Odin (comics)

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Odin features on the cover of Thor #294 (April 1980). Art by Keith Pollard.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Journey into Mystery #85 (Oct. 1962)
Created by Stan Lee
Jack Kirby
In-story information
Full name Odin Borson
Team affiliations Asgardians
Council of God-Heads
Notable aliases All-Father, Woden, Wotan, Atum-Re, Wulf the Wanderer, Orrin, Infinity
Abilities Superhuman strength, stamina, and durability
Master tactician and schemer
Resistance to all Earthly diseases and toxins, and magic
Wielder of the Odin Force:
Magical energy manipulation

Odin is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is first mentioned in Journey into Mystery #85 (Oct. 1962), then first appears in Journey into Mystery #86 (Nov. 1962), and was adapted from the Odin of Norse mythology by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. He is the father of Thor and former king of Asgard.

Sir Anthony Hopkins portrays Odin in the 2011 superhero feature film, Thor, and reprised his role in the 2013 sequel, Thor: The Dark World.

Publication history[edit]

Although Odin was first mentioned in Journey into Mystery #85 (Oct. 1962), his first actual appearance was in Journey into Mystery #86 (November 1962). He was created for Marvel Comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Based on the god of the same name from Norse mythology, Odin is the son of Bor (father, one of the first Asgardians) and Bestla (mother, a frost giantess). Bor and Bestla also have two other sons, Vili and Ve. He claims to have created humans as he felt the world was lonely. But his father was angry and created things to plague humanity. With the aid of his brothers, a young Odin battles and defeats the fire demon Surtur.[1] Many millennia later, Odin would reveal the origin of his powers and the eventual fate of his brothers; they were killed by Surtur, but gave their power to Odin. Later Surtur was imprisoned inside the Earth for centuries by Odin after forming an alliance with the trolls.[2] Odin becomes ruler of Asgard, and due to his vital link to the realm, came to be known by the epithet of All-Father, and eventually falls in love with Gaea, in time becoming the father of the Thunder God Thor as he wanted a son who would be strong on both Asgard and Earth. He creates a cave in Norway in which Gaea gives birth. He notices that Thor's eyes are those of Bor, and realizes one day 'the wheel will turn again'. He then returns to Asgard with Thor, where his wife, Frigga, acts as Thor's mother. Odin is also the adoptive father of Loki, a child of Giant blood whose father King Laufey is killed by Odin in battle.[3] Odin adopted Loki as part of a deal with his father Bor's spirit so that Bor would stop haunting him for replacing him, unaware that Bor's intention was that the child would bring about his son's downfall.[4] Despite Odin's best intentions, his sons become bitter enemies, with the feuding often requiring Odin's mediation. Odin also was the father of Balder by the way of Frigga; thus, Balder is a half-brother to Thor.[5]

Thor's preoccupation with Midgard (the Asgardian term for Earth) is a constant annoyance for Odin who, as punishment, has taken Thor's powers on at least three occasions. Thor's acceptance of the sanctions, along with his willingness to atone for his transgressions, his continued noble intentions, and his bravery, eventually convince the All-Father to relent and thereby restore Thor's original powers and identity. Once, he saved Asgard by threatening to draw the Odinsword when Seidring stole the Odin Force, as Odin had briefly given it to him to strip Thor of half his power. But Seidring had refused to return it after depowering Thor and planned to rule Asgard.[6][7][8]

As ruler and protector of the Asgardian people, Odin has been involved in a number of crises that have threatened Asgard and, on occasion, Earth. Notable examples included stopping Loki, the Storm Giant Skagg, and Surtur (with the aid of Thor and Balder);[9] defeating the Absorbing Man after he absorbs almost all of Asgard;[10] banishing the monster Mangog;[11] sacrificing his right eye to Mimir for the wisdom to stop Ragnarök (Twilight of the Gods);[12] attempting to stop the Celestials in the armor of the Destroyer;[13] engaging inter-dimensional tyrant Dormammu in a "cosmic chess" match as champions of Master Order and Lord Chaos respectively,[14] and preventing Surtur from lighting the Sword of Doom.[15]

Odin has also died three times in defense of Asgard. On the first occasion, Odin is killed by Mangog, although he is later revived by the goddess of Death Hela to prevent Pluto from claiming him.[16] On the second occasion, the Celestials melt the Destroyer to slag, which at the time holds the life force of Odin and all Asgardians with the exception of Thor. Thor, however, collects a portion of godly energy from each pantheon and uses it to revive Odin, who in turn resurrects the Asgardians.[13]

