Published June 28, 2023

The Origin of Hela, Goddess of Death

Discover the true origin of Hela, Asgardian Goddess of Death, as revealed by the 'Blood of the Fathers' arc in 'Thor.'

A recurring foe of Thor and his Asgardian allies, Hela—the deadly Queen of Hel—has repeatedly proven she’s more than capable of standing toe-to-toe with the heaviest hitters in the Marvel Universe. However, much about her origin has been shrouded in mystery. Now, the "Blood of the Fathers" arc in THOR (2020) has finally revealed some important new details about Hela’s origin. Here’s what you need to know.

One Hela’va Origin

Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Hela debuted in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY (1952) #102. As an Asgardian, Hela possesses various abilities, such as enhanced strength and stamina; she also uses her powerful magic to lord over the dead. She often wields these abilities as the ruler of Hel and Niffleheim, which are two Asgardian realms of death, as well as when she attempts to take over Asgard and other worlds.

Hela’s exact origin in the Marvel Universe has always been mysterious. THOR & HERCULES: ENCYCLOPAEDIA MYTHOLOGICA (2009) #1 identified Hela as the daughter of Loki and a frost giant named Angerboda, bringing her in line with her counterpart in Norse mythology. That lineage also makes her the sister of both the Midgard Serpent and Fenris. Historically, she has allied herself with Loki on several occasions during attempts to defeat Odin and Thor.

How 'Blood of the Fathers' Adds to Hela’s Origin

The "Blood of the Fathers" arc adds to Hela’s origin in some major ways. At the start of the arc, Thor—the current king of Asgard—began investigating missing souls in Valhalla and Hel. This led to a confrontation with Doctor Doom, who had kidnapped Hela, and a journey into the past, specifically to the time of Bor Burison, Thor’s grandfather.

Time travel brought Thor back to the moment where a time-displaced Thanos found himself at odds with Bor. The Mad Titan attacked Bor’s forces while the king of Asgard engaged in a ritual to create what Thanos thought was a black Infinity Stone. Instead, Thanos discovered that Bor had created a child tied to death: Hela.

Being Thanos, the Mad Titan attempted to sacrifice Hela to obtain what he dubbed the Death Stone. Instead, he found himself interrupted by Thor and his allies, who proved victorious. 

In the aftermath, Hela began aging rapidly. Bor attempted to reclaim control of Hela, but Thor refused and instead brought the young woman to Jotunheim. There, he entrusted her to a past version of Loki from a time when the Gods of Thunder and Mischief were mostly concerned with drinking and winning bets. After proving his identity to Loki, Thor entrusted Hela to Loki and his love interest at the time: Angerboda. 

Following that event, Hela’s life led her to become the Goddess of Death, putting her at odds with Thor and his allies despite his importance to her past. Still, we now know more about Hela’s origin than ever before, including how she became Loki’s daughter.

To find out Hela’s true origin, pick up THOR #35, on sale now!

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