Queen of Hel
The three Asgardian goddesses of fate, the Norns, are said to have warned the Asgardian gods that Hela would prove to be a great danger to them. Odin, ruler of Asgard, decreed that Hela would become goddess and ruler of the spirits of the dead on the day of her maturity. These spirits were in the other-dimensional realms of Hel and Niffleheim, two more of the Nine Worlds, both of which Hela ruled. However, Odin himself directly ruled the souls of Asgardians and their human worshippers who died in battle as heroes, and had the palace of Valhalla built in a distant section of Asgard to house them.
For ages, Hela sought to bring more Asgardian souls under her control, and especially longed to possess the souls of Odin and his son, Thor; however, during their first meeting, when Thor offered his own life in exchange for that of Lady Sif, who was a prisoner of Hela, the goddess was impressed by the young thunder god's nobility and let both of them go.
When Thor appeared to have been killed by Wrecker, his body was then visited by Hela, who had come to claim his soul. However, before she could give Thor her killing touch, his still living body projected an astral image that stayed her hand. He then reclaimed his body to defeat the Wrecker.
When Lady Sif was injured in battle, she and Thor were visited by Hela who has come to take Sif to Valhalla. Thor refused to allow Hela to take his lover, and when Hela attempted to entice Thor into joining the warriors of the dead in Valhalla, he refused even when he was beckoned by his old foe Harokin to join them. Upon refusal, Hela departed, leaving Thor to contemplate the situation.
Hela stole a piece of Odin's soul while he was on the Sea of Eternal Night. This created the powerful entity called Infinity. Hela then unleashed it upon the Nine Realms. Infinity came to Odin and took over his body. Hela killed Thor, but he was restored to life by the sacrifice to the Silent One. Hela was then slain by Odin to save Thor, but was restored to life; as there needed to be a natural balance of life and death. Hela later managed to kill Thor by putting humans in danger, but restored him to life after Lady Sif offered to die in his place.
Hela battled with the Olympian Pluto, the lord of Hades, for the right to claim Odin's soul after Odin was slain by the monstrous creature Mangog; however, Hela eventually restored Odin to life to stop Pluto from claiming him.
Hela met Thor again when he travelled to Niffleheim in search of Odin. Once there, Thor was confronted by the legions of the Einherjar. Thor tried to reach Odin, only to learn it was Grombar, not Odin. Hela then let Thor leave unmolested from her realm.
Attack on Asgard
Working with Loki, the pair tried to begin Ragnarök, the Asgardian apocalypse, by killing Balder and then attacking Asgard. Hela summoned Volla's spirit to advise them on how to start Ragnarök, after which she sent a horde of monsters to attack Asgard. The plan was thwarted when Odin was able to use his power to save Balder's life.
Hela met with Hell-Lords in Hades. They have decided to merge their respective realms, thus increasing their power, and to begin taking in new souls. They performed a ritual creating the nexus of the netherworlds. Unfortunately, this also summoned the Demogorge, who began consuming the Hell-Lords one by one. Odin and Thor arrived to defeat the Demogorge, releasing all its captives.
Instigating a War
Hela trapped Thor and the Warriors Three in a idyllic paradise, with their loved ones all around, leading them off. But when Thor saw Sif and she spoke words of love, he knew the truth: that they were leading the Einherjar to their deaths, and the image of Sif changed to that of Hela herself. Thor challenged Hela to combat; if he won, they all go free; if she won, Thor was hers forever. During their bout, Hela slashed Thor's face. Writhing in agony, he managed one last feat, tearing Hela's cloak from her. Thor discovered her secret: her cloak is the key to her power, and without it, she was a half-decayed corpse with no power at all. Hela relented, and Thor led them all out of Hel.
For untold ages, Hela had directed the construction of a gigantic ship, Naglfar, said to be made of the fingernails of the dead. Hela planned that when Naglfar was finished, she would send an army of Draugr in it to Asgard to destroy the gods. However, Naglfar was destroyed by the Asgardian hero Executioner as it neared completion.
