- —Balder the Brave[src]
Balder the Brave was one of the Asgardians, an extra-dimensional race of beings once worshiped by the Vikings and Germans, as well as half-brother and close friend to Thor. Due to prophecies that Balder's death would help trigger the coming of Ragnarok, the destruction of Asgard and its inhabitants, Odin, ruler of Asgard, commanded his wife Frigga to make Balder invulnerable to harm.
Before he allowed her to cast the spells, however, he accused Balder of treason, because during a battle with the Storm Giants, he had deserted the fight to put a bird who had fallen from its nest, back with its mother. Odin ordered his brothers Tyr and Honir to shoot arrows and throw lances at Balder, but the projectiles were stopped by an eagle and a plant. Seeing that Balder did not flinch, Odin was content that Balder was the bravest in all of Asgard and decided to grant him the invulnerability.
Frigga cast spells that would protect Balder from harm by any living or inanimate thing while he was in the Asgardian dimension; however, Balder remained vulnerable to mistletoe. Loki, the god of mischief, learned of the prophecies and vulnerability, and tricked the blind god Hoder into firing an arrow tipped with mistletoe wood at Balder. Odin prevented Balder from actually dying, but when he was finally restored to life, his hair had turned white as a result from his experiences in Hel. Later, Balder's beloved, Nanna, sacrificed herself to save Balder from entrapment in marriage to Karnilla, and Balder was so distraught that he resolved never to speak of this incident or of her again.
These experiences of death led Balder to forswear the life of a warrior and tried to forget his misery through eating, growing considerably fat. He rode to the desert to die, but encountered the Norns, three goddesses who oversaw the workings of destiny. The Norns gave Balder a vision that restored his faith, and he rode back to Asgard, eventually losing his excessive weight as he became a warrior again.
Balder fought in many of Asgard's subsequent battles, including one against the demon Surtur, in which he needed to seek out the aid of the sorceress Karnilla. During a time when Odin had departed Asgard, Balder became the ruler of Asgard. Balder was killed during the final Ragnarok by an army wielding mistletoe-tipped spears.
Balder's spirit was pushed into the Destroyer by Loki and attacked Thor who was searching for the missing Asgardians. He was restored by Thor along with Loki and resided in Asgard Oklahoma. Balder replaced Thor as Lord of Asgard due to the sinister plans of Loki during the Dark Reign, and was convinced to move the Asgardians to Latveria, the domain of Doctor Doom, where they were placed at his mercy. Until the prompt arrival of Thor who brutally bested Dr. Doom's Destroyer freeing the Asgardians held prisoner including Balder. Once again ruler of Asgard yet broken in spirit Balder attempted to abdicate the throne. Thor convinced him not to. When the threat of the world eaters ensued over the nine realms Balder did not pursue any action despite the encroaching threat. Forcing Thor to resurrect Odin after which Balder departed Asgard with Tyr. Intent on dying a warrior's death to atone for the sins of failing to protect Asgard. Defeating many of the world eaters including Thane the prince of the Ano-Athnox before falling to their deaths. After the defeat and banishment of the Athnox to the Limbo in the World Tree, Balder's vengeful spirit was present along with Tyr.
In Limbo, Balder's spirit became the leader of a group of fallen warriors sent by Hela to patrol the realm to keep its bestial inhabitants in check and prevent them from rising up. Balder's patrol served the additional purpose to deny one particular inhabitant of Limbo of prey: Surtur, the fire demon who grew in power by consuming its demon-kin. Balder left Limbo for a short while in order to interrupt a trial Thor was put on by Odin himself and speak in his brother's defense. Near the end of the entire universe as a consequence of the multiversal phenomena known as incursions, the King Loki of a possible future approached Hela in Hel to convince her to unleash Jormungand's spirit and trigger a new Ragnarok. Balder attempted to interrupt the alliance, but King Loki decapitated him.
