Hela

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From Thor vol. 1 #190 © 1971 Marvel Comics. ART BY JOHN BUSCEMA AND JOE SINNOTT.

Hela

(pop culture)
In the Marvel Universe, Hela, Goddess of Death, is known to the citizens of Asgard, although she is generally believed to be a mythological character by the people of Earth. Allegedly born to the Asgardian god of mischief Loki and the sorceress Angrboda in the land of Jotunheim, Hela was introduced in Journey into Mystery #102 (1964), in a story scripted by Stan Lee and illustrated by Jack Kirby. As goddess and ruler of the spirits of the Asgardian dead, Hela watches over the otherworldly realms of Hel and Niffleheim, two of the nine worlds of Norse mythology. Hela's principal desire is to bring more Asgardian souls under her control, and she longs to possess the souls of Odin and his son Thor. Like all Asgardian gods and goddesses, she is extremely long-lived (although not immortal like the Olympians), possesses superhuman strength, is immune to all diseases, and is resistant to injury. The 500-pound goddess, capable of lifting 100 tons and standing up against superhumans like Thor, can generate great mystical power within her hand, enabling it to strike a blow that can twist even the strongest Asgardian flesh. She calls this power her “hand of glory.” To these superpowers she also adds levitation, casting illusions, disguise, and mental control. Interestingly, Hela's costume—her cloak, cowl, and headdress—preserve her physical vitality. Legend has it that, without her cloak, Hela would be unable to leave the realm of the dead. During Thor's initial popularity throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, Hela was a staple of the Marvel Universe. In the 1980s, she was a particular favorite of writer/artist Walter Simonson, who established the power of her cloak. Her current status in the mid-2000s is unclear since the Asgardian gods seemingly all perished in Ragnarok (the twilight of the gods) at the end of the Thor vol. 2 series (2004). Presumably when Marvel inevitably revives Thor, Hela will sooner or later return as well.