Hela once cast a curse on Thor which prevented him from healing any wounds and also prevented his death. After many battles and untold amounts of pain, Thor, reduced to pulp by a battle with the Midgard Serpent, entered Hela's realm within the armor of the Destroyer. The Destroyer's power proved too much for Hela, and she restored Thor's health and removed her curse. The Destroyer remained in Hela's realm to remind her of her defeat.
When Odin went in to the Odinsleep, Hela used this as a chance to gain power. She corrupted the Valkyries by turning them into Fire Demons. At the time, Danielle Moonstar, of the New Mutants was also a member and was set against her friends. Danielle and her team traveled to Asgard, where Hela sent the Valkyries against the Dwarves and New Mutants.
They battled with Hela's forces and rescued Hrimhari, the Wolf-Prince. Hela forced Eitri the Dwarf King to forge an Uru sword. One of Hela's spells split the group, but this only helped them find more recruits, such as the Warriors Three, to help fight with them. Hela sent Danielle to slay Odin while he slept. While the battle raged, the young heroes snuck to Odin's very bedchamber and saved the All-father's life. She was defeated when the Uru sword was destroyed.
After Ragnarök, Hela was awakened by Thor from her mortal guise, albeit due to Loki's machinations. She began living in Las Vegas, maintaining a lair where she could feed on the souls of random unlucky people, joining her powers with those of Loki to enable him to travel back in time and prompt Odin to adopt him as a child, fulfilling the penultimate step of his mastermind plan against Thor. Quasimodo researched Hela along with nearly two hundred other anti-heroes and villains, revealing his knowledge of her current whereabouts and loss of Hel and Niffleheim to Osborn. He suggested that, while the goddess herself seldom took an interest in mortal affairs, he believed she could be persuaded by Loki to support their agenda if needed.
She attended a meeting with Mephisto, Blackheart, Satannish, and Dormammu about a disturbance created by the newly resurrected Magik, who was looking for the Soulsword and the original Bloodstone Amulet. Belasco's daughter, Witchfire, appeared during the meeting and revealed she was now the current owner of the original amulet and vowed to take her father's place as ruler of Limbo and a seat at their table.
Danielle Moonstar met with Hela at the Inferno Club of Las Vegas, asking her for a boon, though one not coming for free, which gave her a sword and a new ride home, thus allowing her to defeat Ares during Norman Osborn's attack on The X-Men in San Francisco.
When Selene attacked the X-Men's new sanctuary Utopia, Asgardian wolf-prince Hrimhari called upon Hela, offering his soul to save the life of X-Men healer Elixir, so that he could, in turn, save Hrimhari's pregnant lover, Rahne Sinclair.
During the Siege of Asgard, numerous Asgardian warriors perished. Without a Hel to go to, their souls would remain wandering Midgard, at the mercy of the Disir, a group of cannibalistic exiled Valkyries cursed to only be able to feast on the spirits of the dead, as long as they weren't in Asgard or Hel. Hela initially believed their existence to be a myth, until proven otherwise by Loki. Now with a true need of a Hel, Hela was willing to bargain whatever was necessary for a territory of her own again.
By giving the Dísir he had captured to Mephisto, Loki brokered a deal with the Hell-Lord, in which part of Mephisto's Realm, from the Peninsula of Perfidy to the Gully of Hubris, would be Hela's to govern for one-thousand-and-one years. With Ragnarök passed, an Asgardian's only destiny was a place in Hela's halls. For Loki's part in the bargain, it was considered a destiny he no longer shared, and he was erased from the Book of Hel.
Danielle Moonstar was then called upon by Hela to return her boon by once again becoming a valkyrie, this time in service of Hela and ushering Asgardians killed during the Siege into Hela's new realm.
Dealing with X-Factor
Hela continued to operate and prey upon the weak in Las Vegas. When her servant, Pip the Troll, escaped with a pendant rendering him invisible to her, she hired X-Factor Investigations to locate him, which they did successfully.
