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Loki's Most Powerful Variant is a Mutant, Not a God | Screen Rant

While the MCU's Loki introduced fans to many variants of the God of Lies from across the multiverse, it didn't touch on one of the most tragic, and most powerful, versions from Marvel's many alternate realities. But rather than being a true god, the Loki of Earth-9997 was revealed to be an incredibly powerful mutant - one who discovered the lie at the core of Asgard and underwent a number of staggering transformations in order to set things right.

Created by Alex Ross and Jim Krueger, Earth X is an ambitious alternate universe in which all of humanity gains superpowers after the Inhuman king Black Bolt releases the Terrigen Mists worldwide (something he'd later do in Marvel's main continuity), and sees the tragic fall of heroes like Captain America and the Fantastic Four. Earth X - and its sequels Universe X, Paradise X, and Marvels X - reveals the hidden history of this reality, with a lot of focus on the machinations of the godlike Celestials, and especially the ways in which they manipulated the gods of Asgard.

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On Earth-9997, it's revealed that the Celestials have manipulated life on Earth in order to protect the young Celestial gestating in the heart of the planet. As part of this manipulation, Celestials make it so that beings who reach the all-powerful third tier of mutation lose any sense of individuality, with their appearance, abilities, and even memories dictated by those around them in order to keep them from growing too powerful. Loki discovers that the Asgardians are an alien race turned into the Norse gods because that's how they were seen when they first arrived on Earth - an effect cemented by a Norwegian villager named Donnerson, who was manipulated by Mephisto into becoming the pantheon's Odin, helping to lock them in a useful form.

Once Loki's true nature is revealed to him by Aaron Stack - aka Machine Man, the replacement Watcher of this reality - he does everything he can to free his fellow Asgardians, proving their true nature by convincing them to resurrect themselves from death by sheer force of will. While the Celestials defeat the Asgardians, Loki's quest continues, and he gradually learns to define his own nature, taking on a strange new appearance and embracing Thor as an ally in freeing their people.

Loki and Thor were eventually able to reveal the truth to their fellow Asgardians, who nevertheless decided to resume the life of gods, won over by Donnerson's repentance. While Thor resolved to truly become his human form of Donald Blake, Loki - transformed by his experiences - chose to define himself as a new version of Thor, gaining his brother's powers and a new version of Mjolnir. It's worth noting that given the nature of the third tier of mutation, Loki could have become literally anything and unlocked any ability, limited only by what he could persuade first himself, and then others, to believe he'd become. The series doesn't definitely answer whether this alternate-universe Loki variant will continue expanding his abilities or choose to be cemented as just Thor, but either way he is able to surpass even godlike power by learning the truth of the Celestials' manipulation, choosing to embody love and heroism.

In most of his modern stories, Loki fights to escape his preordained role as the snake of Asgard's Eden. On Earth-9997, he actually manages to succeed, discovering that the limitations others placed on him were always a lie, and gaining supreme power as a result. As Loki has risen in popularity thanks to Tom Hiddleston's performance in the MCU, Marvel's comics have cast Loki as more of a troubled hero than a villain, redefining him as a God of Stories constantly trying to escape and subvert his own - something the Earth X saga embraced years earlier. That he ultimately chooses to become his hated brother is an ironic ending for Loki, and crucially one which proves that in the sprawling ecosystem of Marvel's multiverse, even the God of Lies has the potential to change - albeit in extreme circumstances.

Next: Marvel's New Timeline Gives Loki the Death He Always Deserved

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