Loki Season 2 Just Wasted The Terrifying Thor Villain Who Killed Jane Foster

The Loki season 2 trailer teased the introduction of a terrifying Thor villain known for killing Jane Foster, but his actual appearance in the show demonstrates a wasted opportunity. The trailer shows Loki and partner Mobius M. Mobius attending a film premiere for Zaniac, the name of a minor Marvel Comics villain. Loki also confronts the film’s lead actor Brad Wolfe, Zaniac’s human alias.
Loki episode 1 introduces Brad as X-5, a TVA agent who is loyal to General Dox, already a significant departure from his origin in the comics. Episode 2 reveals that X-5 escaped the TVA to live a normal life on the Sacred Timeline, becoming a popular Hollywood movie star in the 1970s. However, Zaniac has a far darker history in the comics, one that Loki season 2 is ignoring thus far.

Loki Completely Changes Zaniac’s Comics Origin

In the comics, Dormammu, the evil ruler of the Dark Dimension whom Doctor Strange famously battles, sends a parasitic entity down to Earth. The entity goes on to possess multiple misogynistic men throughout history and make them serial killers, including the real-life Jack the Ripper. The entity eventually takes over Brad, as Zaniac is a film about a serial killer who violently targets women, a role Brad takes literally after his possession. Following Brad’s eventual death, Zaniac possesses Thug Thatcher, whose most notable offense is murdering Jane Foster.
Despite his powers, Zaniac is easily defeated by Thor in the comics. Similarly, Brad is subdued quickly by Loki in episode 2. Though Brad tries to escape when Loki and Mobius find him, Loki captures him with magic and returns him to the TVA. He proceeds to interrogate Brad to find out Sylvie’s location, even leaning into Brad’s taunting of him as a villain.
Despite being an annoying foil, MCU Brad displays no evil intentions or harmful views towards women. He only seems determined to return to his normal life on the Sacred Timeline, having become disillusioned with the TVA and its mission. The Loki version of Zaniac is merely a minor obstacle that the main character has to intimidate. He’s a far cry from the powerful, possessed serial killer familiar to comic book readers.

Why Loki’s Zaniac Changes Are Probably Smart

Considering his rich history in the comics, Loki could have expanded Zaniac’s role, making him a much more horrifying threat. The show also could have included how he ultimately transforms from starring in a film about a villain named Zaniac to assuming the mantle of Zaniac in his real life. However, the changes the MCU made to his character are probably for the best.
Loki has multiple external forces and motivations acting upon him this season. He’s already had to find Sylvie and still needs to fully reconcile with her. Loki’s also dealt with his time slipping and working to prevent reality from breaking apart as the Sacred Timeline branches uncontrollably. Adding another villain to his story likely would have overcomplicated the plot, especially since Loki season 2 already has the TVA and Kang.
Considering the history of Zaniac’s character and his abhorrent behavior towards women, there was an opportunity to tell a timely story about toxic masculinity. However, Loki is generally lighter in tone and such a story would have been difficult to pull off. Instead, Brad can simply serve as a fun nod to the comics.

Why Zaniac Is A Way Bigger Deal In Marvel Comics

Zaniac was the first to introduce the TVA to Marvel Comics, as the organization allows agent Justice Peace to help Thor take down the villain following Jane’s death. This connection to the TVA is likely why Loki season 2 includes him, despite the changes. However, what makes comic book Zaniac so terrifying is the fact that he can become any man and possesses multiple hosts throughout history, not just Brad. His added strength, durability, and longevity make him a perpetual threat to women throughout history.
His murder of Jane proves just how powerful and dangerous he is. It also highlights his central role in a major Thor storyline. While Loki may opt for a watered-down version of the character, his inclusion in the show still works as a neat reference to Marvel history and the TVA’s origins in the comics.
New episodes of Loki season 2 release every Thursday on Disney+.

Leave a Comment