Jamie Madrox, upon discovering Hela's intent, sent X-Factor to Las Vegas to rescue him, which they accomplish with help from Thor. During the subsequent battle, Madrox maneuvered adaptive teammate Darwin in the way of Hela's killing touch. Due to Darwin's involuntary mutant ability to evolve to save his life, he became a male version of Hela, matching her powers equally. He then ripped off her essential green cloak, forcing her to revert to her true, half-decayed form, leaving her vulnerable to the attacks of the undead Asgardians now free of her control.
Down but not out, Hela resurfaced again to thwart X-Factor when Rahne finally gave birth to Hrimhari's child, Tier. In the final stages of the pregnancy, the infant became the target of numerous godlike and undead beings eager to either use or destroy it for their own ends, and Hela was no exception. When the child was born, an exhausted and traumatized Rahne, having been captured by Hela's brother Agamemnon, cast him away, traumatized by her own child. Hela took this opportunity to reach out to and raise the child herself, but was immediately attacked by the hordes of feral undead wanting to do likewise. In the aftermath of the battle, the child was nowhere to be found, until he was rescued by Werewolf by Night, who had helped Rahne earlier that day.
Revenge of the Dísir
The still hungry Dísir attacked Hela's new Hel, because it wasn't the true Hel they had been banished from, and the Queen of Hel tried to protect her realm using the sword Eir-Gram, but she failed, and had her hand sliced off brutally in the process. After being easily overwhelmed and not having enough power to counter the Dísir's, Hela absorbed the dead into her body and created a fortress to protect herself. Through the corpse of a recently-deceased Asgardian, Hela sought Thor's aid, and with the help of Thor and Tyr, they managed to slay and banish the remaining Dísir, whose souls were claimed by Mephisto.
When the Serpent stormed Midgard and planned on destroying Odin, he tried to ally himself with Hela. The reborn Loki informed Mephisto, who was Hela's landlord of sorts, and the Hell-Lord confronted Hela, ready to invade Hel if he needed to. Loki interfered once again, after discovering that the Serpent had been calling for an uprising in Hel, and convinced Hela and Mephisto to strike a deal. Seven of Mephisto's Dísir would police Hel against the promised uprising, and Hela would neither move against Hell nor towards the Serpent, and to Loki's need, she pledged her two closest servants, Tyr and her young handmaid Leah, so they could help Loki against the Serpent.
Returning to Hel
After the defeat of the Serpent, the Dísir returned to Mephisto, and Loki informed the All-Mothers of Asgardia that Hela feared that the slight whim of Mephisto could send them against her. The All-Mothers were then convinced to not let the death of the souls of Asgardians at the hands of the Dísir be a possibility, and they lifted Hela's curse, allowing her to return to the true Hel. Leah remained with Loki, as the young trickster still had other promises he had to fulfill.
Loki accomplished the final task he had to fulfill, fixing Hela's hand, when he helped Master Wilson overthrow the Otherworld. Loki arranged for Hela to drink from the Holy Grail, and her hand was restored; however, Hela's hand returned at the expense of Leah's life, who was, after all, Hela's handmaiden.
Leah returned to Loki's life in the form of a creation of Loki himself that the trickster had written into history to defeat the Serpent. When the young trickster had his hours counted as the result of a scheme created by the echo of his elder self, Loki arranged for Hela to banish Leah to the ancient past, in order to protect her from this echo, who was to take over his body. After banishing Leah, Hela hinted the possibility that she was none other than the grown-up Leah.
Hell on Earth War
Hela and the Hell-Lords next battled X-Factor, and Tier Sinclair became the central mover in a war between the various hell dimensions, as the first to kill him would be crowned King of Hell. After Tier was able to kill Pluto, Mephisto decided that the rules were forfeit and turned his attention to his fellow Hell-Lords. X-Factor became the last line of resistance and fought the seemingly victorious Mephisto. Strong Guy took the opportunity to kill Tier in the chaos, winning the war and becoming the King of Hell.
