Thor battles Ulik on the cover of Thor #252 (Oct. 1976).
|First appearance||Thor #137
|Created by||Stan Lee (writer)
Jack Kirby (artist)
|Notable aliases||Tanarus: God of Thunder|
|Abilities||Superhuman strength, stamina and durability
Superior fighting skills
Ulik is a fictional comic book supervillain that appears in books published by Marvel Comics, usually as an adversary of Thor. Ulik was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and first appears in Thor #137 (February 1967).
Debuting in the Silver Age of Comic Books, Ulik has appeared in over four decades of Marvel continuity, principally as a member of the character Thor's Rogues' Gallery. The character has also appeared in other Marvel-related products including animated television series, toys, and trading cards.
Writer Mike Conroy commented on Ulik's debut in Thor #137 (Feb. 1967): "In a strip as steeped in Norse mythology as Marvel's Thor, it was no surprise to come across a troll as big and mean as Ulik." Created as a physical equal for the Thunder God, the Asgardian troll Ulik guest starred in an initial trilogy in Thor #137 - 139 (Feb. - Apr. 1967).
Ulik became a perennial villain in the title, and notable appearances included Thor #151 - 154 (April - July 1968); #210 - 211 (April - May 1973); #237 - 239 (July - Sep. 1975); #252 (Oct. 1976); #413 - 414 (Jan. - Feb. 1990) and #430 - 431 (March - April 1991).
Fictional character biography
Ulik belongs to a race of Rock Trolls who live in the dimension of Asgard in the "Domain of Trolls" in Nornheim. Like all trolls, Ulik has an innate hatred of the Asgardians as they were driven underground by the King of the Norse gods, Odin, and forbidden to live on the surface. Ulik is commanded by the Rock Troll King, Geirrodur, to steal Thor's enchanted hammer, Mjolnir, before an attempt to invade Asgard, leading to an extended series of battles with the Thunder God. Ulik proves to be a match for Thor, as the character possessing increasing strength and is equipped with knuckle dusters made of the metal uru (the same metal of which Mjolnir is composed). He nearly defeats Thor after going into the berserker state of mind, but is transported away by Geirrodur. Later on Earth he traps Thor in his guise as Don Blake, and tries to gain the power of Thor with his cane. Don tells him to strike it again, although Ulik says if this fails he will kill Blake, but when Ulik brings the cane down Don suddenly holds it, meaning he transforms into Thor.
Ulik returns on a regular basis: battling Thor and being thrown down a deep hole before accidentally waking Odin's former foe Mangog hoping he can be used as an ally against Asgard after reading an inscription on the prison door by Odin; aiding Geirrodur once again ; kidnapping Thor's mortal love Jane Foster; and battling Thor for possession of a mystic artifact called the Ruby Eye. The character has also travelled to Earth and battled both Thor and Olympian ally Hercules.
For a time Ulik fought on the side of several Asgardians, who were lost in their own Earthly identities. This group included the Warriors Three, Balder and Sif. He battled a version of Thor called Red Norvell and worked with his temporary allies to escape a Midgard-based technological conspiracy against lost Asgardians.
Much later, maddened and feral, Ulik is given weapons made from the same forge which created Mjolnir. He becomes the lead in Loki's attack on Asgard; this snowballs into the true Ragnarok. Ulik perishes early on in the battles. A child's hammer, made of troll-hurting iron, is thrown into his mouth by Captain America. This results in an explosion that ends his life.
However, like all of Asgard, Ulik is reformed on Earth. During the World War Hulks storyline, Ulik resurfaces and is shown to have gone on a multi-state drinking binge. He ends up destroying a train bridge with the disaster being averted by A-Bomb and Marlo Chandler. When Ulik starts choking Marlo, he is defeated by A-Bomb.
After Thor dies during the Fear Itself event, Ulik replaces him as Tanarus, the new Thunder God, endorsed by the All-Mothers of the Vanir (Freyja, Gaea, and Idunn). Exploiting a glamour charm given by Karnilla the Norn Queen and the circumstances of Thor's death, Ulik is able to retroactively place himself in Thor's place, rewriting history in the process. Only a few individuals like Karnilla and the current juvenile incarnation of Loki are aware of the deception. Tanarus' blunt nature in contrast to the honor of the true Thor allows Heimdall and Sif to realize that something is wrong relatively quickly, culminating in the returned Thor defeating 'Taranus' after his resurrection with relative ease.
