War of the Realms: What Is Malekith's Damage Anyway?
An examination of the primary villain of the War of the Realms – and why he feels the need to keep conquering…
This month, Malekith the Accursed made his official jump to the A-list of villainy in WAR OF THE REALMS. Throughout Jason Aaron’s THOR run, Malekith has emerged as a major threat as he and his forces have decimated realm after realm. Now, it’s Earth’s turn to bear Malekith’s fury, and it’s going to take nearly every hero in the Marvel Universe to save their world.
Why is Malekith so determined to unleash war across the cosmos? It stems back to his earliest days as a young Dark Elf. As recounted in THOR: GOD OF THUNDER (2012) #25, Malekith was the sole surviving child after his siblings and male relatives in the Black Bile clan perished during the unrelenting wars waged by the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim. Malekith’s mother, Lady Mazerot, assured her last remaining son that he wouldn’t have to die a soldier’s death. However, she betrayed her own flesh and blood by selling Malekith into slavery.
As a slave, Malekith befriended a wizard who helped him escape his fate. The wizard saw potential in Malekith and made him his apprentice, seeing a grand design for Malekith and their combined power. He envisioned a world where the Dark Elves could be at peace, thanks to his efforts with Malekith. Unfortunately, Malekith didn’t share the same goals. He felt that only constant war could keep his people strong. Malekith then fatally injured the wizard, but before he died, the wizard used his magic to darken Malekith’s face. It was meant as a warning to all about Malekith’s true nature. And thus he became Malekith the Accursed.
Malekith embraced his new path and killed his mother for her treachery. He became the Lord of the Wild Hunt and quickly rose through the ranks as the leader of the Dark Elves. Malekith made his Marvel debut in THOR (1966) #344 as he brokered deals with Surter and Loki. He even unleashed the power of the Casket of Ancient Winters, which created a very cold month in almost all of Marvel’s comics in the fall of 1984.
While Malekith’s mother promised him that he wouldn’t die a solider, she never said that he wouldn’t die. In fact, Malekith has died more than once, including at the hands of Kurse, the transformed Dark Elf who was once his ally, Algrim the Strong. Malekith reappeared almost a decade later in THOR (1966) #485, as he reignited his feud with both Thor and Kurse. At the end of the story, Kurse literally dragged Malekith back to Hel. But even Hela couldn’t hold Malekith for long, and he soon menaced both X-Force and the Heroes for Hire.
In THOR (1998) #29, Malekith once again made a play for the Casket of Ancient Winters. However, his ambitions were once again thwarted by Thor. For a time, that greatly diminished Malekith’s power and his standing among his people. It wasn’t until THOR: GOD OF THUNDER (2012) #13 that Malekith rose from the comic relief villainy that he had fallen into. Instead, Malekith realized that his people had become too weak by years of peace. He took it upon himself to hunt his own people.
Malekith’s actions had a purpose: he wanted to strengthen his people. But more importantly, he wanted them to fear him. In THOR: GOD OF THUNDER (2012) #13, Malekith’s initial goal was achieved. Much to the anger of Thor, the Dark Elves turned to Malekith as their new leader – and they did so because they feared him.
Soon after his ascension, Malekith maimed Thor Odinson in THOR (2014) #1 by severing his arm and claiming it as a trophy. Malekith also made key alliances with enemies of Asgard and slowly overwhelmed the surrounding realms. Now that the remaining realms have fallen, Malekith has the rare opportunity to seize even more power in the War of the Realms.
The war has begun! WAR OF THE REALMS #1, written by Jason Aaron with art by Russell Dauterman and colors by Matthew Wilson, is now available online and at your local comics shop.
For more about what’s to come in WAR OF THE REALMS, visit marvel.com/war-of-the-realms.
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