The final occasion involves a massive battle against arch-foe Surtur on Earth, with Odin apparently dying once and for all, as the Odin Force—the source of Odin's power—migrates to his son, Thor.[17] As Thor eventually destroys the Loom of Fates and stops Asgard from perpetuating Ragnarok—which ends the entire Norse pantheon and Asgard itself—Thor believes Odin may be dead permanently. The Odin Force appears to him in humanoid form and says that this was Odin's plan all along: that he break the cycle.[18]

When Thor returns from hibernation in the void,[19] he begins to find the lost Asgardians,[20] and although successfully restoring them all, does not attempt to find his father. During the Odinsleep, Thor has a vision in which he discovers that on a subconscious level he does not do so as he wishes to be free of his father. Also during his Odinsleep, Thor does find Odin in a limbo between life and death, where every day he does battle with Surtur to prevent the demon from reentering the world. They each die in the battle, but are resurrected to battle again. Odin declines Thor's offer of taking his place—noting that just Thor's offer has broken Bor's curse that he would be abandoned as Bor was—and states that Thor must continue to lead the Asgardians, recognizing his son's ability to see a path beyond the path and cycle of Ragnarok that Odin lacks, while Odin continues to exist in a state he describes as approximating the Asgardian equivalent of heaven in order to prevent Surtur from reentering the world.[4] Loki assuages Doom's fears about Odin's potential wrath if the Asgardians were to move to Latveria, assuring him that "Old One-Eye is yesterday's god" and "a relic".[21] Later, it is Odin's absence from the Nine Worlds that led his revived father Bor to believe that he had been slain in combat with the Frost Giants, spurring him to wage battle against Thor, in which he is killed, leading to Thor's exile for killing someone who was officially the King.[22]

During the Siege storyline, Norman Osborn sends the Thunderbolts to steal Odin's spear from the Asgardian weaponry.[23] Loki calls on Odin to return the Norn Stones to him so he can empower the heroes to defeat the Void.[24]

Odin returns from the dead after Asgard is invaded by the World-Eaters.[25]

During the Fear Itself storyline, Odin senses the return of Serpent: God of Fear. After a brief monologue with Uatu the Watcher, Odin commands his people to return to the Asgardian plane against the protests of Thor (whom Odin has chained and forcefully dragged there against his will).[26] Odin builds up Asgard into a war engine with which he intends to raze Earth completely in order to destroy the Serpent. Thor (who is freed by Loki and joined by his loyal comrades) opposes Odin's plan to destroy the Earth, and convinces Odin to send him back there, but Odin tells him that he has only until the shadow of the Serpent falls upon the world tree before his plans to raze Earth become inevitable.[27] Iron Man travels to Broxton to the portal that leads to Asgard-space demanding an audience with Odin.[28] Iron Man asks Odin if he can use one of Asgard's workshops in order to make weapons to fight the Worthy.[29] After being convinced by Iron Man, Odin allows him to use the Workshops of Svartalfheim where he convinces the Dwarves there to help him with weapons that might help stop the Serpent before his shadow falls onto the World Tree.[30] Captain America and the Avengers bring an unconscious Thor to Broxton so that they can have Odin heal Thor. As Odin tends to his son's wounds, he tries to convince Thor he should not suffer a conflict that is Odin's fault, but Thor continues to insist against destroying Earth to save Asgard. Odin prepares Thor by giving him the armor and helmet that he himself wore the last time he cast out the Serpent and slaughtered the billions stained by his sickness. He also gives Thor the Odinsword named Ragnarok (which was forged to end all things). Despite this, Odin gives Thor a final chance to avoid another battle with the Serpent asking him if he is a god or a man. Thor responds that he is a man, the one Odin raised him to be.[31] While Thor kills the Serpent at the cost of his own life, Odin frees those affected by the Hammers of the Worthy by summoning their hammers away from them. Odin returns to Asgard with the corpse of the Serpent sealing off Asgard from Hermod and a number of other Asgardians who are left on Earth.[32]

During the Original Sin storyline, it is revealed to Thor through the eye of the murdered Uatu the Watcher that Angela is the daughter of Odin and Frigga making her Thor and Loki's sister. She was "killed" as an infant during Asgard's war with the Angels of the Tenth Realm. This crime resulted in Odin severing the tenth realm from the other nine as "punishment" for their attack.[33] Odin was later freed from his self-exile by Loki as he is set to return to Asgardia.[34] The fight between Thor and Angela is interrupted when Odin arrives and recognizes Angela as his daughter, and he reveals Angela's true lineage. Time ago, the Angel tasked to dispose of Aldrif's body found out the baby was alive and raised her as one of the Angels under the name of Angela. Due to her services for the Angels, the Queen pardoned Angela her life, but exiled her from Heaven due to her lineage. After leaving Heaven, Odin tells Thor, Loki, and Angela that he still loves his children.[35]