Powers and abilities
Ulik possesses superhuman strength, stamina, and durability and has the ability to see into the infrared range of the spectrum, allowing complete night vision. In battle Ulik uses "pounders", metal bands forged from uru and worn over the hands like brass knuckles.
In the limited series The Ultimates 3, Thor talks of how Ulik forges weapons for his father, including having forged his hammer Mjolnir. Ulik is seen in the prequel miniseries Ultimate Comics: Thor during a flashback with Odin instructing him on forging Mjolnir.
- Ulik appears in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episode "The Fall of Asgard", voiced by Troy Baker. He ambushes Eitri and the Dwarves before they can make it to their forge and ends up fighting them and Iron Man. Ulik is defeated when Iron Man dislodges the cap on his chest device which knocked Ulik unconscious. Shortly after that, Eitri reattaches the cap to Iron Man's chest device.
- Ulik appears in the Avengers Assemble episode "The Serpent of Doom", voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson. Ulik travels to Midgard wielding his Codgel weapon and fights Thor and the Avengers in New York. The Avengers defeat Ulik but lose the Codgel in the process, which ended up in Doctor Doom's possession. Ulik was placed in a special cell at Avengers Tower. After Doctor Doom and the Midgard Serpent are defeated, Thor visits Ulik's cell and takes him to Asgard so that Odin can deal with him. In the episode "Avengers: Impossible," Ulik is among the villains summoned to Avengers Tower by Impossible Man in order to spice up his show on Falcon. Ulik ends up fighting Hulk until Impossible Man "scrubs the scene" by making the villains disappear.
- Ulik appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man episodes "Avenging Spider-Man, Part 1" and "Avenging Spider-Man, Part 2", with Kevin Michael Richardson reprising his role. He and his fellow Trolls, some Frost Giants, some Ice Dragons, and Fenris Wolf are used by Loki as part of Doctor Octopus's experiments with the Venom symbiote. Ulik and the other Venom-possessed Asgardian creatures go on a rampage in Manhattan. Upon Iron Man converting his repulsor blasts to sonic blasts, Ulik and the other Asgardian creatures are freed one by one and sent back to Asgard. Upon Loki retreating upon defeat, he finds himself in the same area where Ulik and the other Asgardian creatures are as they prepare to get revenge on Loki.
- Ulik appears in the video game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, voiced by Fred Tatasciore. He and Kurse steal a chest containing Volla's ring and the heroes have to fight them to get it back.
- Ulik appears in Thor: God of Thunder (based on the live-action film), voiced by Steven Blum. Loki diverts Thor to Ulik's realm as part of a plan to make himself the new hero of Asgard by defeating the powerful Mangog only for Loki to be forced to help Thor activate Frostgrinder (the troll version of Bifrost) when he realizes that Mangog is too strong for him, culminating in Thor defeating Ulik to gain access to Frostgrinder.
- Conroy, Mike. 500 Comicbook Villains, Collins & Brown, 2004.
- Thor #137 - 139 (Feb. - April 1967)
- Thor #151 - 154 (April - July 1968)
- Thor #210 - 211 (April - May 1973)
- Thor #237 - 239 (July - Sep. 1975)
- Thor #252 (Oct. 1976)
- Thor #413 - 414 (Jan. - Feb. 1990)
- Thor #430 - 431 (March - April 1991)
- "Journey Into Mystery" #1-11 (1996-1997)
- Thor vol. 2 #80-81 (2004)
- World War Hulks #1
- The Mighty Thor #8 (November 2011)
- The Mighty Thor #10 (January 2012)
- The Mighty Thor #12 (March 2012)
- A-Next #1 - 5 (Nov. 2006 - Jan. 2007)
- The Ultimates Vol.3 #4 (2008)
- Ultimate Comics: Thor #1
- "Avenging Spider-Man, Part 2". Ultimate Spider-Man. Season 3. Episode 2. June 7, 2014. Disney XD.
- "SEGA Inks Actors Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston to Star in the Video Game Thor: God of Thunder". Business Wire. 2010-12-02. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
- Ulik at the Marvel Universe wiki