If there is one thing Loki cannot stand, it is anyone being held in Odin’s favor, at least more than him. Jealousy for Balder is the source of the conflict in this issue, and despite the title suggesting it features Balder, in my opinion the protagonist (even if a villous one) is Loki. In this tale, we follow Loki as he seeks to learn how he might kill the invincible Balder than as he executes a plan to do such, even if all living things are oathbound to protect the god.
The story as it follows Loki is an amusing one. He seeks out the Nord Queen, who is able to tell him of Odin’s one mistake, the one living thing forgotten in the oath to protect Balder. With his new knowledge from the Nord queen, Loki seeks to make a weapon to destroy the god. He, however, makes a mistake, For the same oath of protection binds the Nord Queen herself, and she stops Loki before he can slay Balder.
This tale is fun and entertaining, but what I like the most is following Loki on his mission to kill Balder instead of following Balder for the attempt. This narrative approach makes the story more exciting and compelling.
Loki’s interaction not with Balder but instead the Nord Queen draws me in; The two would be magic users, one divine royalty and the other portrayed in more mortal terms, is captivating in its way. The way Kirby captures this dynamic and their conflict in the art is the life of the peice.
Characters & Development
Perhaps it is a development that Odin can make mistakes, maybe more so that Loki can change his focus and cause trouble for other gods. Either way, I think this tale deserves some points for continuing to boost the narrative of the “Tales of Asgard”. Even if in most ways it is still just fairly average.