Thor and Loki : Blood Brothers
Director - Joel Gibbs
Cast - Daniel Thorn, David Blair
Country of Origin - U.S.
Discs - 1
MSRP - $14.97
Distributor - Shout Factory
Reviewer - Ryan Miller
The Film (5/5)
A billion years ago, in 2004, just a mere month before Brian Michael Bendis began his Avengers: Disassembled saga and changed the face of Marvel forever for the time being, the first issue of a curious little story appeared in funny book stores called Loki. To my chagrin, I've never actually read the series, whether it be through floppies of collected editions, but I was lucky enough to catch this animated version from Marvel Knights and Shout! Factory. I'm not really sure how the book eluded me, though it is possible it slipped through the cracks since at the time I was mostly reading Vertigo titles on a very limited budget.
All that aside, here is Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers. I have to imagine that Marvel chose to rename the title from simply being Loki due to the popularity of his brother's film release. This of course is not to say that the title "Loki" is boring, but that if Thor's name graced the cover, along with his rippling muscles, the DVD might garner greater notice. Though a totally fair marketing tactic, the movie itself features far less Thor than the average consumer might wish. Let's be totally clear: this is Loki's movie. However, this may not be the Loki viewers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe would recognize. Instead of a handsome, British Tom Hiddleson, the Loki of Thor and Loki: Blood Brothers is more akin to my grandfather, albeit with a strange set of six-pack abs instead of his usual six-pack beer.
The story of T&L:BB is also one many may not recognize. At the very beginning the viewer is witnessing a new ruler of Asgard: Loki. The whys and hows are simply left to the imagination, but Loki is victorious. The thunder god, the all seeing Odin, and any who would dare oppose the new regime are captured and imprisoned as Loki discovers the joys of bureaucracy. When every member of Loki's coup return to cash in the favors for the work they put in, Loki simply wants to be left alone. The old adage about the difference between having something and wanting play majorly for the conqueror. Robert Rodi, of Codenamed: Knockout fame, builds a pretty great story about what comes after you get revenge for years of abuse and nails the desperation of a character who no longer knows what to do with himself. What now? Hela wants Thor executed, but is that what Loki wants? While I'm satisfied with Rodi's vision of Loki, I can't help but want more for this story. The finale, the shortest of the chapters, is pretty anti-climactic. It seems like it laid foundation for an all-out, non-Mark Millar civil war and instead ended the film without a bang but a whimper. I'm being figurative, of course, seeing as how the film ends with a literal bang after a literal whimper.
There are points in the story where I actually feel sorry for the God of Mischief. We're shown several flashbacks of Loki's torment over the years, and since God's live a very long time, who knows what else lay between. All Loki ever wanted was to be respected, but instead he's treated to a nervous breakdown and, much like a kid who brings a gun to school, he never thought about the consequences.
The art is very different from previous editions of the Marvel Knights line of motion comics. For starters, the original artist, the astounding Esad Ribic who is generally famous for his amazing covers on various Marvel books, painted the entirety of the original Loki series. Though that work is beautiful, just how do his stellar paintings couple with a motion comic? Unfortunately, there's some very good translation and some merely okay translations. Personally, I was completely surprised that any of it translated well at all. There is some animation that may wow you and other captures that may force a brow wrinkle.
The other aspect of T&L:BB's animation is the is a ton of real animation. Worry not though, even though it's CGI, it blends pretty well and is mostly done as transitions.
So with all of that said, just how does it sound? Phenomenal. The voice cast is perfect, exceeding all of the other Marvel Knights line. I was pulled into the voice acting from the get-go and loved every second of it. It's believable and each of the actors and actresses nail the lines. Especially Loki. With this feature we see many facets of Loki and all of them showcase the range of emotion of a reluctant leader trying to balance his court's demands as well satisfy his own ambitions.
I guess if I were asked to long-story-short this review, I'd reply that it is certainly the best of the Marvel Knights line, and possibly the most ambitious. Though I haven't seen the Spider-Woman Motion Comic, the T&L:BB DVD did come with a batch of trailers and, I must say, that one looks awful, so I stick with my assertions that this is the best thing the line has to offer. It would be a shame for comic fans to miss simply on the basis that this is a motion comic. Fans whine all the time about there not being faithful adaptations to it's source, but these motion comics have been as close to the book without having pages, so I imagine it's safe to say this is no different, you know, considering 99% of this is taken directly from the book. If I were to give this film a number graded scale I'd happily give this a 5. Remember though, it's still a motion comic. It just happens to be a really fucking great one