|The Ogdru Jahad|
|Publisher||Dark Horse Comics|
|First appearance||Hellboy - Seed of Destruction (1993)|
|Created by||Mike Mignola|
|Alter ego||Nunn-Jahad, Adad-Jahad, Amon-Jahad, Irra-Jahad, Beuu-Jahad, Nergal-Jahad, and Namrat-Jahad|
|Notable aliases||The Dragon, the Beast, the Serpent, the Seven Gods of Chaos, Ogdru Eb Jurhad, the Seven Who Are One|
|Abilities||Nigh-Omnipotent powers of destruction hindered only by their imprisonment|
The Ogdru Jahad are fictional characters in Mike Mignola's Hellboy comic. They are the Dragon of Revelation, and are destined to bring about the end of the world. Though the Ogdru Jahad are the ultimate antagonists in the series, they are not themselves active, their release from imprisonment instead being the object of many other villains' plans. They were imprisoned in their Golden Cocoons by the Right Hand of Doom shortly after the creation of Earth, but not before they spawned 369 children, known as the Ogdru Hem.
Fictional character biography
Mostly inspired by the Great Old Ones of H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos (with some ancient Egyptian and Babylonian influences as well) the Ogdru Jahad are serpentine/crustacean entities which once resided on, and presided over, Earth. They are pitiless, chaotic, bent on destruction and subjugation and often so horrific in appearance that the mere sight of one of them sometimes induced madness. They are listed as follows:
In the beginning of time, God created an order of spirits. Of these, many of the greater spirits were sent to newborn Earth to oversee it as Watchers. After a time, one of them "...dared to take fire from the air, and with it, fashioned out of mud the dragon (...)". The Ogdru Jahad is thus made up of the four classical elements. The other spirits set their seals on the Dragon, and even infused it with fire once again, but still the being remained lifeless. However, when nighttime came, the Ogdru Jahad awoke and the darkness instilled it with purpose and function, instantly giving birth to the Ogdru Hem who become Earth's first lifeforms.
The watchful spirits, upon seeing the creation of these abominations, went to war with them. The Ogdru Hem were eventually all disposed of, with many of them barely clinging to existence in some fashion, with the Ogdru Jahad sealed by their creator in a prison of crystal and placed in the heart of the abyss. The other Watchers, however, no longer trusted the one spirit, and so they struck him down and destroyed all his remnants, save for one: his right hand. After that, God looked down in fury on what had happened, and exacted his retribution on the Watchers for botching their task: some were cast down into the pit, while others were stranded on the Earth to breed monsters.
The Right Hand of Doom
Of the original spirits, many of the lesser ones were now given substance by God and took up residence on Earth as the first men, the Golden People, the pre-humans. They dwelled in the land of Hyperboria, and they took the right hand of that one spirit as their holy object, and at the request of Thoth, their greatest king, attached the hand to a great statue. The statue stood for ten thousand years, until finally Hyperboria became corrupted. Thoth began to worship Heca-Emem-Ra, the Black Goddess (presumably this is an early manifestation of Hecate), and as a result the statue left its place in Thoth's garden and destroyed the city, before finally hurling itself over a cliff. The only remnant of the statue was the original right hand. As for Hyperboria, it was crushed by the Ice Age, which triggered the second race of men (humanity) to come forward.
After that, the hand was somehow recovered, and later grafted onto Hellboy's arm before he was summoned by Rasputin. The arm is the key to freeing the Ogdru Jahad from their prison and thus triggering the apocalypse (hence the moniker "the Right Hand of Doom"). Hellboy is aware that he must keep the hand, as it would be more dangerous to try to rid himself of it. Attempts have already been made to separate Hellboy from his arm, both to protect the world and to hasten its destruction. Hellboy believes he is the best protection the arm can have.
While certain events have made it clear that the Right Hand of Doom is the Key to releasing the Ogdru Jahad, the actions of Herman von Klempt and the frog monsters suggest that there may be other means to the same end. The summonings of the Conqueror Worm and Katha-Hem were meant to lead to the Ogdru Jahad's freedom, yet Hellboy's right hand had no role in these schemes. Whether there are numerous ways to unlock the Dragon's prison, or whether Von Klempt and the frogs were simply doomed to failure without possession of the Right Hand, remains a mystery.
From the varied attempts of the comic's villains to free the Ogdru Jahad, it is readily apparent that the release of the Ogdru Jahad is closely tied to the fall of mankind. Whether the fall of man causes the release or quickly follows it is not known with any certainty. All the characters attempting to liberate it agree that the Ogdru Jahad will do something akin to "burning the earth to a cinder" so it is possible they are all referring to some common vision of the dragon's release but are guessing at how the prophecy is fulfilled.
As an immortal and vastly powerful entity whose true nature defies description (even the simple issue of whether it is one creature or a plurality of creatures is ambiguous), the motivations of the Ogdru Jahad may not be possible to represent in human terms. As such, the human and quasi-human inhabitants of the Hellboy universe have expressed a variety of opinions on what the Ogdru Jahad wants beyond freedom, which it desires above all other things.