When Odin's secret long-lost firstborn Angela set her sights on overthrowing Hela, Balder joined forces with Tyr and Skurge the Executioner in an attempt to quelch the rebellion, but they failed and were defeated. Angela became the new Queen of Hel after defeating Hela in combat. However, since she only wanted to use that power to set free the spirit of her lover Sera, she abdicated as soon as her true goal was achieved. She handed over the crown to Balder, and he became Hel's new regent.
Not long afterwards, Niffleheim became the target of Muspelheim's new ruler, Sindr the Queen of Cinders, as part of an alliance between her realm and Malekith the Accursed during the War of the Realms. In the middle of the conflict, Balder reunited with his lover, Karnilla, whose spirit was transported to Niffleheim after dying a victim of the War of the Realms. The war marched on, and Balder's forces were overpowered. Balder reunited with his brothers Thor and Loki, who teleported to Niffleheim to put an end to Malekith's plans. Tyr tricked Balder and his allies into liberating Hela, who was being returned to Hel as a prisoner of the Queen of Cinders.
Loki convinced Balder and Hela to marry despite their enmity for tactical purposes to unite the realm against Sindr. The ceremony was interrupted by Thanos, with whom Hela had been allied once, but he made an appearance solely to cut his ties with her and leave. Sindr's forces attacked, and Balder was defeated by Gar-Toom, one of Niffleheim's chieftains who had decided to pledge allegiance to Sindr. The cavalry arrived in the form of the Einherjar and the Valkyrior, whom Thor had gone to recruit in the meantime. Thor successfully forced Sindr and her forces to retreat back to Muspelheim. With the threat averted, Hela refused to continue the ceremony, arguing that Balder never got to say his vows. Having stolen Balder's wedding ring from him, Karnilla slid it in her finger and said "I do" in his place, sealing the marriage to spare Balder of the sacrifice. Karnilla subsequently requested Loki's aid in order to return Balder to the land of the living.
When the War of the Realms reached Midgard, Balder was tasked by Freyja to protect his infant sister Laussa. To this end, Balder assembled a team of Midgardian warriors nicknamed the "Babysitters Club," and went on a road trip to evade Sindr's accomplice Ares. Out of instinct, Laussa used her powers of subconscious manipulation to have her guardians stop at certain points where they could find potential allies for her to influence, thus gathering an army to fight the war. These people were a group of Skrull deserters living in an RV campground, a band of Western ghosts summoned by the Demon Rider on Laussa's behalf, and the attendees of a convention for henchmen in Nevada. The final ally recruited by Laussa was Ares himself, who was guided to the baby's protectors by the Demon Rider impersonating Sindr. After Ares accepted to follow the child's will, the babysitters took their new allies to the War of the Realm's final battle. Following Malekith's defeat and the end of the War of the Realms, Balder joined the League of Realms.
Asgardian Physiology: Balder possesses all of the superhuman attributes common among the Asgardians. However, as a son of Odin, some of them are superior to the majority of his race.
- Superhuman Strength: Like all Asgardians, Balder is superhumanly strong and possesses physical strength of an average Asgardian male. At his peak, Balder is able to lift about 50 tons.
- Superhuman Speed: Balder is capable of running and moving at speeds much greater than that of even the finest human athlete.
- Superhuman Stamina: Balder's musculature produces considerably less fatigue toxins during physical activity than the musculature of a human being. He can exert himself at peak capacity for about 24 hours before fatigue begins to impair him.
- Superhuman Durability: Balder's body is much more resistant to physical harm than the body of a human being. He is capable of withstanding great impact forces, exposure to temperature and pressure extremes, powerful energy blasts, and high caliber bullets without sustaining injury. Also, while in Asgard, Balder cannot be mortally wounded by any weapon; however, after being reborn on Earth, he has lost this magical ability.
- Superhumanly Dense Tissue: Balder's bodily tissues have about 3 times the density as the bodily tissue of a human. As a result, Balder is actually much heavier than he appears. This increased tissue density also contributes somewhat to his physical strength.
