Essential Thor

Essential Thor: Sif

One of Asgard's fiercest warriors takes center stage!

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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!

Sif in the present day

By Matt Powell

Mix an elegant blend of Asgardian might with a touch of feminine compassion, and you have the Lady Sif of Asgard. Sister to Heimdall, Sif's fierce warrior nature has become the stuff of legends--literally. While many have fallen beneath her blade on the battlefield, perhaps Sif's greatest victory is over the heart of Thor, whose affections transcend the immortal realm of Asgard itself.

The Warriors Teen

Sif in her youth

Possessing a true Asgardian warrior spirit to frighten even the fiercest of combatants, Sif honed her skills alongside Odin's sons Balder and Thor. The trio's bond as battle-ready allies rivaled their ties as inseparable friends. Setting out on a grand quest set upon them by Odin to gather the raw elements necessary to craft an enchanted weapon, the three comrades discovered not only the power of their collective strength, but also their individual courage, heart and nobility.

Shortly afterward, Sif found herslf a captive of the nefarious Storm Giants. Thor wielded the enchanted Uru hammer Mjolnir for the first time when he set out to rescue Sif from the Storm Giants and Hela's grasp, and in the end offered his own life to Hela in exchange for Sif's freedom. His act of selflessness brought him closer than ever to Sif, and the two became romantically involved for the first time.

For the full story of Sif, Balder, and Thor's youth, read THOR: SON OF ASGARD #1-12, collected in THOR: SON OF ASGARD.

The Many Loves of Sif

Sif leads the charge against Surtur

Sif's powerful presence attracted many heroes to her side as romantic companions. At war with hordes of demons set upon Midgard by Surtur, Sif forged a mutual attraction for Beta Ray Bill as the two engaged in an all-out attack to repel the demon army. However, even as Bill worried for the life of his beloved in combat, Sif proved her strength by refusing to let Bill push her to the sidelines and led an army of Asgardians in an all-out assault on Surtur's forces. Ultimately, Sif and Bill would part ways, but the two remain close friends to this day. Sometime after that, Sif's affections would reach the mortal Eric Masterson--also known as Thunderstrike--but the connection between the two didn't last long.

Arguably the greatest love of Sif's life is Thor. From adolescence the pair was undividable. A respect developed between the two from fighting shoulder-to-shoulder in battle, and their bond soon transformed into genuine affection and then love. Sif's tears of love even revived Thor from a mortal wound in their youth.

In adulthood the two grew apart and Thor began a relationship with a mortal nurse named Jane Foster. Yet when Thor brought Foster to Asgard and Odin granted her immortality, the warrior lifestyle and persistent dangers overwhelmed Foster and she soon longed for the simplicity of life on Earth.  The lord of Asgard sought to mend his son's broken heart and arranged a reunion between Thor and Sif that rekindled the affection of their youth, an affection that continues to burn brightly.

Sif's relationship with Beta Ray Bill begain during the classic "Surtur Saga" in THOR #337-353, collected in THOR VISIONARIES: WALTER SIMONSON VOL. 1 and 2. Thor and Sif met once again and renewed their romance in the pages of THOR #136, collected in MARVEL MASTERWORKS: THE MIGHTY THOR VOL. 5 and ESSENTIAL THOR VOL. 2.

Thor's Reign and Ragnarok

Sif shows her warrior skills

When Odin sacrificed himself to defeat Surtur, his son, Thor, assumed the throne. Distraught over the loss of his father, the responsibilities of being king and his desire to protect mortals, Thor sought to bring Asgard to Earth and enforced its ideals on the world. Sif disagreed with Thor's vision for his kingdom, and as a consequence found herself exiled from Asgard. She remained connected enough to her beloved and his kingdom that she would influence events to restore order, however, and helped Thor set things right.

In his endgame, Thor's brother Loki brought about the world-ending Ragnarok in a full assault on Asgard. Sif lost an arm in a confrontation with Loki's forces but refused to let her wound crush her warrior spirit. Continuing to fight, Sif avenged the death of her ally Brunnhilde by leading her fellow female warriors into a final battle, ultimately perishing as Asgard fell.

Odin's death and Thor's reign is chronicled in THOR #41-79, while the word-ending Ragnarok is chronicled in THOR #80-85, collected in AVENGERS DISASSEMBLED: THOR.

Misfortune from the God of Mischief

Sif reborn

When Thor returned from Ragnarok, he set about recreating Asgard on Earth in Broxton, Okalahoma, and soon after sought to selectively restore his Asgardian court whose spirits now resided in mortal forms. Thinking his immortal mate's spirit housed in the body of his former love, Jane Foster, Thor could not see the depth of the plot Loki had developed for Sif. The Trickster had magically hidden the spirit of Sif in a terminally-ill, elderly patient of Jane's named Mrs. Chambers, making her virtually undetectable to Thor.

Adding insult to injury, Loki assumed the body of Sif as his new form to further anger his brother and goad him into finding Sif before her essence would be eternally lost as her mortal host died. Thor's heart speedily led him to Sif, however, and he suceeded in reviving her in time. The two set out to begin their life anew on Earth. Recently, Sif aided her old comrade Beta Ray Bill in retrieving his commandeered ship, Skuttlebutt, as well as lending her warrior skills to her fellow Asgardians as they fought against Norman Osborn's Siege of Asgard. Currently, Sif is adjusting to life on Earth in a civilian identity, Sylvan, while balancing a warrior's desire for battle.

Thor's quest for Sif reached its conclusion in THOR #602, found in THOR BY J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI VOL. 3. Sif aided Beta Ray Bill in defense of Skuttlebutt in SIF #1, collected in THOR: LATVERIAN PROMETHEUS, and helped defend Asgard in SIEGE #1-4 and THOR #607-610, collected in SIEGE and THOR: SIEGE.

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