The first episode of Loki Season 2 introduced us to the new character Hunter X-5, but it wasn’t until episode 2 that the TVA enforcer decided to find out just what kind of life he left behind when he was plucked from his original timeline. Episode 2, “Breaking Brad,” revealed X-5’s true calling as a Hollywood star by the name of Brad Wolfe as well as Brad’s role in the fictional 1970s horror movie Zaniac.
Loki‘s latest episode brings the Marvel Comics villain Zaniac into the MCU.
If this is Loki’s way of telling the audience that X-5/Brad is destined to become the MCU’s version of Marvel Comics villain Zaniac, then Loki and Mobius have something far more dangerous to worry about than variants of Kang the Conqueror.
Zaniac could very well just end up being the latest name plucked out of comics obscurity by Marvel and used to add a bit of familiarity to a completely different character. After all, They’ve done it before with Taskmaster, The Vulture, Nebula, and a slew of other characters who are very different from their comic book counterparts. Why wouldn’t Disney do it with Loki’s version of Zaniac? In fact, it already has.
It’s pretty safe to say that if Loki‘s version of Brad turns into Zaniac, it won’t be because some movie pyrotechnics ignited residual radioactive material left over from the Manhattan Project 70-something years prior…
In the brief time we’ve spent so far with “Brad Wolfe” he’s already very different than the Brad Wolfe from the 616 universe of the comics. For starters, Brad Wolfe from the comics tangles with Loki’s brother Thor rather than the trickster god himself. He also has nothing to do with the TVA whatsoever.
616 Brad Wolfe is an actor, so at least he has that in common with his MCU counterpart. Comic Wolfe, however, has an accident involving nuclear materials that transforms him into the yellow-skinned, green-haired monster that looks very much like DC hero The Creeper, now that we think about it.
Now, going by the name of the character he was playing at the time, Zaniac, and possessing superhuman strength as well as the ability to shoot energy knives, Wolfe starts murdering women until he’s stopped by Thor.
It’s pretty safe to say that if Loki‘s version of Brad turns into Zaniac, it won’t be because some movie pyrotechnics ignited residual radioactive material left over from the Manhattan Project 70-something years prior—the MCU tends to prefer more grounded origins.
The odd thing about Zaniac, however, is that in the comics, he’s not just a monster created by scientific means but also the host of a demonic presence from the dark dimension created by Dormammu—as in Doctor Strange’s Dormammu. It’s that aspect of the comic book iteration of Zaniac that we could see making its way into Loki and the MCU as a whole.
It’s entirely possible that Zaniac could end up being just an easter egg or, worse, some toothless mortal threat that gets defeated in a single episode.
Marvel Studios has been embracing the supernatural side of their comic book heritage ever since the first Doctor Strange came out in 2016, but it’s really been ramping up in recent years with the release of WandaVision, Doctor Strange 2, and the upcoming Agatha series.
Could Marvel be bringing a little bit of magic (beyond the title character) to the world of Loki? It would certainly pose a new challenge to the mostly science-based TVA and succeed in making Zaniac a dangerous threat.
It’s entirely possible that Zaniac could end up being just an easter egg or, worse, some toothless mortal threat that gets defeated in a single episode. That’s what makes being a Marvel fan so hard sometimes. You never know if a new character is going to be a worthy alternative to the comic book original or another Trevor Slattery.