The Reasonable Choice: Vote Loki #1 Review

Comic books are political. Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves. The first ever issue of Captain America had the iconic cover featuring the hero punching Hitler, an enemy America was not yet at war with at the time, in the face. The modern day Captain America is an African-American who fights racists attacking Mexican immigrants and speaking of "the mighty wall."

Vote Loki is somehow even less subtle. That's not a criticism. America has somehow chosen two final candidates that everyone despises, and with good reason. At this point, the only choice is the lesser of two evils, and if it takes the God of Lies himself to run for President to tell us that, then so be it.

We open, not with Loki, but with a few flashbacks to introduce us to Nisa Contreras, the reporter who will be the main human character of this story. In Loki's last series, Agent of Asgard, that role was filled by Verity Willis, who made a perfect foil for the trickster due to her ability to see through lies.

Nisa has a similar ability, not based on supernatural powers, but because she has a history of exposing the lies politicians tell, including a governor who embezzled funds meant for the repair of her neighborhood after a supervillain attack.

Back in the present, Nisa is attending a debate between the two Presidential candidate, one male, one female. The general consensus is that both are compulsive liars, leading everyone to ask the question of why they should vote for either.  What a totally unrealistic scenario, am I right?

That clearly isn't Trump. The hair isn't cartoonish enough.
Then, a group of Hydra terrorists wielding handguns and assault rifles reveal themselves and attempt to take over the room and assassinate the candidates. This can't be reflective of real life though, can you imagine being allowed to carry concealed assault rifles into a crowded room? Ridiculous.

Loki then drops his reporter disguise, and uses his powers to save the day, stopping the Hydra attack with a conjured up... hydra.

The National Many-Headed Serpent Association just found their new catchphrase
And so, Loki conveniently finds himself in the center of a room packed with reporters and cameras, all pointed at him. And he takes full advantage of the situation.

When Loki tells the truth, he tells it hard
He isn't just there to destroy what little faith people have in politicians though. He's also there to plant a seed a seed in people's minds, give them something to think about: What if Loki was the President?

Come on, no way Americans can be that dumb, right? Right?
Despite the fact that he makes no formal declaration to run, it doesn't stop everyone from talking about him. He goes viral  he's all over the news, he's being interviewed left and right and the seed begins to grow.

His next appearance is on J. Jonah Jameson's talkshow. (For the record, I would watch the hell out of a talkshow hosted by J. Jonah Jameson. So would you, and you know it.)

I'm not the only one hearing J. K. Simmons, right?
Anyway, one of the point's brought up by Jameson is also one that has been brought up when this series was announced: How can Loki, an Asgardian/Jotun, run for President of the United States?

Turns out that Loki, or at least this incarnation of Loki, was indeed born in the good ol' US of A. Heck, he even says he has his birth certificate to prove it. Dunno why they felt the need to throw in that detail.

Nisa then joins in the interview over the phone, asking him some tough questions about his supervillain past, and follows up by pointing out his real strategy: to be taken as a joke until it is too late.

I don't see what you're worried about Nisa, it's not like that strategy would ever work.
He cuts her off by teleporting into her apartment to continue to conversation privately, freaking her out in the process. He explains that he does want to be taken seriously, and he is actually considering a serious campaign. It's a testament to Loki's lying skills that I'm still unsure as to how honest he was being here, despite re-reading the issue many times.

Anyway, he invites her to his campaign HQ for a proper interview, and she reluctantly accepts.

So, the next day she shows up at Ophidia Research Centre, gets past Angela (who is acting as a bodyguard) and reaches a rather different Loki.

I'm sure in real life, any female candidate would have a better plan for enticing women voters beyond being one, right?
Anyway, Nisa gathers a ton of information, and when she gets home, she writes out a piece warning America to not get too caught up in Loki's spectacle, and to put an end to it before it's too late, giving the subtle headline 'LOKI WILL BURN WASHINGTON'.

She sends it to her editor, who receives a mysterious call, and he alters the title to an out of context line from the article itself: 'LOKI'S CAMPAIGN: SOMETHING TO GET EXCITED ABOUT'. Naturally, in a world where no one bothers to look beyond the headline, everyone assumes that Nisa has officially endorsed Loki.

Everyone, including the Mighty Thor herself, who shows up at Nisa's door, demanding answers...

Dammit, I wanted to use the 'Ragna-rocks' pun!
Like I said at the beginning of this review, this is by no means a subtle comic. It very clearly knows what and who it is parodying, and makes sure the reader know it too. Almost every bit of the brilliantly written dialogue is laden with references to either politics in general, or specifically the fiasco of the ongoing election season. So, as a work of satire, this comic is genius.

Unfortunately, the tone is also a double edged sword. While it works excellently in light of the past year, as a standalone comic, it lacks substance. Nisa Contreras is the same intrepid reporter we've seen a hundred times over, and Loki lacks the character subtlety as that was a highlight in Agent of Asgard. No more God of Stories, this is just the God of Lies back to his usual tricks.

The same applies to the artwork. It is meant to be in the same style as political cartoons, with heavily exaggerated and caricatured faces, and in that sense it is well done and does its job. But that doesn't make it especially pleasant to look at.

Regardless, I still highly recommend this comic, particularly if you're frustrated with how the election is shaping out. Because, let's be honest, considering the choices we currently have, I'd probably vote for Loki too.

Aranwe Quirke is a totally real, definitely not made up name. No, you may not see the birth certificate.