into Mystery #85. The issue is essentially an introduction to Loki, which is apt as this episode is a delightful introduction to Lokis...that’s right, plural. Now, lemme be honest, this episode seemed like a transitory episode. Not much plot happened, in my opinion, but some character work was truly done. In a series, episodes like this are allowed when presented this beautifully.
Obviously our Loki is still alive. He is now in The Void, where we’ve learned everyone goes once they’ve been “pruned.” Why is this okay? Because a giant sky creature named Alioth feeds on the pruned. Pretty simple recycling concept, pretty bad predicament for our Lokis to be in. This episode focuses on escaping from The Void. Yes, Sylvie and Ravonna exchange words at the TVA, but only to serve up exposition on The Void. Apparently, anything pruned is sent here for consumption; however, this means that anything after The Void is just a free range timeline, with no predestination to weigh it down. The implications of this revelation, however, are put aside for one of the strongest Loki episodes yet to explore the future of the character.
A brilliant mix of grand scale and personal interaction, “Journey into Mystery” allows Loki to explore variations of his hopes and dreams, as well as their overall worth in a universe ruled by the TVA. Kid Loki has killed a Thor, a grand accomplishment for a Loki to be sure, but the TVA stepped in to rectify this oversight. Our Classic comic book Loki sought solitude and eventually companionship from family...before the TVA stepped in to rectify this oversight. Despite all this, and the fact every Loki should have a common enemy in the TVA, The Void is aplenty with Loki betraying Loki. This is exemplified in a borderline hilarious fight between innumerable Lokis, a wonderful exploration of the permutations of betrayal. More importantly, we see our Loki recognize the futility – and downright silliness – of constant betrayal, a sentiment he shares with Sylvie in a tender moment.
Our grand finale is the most poignant part of this episode as we see a certain depth of character in Loki through various incarnations. Classic Loki (Richard Grant) gets to have a wonderful moment of self-sacrifice. While creating a distraction for Loki and Sylvie, Classic Loki must realize his time is limited, so he conjures that which he would like as his dying sight: thus, Asgard rises in The Void to distract Alioth. I’m not gonna lie, a tear escaped me as the illusion of Asgard rose in the ruins of the Sacred Timeline. At the very end, Classic Loki sought home for solace. This is a clear reflection of our Loki’s innermost desires as we’ve watched him wax sentimental about his home and family in recent episodes. The character work here is wonderful and creative as it’s represented through varying incarnations of our protagonist. He merely sees possibilities and must make his own way to what he wants. The final scene of this episode left me furiously in the throes of anticipation as Alioth is enchanted — a new skill for our Loki — and our protagonist approaches a gateway to the series’ true villain.
I can’t recommend this series enough. I sense the finale of this show will have MAJOR ramifications for the MCU overall, but I’m honestly more interested in who our protagonist chooses to be. The latter outweighing the former illustrates a creative feat of writing as I wait impatiently for our antihero to choose his side. Catch Loki every Wednesday on Disney+!
Wanna check out Loki’s first appearance? Pick up Journey Into Mystery #85 on Comixology! Maybe you want something more recent. If so, pick up the first appearance of Kid Loki in Thor #617 from Comixology as well. Finally, if you’ve got a Loki itch to scratch, go buy the great Kieron Gillen’s Loki: Journey Into Mystery on Amazon!