We've finally been given a look at Loki's forces in the new, extended trailer for The Avengers, as premiered online just after a cut-down version graced the Superbowl.
Here are four screen grabs from the single shot in which they appear with any degree of clarity:
So it's not the Skrull or the Kree – despite the silhouette almost matching, that's down to their funky headwear.
These figures do look quite a bit like the Frost Giants as seen in Thor…
…but not exactly.
I don't think these strange invaders are complete strangers, however. Or, at least, I reckon we've seen a scene with lots of similarities.
Here are some pages from Thor, during Walt Simonson's run, the famous Surtur Saga storyline — which at one point brings in both the Fantastic Four and The Avengers in an attempt to help save the day against attack by an overwhelming force in New York.
What you see here are the sons of Muspell, creatures from Muspellheim, dropping into the streets of Manhattan to wreak havok. In both Norse myth and Simonson's comics, this storyline also involves the breaking of the Bifröst bridge, but as some of that has been played out in last year's Thor, Joss Whedon's script for The Avengers probably won't be going beat-for-beat with what we've already read in the comics.
In Simonson's storyline, the sons of Muspell come to New York via a portal near the top of the Empire State Building. Here's a page:
This too is echoed in these scenes from The Avengers. In that first trailer screencap at the top of this post, note a glimpse of some sort of large arch structure with the warriors dropping down from it (Or out of it. Edited to add — looking even more closely at that top image, the shadowed part of the arch seems to be actually composed of the figures emerging from it. That would match the concept of the comic page here almost exactly), and also note the Chrysler building here:
Some sort of energy burst around the spire of the building here, as per the comics. The edit makes it seem that Thor causes the lightning, but we don't know if that's really the case – and even if it is, there's no reason to discount the association. Re-watch the trailer after you've taken a good look at these pages. Panic in the streets with warriors dropping down or out of an arched mass or structure, the focus on the building top, and the general look of the creatures… it's all a pretty decent look-and-feel fit with the visual of the comic storyline, even if the details are remixed to fit the film.
So, Loki's army would seem to be something like the sons of Muspell, from somewhere like Muspellheim. The names might change – that won't be important – but if I were a betting man, I'd say that they won't. I'd say the original Norse handles are going to hang around.
There's a long history of comic book movies taking bits and pieces of imagery and plot mechanics from here and there in the strips that inspired them. I'm sure that Whedon has done just the same. And I'm also pretty sure he'll have put them altogether into something fresh and cogent…
But to know about that for sure, there's still a little waiting to get through. The Avengers reaches US screens on May 4th, and UK screens a week early on April 27th.