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Hela
Real Name: Hela
Occupation: Goddess of Death, ruler of Hel and Niffieheim
Identity: Publicly known to the citizens of Asgard; Hela is generally believed to be a mythological character by the people of Earth
Legal Status: Ruler of Hel and Niffleheim
Other Aliases: None
Place of Birth: Unrevealed
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: None, allegedly Loki (father), Angrboda (mother, deceased)
Base of Operations: Hel and Niffleheim
Group Affiliation: None
First Appearance: JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #102

History: Hela was born ages ago to parents whose names have not yet been revealed. Legend has it, however, that Hela was born in Jotunheim, the other dimensional land of the giants, one of the "Nine Worlds" of Norse mythology, and that she is the daughter of the Asgardian god of mischief Loki and the sorceress giantess Angrboda. The three Asgardian goddesses of fate, the Norns, are said to have warned the Asgardian gods that Hela would prove to be a great danger to them.

It is known that Odin, ruler of the Asgardian gods, decreed that Hela become goddess and ruler of the spirits of the Asgardian dead on the day of her maturity. These spirits dwell in the other dimensional realms of Hel and Niffleheim, two more of the Nine Worlds, both of which Hela rules. However, Odin himself directly rules the souls of Asgardians end their human worshippers who died in battle as heroes, and had the palace of Valhalla built in a distant section of Asgard, also known as Valhalla, to house them.

Hela has sought for ages to bring more Asgardian souls under her control, and especially longs to possess the souls of Odin and his son Thor. In recent years, when Odin's attention had strayed from the rule of Valhalla, Hela tried to annex that realm to her own, hoping to consolidate her power over all of Asgard's dead. Eventually Odin grew aware of her ambitions and opposed them. Hela finally withdrew to her own realms, and Odin reestablished his control over Valhalla. Asgard continues to rule Valhalla to this day. For untold ages Hela had directed the construction of a gigantic ship, Naflgar, said to be made of the fingernails of the dead. Hela planned that when Naflgar was finished, she would send an army of the dead to Asgard in it to destroy the gods. However, Naflgar was destroyed by the Executioner as it neared completion.

It is said that should the forces of evil in the Nine Worlds ever succeed in destroying Asgard, Hela and her army of the dead will be at their side.

Height: 7 ft.
Weight: 500 lbs.
Eyes: Green
Hair: Grey (almost wholly on her right side)

Strength Level: Hela possesses Class 100 strength, enabling her to lift (press) over 100 tons. She has been able to hold her own in hand-to-hand combat with Thor himself.

Known Superhuman Powers: Hela possesses the conventional attributes of an Asgardian woman ("goddess") although in fact her parents may have been members of the race of giants of Jotunheim, as well as certain special abilities that pertain to her role as a death goddess. Like all Asgardians, she is extremely long-lived (although not immortal like the Olympians), at least as long as she wears her cloak, immune to all diseases, and resistant to conventional injury. (Asgardian flesh and bone, including Hela's, is about 3 times as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to all Asgardians' superhuman strength and weight.) Her Asgardian metabolism gives her far greater than human endurance at all physical activities, though Hela rarely feels obliged to perform undue exercise.

As a goddess of death, Hela holds the power of life and death over the gods of Asgard. Death for an Asgardian is somewhat different from death for an Earth human being. In both cases, the corporeal body ceases all functions and activities, but whereas mortal spirits flee the physical form at the moment of death, the spirits of gods remain in their bodies until the death goddess draws them out and dispatches them to her realms. These spirits (or astral selves) remain integral for eternity and reside, apparently forever, in the otherdimensional realms of Hel and Niffleheim, where they take on a quasi-physical existence. The souls of those who die heroically in battle remain within their bodies and are accompanied by Odin's Valkyries into Valhalla, where the deceased heroes lead a new physical existence. These "dead" heroes are known as the Einherjar. Hela too accompanies these heroes on their journey to Valhalla, but she has no right to govern them.

