Executioner (comics)

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The Executioner
Skurge.png
Skurge the Executioner in his final battle.
Art by Marko Djurdjević.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Journey into Mystery #103 (April, 1964)
Created by Stan Lee
Jack Kirby
In-story information
Alter ego Skurge
Team affiliations Masters of Evil
Mandarin's Minions
Legion of the Unliving
Einherjar (warriors of Valhalla)
Notable aliases Hans Grubervelt, The Evil One
Abilities Superhuman strength, stamina, durability, and visual acuity
Extended lifespan
Use of enchanted axe

Executioner is the name of a fictional character in the Marvel Comics Universe, Skurge, an Asgardian who wielded a magic double-bladed battle axe. Skurge fell in love with the Enchantress and was frequently used in schemes by her and the trickster god Loki. He was a long-time antagonist of Thor and other heroes of the Marvel universe and was a member of the original Masters of Evil. Eventually, he joined the heroes of Asgard in a mission to Hel, where he sacrificed his axe to destroy Naglfar, the ship of the dead, and delay Ragnarok, and sacrificed his life to hold the bridge at Gjallerbru so the heroes could escape the forces of Hel. After a time trapped in Hel, he joined the honored dead in Valhalla.

The name was later used by two other characters, an axe-wielding android member of the Crazy Gang and a vigilante named Daniel DuBois, the son of Princess Python.

Publication history[edit]

The Executioner first appeared in Journey into Mystery #103 (April, 1964), and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Skurge[edit]

Skurge was born in Jotunheim, and later became a warrior, gaining the name Executioner after fighting in a war against the Storm giants. Skurge has always had feelings for Amora, the Enchantress, and regularly aids her in various evil schemes to gain control of Asgard. However, the Enchantress only manipulates him, using her charms to keep Skurge under her thrall. Loki, the trickster god, also has used Skurge many times.

In his first appearance, the Executioner teams with the Enchantress to battle Thor at the behest of Loki. He exiles Jane Foster to another dimension and tries to get Thor to surrender his hammer to him in exchange for bringing her back. Thor agrees to this, but when the Enchantress turns Skurge to a tree for bringing Foster back he releases Thor from this bargain, whereupon Thor returns the two to Asgard.[1] The Executioner and the Enchantress are exiled to Earth by Odin, where they learn of Zemo from a newspaper. They became members of Baron Zemo's original Masters of Evil to defeat the Avengers. The Executioner disguises himself as a former aid of Zemo, and lures Captain America to Zemo's kingdom, while the Enchantress uses her powers to turn Thor against the Avengers. Later the Executioner helps Zemo to escape Captain America by knocking Cap out.[2] Skurge functioned as part of Baron Zemo's Masters of Evil for some time. Again and again he would battle the Avengers. The Masters of Evil created Wonder Man, who was meant to trick and destroy the Avengers. When the Executioner was defeated by Wonder Man testing his power, he worried about controlling him, though Zemo revealed Wonder Man would die within a week unless given an antidote. The gloating Skurge was derided by Wonder Man, who did not like the need for trickery and deceit. The group's plan to kill the Avengers was soon thwarted by Wonder Man, and Skurge and his allies were defeated.[3]

The Executioner menaced Jane Foster, and fought Balder as any ally of Loki.[4] He was later among the legion of villains assembled by Doctor Doom to destroy the Fantastic Four using a mind-control machine, but due to Mister Fantastic the villains all had their memory of this event erased.[5]

Apart from the Enchantress, Skurge attempted to establish an empire by the conquest of an alternate future 25th Century Earth. He battled the Hulk after he was accidentally transported there.[6]

He was reunited with the Enchantress, and joined the Mandarin's attempted world conquest with four other villains after being taken to his base by teleportation technology. He attacked the Asian sub-continent with an army of trolls due to the valuable diamonds that were there, and fought Hercules in another dimension he had transpoted them to with his axe, but was beaten and thrown at a giant the Enchantress had created to defeat the Scarlet Witch, destroying it.[7]

He next led a Troll invasion of Asgard.[8] Odin banished him to the realm of Casiolena. Skurge abandoned the Enchantress to become Casiolena's co-ruler.[9] He led Casiolena's forces against the Defenders, and resumed his alliance with the Enchantress.[10]

