The Marvel Universe is full of rivalry. In a world filled with powerful heroes, there's always a powerful villain to combat them and test their strength. This has resulted in some of the greatest historical hero/villain rivalries of all time. From Spider-Man and Venom, to Black Widow and her many enemies, to the Avengers and their long-running battle against the Mad King Thanos, every superhero has a brutal history with their villain.
But no rivalry between a hero and a villain has been as brutal as that of two Asgardian warriors. These warriors are on opposite sides, and have been fighting for years. However, their history is much more emotional than other rivals', because they aren't just enemies, they're brothers.
The Odinson Bros!
Thor and Loki Odinson are two sides of the same coin. Both are gods (or aliens as powerful as gods, depending on who you ask), both come from royalty, and both were extremely over-confident and cursed with pure egotism. The only difference is that while one brother learned humility and became worthy of the titles "King" and "Hero", the other only sank deeper and deeper into a world of self-pity, jealousy, and hatred.
The story of Thor and Loki ranges all the way back to the beginning of Norse Mythology, as both figures were powerful deities in Norse history. However, it was Marvel who took these two mythological figures and transformed them into two of comic's most iconic characters—and, simultaneously, into one of comic's biggest rivalries.
The Tragic History Of Thor And Loki
If you've seen any of Marvel's movies featuring the Odinson brothers, then you're probably aware of the powerful friction between them, but how did it all start? Well, while it's common for heroes to meet their villains after they've become heroes, Thor met Loki during an unexpected time in his life; childhood.
For generations, Thor's race, the Asgardians, had been at war with the terrible Frost Giants. Odin, King of Asgard, continued his father's battle with the Frost Giants, succeeding in killing the Frost Giant leader, Laufey. Unbeknownst to anyone, Laufey had a son, who he hid out of shame for his small size.
This child, who was the same size as a normal Asgardian baby, was Loki. Out of pity, Odin took Loki home and raised him as his own—telling no one, including Loki, of his Frost Giant heritage. This would ultimately contribute largely to Loki's eventual rivalry with his adoptive brother, Thor.
Despite growing up to believe that they were blood, Loki always felt that he and Thor couldn't be any more different. Thor was powerful, skilled in combat and deemed worthy of the admiration of his fellow Asgardians. Meanwhile, Loki could barely fight, and was much better at sorcery. Despite his skills in the magical arts, Loki was still seen as inferior to his popular brother.
Throughout the years, Loki and Thor became more and more different. Thor was on his way to becoming the next king, while Loki was dubbed the "God of Lies and Mischief" for his knack for magical trickery. Thor never saw the way his brother truly felt about their differences, and always did his best to make Loki feel like an important Asgardian.
However, it was all for naught, as both brothers already possessed a trait that would lead them down separate paths. For Thor, it was pride, and for Loki, it was envy. Both of these traits were brought out in full when Thor became worthy of the hammer Mjolnir, and it became clear that he would be the future ruler of Asgard.
Two Brothers, Two Fates
Thor continued to earn the approval of his father and the people of Asgard, causing Loki's jealousy of Thor to grow into hatred. Thor's arrogance and pride, which was fueled by his worthiness of Mjolnir, blinded him from seeing his brother's feelings, until it was too late.
When Thor was sent to earth by Odin to learn humility, Loki saw this as an opportunity to gain control of Asgard, and get rid of his brother once and for all.
Loki Created The Avengers
In both the MCU and the comic universe, Loki was the reason for the Avengers formation, in more ways than one. In Avengers #1 in 1963, Loki used his hypnotism skills to manipulate the Hulk into going on a rampage. Loki used this to draw Thor out, and get Hulk to destroy his brother. Unfortunately, Thor saw past Loki's tricks, and with the help of Iron, Ant-Man and The Wasp, he was able to calm the Hulk down.
This event, unbeknownst to Loki, would result in the formation of the Avengers not long after. In the Thor movie, Loki's alliance with Thanos and the Chitauri caused Earth's Mightiest to come together to stop his invasion of Earth.
The Kidnapping Of Jane Foster
You would think that after supplying his brother with his greatest allies, Loki would give up on trying to make Thor's life miserable, but you'd be wrong. Another iconic Thor/Loki battle exists in the pages of 'Journey into Mystery #108', which sees Loki kidnapping Thor's human love interest Jane Foster and throwing her into Limbo.
This was an exceptionally emotional event for the God of Thunder, who saw the woman he loved captured by the troubled sibling who he still had love for. Eventually, Thor deicded that he had to save Jane Foster, no matter what it took.
However, Loki knew that his brother wouldn't be able to do much as long as he had Jane Foster as a hostage. Thor was thankfully able to save Foster, and deliver a much-deserved beating to his brother, with the help of the mystical Doctor Strange.
Why Their Fight Is The Strongest In The Marvel Universe
Whether you're looking at the movies or reading the comics, there's no denying that the greatest and perhaps most heartbreaking theme surrounding Thor and Loki's rivalry is betrayal. However, the thing about this particular form of betrayal is that it is not one-sided.
It's easy to see why Thor would feel betrayed by Loki. The two were once happy brothers, part of a loving family, and when Loki betrayed Asgard and tried to have him killed, Thor could hardly believe that this traitor was the same brother he grew up with.
But because Loki is a villain, it's easy to miss or ignore his side of the story, and the level of betrayal he feels. Thor's pride and desire to be king caused him to unwittingly ignore the way Loki was treated in Asgard, and after years of pent of anger and heartbreak, Loki felt betrayed by the man who was supposed to be his brother. Though he often tried to take the life of his brother, and take over Asgard, part of the reason he failed was because he still felt attached to Thor and their home, causing him to unknowingly hold back.
What's Next for the Brothers of Asgard?
Thor and Loki's battle is still going on strong today, especially in the movies. Thor: Ragnarok is coming next year, and with Thor and Loki returning for it, we're definitely going to see these brothers at each other's necks once more.
With Ragnarok essentially bringing the Asgardian apocalypse to the big screen, it's even possible that Loki and Thor's battle in the movie could be more deadly than any of their other fights. It will be interesting to see where their relationship is at when Thor and Loki return for Thor: Ragnarok, especially when you take a look back at the events that have led up to this no doubt epic film!
But Who Is The Strongest Odinson?
Now that we've gone through the history of Thor and Loki, as well as some of their most iconic battles, it's time to decide once and for all which powerful Asgardian is the strongest.
Though I am very fascinated with the journey that Loki has gone through, I've got to give it to Thor for a couple of reasons. Besides always coming out on top in their fights, Thor has been able to let go of his pride and his large ego, truly making him worthy to wield the hammer Mjolnir, as well as protect Earth and Asgard.
Loki has unfortunately allowed his hatred and jealousy of his brother to grow, causing him to descent further into madness, and leave him in a dark place. This, along with the fact that he constantly ignores his conscious, is why Loki always loses against his powerful brother.
Thanks For Reading! What Do You Think Of The History Of The Odinson Brothers?