Loki has been many things: God of Mischief, stories, and time itself, always taking various forms to carry out his plans. He always served his own ideals and purposes, never bending to the will of others. A character so rich in mythology and complexity needed something to bring him even closer to our reality – and perhaps, that came in the form of Vote Loki.
The Vote Loki miniseries was published in 2016 and features the Norse deity in a completely unusual position: he decides to run for president of the United States. His only campaign promise is that he will lie to you, but he will be honest about it. Thus, the comic explores politics in a larger setting while bringing a bit of nuance to Loki Laufeyson. And, bearing in mind that Loki’s series on Disney+ made a great reference to this story, here’s everything you need to know about Vote Loki!
The Loki Miniseries
Vote Loki is a four-issue miniseries released in 2016, between June and August of that year. The series was created by Christopher Hastings and design by Langdon Foss and Paul McCaffrey and shows an exciting event in the life of the God of Mischief: he decides to become a president of the United States.
The comic is not set in an alternate universe and takes place shortly after the events of Loki: Agent of Asgard. Instead, we have here a continuation of the story of Ikol – the new version of the character, who had first been introduced in the Journey into Mystery and Young Avengers comics. This means that this is not a “Variant” of the God of Mischief, unlike the TV series.
The story ended up being a sales and critical success, further leveraging the idea of Loki as a chaotic figure who is not necessarily good or bad. Instead, he is an agent of entropy who does what he wants and only tries to stick to his own principles. The comic ended up not having considerable impacts on the continuity of the Marvel Universe in comics, but it is remembered by many readers to this day.
Whether you like it or not, art is political – after all, it is produced in a political context. Because of this, it can intentionally or unintentionally criticize something that is happening in our real world. In the case of Vote Loki, the reference is quite purposeful, as the comic was trying to draw some parallels with the 2016 United States presidential election, which culminated in Donald Trump‘s victory over Hillary Clinton.
The whole premise of the series was the idea that Loki only became a candidate by a “fluke,” and people began to seriously vote for him because he was a candidate who, despite his lies, would be honest about them. This is interesting when we look at the real-world context, as the 2016 election was punctuated by the political use of fake news – fake and defamatory news.
And at the end of the day, Vote Loki‘s miniseries isn’t even pulling for one side, be it the Democrats or Republicans. Instead, what the miniseries does is show how the population gets sick of traditional politics and all the dirt underneath it, which favors the creation of entirely insane idols just because there is widespread despair over the figure of a “hero who will save all politics.”
The story begins in 2016, at an election debate between the Democratic and Republican candidates (incidentally, they are fictional figures within the story’s context). We follow Nisa Contreras, a journalist for the Daily Bugle whose life was marred by Loki‘s actions, as he was fighting the Avengers when he ended up destroying the Contreras’ home. Still, she grew up with fire in her heart and became a great journalist.
The event is invaded by undercover H.Y.D.R.A. agents, who reveal themselves and take those present hostage and threaten to start a massacre. At this time, one of the civilians present reveals himself as Loki, who uses all his magical powers to stop the criminals in front of several cameras. After stopping them, Loki gives a brief speech to the television, saying that he doesn’t even care about politicians because they all lie so severely.
This ends up causing Loki to gain a lot of political projection. The next day, several people start campaigning, saying that “Loki will burn down Washington,” as if he should be the next elected president of the United States. And the God of Mischief decides to follow this idea, even forging a fake birth certificate to prove that he is a US-born citizen.
He ends up meeting Nisa Contreras, wishing to atone for the crimes of his past. The journalist, in turn, seizes the moment to do a big story for the Daily Bugle, exposing how Loki would be a danger to politics. However, when the article comes out, the headline is changed, making it look like she is praising the God of Mischief. In turn, it was all part of Loki’s plan to gain more attention for himself.
How Does it End?
All we see throughout the four issues is Loki doing the most absurd things and being rewarded for it. He prepares a violent attack on Latveria, just days after a debate where he says that the United States should not interfere in the politics of other countries, contrary to the other candidates. It is also revealed that he faked the H.Y.D.R.A. attack in one of the election debates to gain projection for himself.
Instead of weakening him, he gains more strength as the population embarks on a collective hysteria, categorizing him as the only possible savior for the United States. Nisa tries several times to expose the truth behind the God of Mischief, but each time something new is revealed, he rises in the polls as if this is all a big joke.
In the end, she gives up trying to reveal the truth and thinks about traveling to Chile if Loki wins the presidency. It all culminates in one last electoral debate, where she makes no bones about what is wrong with Laufeyson. With no one to accuse him of anything, the God of Mischief, for the first time, answers the public about his own campaign and his projects.
And this is where the whole thing comes in: Loki has no plan for the presidency. He wants to see the circus on fire. He’s not concerned about the economy, security, social inequality. And when the public sees this first hand, he completely loses steam on the day before the election and loses.
Later, he claims that it was all just a plan to give Nisa a chance to become an even bigger reporter, as a way to ask forgiveness for the destruction of her home in the past – but he is the God of Lies, and we can’t even believe that right.
This “version” of Loki, if we can call it that, appeared in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe in the fifth episode of Loki, the villain’s solo series released on Disney+. Here, we see that he is a Variant – that is, an alternate version from another timeline, who leads other Variants as he goes on a quest to find Classic Loki, Kid Loki, Alligator Loki, and the brand new “variant” of the God of Mischief.
While the character’s look is entirely faithful to the Vote Loki comics, there isn’t much about the history of this character and no connections that show he went through the same history as the comics. This Variant is less than five minutes on screen and appears only to show the plethora of Lokis who have been trapped in the Void, a place near the end of time.
Still, one can speculate many things based on this appearance – for example, was this Loki only taken as a Variant because he tried to run for president of the United States, breaking the planet’s natural order of events? Had he not been kidnapped by the Temporal Variation Agency, would he have won? And at what point was he created in the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline?
It is unlikely that we will see this character again or even that this miniseries will be adapted in the future. Still, it’s an exciting comic that explores the lies of the God of Mischief in a way we’ve never seen before. And for those who enjoy political satire and dissection of what has been happening in world elections for the last ten years, it is a perfect read.