This article contains Loki episode 5 spoilers.
Marvel’s Loki episode 5 is a big one. Yes, we know…last week felt like that. And the one before it, too. But this one really IS, with the entire episode taking place (as DoG’s Kayti Burt put it) on top of a literal “trash pile of MCU and Marvel Comics Easter eggs.”
With that in mind, let’s have some fun with all the incredible Marvel references they managed to sneak into Loki episode 5.
Journey Into Mystery
You probably already know this, but Journey Into Mystery was the book that first introduced the Marvel Comics version of Thor, with Loki following shortly after. The title eventually was just renamed Thor since the Asgardians had become the primary focus of the book for years by that point. However, Journey Into Mystery was revived a few years back, with its primary focus being on the adventures of Kid Loki this time around.
The Lokis pass a helicopter with “THANOS” on the side. This is a reference to Spidey Super Stories #39 from 1979. The all-ages comic featured a story of Spider-Man and the Cat (Hellcat) taking on Thanos, who was on the hunt for the Cosmic Cube. He flew around New York City in his own helicopter with his name on the side. The reference comes up as a joke here and there, including an issue of Deadpool. Even Thanos’ giant two-sided blade weapon from Avengers: Endgame has been considered by many to be a sly reference to the Thanos Copter.
While the Lokis are all drinking wine, Kid Loki is shown drinking Hi-C Ecto Cooler. The Slimer-based citrus drink was a tie-in to The Real Ghostbusters cartoon of the 1980s and lasted into 2001 due to its popularity. Afterwards, it became a fondly-remembered relic to time. Ecto Cooler made a brief return in 2016 to coincide with the Ghostbusters reboot. Sadly, there’s no news of it coming back for the upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife movie.
Speaking of Kid Loki…
Kid Loki seems to be wielding a flaming sword, which looks an awful lot like Laevateinn, the sword he wielded in the Loki: Agent of Asgard comics.
- In the background of the Lokis’ lair, we see a Polybius arcade machine. Polybius is a long-running urban legend. Supposedly, back in 1981, an arcade machine was set up in Portland, Oregon, watched over by various men in black. The game was so addicting that it caused fights to break out and horrible side-effects to its players. We wrote more about the decades-old mystery of Polybius right here.
- Pretty sure there’s an old Williams Space Pinball machine in there, too but that’s not as wild as Polybius.
Fittingly, the realm where all the pruned victims end up is called the Void. In the comics, the Void is a dark, inexplicable, and possibly biblical entity that acts as the evil side to the Sentry. During the storyline Siege, the Void murdered Loki, which facilitated his rebirth as Kid Loki.
Alioth first appeared in Avengers: The Terminatrix Objective #1, the same 1993 comic that also introduced Ravonna Renslayer to the world…and one that features Kang as its central villain. Hmmmm…
Oh, and Alioth was co-created by Mobius M. Mobius inspiration/model Mark Gruenwald, who gets another shout later in the episode.
- The “politician Loki” who we see leading (inasumuch as they can/want to be led) the loose coalition of Variant Lokis is modeled almost exactly on the version of Loki from Marvel’s Vote Loki story by Christopher Hastings, Langdon Foss, and Paul McCaffery. In it, Loki ends up running for President, with his ridiculous campaign built on the “honest” deception of openly lying to the American people inadvertently aided by a credulous news media. It’s a good read and you should check it out.
- This episode also engages in the old MCU/Star Wars tradition of someone getting a hand cut off…in this case it’s our pal, “Vote Loki.”
- A frog resembling Thor is shown in a jar labeled “T365.” Wouldn’t you know it, Thor #365 is the issue where Loki transforms Thor into a frog. Yes, it was a whole thing. Walt Simonson’s run on the Thor comics is really spectacular.
- “Frog Thor” also got a mention in Thor: Ragnarok, during the “play within the movie” seen as “Loki” apologized to “Thor” for turning him into a frog.
- So it appears that Classic Loki is basically what would have happened if “our” Loki survived the opening of Avengers: Infinity War, which he did by allowing Thanos to kill a duplicate while he disguised himself as some debris. Classic Loki went into hiding and developed a taste for brighter greens and yellows, and aged into Richard E. Grant, before he was pruned by the TVA and found himself here in the Void.
Classic Loki’s line about “the god of outcasts” comes from 2019’s Loki #5, by Daniel Kibblesmith and Andy McDonald:
“I am Loki. God of outcasts. They see themselves in me. And I in them. All of us, alone together. It’s why my stories always end with someone trying to put me in a box. And begin with my spectacular escape.”
Later in the episode, Classic Loki and Kid Loki literally “exit stage right,” in what feels like a very deliberately “stagey” moment that plays on the Shakespearean overtones of all of this.
