With the release of "Thor" on May 6, 2011 and "Captain America: The First Avenger" on July 22, 2011, Marvel.com presents the Essentials, a series of articles showcasing each character's expansive history and mythology in the Marvel comics.
From character retrospectives to a look at memorable storylines and interviews with key creators, the Essentials will act as the perfect guide for fans both old and new! Look for new Cap Essentials every Monday and Thor Essentials every Thursday as we head toward the release of each film!
By Marc Strom
|Odin, King of Asgard|
The now-deceased king of Asgard brought peace to his land and ruled it with a firm but benevolent grip for ages unknown. In that time he imparted many of the lessons that helped shape Thor into the champion and ruler we know, but things were not always easy for the All-Father. He often served as the last line of defense against some of the greatest threats known to existence, and in the end he would give his life to save billions of innocents.
Now come with us as we celebrate the life of Odin in the latest installment of the Essential Thor!
Destined For the Crown
|Odin and Bor fight side-by-side|
This rift between father and son came to a head as the two defended Asgard from an invading army of its enemies. Bor became separated from the main battle and, enchanted by a sorcerer, was turned into snow and blown throughout the lands. With his final words, he asked Odin to find a sorcerer powerful enough to bring him back to life, and until then his spirit would rest in the snow.
Odin disregarded his father, telling the Asgardians of Bor's "death" and claiming the crown of the realm for himself.
Odin retold the story of his early years and rise to the throne in THOR Vol. 3 #7, collected in THOR BY J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI VOL. 2.
A Father and King
|Odin punishes Thor|
Over time, Odin established an order of peace throughout Asgard, yet in his own house he proved not so successful. Loki became a serpent in Odin's home, constantly causing mischief for his brother Thor, whom he deeply resented. And though Thor showed much promise as a boy, he eventually became little more than an arrogant, selfish warrior concerned more with women and drink than honor.
Odin sought to curb Thor's bravado by facing him in battle, at the conclusion of which he banished his son to Midgard, trapping him in the body of a feeble mortal until he could learn the lesson of humility.
The story of Odin's early years concluded in THOR Vol. 3 #8, also collected in THOR BY J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI VOL. 2, while Odin banished his son from Asgard in THOR: MAN OF WAR #1, collected in THOR: AGES OF THUNDER.
Defender of All Existence
|Odin and family against Surtur|
Surtur formed an army of fire demons and led an assault against Asgard and Earth. Odin united his forces with both his sons in an attempt to end Surtur's threat, but the final battle came down to the two ancient enemies facing one another alone. The resulting melee ended with Odin's apparent death, though without a body the Asgardians could never say decisively what had happened to their ruler.
In actuality, Odin was captured by Seth, who held the All-Father under lock and key while amassing an army to attack and overthrow Asgard. Thor and his fellow Asgardians managed to defeat Seth and free Odin, returning him to the throne.
The tale of Odin entrapping Surtur in the Earth comes from "Tales of Asgard" in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #99, collected in THOR: TALES OF ASGARD. Odin disappeared during the climax of the "Surtur Saga," spanning THOR #337-353 and collected in THOR VISIONARIES: WALTER SIMONSON VOL. 1 and 2, before finally returning to the throne in THOR #400.
|The death of Odin|
After Ragnarok, Thor attempted to reawaken his father's spirit as he had the other Asgardians. When Thor entered the Odinsleep in order to restore the Odinforce which now resided within him, he discovered his father now existed on a separate plane of reality, locked in eternal combat with Surtur.
|Odin vs. Surtur|
Odin said goodbye to his son, letting Thor know he would never return to rule Asgard again. The crown has passed from father to son once again, a fact that brings peace to Odin as he perpetually fights to keep the evil of Surtur in check.
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