After Angela, the lost daughter of Odin and Freyja who had been raised among the Angels of the forgotten Tenth Realm, kidnapped her own sister Laussa, Hela was sought by the then unworthy Odinson and his brother Loki to find them. Hela then put the Dísir at their service, and they were able to discover Angela's whereabouts.
The Last Days
With the final incursion drawing near and thus the end of the universe, King Loki made a deal with Hela and Tyr to unleash the resurrected Midgard Serpent, in an attempt to destroy Midgard and thereby save reality. To this end, Hela's Draugr attacked Asgardia; however, Jormungand was defeated when Freyja, the All-Mother, sacrificed her own life to banish it back to Hel.
Reinforced by the Frost Giants of Jotunheim and the Kingdom of Rock Trolls, Hela continued to press the attack, but was ultimately defeated when Odin used the Gjallerhorn to summon the fallen Asgardian heroes of the past to be reborn and return to fight in the new Ragnarök.
Following the destruction of the universe and its eventual restoration, Hela was defeated in battle by Angela, who had passed the three trials required to get the power needed to defeat Hela in her own domain with the aid of an alternate Leah only so she could overthrow Hela, and change the rules of Hel to bring her lover, Sera, back to life. The role of regent of Hel was later passed down to Balder after Angela's abdication.
Disgraced, Hela allied herself with Thanos the Mad Titan to retake her kingdom, a favor he would do if she delivered a Mjolnir from a dead universe to him first. With Black Swan and Proxima Midnight by her side, Hela stole one of the Collector's retrieval shuttles to invade his great vessel, where the hammer was located. Hela ended up leading her allies into a brief fight against Beta Ray Bill and Odinson by mistakenly following the trail that led to Stormbreaker, Beta Ray Bill's hammer, before taking them to the right hammer; only to discover it couldn't be lifted. Hela and her companions of the Black Order were ultimately blasted into deep space by the Odinson when he reached the alternate Mjolnir and harnessed its power to defeat its would-be wielders. Returning to Thanos empty-handed, Hela knocked Black Swan out and killed Proxima Midnight in front of him to prove that she was worthier than them as an ally. She then proceeded to promise him the one thing he desired the most in return for his help: death.
Hela returned to Hel as a prisoner of Sindr, the Queen of Cinders, the ruler of Muspelheim, who waged war against Niffleheim as part of an alliance with Malekith the Accursed. When Thor and Loki traveled to Niffleheim to stop Malekith's plans, they reunited with Balder, and Tyr tricked them into intercepting the transport carrying Hela and the Fenris Wolf and liberating them. Loki convinced Balder and Hela to put their enmity aside and marry for tactical purposes, in order to unify both of their followers against Sindr's army. The ceremony was interrupted by Thanos, who arrived with the sole purpose to cut his ties with Hela and leave. He was followed by Sindr, whose army attacked Hela and Balder's forces. Sindr defeated Hela, but Thor arrived with the Einherjar and the Valkyrior, whom he had recruited in the meantime. Empowered by Hela's Hel-Crown, Thor managed to defeat Sindr and force her to retreat back to Muspelheim. Since the threat was averted, Hela refused to follow through with the marriage, arguing that Balder never got to say his vows. Balder's lover Karnilla took his ring and slid it in her finger, saying "I do" and sealing the marriage to spare Balder of the sacrifice. As a consequence of Karnilla's actions, she and Hela became reluctant wives, and shared the throne of Hel. The two later greeted Malekith in Nastrond following his death, and devised an ironic torture for him by making him watch as his younger self enjoyed the happy childhood he'd been denied in-life.
Despite being spurned by Thanos, she sought to resurrect her lover after his demise at the hands of Gamora. She sent the Black Order to retrieve Thanos' body, but Thanos' head was missing. Without it, Thanos' resurrection couldn't be performed. With the Black Order, Hela paid a visit to the Collector and forced him to reveal the location of Thanos' head, which was in the Negative Zone in the possession of Annihilus. Hela was able to force Annihilus to hand over the head.
