As Loki matured into a young man, his antics became more and more pronounced, until Odin finally sent him to jail to learn from his actions. Fed up with Asgard, Loki used his magic to escape his cell, and eventually met Eldred the sorcerer, who increased his training in the black arts. Finally, Loki confronted the 1000-foot tall fire demon Surtur, enemy of the gods from the one of the nine realms of Asgard called Muspelheim, and offered him Eldred’s soul in exchange for power. Surtur accepted, and Loki assumed ownership of Eldred’s lands and minions. His foray into the black arts earned him the title of “god of evil” among the Asgardians, and he forged alliances with many of the realm’s enemies. Loki mated with the goddess Angerboda, who bore him the monstrous offspring Jormungand (the Midgard Serpent) and the Fenris Wolf, as well as Hela, the goddess of death. Loki also tricked the goddess Sigyn into marrying him by posing as her true love, Theoric.
Loki eventually learned of the prophecies of Ragnarok, a cataclysmic event in which he was fated to bring about Asgard’s ruin by slaying Balder, then leading the enemies of Asgard into final battle. Loki ultimately embraced this destiny, and sought the means to bring about Ragnarok on more than one occasion. However, Loki usually crafted his schemes so subtly that Odin and Thor could rarely justify punishing him, and Loki would continue to live in their midst, awaiting his next opportunity.
In recent years, Loki finally obtained an advantage over his half-brother when Odin sentenced Thor to Earth in the guise of Dr. Donald Blake, a medical practitioner who would transform into Thor using Mjolnir. Loki sought victory over his brother by exploiting Blake’s human weakness, and employed many pawns against him on Earth, including Jinku the Lava Man, the Weather Maker, Sandu, Amora the Enchantress, Skurge the Executioner, Skagg, Surtur, Cobra (Klaus Voorhees), Mr. Hyde, the Absorbing Man, and the Super-Skrull (Kl’rt). In one attempt to trick Thor into battling the monstrous Hulk (Bruce Banner), Loki diverted a distress call intended for the Fantastic Four to Dr. Blake’s office, but it was also intercepted by the Wasp, Yellowjacket (Henry Pym), and the armored adventurer Iron Man (Tony Stark). When the four heroes learned of Loki’s involvement and banded together with the Hulk to defeat him, they decided to form a team of heroes to face future threats, calling themselves the Avengers. Loki long regretted having caused their formation.
Coveting his Father’s Throne
Loki made several attempts at claiming the throne of Asgard when Odin entered into his “Odinsleep” hibernation (a time when Odin lay vulnerable while recharging his energy), but outside threats to Asgard such as the vengeful creature of pure hatred, Mangog and the fire demon Surtur frightened Loki into surrendering the throne to its rightful ruler. Loki continued his mischief on Earth. He once joined forces with wicked entity Dormammu of the Dark Dimension to trick the Avengers and another team of super-heroes, the Defenders, into assembling the mystical Evil Eye for them, but the combined heroes ultimately defeated them both. Loki even unleashed a direct assault upon Earth once, but Thor helped lead Earth’s ground forces against his half-brother’s army and defeated him. After Loki usurped the throne of Asgard yet again, he was punished by Odin and banished to Earth in the form of a vagrant.
Racing towards Ragnarok
Loki regained his identity due the presence of a journalist named Harris Hobbs who had been to Asgard but had the memory removed by Thor. After he returned from his fantastic journey, Hobbs dreamed of Asgard in his sleep. These dreams reached Loki, restoring him to normal. Knowing of a prediction that Ragnarok would begin with Balder being shot with an arrow of mistletoe, Loki attempted to set the destructive event in motion when he arranged for Hoder to shoot such an arrow at Balder. Loki also caused the mortal Roger “Red” Norvell to gain powers similar to Thor’s. Red defeated Thor in combat, taking Mjolnir from him. Admitting his treachery, Loki was caught and sentenced to the Place of Judgment where he was chained while a serpent dripped venom on his face. Escaping, he and his daughter Hela led the Forces of Darkness, an army of giants, trolls, and demons with Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent, to attack Asgard. Once Hela realized the Ragnarok prophecies were not being fulfilled, as the Midgard Serpent killed Red instead of Thor, she summoned the Forces of Darkness to retreat. Odin preserved Bald`er’s body and eventually revived him. Knowing Thor’s death was tied to the prophecy of Ragnarok, Odin secretly allowed Red’s empowerment to position him to die in Thor’s place, foiling the attempt at causing the cataclysm. Loki was left manacled to his wife Sigyn as punishment, but he finally obtained release by blaming Odin himself for his problems, claiming that Odin’s favoritism towards Thor was the root of all his misdeeds.
Demons, Elves, and Frogs
Meanwhile, the fire demon Surtur also schemed to bring about Ragnarok through igniting his sword “Twilight” in Asgard’s Eternal Flame of Destruction. Surtur ordered his ally Malekith the Accursed, ruler of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim, to make sure that Loki remained out of the conflict by signing a non-aggression pact. However, Loki did not honor his agreement and stood alongside Thor and Odin in Asgard’s defense. Odin seemingly sacrificed himself to imprison Surtur, and the realm was left without a ruler. Loki attempted to claim the throne himself, but the populace did not trust him. As part of a scheme to prevent Thor from claiming the throne, he cast a spell which turned his brother into a frog, but still possessing the might of Mjolnir, the “frog of thunder” forced Loki to undo his magic.