Beyond the basic premise of seeking freedom and then burning the earth, there is much dissent as to precisely what the Ogdru Jahad desire. The aliens that watch the cosmic prison of the Ogdru Jahad apparently perceive Earth as a focal point necessary to maintaining the prison. If the Ogdru Jahad are released, they will destroy Earth and then the entire Universe. Hermann von Klempt believes that once man has been destroyed, the three hundred and sixty-nine Ogdru Hem will rise up from their prisons, free the Ogdru Jahad and burn the Earth to ashes. Similarly, the Bog Roosh was plagued with dreams in which Hellboy's hand is taken and used to free the Ogdru Jahad, who then burn the earth to cinders. Rasputin, on the other hand, seems convinced that the desire of the Ogdru Jahad is to create a new, perfect world out of the ashes of the old one, where the final race of man will live. He tells Inger von Klempt that her grandfather was unable to see beyond the destruction of the human race, and that a new Eden does indeed await the final race of man. Hecate also strongly implies that there will be a "new world to come" during a conversation with Rasputin in the Conqueror Worm epilogue, but mentions that she cannot see that far ahead, and that death could await them just as easily. In The Third Wish, the Daoine Sidh explicitly state that it is prophesied that a new world shall rise from the old due to the Right Hand of Doom.
After being imprisoned in the void, the Ogdru Jahad turned their considerable forces toward finding a way to escape their confinement and exact their revenge on the world. Since they are trapped in deep space, their contact with humanity is sparse at best. However, since the Ogdru Jahad are supremely powerful psychic entities, they have been able to establish contact with mortals on Earth in order to coerce them into doing their bidding.
Herman von Klempt
In Austria in 1939, the Nazis attempted to open relations with space-borne monsters by sending them the corpse of one of their greatest scientists, Dr. Ernst Oeming, in the hopes that the creatures would use it as a vessel and return to Earth. On March 20, 1939, even though the mission, which took place at Hunte Castle, was interrupted by the arrival of Lobster Johnson and a detachment of American soldiers, the launch went ahead as planned. The castle, however, was left in ruins, and all parties were killed except for Herman von Klempt. The creatures received the spacecraft, and responded by placing one of their own inside Oeming's lifeless body.
After the events of Wake the Devil, Herman von Klempt is provided with the truth about the Oeming mission and the details of the return of the capsule. The invisible space monsters showed von Klempt the destruction that would result from releasing the worm they had planted within Oeming's body. Once the world had been overtaken by the worm, the Ogdru Hem would be released from their prisons, and they would, in turn, release the Ogdru Jahad, who will reduce the world to ashes. Despairing over the failures of his best laid plans, and inspired by Rasputin posing as the angel of death, von Klempt returned to Hunte Castle and set to work.
Von Klempt succeeded in bringing Oeming's capsule back to Earth, and from it rose a massive juggernaut known as the Conqueror Worm. Spewing forth a noxious gas, the worm turned von Klempt's human agents into frog monsters, then devoured them immediately to feed its insatiable hunger. Only quick intervention by Hellboy and Roger the Homunculus, aided by the ghost of Lobster Johnson and a mysterious alien, managed to halt the worm's feasting march. Herman von Klempt watched in dismay as his plans were foiled, only to be grabbed by Roger and heaved off a cliff to his final death.
After being poisoned, shot, stabbed, clubbed, castrated, and hurled into the icy waters of the Neva, Rasputin was contacted by the Ogdru Jahad. They sent him visions explaining their nature and what they wanted from him, namely, to release them from their prison, help bring about the end of the world, and make way for a new world. Uncertain of how to proceed, Rasputin waited to be contacted again.
Eventually, after years of silence and waiting, Rasputin was approached by Heinrich Himmler, head of Hitler's SS. Recognizing this as an opportunity to acquire the resources needed to establish a stronger connection to the Ogdru Jahad, Rasputin joined forces with the Nazis and soon assembled a team of Nazi occultists, consisting primarily of Ilsa Haupstein, Leopold Kurtz, and Prof. Doktor Karl Ruprecht Kroenen. This team was known as Project Ragna Rok. On December 23, 1944, Rasputin and his colleagues opened a doorway into the void, and Hellboy was brought forth, albeit unbeknownst to the Nazis (but not to Rasputin). After this apparent failure, the Allies won World War II and Rasputin and his allies scattered. Rasputin himself traveled to a hidden temple in the distant Arctic dedicated to the Ogdru Jahad. Inside, he sat at the foot of a statue of Sadu Hem for almost fifty years until he was disturbed by Professor Bruttenholm, providing a catalyst for his, and Sadu Hem's, sudden re-awakenings. Ilsa, Kroenen and Kurtz relocated to the frigid north of Norway and cryogenically froze themselves until Rasputin's return, though they did not revive themselves until after Rasputin's failure at Cavendish Hall. In the film, Rasputin was sucked into the portal and was seemingly destroyed, not to be seen again for 60 years. Only 2 members of the Nazis occultist team, Ilsa Haupstein and Kroenen survived.
