Loki season 2 episode 2: Is the Hunter X-05 a variant evil? Zaniac and his origins explored

Loki season 2
Loki season 2 (Image via IMDb)

The second episode of Loki season 2 centers on Hunter X-05, who turns rogue and takes on the personality of Brad Wolfe, a movie star with a film, Zaniac. The episode delves into the complex nature of Hunter X-05, now known as Brad Wolfe, who is torn between his role at the Time Variance Authority (TVA) and his newly discovered human life.

The enigmatic character known as Zaniac introduces a deeper layer of complexity to the episode. Originating from the ominous Dark Dimension, Zaniac takes on the form of a parasitic entity that has taken possession of Brad Wolfe.

As the episode unfolds, the boundaries between good and evil become increasingly blurred, leaving the audience pondering over Hunter X-05's true nature—is he mere­ly an undercover villain or a misunderstood soul ye­arning for his own path?

Hunter X-05 is expected to embrace the dark side through Zaniac in Loki Season 2

Hunter X-05, or Rafael Casal, stirs things up as they turn rogue in Marvel’s Loki season 2. X-05 was initially a Time Variance Authority (TVA) agent, and he was on the way to find Sylvie when he forsook his path, plunging himself back into his former life on the timeline. Further on, this deflection acquaints us with the name "Zaniac,” who is a character with eye-catching nucleation in the Marvel comics.

In comics, Brad Wolfe is known as Zaniac. He is an actor who becomes haunted by a malevolent presence after portraying the character of Zaniac, a notorious serial killer. This haunting transforms him into a murderer who mirrors the traits of his on-screen persona. The entity that possesses him is a demonic being dispatched to Earth by Dormammu, an antagonist from the Doctor Strange comics.

This otherworldly force has its origins in alte­rnate realms and has been spreading chaos for centuries by taking control of humans and turning them into killers. One infamous example of an individual succumbing to this possession was Jack the Ripper during the Victorian era.

In season 2, episode­ 2 of Loki, viewers witness the rogue actions of TVA agent X-05, also known as Brad Wolfe. During his own movie premiere for an in-universe film called The Zaniac on 1977 Earth, Brad escapes.

However, Loki and Mobius manage to track him down and bring him back to the TVA. It's worth noting that "Zaniac" carries significant importance as it connects to the comics, where both Brad Wolfe and Zaniac originate from early '80s Thor comics.

According to the comic books, Zaniac has the strength of a superhuman, and he could lift more than 75 tons. He also possesses superhuman durability and bodily resilience. His unique ability is to generate and scatter fast-moving radioactive knife-like projectiles. Possessing those abilities, made more so by the dark spirit sent by Dormammu, makes him a serious opponent.

The inclusion of Zaniac and Hunter X-05 in Loki season 2 could potentially reintroduce Dormammu as an adversary in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Considering that Zaniac has origins tied to Dormammu and was sent to Earth by him, it is plausible that upcoming episodes may offer clues about Dormammu's potential return to the MCU.

Therefore, should we regard Hunter X-05 as a variant of evil? It is due to his affiliation with Zaniac. He could as well become evil due to his possession by the dark spirit of Zaniac, because if the TV show follows the comic’s storyline, Zaniac himself has already indicated that he exists and is not good.

In the ongoing season of Loki, the introduction of Zaniac brings forth an added layer of complexity and excitement. Whether this character emerges as the ultimate antagonist or becomes a crucial piece in a grander scheme, his arrival has undeniably set the stage for thrilling magical battles and cosmic intrigues with high stakes.

Loki season 2 episode 3 will air on October 19, 2023, on Thursday at 9 pm ET on the streaming giant, Disney+.

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