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Marvel Pride Depicts a Lonely Loki

Marvel’s annual pride issue, Marvel’s Voices: Pride (2022) #1 continues the tradition of highlighting a variety of Marvel’s LGBTQ+ heroes throughout its history. This year, however, one of Marvel’s most beloved anti-heroes and villains got a special double feature, Loki.

The God of Mischief was the leading character in two stories and was given a variant cover that showcased his many forms. Loki finally receives his well-deserved moment in the spotlight in this year’s Pride. This issue reveals the many aspects of his relationship with the queer community and these new stories breathe new life into his character.The first of Loki’s two stories, “All of My Exes in the Nexus” (by Alyssa Wong and Stephen Bryne) focuses on his relationship with the Young Avengers, a team of which he was once a member. In this story, Loki finds himself kidnapped by a coalition of all his previous partners. He uses this as an excuse to hit the “panic button”, attempting to summon the Young Avengers to help him out.

Most of them ignore him, but he gets the attention of Billy Kaplan (Wiccan) who tells his husband Teddy Altman (Hulking) about the call. The couple then reaches out to a Nexus Being, America Chavez, who uses her powers to bring them to Loki. The four of them team up to defeat Loki’s exes. However, it is revealed that Loki could have escaped on his own. His cry for help was merely a ploy to see his friends again, depicting the emptiness in his life and his very relatable need for love.

The second story, “Over the Rainbow” (by Ira Madison III, Lorenzo Susi and Rachelle Rosenberg), has a similar beat, but from a different perspective. This one begins with Rūna (Valkyrie), attending a Pride event on Earth and narrating how she had never felt a need to celebrate her identity before. Regardless, she decides to try and bring Pride to Asgard, proposing it to Thor who rejects the idea.Loki then emerges from the shadows and suggests that they hold Pride with the Ice Giants instead. Rūna accepts Loki’s offer, but the party ended up being more focused on Loki’s ego than on Pride itself. Surprisingly Thor arrives wishing to join the party, revealing that the Thor who rejected Pride earlier was actually just Loki in disguise. With Thor’s consent, Asgard holds a proper Pride festival.

These stories both focus on Loki’s insecurities and his inability to properly communicate his needs. Loki wanted to be friends with the Young Avengers, but he didn’t know how to reach out to them without an excuse. He wanted to hang out with Rūna at Pride but didn’t know how to do so without tricking her. Loki’s interactions with Rūna also served as a parody of rainbow capitalism. Loki’s version of Pride was more about celebrating himself than queer communities, a common criticism directed at corporate pride events from non-queer-friendly companies. Loki’s queerness is a frequently discussed and debated trait. Especially in light of the Marvel Cinematic Universe indirectly confirming his bisexuality in one line. The comics this year leaning into his awkward relationship with other members of the queer community is an interesting, if slightly meta, choice that leads to unique and fun storytelling.

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