In Wake the Devil, while trying to strike back at Hellboy by using Ilsa's connection to a Romanian vampire, Rasputin brings Hellboy into the clutches of the Hecate. Hecate threatens Hellboy with his destiny, and in the end Hellboy prevails. Retreating to the abode of his grandmother, Baba Yaga, Rasputin tries to come to terms with the fact that the Ogdru Jahad manipulated him. He realizes that the Ogdru Jahad were behind his latest venture, though he alone is responsible for the failure. He also must deal with the fact that rather than saving Ilsa, he instead sacrificed her to Hecate, who would use Ilsa's corpse (and the Iron Maiden which contained it) as her new body.
Moreover, Hecate tells Rasputin that he had no hope in trying to awake the Dragon in the events of Seed of Destruction - the only power that can free the Ogdru Jahad is Hellboy's right hand, and Rasputin is nothing more than a tool with which to manipulate and maneuver Hellboy. Upon hearing this, Rasputin loses control and attacks Hecate, who virtually destroys him, leaving nothing more than a tiny shard of his soul for the Baba Yaga to preserve in an acorn shell.
The role of the "Frog monsters"
As the Ogdru Jahad advance their plans on Earth, it becomes evident that they intend to introduce a new "final" race of man, in the form of the frog-monsters seen in Seed of Destruction. A version of these monsters return in Conqueror Worm when the contaminated space capsule triggers the soldiers to transform into frogmen, and again in A Plague of Frogs when a resurrected Sadu Hem transforms an entire town into frog-monsters. The monsters are extremely powerful, both physically and mentally. A single creature was able to overpower Hellboy below Cavendish Hall (though this specific frog monster, along with the others featured in Seed of Destruction, appeared to be stronger and more powerful than the general population), and in A Plague of Frogs, it is revealed that the frogmen are able to shift between their human and frog forms, allowing them to pass unnoticed in populated areas. Moreover, the frogmen can exert a degree of telepathic influence over their victims, confusing them with illusions and mind-tricks. These creatures also possess souls, that create a corrupting influence on living beings.If they pass on,a creature seems to devour their ectasic spirits. Whether this being is the Ogdru Jahad or something else entirely is uncertain.
The frogmen are linked to the Ogdru Jahad, and are being employed to free the Ogdru Hem who were imprisoned by the Watchers at the beginning of time. Once the Ogdru Hem are free, the Ogdru Jahad will follow. Currently, due to the events in B.P.R.D.: A Plague of Frogs, numerous frogmen have escaped the clutches of the B.P.R.D. and are moving across the North American countryside. These nests seem constructed around the purpose of praying to the Ogdru Hem, and in certain locations relics and items have been found which spawn vicious and lethal Ogdru-Hem-like creatures. Moreover, the frogs have transcended their human limitations and have developed the ability to convert their bodies to biological factories, producing thousands of tadpoles which become frog monsters.
After the events of B.P.R.D.: The Black Flame, it appeared that the frog monsters have been dealt a major setback. However, in B.P.R.D.: The Warning and B.P.R.D.: The Black Goddess, it was revealed that they had instead regrouped and reunited with the subterraineans from B.P.R.D.: The Hollow Earth.
In other media
In the 2004 film Hellboy, the Ogdru Jahad were mentioned by name only twice by Rasputin. They were portrayed as indistinct, octopus-like creatures encased in crystal shells. They are referred to by him as the seven gods of chaos who will destroy the world and from its ashes "a new Eden will arise".
At the conclusion of the film, their prisons were shattered and the Ogdru Jahad began their assault on Earth. Before the final lock could be released by Hellboy, he regained his senses and the Ogdru Jahad disappeared.
Sammael, a demon in the film, was referred to as the "son of Nergal"; Nergal-Jahad was one of the Ogdru Jahad. The giant Behemoth which appears at the end of the film resembles Sadu-Hem, one of the Ogdru Hem (also offspring of the Ogdru Jahad).
In Hellboy: Sword of Storms, the Ogdru Jahad (or possibly Ogdru Hem) made a cameo as the brothers of Thunder and Lightning. Though not mentioned by name, they were referred to as the "Dragons".
- B.P.R.D.: The Soul of Venice and Other Stories
- Deep One
- The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets released a song titled "Ogdru Jahad," a tribute to the Ogdru Jahad and the Hellboy comic on their 1995 album Cthulhu Strikes Back.
- Hellboy: Seed of Destruction. ISBN 1-59307-094-2
- Hellboy: Seed of Evil
- Hellboy: Conqueror Worm
- Hellboy: The Third Wish
- (hellboy, Film, 2005)