War of the Realms: Meet the Asgardian Royal Family
As we get even closer to Marvel’s epic comic event, get to know the family at the center of it.
They’ve been ruling Asgard and protecting nine of the Ten Realms for more than half a century. The most well-known members of the Asgardian royal family are Thor Odinson, Loki Laufeyson, Odin, the All-Father, and Frigga, mother of gods. Then there are the two individuals who are on the outs: Hela, goddess of death, and Angela, a long-lost member of the royal family who was thought to be murdered by the Angels of the Tenth Realm.
Considered to be all-powerful gods by the ancient Norse people, the members of Asgard’s most prestigious family are not above dysfunction. In fact, some of their internal problems are a lot worse than anything you’d find on Midgard (aka Earth). Each individual comes with their own set of powers and deep-rooted psychological problems.
With the WAR OF THE REALMS about to bleed over into our own realm, we thought it would be nice to provide a quick, yet effective introduction to the Asgardian Royal Family.
First Appearance: JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #83
Powers: Able to summon lightning and thunder; extra-human strength and durability; wields a mystical hammer that contains an almighty cosmic storm; can fly when holding his hammer.
The god of thunder. The hero with the hammer named Mjölnir. The son who was exiled to Earth by his own father in order to learn a little lesson in humility. While on Midgard, Thor took up the persona of the human known as Donald Blake. He was also an original and founding member of the Avengers. Despite the fact that Thor considered Frigga to be his biological mother, he was actually conceived by a union of Odin and the Elder God, Gaea, who took the form of Jord.
While not the leader of the Asgardian royal family, Thor was the impetus for their introduction in Marvel Comics. Since Thor’s worldwide debut in 1962, his family has steadily grown, most of them arriving in the JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY comics where Thor first appeared before receiving his own ongoing series.
Once an arrogant prince, he is now committed to the protection of all innocent lives across all Ten Realms. Moreover, the mantle of “Thor” and/or “god of thunder” is one that can be inherited by others like Earth woman, Jane Foster.
First Appearance: JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #85
Powers: Master of the deceptive arts; can conjure illusions to trick others as well as hypnotize them; extra-human durability; teleportation; shapeshifting capabilities.
Loki is one of those characters you love to hate. Even when he seems to be doing the right thing, you can’t help but wonder if the god of mischief is playing both sides of the court. Technically speaking, Loki is not a pure-blooded Asgardian; he was adopted by Odin many years ago after the Asgardian king defeated King Laufey, the Frost Giant of Jotunheim.
Loki was brought up alongside Thor, but the two were always competing with one another, a rivalry that was often stoked by Odin himself. As a result, the brothers grew up with disdain for one another. In the end, Thor chose the path of good while Loki chose one of evil, though sometimes tinged with good intentions. Indeed, it was Loki, with his iconic gold-horned headdress, who was the Avengers’ first-ever antagonist in 1963.
First Appearance: JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #86
Powers: Possessor of the Odinpower; extra-human strength and durability.
Despite the fact that his children get to have all of the fun, Odin is the most powerful member of the entire Asgardian royal family. Thanks to an ancient source of energy known as the Odinpower, the one-eyed king can lift immense loads, teleport himself, conjure illusions, heal the injuries of others, fiddle with the building blocks of life, and even use cosmic energy as a defensive weapon. In order to remain so powerful, Odin must go into a deep, coma-like snooze once a year called the Odinsleep.
Born to Bur Borison, Odin is a member of the Aesir, a race of technologically-advanced aliens who considered themselves superior to the Vanir of Vanaheim. The two races were locked in a bloody war (egged on by the demon, Surtur) until Odin married Frigga.
First Appearance: JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #92
Powers: Ability to birth literal gods; extra-human strength and durability.
A native of Vanaheim, Frigga was the daughter of Freyr. Feeling that the Aesir considered the Vanir to be inferior, Freyr allied himself with Surtur who promised that he’d help inspire the Vanir to rise up against the Aesir. The war between both people raged on until Frigga helped broker peace between by marrying Odin.
As the goddess of marriage, she gave Odin three natural children: Balder (god of light), Hermod (god of speed), and Tyr (god of war). She also took on both Thor and Loki as adopted sons, although they were not birthed by her.
First Appearance: JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #102
Powers: Can kill or revive a god; can shepherd departed Asgardian souls into the land of the dead; can punish or reward Asgardian souls in the land of the dead; teleportation; ability to conjure illusions and energy blasts; extra-human strength and durability.
Hela is the Asgardian goddess of death, ruling over the frozen realm of Niffleheim, which is sometimes known as “Hel” or “Land of the Dead.” Possessing an inordinate amount of control over this Realm, Hela can shape its very reality to her liking.
Born to Loki and the giantess, Angrboda, Hela was birthed half-dead (mystically speaking) and is deformed and decayed in appearance. A magical cloak helps disguise her facial imperfections, giving her the form of a beautiful but deadly woman with a crown of black, spidery horns.
Of course, dominance over an entire Realm isn’t good enough for Hela, who is well-known for jealously and megalomania. The goddess of death has attempted to collect the souls of Odin and Thor while pursuing Valhalla and the Valkyrior.
On rare occasions, Hela can be merciful. When Thor once offered up himself in order to save Lady Sif, she recognized the nobility of the action and let both of them go free.
First Appearance (as an Asgardian): ORIGINAL SIN #5.1
Powers: Deadly combat skills; flight; extra-human strength and durability
Eons ago, Asgard found itself at war with the Tenth Realm, Heven, and its citizens, the Angels. In an effort to win, the head Angel threatened to kill Odin and Frigga’s daughter, heir to the throne, Aldrif. When Odin refused, Aldrif was supposedly murdered, prompting him to cut Heven off from the rest of the Nine Realms.
Years later, Thor and Loki discovered the truth about their long-lost sister who had not died, but was raised in Heven and rechristened “Angela.” The discovery led to the Tenth Realm rejoining the other nine, but Angela was eventually exiled from it and wanted nothing to do with Asgard. A lot of that had to with her being manipulated by (wait for it) Loki.
WAR OF THE REALMS #1, written by Jason Aaron with art by Russell Dauterman and colors by Matt Wilson, goes on sale Wednesday, April 3. You can pre-order your copy today online or at your local comic shop.
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