Skurge attacked Dr. Strange alongside Enchantress, but they were defeated.[volume & issue needed] He later battled the Defenders and the Thing as the Enchantress's ally.[11]

Skurge led an assault on Asgard, and fought Balder again.[12] With the Enchantress, he serves as Loki's lieutenant during his brief rule of Asgard.[13] With the Enchantress, he joined with the forces of Asgard against the legions of the most powerful fire demon Surtur.[14]

Once Amora the Enchantress set her sights on Heimdall as a potential lover, Skurge sought to ease the wounds of his heart in battle, joining Thor, Balder, and the Einherjar on a rescue mission into Hel. A group of souls belonging to living humans had been trapped there by Malekith the Accursed, and Hela had refused to permit them to return to Midgard (Earth).[15]

Despite initial misgivings, Thor permitted Skurge to accompany the group. He soon vanishes after Amora appears to him, saying that Heimdall had slain her. This was not Amora, but Mordonna, a shape-shifting sorceress in the employ of Hela. This disguise was only broken when Skurge managed to trust Balder more than the desires of his own heart. Hela whisks Mordonna away before Skurge could gain revenge.

Naglfar, the ship of the dead, was nearing ready to sail, and Hela promised Skurge a place of honor beside her on it at the battle of Ragnarok. In a rage at being manipulated, Skurge destroyed the ship with the sacrifice of his axe, forestalling the end of days. The group was pursued out of Hel, and at the bridge Gjallerbru Thor swore to hold the bridge as long as he could that the souls of the mortals could reach freedom. But then Skurge struck down Thor from behind, and amidst cries of traitor begged Balder to hear him speak. Hoping to enact vengeance upon those who mocked him, and to do what was right in the end, he would stay behind. He asked Balder to promise that Thor and he would drink to the memory of Skurge. Balder consented to Skurge's wish, and he, the Einherjar and the mortal souls departed Hel, taking the unconscious Thor with them.

Skurge remained alone at Gjallerbru, armed with automatic rifles the Einherjar had brought from Earth for the expedition. Though the armies of Hel marched upon the bridge, none crossed past where Skurge stood. As he fought down demon after demon, his stand impressed Hela herself, who would later sometimes tell of Skurge; "He stood alone at Gjallerbru. And that answer is enough." He was eventually overrun and killed by Hela's forces.[16]

Following his death, he remained in Hel for a time until Thor - currently cursed by Hela so that his bones would become brittle and never heal while simultaneously being unable to die of his injuries - assumed control of the Destroyer. Thor attacked Hela's domain, pretending to have fallen under the Destroyer's influence until Hela restored his body to full health, hoping she could kill him that way. Although Skurge was unable to stop the Destroyer's rampage, he guessed that Thor was truly in control when the Destroyer spared his life rather than killing him. Skurge informed Thor that he asked for nothing more than for Thor and Balder to drink to his name as they had promised (something they hadn't yet managed to do due to time being against them). Recognizing that Skurge's honor and courage belonged somewhere better, Hela allowed him to depart her realm and released him to Valhalla.[17] While there, his spirit was summoned from Valhalla by the Grandmaster as a member of his Legion of the Unliving, and he battled Thor.[18] His spirit was freed from Hela's prison when he led the other escaped Einherjar to join an assault on Hela's forces by the Asgardians and New Mutants.[19] He earned for himself a place in Valhalla, Asgard's place for honored dead. After his death, the Enchantress realized that she truly possessed feelings for Skurge and mourned his demise.[volume & issue needed] The time-travelling villain Zarkko once pulled him and eight other villains out of the Timestream to battle the Thor Corps, but he was defeated.[20]

Once, Amora gave the Executioner's axe to a mortal man called Brute Benhurst. Thor, believing him Skurge (this second Executioner wore a mask), tried not to fight him until the Executioner hit Kevin Masterson (son of Eric Masterson). Thor recognized hitting a boy as an ignoble thing which Skurge would never do, and defeated the new Executioner.[volume & issue needed]

Odin later recruits Skurge to aid Eric Masterson in fighting off the influence of the Bloodaxe, the former weapon that Skurge wielded.[volume & issue needed]

Enchantress attempts to attack Yggdrasil in order to free Executioner from Valhalla. Doing so threatens all reality. She is stopped by Thor, Loki, and Balder, who convince her that her actions are dishonoring Skurge's memory.[21]

Crazy Gang[edit]

The Executioner is a silent android swathed in a long robe and hood and armed with an axe. It follows the commands of the Red Queen and seems to lack any real intelligence. It was destroyed under unknown circumstances,[volume & issue needed] but it had been destroyed and repaired before.[volume & issue needed]

Young Masters[edit]

A character named The Executioner (Daniel DuBois) appears in Dark Reign: Young Avengers. He is described as "a rich and organized urban vigilante who hunts and kills criminal scum. And likes to hurt pets."[22][23] It is later revealed that this Executioner is the son of Princess Python,[24] and knows Kate Bishop from school, and is aware of her secret identity, knowledge that he uses to try and blackmail his way onto the team.[25]

Executioner isn't aware of his mother's identity as Princess Python, at least until it's actually pointed out to him. However, it may be that he was simply in denial about this matter, as Norman Osborn comments that if his mother was Princess Python, then he'd like to think he'd know and Kate Bishop immediately realizes who she is upon meeting her.[26]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Skurge possessed the superhuman abilities of a typical male Asgardian. Due to his unique hybrid physiology, with a half Frost-Giant and half Skornheimian pedigree, Skurge's physical strength, stamina and durability were considerably greater than those of the average Asgardian male. He also possessed superhuman visual acuity. Skurge was extremely long-lived, aging at a much slower pace than human beings, though not truly immortal. His body was highly resistant to physical damage, and he was immune to terrestrial diseases, toxins, and some magic. In the event of injury, Skurge's godly lifeforce would allow him to recover with a superhuman rate. Skurge had proficiency at hand to hand combat, and mastery of most Asgardian weapons. He would often fight wielding his large, enchanted, double-bladed battle axe that allowed him a number of abilities including cutting rifts into other dimensions and control over fire and ice that he could project at his enemies. Skurge also sometimes wore an enchanted impregnable horned helmet that completely covered his head. In his first appearance Skurge demonstrated a 'super-human falcon hunting vision', that enabled him to find Jane Foster in a crowd.[volume & issue needed]

The Second Executioner is a vigilante with no super powers.

Other versions[edit]

Another Executioner was a member of Mad Jim Jaspers' Crazy Gang. He carries and wields a large pole axe.[volume & issue needed]

Captain Britain was sent to an alternate Earth, known as Earth-238, by Merlyn. Together with Saturnyne, he hoped to save this world from the corruption that threatened it. Instead, they encountered Earth-238's Mad Jim Jaspers, a lunatic with the ability to warp reality. Serving Jaspers were the Crazy Gang which included Executioner. This group of superhumans were based on characters from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass. Captain Britain and Saturnyne individually managed to escape this Earth and Jaspers and the Crazy Gang, including Executioner, were killed when Earth-238 was destroyed by Saturnyne's successor, Mandragon.[volume & issue needed]

JLA/Avengers[edit]

Executioner is among the villains enthralled by Krona to defend his stronghold.[volume & issue needed]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

Film[edit]

  • Executioner makes an appearance in the animated direct-to-video film Hulk vs. Thor.

Video games[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Journey into Mystery #103
  2. ^ Avengers #7
  3. ^ Avengers #9
  4. ^ Journey Into Mystery #116-117
  5. ^ Fantastic Four Annual #3
  6. ^ Tales to Astonish #76-77
  7. ^ Avengers Annual #1
  8. ^ Hulk #102
  9. ^ Avengers #83
  10. ^ Defenders #4
  11. ^ Marvel Two-in-One #; Defenders #20
  12. ^ Thor #258-261
  13. ^ Thor #263-264
  14. ^ Thor #350
  15. ^ Thor #360
  16. ^ Thor #362
  17. ^ Thor #382
  18. ^ Avengers Annual #16
  19. ^ New Mutants #85
  20. ^ Thor #439-441
  21. ^ Thor: God-Sized Special #1 (2008)
  22. ^ NYCC: Cornell Talks “Dark Reign: Young Avengers”, Comic Book Resources, February 7, 2009
  23. ^ Mark Brooks: Designing the Young Masters, Newsarama, February 20, 2009
  24. ^ Dark Reign: Young Avengers #2
  25. ^ Dark Reign: Young Avengers #3
  26. ^ Dark Reign: Young Avengers #3
  27. ^ Comics Continuum

External links[edit]