After reattaching Thanos' head to his body, she and the Black Order confronted the Dark Guardians formed by Thanos' brother Starfox to prevent Thanos from coming back in the body of an unrevealed being. The Dark Guardians assumed that Thanos would come back in Gamora's body, but Hela revealed that she and Thanos had worked on his resurrection extensively and that Thanos was to come back in Starfox's body, not Gamoras. Moments later, Thanos' consciousness took control of Starfox. After sharing a kiss with Thanos, Hela, Thanos, and the Black Order left. Hela and Thanos traveled to Knowhere where Thanos' body was being kept so Thanos could complete his resurrection.
The Guardians and remaining Dark Guardians later attacked Knowhere to stop Thanos' resurrection. Hela was knocked out off a platform so she didn't interfere. When Hela climbed her away back up, she discovered that Gamora had killed Starfox to stop Thanos from transferring his consciousness into his body, but this caused Thanos to be brought back with a broken mind. Ranting that Thanos had been broken, Hela angrily fired a missile that could generate a black hole. However, the missile was knocked off course by Beta Ray Bill, causing it to hit Thanos. The black hole generated sucked up Hela as well as Thanos and all of Knowhere while the Guardians and Dark Guardians managed to escape.
Hela survived being sucked into the black hole but was trapped inside it for some time, eventually managing to claw her way out. Upon escaping, she returned to Hel in order to search for Karnilla and the Asgardian wolf Managarmr - both of whom had gone missing in her absence.
Asgardian Physiology: Hela possesses the conventional superhuman abilities of an Asgardian woman, as well as certain special abilities that pertain to her role as a goddess of death:
- Superhuman Strength: Hela possesses vast superhuman strength considerably greater than most Asgardians. She has proven capable of standing toe-to-toe with Thor. Hence, she is capable of lifting well in excess of 100 tons.
- Superhuman Speed: Hela is capable of running and moving at superhuman speeds, achieving a peak of potentially 115 mph.
- Superhuman Stamina: Hela's body produces considerably less fatigue toxins than the bodies of human beings, or most other Asgardians for that matter, during physical activity. As a result, Hela possesses almost limitless physical stamina.
- Superhuman Durability: Hela's body is considerably more resistant to physical injury than the bodies of human beings, and most other Asgardians. Hela is capable of withstanding great impact forces, temperature and pressure extremes, high caliber bullets, and powerful energy blasts without sustaining injury.
- Immortality: Hela, unlike the rest of Asgardian Gods is immortal and doesn't age beyond her prime. This is due to her being the Goddess of Death who controls life. She can rapidly age people, even someone as powerful as Thor. She can also grant immortality to other beings like Rugga, the Storm Giant, who kidnapped Sif and brought her to Hela so that she can grant him immortality.
- Regenerative Healing Factor: Despite her body's high resistance to injury, it is possible to injure her. However, Hela's body is capable of healing itself with high levels of superhuman speed and efficiency. The extent of Hela's healing abilities is considerably beyond that the the vast majority of Asgardians, able to reconstitute herself even following molecular disintegration.
Magic Manipulation: Hela is capable of manipulating great quantities of Asgardian magic for numerous purposes, such as limitless astral projection, firing deadly bolts of energy from her hands that could kill an immortal, levitation, time-travel and the creation of illusions. She is even capable of channeling the energy through her hand and use them to strike a powerful blow that can rend even the strongest Asgardian flesh. She refers to this as the "Hand of Glory".
- Astral Projection: Hela is able to travel about in her astral form, possessing the same powers of death as her physical form has. Because of her Asgardian metabolism, she does not have any limitation on the amount of time she can spend out of her physical form, unlike mortal astral projectionists.
