LOKI 401: What If? Thor Was Raised By Frost Giants
Welcome back to Loki Academy, Marvel Blog Untrue Believers! Now that we’ve reached the more advanced classes in our curriculum, you may want to refresh your memory of some of our earlier lessons. Today, we’ll be digging into the one-shot comic What If? Thor Was Raised by Frost Giants by Ethan Sacks, Michele Bandini, Matt Milla, and Joe Sabino, with a main cover by Marco Checchetto.
What? Too much Thor in your Loki coverage? Don’t worry, Marvel Blog Untrue Believers: there’s a Loki Variant in this issue! Keep your eyes peeled! And remember, if you want to get the deepest possible understanding of this issue, you can read it for yourself right now on the Marvel Unlimited App!
First and foremost, take note of the fact that this is a Marvel Comics’ What If? story. The most devoted Marvel Blog Untrue Believers will already be familiar with this format, which gives you a chance to experience stories that take place outside of the main Marvel Comics continuity. Sometimes this means worlds that look almost identical to the 616, but for one tiny change, and other times it means universes that bear little to no resemblance to the Marvel Comics universe with which we are all so well acquainted!
So far, this format has only appeared in the pages of Marvel Comics, but with the upcoming animated What If…? series arriving on Disney+ later this summer, it is only a matter of time before “What If” becomes a household term!
What If? Thor Was Raised by Frost Giants
This What If? story takes place when Odin discovered Loki after defeating Laufey, King of the Ice Giants. But what if, instead, Thor was raised by the Frost Giants?
Early in the story, as Odin fights Laufey, the narration asks, “In the stories, does not the noble hero always vanquish the monster? Well – this is not one of those stories.” Odin falls in battle, and Thor is taken from Asgard to live his life in the realm of the Frost Giants, Jotunheim.
Once he has been taken to Jotunheim, young Thor meets young Loki.
Curiously, Loki is looked down on by the Frost Giants for being too small. In other words, Loki experiences similar discrimination based on his appearance and size in Jotunheim as he experiences in the other timeline, when he is raised on Asgard, a fascinating parallel… and just like in Asgard, Thor is soon selected by their patriarch as the next ruler.
Nevertheless, the fast friendship between Thor, Prince of Winter and young Loki is heartwarming, to say the least!
Speaking of heartwarming, we also get to see Loki learning magic from Freyja, who is being kept prisoner in the Jotunheim dungeon.
Does this sound familiar to you? This runs parallel to the story our Loki Variant told us in the third episode of Loki, so we have another example of a similarity between this What If? story and Loki’s story on the Sacred Timeline!
At the conclusion of the story, Thor discovers that Loki and Freyja have been working together. In his anger at the discovery, Thor accidentally kills Freyja, and then exiles Loki to Midgard (Earth).
However, on the final page of the comic, we learn that Loki has been telling us the story all along, and that after being sent to Midgard, he became a hero of the realm… does not that remind you of a certain familiar Loki Variant, Marvel Blog True Believers?
The issue ends with a beautiful series of panels that suggests that in spite of their difficult origin story, Thor and Loki’s deep love for one another persists. Its a lovely ending, to be honest!
An important takeaway from What If? Thor Was Raised by Frost Giants is that even when you change the basic facts of Loki’s situation – in other words, even when you make him a Variant – there are nevertheless core aspects of his character that occur across timelines! He learns magic from his mother, he has a complicated relationship with his brother, and for better or for worse, those who have authority over him are unable to see his full potential.
Are you taking notes, Marvel Blog True Believers? There will be a test – and that’s even if you don’t find yourself awakening in the decaying ruins of New York, face to face with a quartet of Loki Variants!
Stay tuned for more important lessons from Loki Academy, Marvel Blog Untrue Believers… and remember: WORK YOUR LOKI!