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 Jim Beard
|Asgard from above|
Above and apart from our waking world, the fabled realm of Asgard exists not only as the home of the Norse gods but also as the birthplace of the mighty Thor. An often-turbulent kingdom, beset by creatures and conquerors alike, it nevertheless stands in glory and grandeur in the corner of the eye of mortal man.
Come with us now on a brief yet illuminating tour of this mythological land and learn of its history, its people and its falls from grace. Look upon Asgard, and ye shall see why Thor, beloved son of Odin, doth cherish it above all else...
|The Aesir vs. the Frost Giants|
Asgard became the seat of power for the Norse gods, wherein Odin sat upon his throne as the King of the Gods.
|A map of the Nine Worlds|
It came to pass the Thor, son of Odin, met banishment from Asgard and went to live on Midgard; stripped of his memory as the Thunder God, Odin decreed that he would tarry there in the guise of a mortal doctor and learn humility away from glorious Asgard.
The history of Asgard first unfolded in the "Tales of Asgard" series beginning in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #97, reprinted in THOR: TALES OF ASGARD as well as ESSENTIAL THOR VOL. 1-3.
|A map of Asgard|
The following years rolled out as exciting yet challenging ones, as Thor struggled to balance his duties to Asgard with those of his life as a super hero on Midgard. Time and again, the fabled realm demanded his attentions as it weathered innumerable invasions and dangerous debacles - from within and without.
Alas, all good things must come to an end and despite the protection and championing of the mighty Thunder God and the rest of the warrior Asgardians, the mythological home of the gods did fall.
Asgard first appeared in modern times in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #85, which may be found collected in MIGHTY THOR MASTERWORKS VOL. 1 as well as ESSENTIAL THOR VOL. 1. Another exciting tale of Thor's early days can be found in THOR: BLOOD OATH #1-6, collected in the graphic novel of the same name.
|Asgard in ruins during Ragnarok|
Having gained the secret of the mystical properties of Uru, the metal of Thor's mighty hammer, Loki spread his evil across his armies and brought about
Asgard fell and seemingly all the Nine Worlds with it save Midgard. Thor and his brethren vanished from existence along with the seat of Odin's power, perhaps gone forever.
The brutal battle of
|Thor rebuilds Asgard on Earth|
The Thunder God placed the new Asgard over a piece of land in Oklahoma and went about restoring his people. Unfortunately, this period of time also saw the rise of Norman Osborn, the former Green Goblin, to power in the United States and eventually the duplicitous man set his sights on Asgard as a means to further cement his authority over the land.
|Asgard's outpost atop Avengers Tower|
Currently, the Asgardians wish to once again rebuild their kingdom and have established closer ties with the people of Earth through Thor's connection with the Avengers. A kind of
THOR Vol. 3 #1-6, collected in THOR BY J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI VOL. 1, saw the reconstruction of Asgard. The invasion of Asgard, its second destruction and the first glimmers of its hope for the future may be seen in SIEGE #1-4, collected in the hardcover of the same name. Further reconstruction continues in the ongoing THOR series, issue #616 on sale October 13.
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