- Control Over Life and Death: As the Asgardian Goddess of Death, Hela holds the power of life and death over the gods of Asgard. Death for an Asgardian is somewhat different from death for an Earth human being. In both cases, the corporeal body ceases all functions and activities, but whereas mortal spirits flee the physical form at the moment of death, the spirits of gods remain in their bodies until the death goddess draws them out and dispatches them to her realms. These spirits (or astral selves) remain integral for eternity and reside, apparently forever, in the other-dimensional realms of Hel and Niflheim, where they take on a quasi-physical existence, under Hela's control. The souls of those who die heroically in battle remain within their bodies and are accompanied by Odin's Valkyries into Valhalla, where the deceased heroes lead a new physical existence. These dead heroes are known as the Einherjar. Hela too accompanies these heroes on their journey to Valhalla, but she has no right to govern them. Although Hela is usually content to wait until an Asgardian is on the verge of succumbing to fatal wounds before she touches him or her and draws the spirit from his or her body, she can also kill perfectly healthy Asgardians with her touch if she chooses. Although Hela's touch of death is effective even when she touches someone with her gloved hand, she must contact that person's bare skin for him or her to die. However, Hela can also project mystic bolts that will cause their target to age or die, even if they strike a portion of the target's body that is covered by clothing. While Hela's touch is also fatal to mortals, she does not generally leave the dimension of Asgard or have much traffic with human lives. The souls of immortals are her province, nor those of mortals.
Allspeak: Thanks to the Allspeak, she can communicate in all of the languages of the Nine Realms, Earth's dialects, and various alien languages.
Although she rarely does so, Hela is a formidable hand to hand combatant, as well as having great proficiency with swordsmanship. She is particularly skillful at using her powers in combat situations.
When wearing the garment that serves as her cloak, cowl, and headdress, Hela's body is fully alive and healthy. However, deprived of her cloak, Hela reverts to her true form. The right side of her body is fully alive, but the left side is dead and decayed. Legend has it that Hela was born in this condition. It has been theorized that without her cloak, Hela would be unable to leave the realms of the dead. It has been demonstrated that without her cloak, Hela's life force is insufficient to maintain her usual physical strength. Indeed, she is unable to stand or levitate herself, or to project mystical bolts, and can barely crawl. Donning her cloak once more will restore Hela to full vitality; even simply touching it would again enable her to stand.
Nightsword: Hela is often armed with her Nightsword, and is a proficient swordswoman. She battled Pluto proficiently with the Nightsword pitted against his enchanted Midnight Axe until Pluto brought demons in to attack Hela in the course of their duel. The sword is strong enough to injure someone as resilient as Gladiator.
- Hela's genealogy is the subject of controversies and retellings:
- According to myth, Hela is the alleged daughter of Loki and Angerboda, both Jotuns.
- Journey into Mystery #641 and Journey into Mystery #645 address Hela's paternity and the myths surrounding her existence. Hela states that Loki was never her father. The truth was much more complicated.
- Hela cast a portion of her soul into a separate entity, her "handmaiden" Leah. Leah was used by Kid Loki as a template for the young crush he wrote into the backstory of the Serpent. This second Leah, created by Kid Loki's pen, resurfaced in the modern era and reunited with Kid Loki. When evil Loki was set to take over Kid Loki's body, Kid Loki had Hela send this second Leah back in time to hide her from his counterpart. Hela implied that Leah, in the distant past, would grow up to be Hela.
- So "Loki was not Hela's father" -- a young reincarnated version of Loki magically wrote Hela into existence by basing her on the handmaiden of Hela, who was created by Hela in the image of her own younger self.
- At some point, she was considered the daughter of Odin and of a long-lost goddess.
- Hela was (presumably erroneously) introduced as "Hela of the Norns" in Ghost Rider Finale #1.
- 190 appearance(s) of Hela (Earth-616)
- 12 appearance(s) in handbook(s) of Hela (Earth-616)
- 13 minor appearance(s) of Hela (Earth-616)
- 60 mention(s) of Hela (Earth-616)
- 10 mention(s) in handbook(s) of Hela (Earth-616)
- 13 invocation(s) of Hela (Earth-616)
- 116 image(s) of Hela (Earth-616)
- 16 quotation(s) by or about Hela (Earth-616)
- 4 item(s) used/owned by Hela (Earth-616)
Links and References
- Hela (Earth-616) on Marvel.com
- Hela (Earth-616) on Wikipedia.org
- Hela (Earth-616) on the Guide to the Mythological Universe