The Living Tribunal
On the ground in the Void there’s a large severed head…and it’s that of The Living Tribunal, a cosmic entity created by Stan Lee and Marie Severin back in 1967. The presence of a Living Tribunal (even one who is dead at this present time), whose entire purpose for being is predicated on the existence of a multiverse, means that the TVA is trying very hard to cut all ties and any evidence of the fact that the multiverse is already out there.
The USS Eldridge was a real Cannon-class destroyer in the U.S. Navy in use from 1943 to 1992. It was supposedly sold for scrap after it was decommissioned but Loki posits that perhaps it was an unwanted Variant in the Sacred Timeline. Perhaps this is because the ship was rumored to be subjected to the “Philadelphia Experiment” that was supposed to render it invisible to the human eye. The story is sadly probably a hoax.
There’s a not exactly great 1984 movie called The Philadelphia Experiment which adds time travel to the equation, making this little callback even more Loki appropriate.
Is That Stan Lee?
At about 9:38 there’s a mural in the TVA headquarters. On the right there’s a guy in prescription shades, with a familiar moustache and salt-and-pepper hair. We’re not saying that’s Stan Lee, but…
Yes, we know, that ominous castle sure looks like Doctor Doom’s home of Doomstadt, but…it’s probably not (or is it?). More likely, this is Castle Limbo, home of Kang the Conqueror (or…is it?).
We unpacked these possibilities some more here.
- The “heroic Loki” theme at the end sounds like it’s about to break into Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries.”
- Speaking of, the regular Loki theme is very similar to the part of the Delfonics “Ready or Not Here I Come (Can’t Hide From Love)” that was sampled for Missy Elliott’s “Sock It To Me.” The original (also sampled for the Fugees’ “Ready or Not” and Dr. Dre’s “Still D.R.E.”) was about the inevitability of love, and Missy’s song was about sneaking into somebody’s house to get your back blown out, so basically the same thing. Could have some bearing on Loki and Sylvie’s story.
- The music that plays during the “Loki brawl” is this show’s equivalent of Scooby-Doo chase music. That’s a good thing, by the way.
Pixar, is that you?
Was that the Pizza Planet truck? Mobius’s ride, a station wagon with a slice of pizza on top, immediately brought to mind the popular Pixar easter egg/elaborate timeline mcguffin that has appeared in every Pixar movie to date. Also, very nice touch having Lightning McQueen himself drive it.
An even nicer touch is the license plate on the car Mobius is driving: GRN W1D. As in “Gruenwald.” As in (say it with us, kids!) Mark Gruenwald, the Marvel writer and editor who Mobius is based on.
At one point on the ground in the Void we can spot a gigantic Yellowjacket helmet. Yellowjacket is the codename for several size-shifting superheroes in the Marvel Comics, but is best known to MCU fans as Corey Stoll’s Darren Cross from the first Ant-Man flick.
Guardians of the Galaxy
There’s lots of crashed spacecraft, one of which kind of looks like the Dark Aster (Ronan the Accuser’s ship in Guardians of the Galaxy), and there may be a Helicarrier hanging around. There’s also a flying saucer that vaguely resembles the ship from John Carpenter’s The Thing, and a pirate ship that if Doctor Doom were actually the villain of this show (he isn’t…or…is he?) would make us think of that character’s very first appearance in Fantastic Four comics, where he sent Ben Grimm back in time to become Blackbeard. No, really.
Miscellaneous Time Variants
- The fate of the Lokis is reminiscent of What If? #12, otherwise known as What If the X-Men Had Stayed in Asgard? At the end of the story, after tasting defeat yet again, Loki begged Those Who Sit Above in Shadow to allow him to rule Asgard. They agreed by sending him far into the future at the end of time. As reality started to break down, Loki went out laughing in the face of oblivion.
- The bus ad at the beginning is for Calum Ross, who is an editor on the show.
The shot of all the Lokis walking as the camera swoops overhead is very much reminiscent of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies.
- Loki and Sylvie are cold in The Void. But wait a minute, aren’t they both Frost Giants? Why then would Loki conjure a green blanket? Unless he wants a convenient excuse to cuddle up with his Variant…
- Loki is drinking “RoxxiWine” pinot noir…out of a box…which is a nice touch.
- Is that weird, very large plant in the bowling alley hideout supposed to be a Variant Yggdrasil? Or wait…what if that’s Plant Loki?!? He’s green, isn’t he?
- Next to Alligator Loki’s kiddie pool there’s a copy of The Mystery and Lore of Monsters, a 1930 book by Charles J.S. Thompson.
- The tower we all keep thinking is Avengers Tower is in fact Qeng Tower, the headquarters of Qeng Enterprises, the company that Tony Stark (mistakenly) sold the old Avengers tower to in the comics.
Spot anything we missed? (Probably, right?) Let us know in the comments!