- Superhuman Longevity: Like all Asgardians, Balder ages at a rate that is much slower than that of a human being. However, Asgardians aren't completely immune to ageing, as some other god pantheons are.
- Regenerative Healing Factor: Despite his body's resistance, Balder can be injured like any other Asgardian. However, his metabolism enables him to rapidly regenerate damaged bodily tissue with greater speed and efficiency than a human being is capable of. Injuries such as slashes and punctures can fully heal within hours, whereas broken bones can heal within a few days. However, he isn't able to regenerate severed limbs or missing organs.
- Danger Sense: While in Asgard, Balder was able to sense when Thor was in danger on Earth.
- Photokinesis: As the Asgardian God of Light, Balder can generate an intense beam of light that is strong and hot enough to melt the fortress of Utgard-Loki and the Frost Giants within it down to small sizes.
- Teleportation: Balder is able to teleport himself to Earth from Asgard.
- Animal Communication: Balder has the ability to communicate with the animals he is charged to protect.
- Energy Projection: Balder has limited energy and magical abilities. He has shielded himself from mortal eyes when he flew to Earth on Odin's behalf to find Thor, He can create an enchanted fog to transport Thor from Earth to the Bifrost Bridge.
Trained Warrior: Skilled warrior and horseman, Balder is also a capable leader and swordsman.
Allspeak: Thanks to the Allspeak Asgardians can communicate in all of the languages of the Nine Realms, Earth's dialects, and various alien languages.
Balder is vulnerable to weapons made of mistletoe; can die of natural means (such as severe lack of food, water or air); according to Loki as he warned Balder after helping him slay a Frost Giant on Midgard as part of a ploy to gain his trust, the spells of invulnerability no longer shield him beyond the boundaries of the now-lost Asgardian dimension and he can be far more easily slain, even by mortal weapons.
Once wielded the Norn stones.
Asgardian horses, occasionally inter-dimensional portals.
- Balder's parentage has become a curious issue in Marvel Comics.
- According to traditional mythology, Balder was the son of Odin and his wife, Frigg. Although Marvel Comics occasionally acknowledged this in supplemental materials (such as the family tree in Thor #500), for decades Balder was mostly depicted as "Thor's friend" and not a prince of the realm.
- In Thor (Vol. 3) #10, Balder's parentage was "revealed" to him and others seemingly for the first time. According to that story, Balder had always believed himself to be a foundling child, abandoned by his true parents and adopted by the royal court. In fact, he was the son of Odin and Frigga, initially abandoned because of Odin's premonitions about how Balder's death would lead to Ragnarok.
- The details of Balder's conception were confusing on their face. Although the story said Odin took Frigga into his bed, the implication was that Balder was born out of wedlock and Odin was in fact cheating on his wife when he bedded Frigga. Yet Frigga is and always has been presented as Queen of the Realm and Odin's wife.
- More recently, the details of Odin and Frigga's marriage were added to continuity in the Everything Burns crossover, indicating it was the result of a peace treaty between the Aesir and the Vanir, with the union of those two family lines securing the peace. In modern times, Mighty Thor (Vol. 2) #22 specifically stated Frigga was pregnant for the first time with a child of Odin, calling into question several previously presented sons including Balder, Tyr, and Hermod.
- 405 appearance(s) of Balder Odinson (Earth-616)
- 9 appearance(s) in handbook(s) of Balder Odinson (Earth-616)
- 18 minor appearance(s) of Balder Odinson (Earth-616)
- 28 mention(s) of Balder Odinson (Earth-616)
- 9 mention(s) in handbook(s) of Balder Odinson (Earth-616)
- 107 image(s) of Balder Odinson (Earth-616)
- 11 quotation(s) by or about Balder Odinson (Earth-616)
- 1 victim(s) killed by Balder Odinson (Earth-616)
- 5 item(s) used/owned by Balder Odinson (Earth-616)
Links and References
- Balder at the Guide to the Mythological Universe
- The Unofficial Handbook to the Marvel Universe