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

(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.[36][37]
  • Odin and Frigga have a daughter, Angela, whose parentage was kept secret until the 2014 miniseries, Original Sin.[38]

Powers and abilities[edit]

As King of the Norse Gods, Odin possesses vast strength, stamina and durability far greater than a normal Asgardian, along with resistance to all Earthly diseases and toxins, incredible resistance to magic, and courtesy of the Golden Apples of Idunn, a greatly extended lifespan. Odin has all the abilities of his son Thor, but to a much greater degree. Odin is capable of manipulating the Odin Force—a powerful source of energy—for a number of purposes, including energy projection; creation of illusions and force fields; levitation; molecular manipulation, communicating telepathically with other Asgardians even if they be on Earth and he in Asgard,[39] hypnotizing humans;[9] channelling lightning to Earth from Asgard,[39] controlling the lifeforces of all Asgardians, and teleportation. The character has also used the Odinpower for greater feats such as transporting the entire human race to an alternate dimension;[9] stopping time;[9] pulling the remains of distant planets down from outer space to crush his foes,[1] compressing the population of an entire planet into a single being, the Mangog and then recreating the race[40] and taking a soul away from the arch-demon Mephisto.[41] The Odin Force extends Odin's power to a cosmic level,[42] allowing him to engage entities such as Galactus on their own terms.[volume & issue needed]

In battles against opponents of similar power, Odin carries the magical spear Gungnir ("The Spear of Heaven"), an artifact made of the metal uru, that can be used to channel the Odin Force. Even without the Odin Force it can still match Thor's hammer in battle. Once a year, during the Asgardian winter, Odin must undertake the Odinsleep for 24 hours to regenerate (and is closely guarded as he is vulnerable during this period), although he can be wakened by potent spells, such as those of Karnilla the Norn Queen.[43]

Odin is also a master tactician and schemer, and has prevented Ragnarok,[44] and planned for centuries for the coming of the Celestial Fourth Host.[45][46] The character also on occasion uses the eight-legged steed Sleipnirthe and the enchanted ship Skipbladnir, which can navigate the "sea of space" and be shrunk to the size of a toy.

Other versions[edit]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

In the Ultimate Marvel imprint, Odin is referenced as far back as The Ultimates (mostly by Thor),[47] but the way the series is initially written leaves the reader unsure whether or not Odin or Asgard actually exist as Thor is portrayed as human with Norse God delusions and technology that gives him his Godlike powers. In the final issue of The Ultimates 2, Thor proves his claims to be a genuine god by summoning an army of Asgardian warriors to help the Ultimates defeat Loki's army of monsters. Thor references Odin in his last conversation with Loki before he destroys him, sending him back to Odin. When the Ultimates begin to be financed by Tony Stark after their retirement from S.H.I.E.L.D., Thor informs that this is indeed the will of Odin.[48]

In Ultimate Comics: Thor, a prequel to The Ultimates, Odin explains to Thor that he is Asgard, and when he dies Asgard will be destroyed with him. He also informs that the Norn Stones and Mjolnir are extensions of his own power. When Loki leads an army of Nazi Stormtroopers and Frost Giants to invade and destroy Asgard, Odin forces Loki into the Room With No Doors and is killed in the battle with Mammoth. Asgard disintegrates around him with Thor giving one last powerful strike at his enemies. In present day, leading up to The Ultimates, Thor and Balder are reincarnated as mortals and Balder (reincarnated as the Ultimate version of Donald Blake) explains that the Gods are to be restored and Odin will return to rule Asgard again.[49]

He is later killed in Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates but unlike the tradition of Ultimate Marvel characters to remain deceased, Odin and the other Asgardians are still active (of sorts), as they appear to Thor in visions and act as a sixth sense for him. This is because Thor has "become Valhalla".[50]

In other media[edit]


  • Odin appears in The Super Hero Squad Show episodes "Mental Organism Designed Only for Kissing", "Mother of Doom", "Support Your Local Skyfather", and "Lo, How the Mighty Hath Abdicated", voiced by Jess Harnell.
  • Odin appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man episode "Field Trip". Odin is seen in his Odinsleep at the time when Loki leads the Frost Giants into invading Asgard.


