Gaea (Marvel Comics)

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This article is for the Marvel Comics Earth-Goddess. For other comic book characters with a similar name, see Gaia.
Gaea
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Doctor Strange #6 (February 1975)
Created by Steve Englehart
Gene Colan
In-story information
Alter ego Gaea
Team affiliations Elder Gods
Young Gods
Notable aliases Aditi (Sanskrit name), Akka (Finnish), Ala (Yoruba), Ammavaru (Vedic), Citlalicue (Olmec), Coatlique (Aztec), Danu (Celtic), Eithinoha (Iroquois), Erce (Russian), Gaia (alternate spelling), Great Mother, Hou-Tou (Chinese), Jord (Norse/Asgardian), Mother Earth, Mother Nature, Nana (Dahomey), Neith (Egyptian/Heliopolitan), Nertha (German), Ninhursag (Sumerian), Nokomis (Algonquin), Pachamama (Incan), Papa-Tu-A-Nuku (Polynesian), Prakriti (Brahmanic), Rangi (Oceanic), Tiamat (Mesopotamian), Vaat (Siberian/Mongolian), Yo (Japanese), Haumea (Hawaiian), possibly others.
Abilities Vast mystic powers
Ability to control all forces of nature

Gaea is a fictional character appearing in the Marvel Comics universe, based on the Gaia of Greek mythology and Jörð of Norse mythology. She is a primeval Earth goddess, who has enfused her life essence into those of all Earth's living beings. She is the embodiment of the spirit of life, growth, harvest, and renewal on Earth. She is the biological mother of Thor.

Publication history[edit]

Gaea first appeared in Doctor Strange (vol. 2) #6-8 (February–June 1975), and was created by Steve Englehart and Gene Colan. Her origin was revealed in Thor Annual #10 (1982).

The character made subsequent appearances in Giant-Size Avengers #4 (June 1975), Avengers vol. 1 #187 (September 1979), Thor vol. 1 #300-301 (October–November 1980), Thor Annual #10 (1982), Thor Annual #11 (1983), Dr. Strange vol. 3 #2 (January 1989), Marvel Graphic Novel: Spider-Man: Spirits of the Earth (1987), Captain America vol. 1 #337 (December 1987), Classic X-Men #20 (April 1988), Thor Annual #14 (1989), Iron Man Annual #10 (1989), Silver Surfer Annual #2 (1989), Fantastic Four Annual #22 (1989), Uncanny X-Men Annual #13 (1989), Uncanny X-Men #262 (June 1990), Quasar #24-25 (August–September 1991), Defenders vol. 2 #1-10 (March–October 2001), Thunderbolts vol. 1 #55 (November 2001), Defenders vol. 2 #11-12 (January -February 2002), Order #1-6 (April–September 2002), and Hulk vs. Hercules: When Titans Collide #1 (June 2008).

Gaea received an entry in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition #4.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Gaea is one of the Elder Gods who were born when the entity called the Demiurge spread his essence over the Earth, at a time when life was starting to evolve on the planet. Gaea felt empathy for the lesser lifeforms and decided to watch over them.[volume & issue needed]

However, the rest of the gods, following the example of Set the Snake God, started eating each other to increase their power, a process that turned all but Gaea into demons. Worried that they might menace the organic life forms, Gaea summoned the Demiurge and "mated" with it, to give birth to her first son, the sun-god Atum, who, in its form of Demogorge the God-Eater, devoured all the demons, except those that escaped to other planes, such as Set and Chthon. Gaea then merged with the Earth itself, and dedicated herself to guiding evolution. Atum went to live in the Sun.[volume & issue needed]

Millions of years later, Gaea decided to allow the dinosaurs to become extinct, so mammals would evolve in their place. This angered Set, who drew power from them. He made the dinosaurs try to hunt down all mammals, so Gaea summoned the Demogorge to deal with him. Their battle may have finished killing off the dinosaurs. In the end, Set was banished from Earth.[volume & issue needed]

Thousands of years ago, when the second generation of gods began to appear on Earth, Gaea mated with many of them (under various identities) thus becoming the "Mother-Goddess" mentioned in several myths. Under the name "Jord" she mated with Odin, who wanted a son who would be strong on Earth (not just in Asgard) and gave birth to Thor after Odin created a cave in Norway for the birth. However, Thor was not told the true identity of his mother, instead he was told Frigga was his mother.[volume & issue needed]

One thousand years ago, the cosmic entities known as the Celestials came to Earth and forced the gods to stop intervening with humanity's development; they also revealed they would return in one thousand years to judge humanity. Worried, the Godheads (the rulers of the various pantheons) met and made plans to combat the entities on their return; however, afraid that might fail, Gaea met with the queens of the gods and came up with an alternate plan: they would choose the Young Gods, a group of twelve humans, each representing one of mankind's achievements, as time went by. Each would be made immortal and put to sleep in a secret chamber, where they would be watched over by the various goddesses of all the pantheons (taking turns) until the Celestials' return.[volume & issue needed]

Several years ago, Gaea was captured by the entity called Dormammu, but was freed by Doctor Strange and his lover, Clea.[volume & issue needed]

Later, the souls of all Asgardians (except Thor's) possessed the body of the Destroyer and attacked the Celestials, only to be defeated and scattered. Gaea then appeared with the Young Gods, and presented them to the Celestials as proof of man's worth to survive. They were accepted, and the Celestials left without destroying the Earth. Gaea, in the form of a dark-haired woman, then healed the wounded Thor, and explained the whole story to him. She also told him how he could restore the Asgardians' souls to their bodies with help from all the other Godheads, which he then went on to obtain. Gaea then went back to being 'one with the planet'.[1]

Years later, Gaea's magic was invoked by the evil alien Yandroth to curse the group of heroes known as The Defenders into coming together to fight threats to Earth against their will, but eventually they convinced her to release them. After that, Gaea empowered Nighthawk with the ability to gather the Defenders at will should the need arise.[volume & issue needed] She also selected the Cognoscenti to be protectors of humanity.[2]

During the Chaos War storyline, Gaea helps Hercules during his fight against the forces of Amatsu-Mikaboshi, the Chaos King. She has her daughter Pele (the fire goddess) incinerate Hercules, who is then reborn as the "God of Gods" and imbued with Gaea's power.[3] He uses this power to defeat Mikaboshi then gives it all up to restore the universe.[4]

She returns in Asgardian form at Thor's funeral at the end of "Fear Itself" alongside Freyja and Idunn.[5]

Genealogy[edit]

Gaea's family tree as it appears in Thor #500 (July 1996):


 
 
 
 
 
 
Buri
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mimir
 
Bor
 
Bestla
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jord
 
 
Grid
 
Odin
 
Frigga
 
Vili
 
Ve
 
Laufey
 
Farbauti
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Thor
 
Vidar
 
Tyr
 
Hermod
 
Balder
 
 
 
 
 
Loki
(adopted by
Odin & Frigga)
  • Odin has another brother, Cul, introduced in the 2011 miniseries, Fear Itself, who in the comics was erased from all known history.[6][7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thor #300
  2. ^ Secret Defenders #19
  3. ^ Chaos War #4
  4. ^ Chaos War #5
  5. ^ Fear Itself #7.2 : Thor
  6. ^ Fraction, Matt (w), Immonen, Stuart (p), von Grawbadger, Wade (i). "Worlds on Fire" Fear Itself 4 (September 2011), Marvel Comics
  7. ^ Fraction, Matt (w), Ferry, Pasqual (a). "Fear Itself: In the Beginning" Thor 7 (December 2011), Marvel Comics

External links[edit]

  • Gaea at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe