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Loki: What is The Void in Marvel Comics?

still from Loki episode 5
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Now that Loki is wrapped, there are still questions that remain following the reveal of the power behind the Time Variance Authority and who dwells in the Citadel at the End of Time, beyond the destructive realm of The Void.

For one thing, the realm of The Void itself holds some mysteries still. Though Alioth's presence has been explained, there are some interesting clues about The Void's ongoing connection to some of the show's most prominent Loki variants - some of which could come into play in the already confirmed Loki season 2.

Spoilers ahead for Loki season 1.

The Void

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Beyond The Void lies the Citadel at the End of Time, the dwelling of the true power behind the TVA - He Who Remains, an adaptation of a semi-obscure comic book character who has been established as a variant of Kang the Conqueror in the MCU.

He Who Remains is responsible for building the fake Time-Keepers, creating the TVA, and capturing Alioth as a way to win a Multiversal war between his own many variants.

But The Void itself remains a bit of a mystery - and Loki episode 5's exploration of the realm left some clues about its, and how the MCU concept may have been inspired by its comic book counterpart after all, who is not a place at all, but a person. 

In turn, those odd connections could spell a future for The Void in the MCU.

What is The Void?

The Void

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

In comics books, The Void is a being of dark energy who is connected inextricably to The Sentry, a superhero who has "the power of a thousand exploding suns" with an equally powerful opposite, evil personality - that being The Void. 

The Sentry has a bizarre Marvel Comics history. In his origin, Robert Reynolds is a meth addict who breaks into a lab to find drugs, only to ingest an experimental compound called the Golden Sentry Serum. Obtaining amazing cosmic power, Reynolds becomes addicted to the drug, but eventually turns himself around and becomes one of the strongest heroes in the Marvel Universe to adventure alongside the Avengers, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, and even the X-Men. 

But through it all, The Sentry struggles against The Void - which kills over a million people in a devastating attack on New York City - until he discovers that The Void is in fact part of him, and the only way to truly defeat the evil inside him is to essentially erase all memory of his existence and his powers, even from himself. With the help of Doctor Strange and Reed Richards, the Sentry hides his existence, erasing his past and hiding his actions in the Marvel Universe.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Years later, however, Reynolds' memories and powers resurfaced, and with them came The Void. Though he was able to rally Earth's heroes and stop The Void once more, once again being forgotten by all, this didn't last long, and The Sentry began reappearing regularly, even becoming associated with the Avengers again.

Of course, this in itself proved to be a tragedy following the events of Secret Invasion in which Norman Osborn, a key character in preventing Earth from being conquered by Skrulls, is named the leader of HAMMER, a more authoritarian version of SHIELD. Osborn creates his own 'Dark Avengers' comprised of villains taking on the identities of known heroes such as Spider-Man, Hulk, Hawkeye, and more, all while operating according to Osborn and HAMMER's whims. 

For his powerhouse, he recruits The Sentry - beginning a series of manipulations and subversions on the hero to bring back The Void as Osborn's secret weapon.

All the while, Osborn is also working with Loki as part of a scheme to return Asgard, which was then located on Earth, back to its own realm with Loki as the leader.

Here's where things get even worse.

Loki and The Void

page from Siege #4

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Osborn's time as leader of HAMMER culminates in the story Siege, in which Osborn, Loki, and the Dark Avengers launch their assault on Asgard. But much to Loki's horror, Osborn has been manipulating him all along as well, with a plan not to send Asgard home but to destroy it. 

As the Avengers and other heroes intervene, Loki seizes the Norn Stones, reality-altering Asgardian artifacts, to empower the heroes and save Asgard - he can't rule rubble, after all. But The Void, now fully in control of the Sentry, manages to send Asgard crashing to the ground before attacking Loki and killing him.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

This sets off the chain of events in which Loki is reborn as Kid Loki, and starts on a journey toward heroism and self-discovery that's reflected in the Loki streaming show. And though Sentry/Void is defeated again, this isn't the end of his association with Loki.