Character poster for the film Thor featuring Anthony Hopkins as Odin.
  • Odin appears in the animated direct-to-video film Hulk vs. Thor, voiced by French Tickner.[51]

Video games[edit]

Motion comics[edit]


  • A figure of Odin as he appears in the film Thor was released in wave 39 of the Marvel Minimates line.
  • Odin in his classic attire was released in the Asgardian Smash 3-pack from the Marvel Super Hero Squad line, packaged with figures of Thor and Hulk.
  • Hot Toys will release a 12" figure of Odin as he appears in the film Thor.



  1. ^ a b Journey Into Mystery #99 (December 1963)
  2. ^ Thor #349 (November 1984)
  3. ^ Journey into Mystery #112 (January 1965)
  4. ^ a b Thor vol. 3, #7–8 (May – June 2008)
  5. ^ Thor vol. 3, #9 (July 2008)
  6. ^ Journey Into Mystery #101–102 (February – March 1964)
  7. ^ Thor #126–127 (March – April 1966)
  8. ^ Thor #145–151 (October 1967 – April 1968)
  9. ^ a b c d Journey Into Mystery #104 (May 1964)
  10. ^ Journey Into Mystery #122–123 (November – December 1965)
  11. ^ Thor #157 (October 1968)
  12. ^ Thor #274 (August 1978)
  13. ^ a b Thor #300–301 (October – November 1980)
  14. ^ Thor Annual #9 (November 1981)
  15. ^ Thor #353 (March 1985)
  16. ^ Thor #198–201 (April – July 1972)
  17. ^ Thor #40 vol. 2, (October 2001)
  18. ^ Thor vol. 2, #85 (December 2004)
  19. ^ Thor vol. 3, #1 (Sept. 2007)
  20. ^ Thor vol. 3, #3-5 (November 2007– January 2008)
  21. ^ Dark Reign: The Cabal #1 (June 2009)
  22. ^ Thor #600 (April 2009)
  23. ^ Thunderbolts #141 (April 2010)
  24. ^ Siege #4 (June 2010)
  25. ^ Thor #618 (February 2011)
  26. ^ Matt Fraction (w), Stuart Immonen (p), Stuart Immonen (i). "The Serpent" Fear Itself 1 (June 2011), Marvel Comics
  27. ^ Fear Itself #3
  28. ^ Fear Itself #4
  29. ^ Fear Itself #5
  30. ^ Invincible Iron Man #506
  31. ^ Fear Itself #6
  32. ^ Fear Itself #7
  33. ^ Original Sin #5.1
  34. ^ Original Sin #5.4
  35. ^ Original Sin #5.5
  36. ^ Fraction, Matt (w), Immonen, Stuart (p), von Grawbadger, Wade (i). "Worlds on Fire" Fear Itself 4 (September 2011), Marvel Comics
  37. ^ Fraction, Matt (w), Ferry, Pasqual (a). "Fear Itself: In the Beginning" Thor 7 (December 2011), Marvel Comics
  38. ^ Ewing, Al (w), Garbett, Lee; Bianchi, Simone (a), Woodard, Nolan (col), Sabino, Joe (let), Moss, Will (ed). Original Sin Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm 1 (July 2014), Marvel Comics
  39. ^ a b Journey into Mystery #89 (February 1963)
  40. ^ Thor #154-157 (July – October 1968)
  41. ^ Thunderstrike #15 (December 1994)
  42. ^ Journey into Mystery 513 (October 1997)
  43. ^ Journey Into Mystery #118 (July 1965)
  44. ^ Thor #273-278 (July – December 1978)
  45. ^ Thor Annual #7 (September 1978)
  46. ^ Thor #283-301 (May 1979 – November 1980)
  47. ^ Ultimates #1-13
  48. ^ The Ultimates 2#1-13
  49. ^ Ultimate Comics: Thor #1-4
  50. ^ Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates #2-3
  51. ^ Mel Valentin (January 28, 2009). "Movie Review - Hulk Vs.". efilmcritic.com. Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  52. ^ Micheal Flemming (30 October 2009). "Anthony Hopkins cast in 'Thor'". Variety. Retrieved 2009-10-31. 
  53. ^ Fleming, Mike (2012-05-24). "Anthony Hopkins Up For ‘Red 2′ Villain; Can ‘Thor’ Sequel Dates Work?". Deadline.com. Archived from the original on 2012-05-24. Retrieved 2012-05-24. 

External links[edit]