Years after his death and rebirth, Loki (now a young adult and once again engaging in some cosmic mischief with a bit more of an altruistic motive) tricks Doctor Strange into ceding the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme to him in the story Doctor Strange: God of Magic, under the belief that he is better poised to take on an impending magical threat than Strange.

Things take a serious turn when Loki accidentally kills Strange's dog, Bats (don't worry, Loki later brings him back in his astral form), leading Strange to seek out The Sentry, who's in isolation after being separated from The Void. Sentry confronts Loki, who escalates the conflict by releasing The Void from its magical prison inside The Sanctum Sanctorum, inadvertently setting up the very threat that Loki was initially trying to fight.

In the end, Loki and Strange team up to defeat the magical threat that is bigger than both of them, and The Void is recaptured and imprisoned once again in the Sanctum Sanctorum.

The Void in the MCU

Loki variants

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

In the MCU, The Void is more of a place than a being - though it also is home to the entity known as Alioth, which devours everything that comes into its path, including variants of Loki. This is a bit different from comic books, in which Alioth, while still a massive cloud-like being, is a time conqueror. 

Alioth as a devourer is somewhat similar to The Void from comic books, which also manifests with similar purple energy and smoke. There's some thematic connection there - especially considering Alioth devours Old Loki, who bears the strongest resemblance to his comic book counterpart - but not an apparent storyline connection.

That said, there are some particularly interesting implications around the comic book history of The Sentry and The Void that also line up with the themes explored in Loki - particularly the lost timeline of Robert Reynolds.

Though Reynolds never really encountered the TVA and isn't a variant, his existence does threaten reality by allowing a secret power that's been locked away to potentially get out and destroy everything in its path, forcing all memory of his existence to be erased and concealed, even from himself and his allies.

Again, there are some interesting thematic parallels there. Ravonna tells Sylvie she has no memory of why Sylvie was initially targeted by the TVA - and of course, everyone in the TVA is mindwiped, which leaves a host of mysteries around the TVA and its agents for Loki season 2.

There's one more particularly interesting - if a bit far-fetched - point about The Sentry and The Void in relation to Loki, and it all comes back to one of Loki's most prominent variants: Kid Loki.

(Image credit: Marvel)

In comic books, Loki was reborn as Kid Loki after battling The Void to the death and losing. When Loki meets Classic Loki and Kid Loki, Classic Loki states that The Void is "[Kid Loki's] realm." Then, when Classic Loki uses his illusory powers to distract Alioth, he rebuilds the wreckage of Asgard that is all around him - wreckage that somewhat resembles the fallen Asgard from Siege, which was destroyed by The Void.

Finally, Kid Loki states that the 'Nexus Event' that led to his pruning by the MCU was that he "killed Thor." In comic books, when Thor dies in the event Fear Itself, it's due in part to Kid Loki meddling in the past and inadvertently altering Thor's fate.

Kid Loki is one of Loki's most popular variants, both in comic books and in the MCU, so anything that could bring him back - especially to join up with the other Young Avengers characters that have been introduced in the MCU - seems like an easy sell.

And of course, there's the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which is said to connect back to Loki. The last time Loki, The Void, and The Sentry all crossed paths, Strange was at the center of the conflict, and Strange was also part of the solution to defeating The Void in the first place. That film will also introduce America Chavez to the MCU, who was a key part of Kid Loki's era of the Young Avengers.

Finally, the MCU realm of The Void seems like a place that could be exempt from the Multiversal mayhem that is apparently about to ensue - and its dweller Alioth was instrumental in ending the first Multiverse war, according to He Who Remains.

Now that the Multiverse is unlocked and running free, anything and everything is on the table. And with variants of MCU characters and concepts now an active part of the story, we may even see multiple versions of all kinds of characters - The Void included.

While Loki's MCU story is still developing, read up on the best Loki stories from comic books.

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)