Although Hela is usually content to wait until an Asgardian is on the verge of succumbing to fatal wounds before she touches him or her and draws the spirit from his or her body, she can also kill perfectly healthy Asgardians with her touch if she so chooses. Although Hela's touch of death is effective even when she touches someone with her gloved hand, she must contact that person's bare skin for him or her to die. However, Hela can also project mystic bolts that will cause their target to age or die, even if they strike a portion of the target's body that is covered by clothing.

Hela also has the power to restore life to recently deceased gods as long as their spirits have not left the sheaths of their bodies. She does not exercise this power often.

While Hela's touch is also fatal to mortals, she does not generally come to Earth or have much traffic with human lives. The souls of immortals are her province, not those of human mortals.

Hela can generate great mystical power within her hand, enabling it to strike a powerful blow that can rend even the strongest Asgardian flesh. She calls this power that of her "hand of glory."

Hela can levitate herself with ease. She has great power to cast illusions, and thus can disguise herself and even the true appearance of as much of her realm as an observer in one area can see. Presumably Hela has other, unrecorded powers as well, which enable her to maintain her control over the vast numbers of the dead in her two realms. The dead warriors in her realm are virtually mindless when acting on her behalf, and are governed solely by her mental control.

Hela is able to travel about in her astral form, possessing the same powers of death as her physical form has. Because of her Asgardian metabolism, she does not have any limitation on the amount of time she can spend out of her physical form, unlike human astral projectionists.

Limitations: When wearing the garment that serves as her cloak, cowl, and headdress, Hela's body is fully alive and healthy. However, deprived of her cloak, Hela reverts to her true form. The right side of her body is fully alive, but the left side is dead and decayed. Legend has it that Hela was born in this condition. It has been theorized that without her cloak, Hela would be unable to leave the realms of the dead. It has been demonstrated that without her cloak, Hale's life force is insufficient to maintain her usual physical strength. Indeed, she is unable to stand or levitate herself, or to project mystical bolts, and can barely crawl. Donning her cloak once more will restore Hela to full vitality; even simply touching it would again enable her to stand.

Realms: Hela rules Hel and Niffleheim, two of the Nine Worlds of Norse mythology. The two realms lie on the same dimensional plane, which is different from that of either Earth or Asgard. Mystical conditions are such in both Hal and Niffleheim that the spirits of the dead become tangible there, and live a quasi-physical existence.

Niffleheim, the land of eternal ice, and Muspelheim, land of flame, are the oldest of the Nine Worlds. Ymir, eldest of the Frost Giants, and the rest of his race lived in Niffleheim until ages ago, their race was virtually wiped out by the young Odin end his brothers Viii and Ye. The surviving Frost Giants moved to Jotunheim, and Odin eventually put Hela In command of Niffleheim. It is in Niffleheim that the souls of the dishonored dead, the greatest evildoers among the deceased, dwell.

The spirits of the dead who were neither great evildoers nor heroic warriors dwell in Hal, a grim, dark, barren realm. There Hela lives in her great hall, Eljudnir.

There is a cavern in Asgard called Gnipa Cave, which serves as the entrance to the underground road from Asgard to Hel, known as the Helway. This road is a passageway through an interdimensional nexus connecting the two realms. Gnipa Cave's entrance is guarded by the immense Hellhound named Garm, who is held to his post by mighty chains. Germ, who is capable of speech, allows the living to enter the Helway, but will attempt to prevent anyone from leaving Hel by this route except his mistress, Hela.

It takes nine days and nights riding by horseback, with stops for rest, to travel from the opening of Gnipe Cave to the bridge Gjallerbru over the river Gjoll, which serves as the entrance to Hal. (By unknown mystical means, Hela can greatly compress the amount of time it takes to travel this distance.) The bridge is guarded by the goddess Modgud, who, like Germ, will allow individuals to enter Hel but will attempt to prevent anyone except Hela from leaving.

Although Loki, for example, has traveled into and out of Hel with Hale's permission, there are only two known instances of living beings leaving Hal against Hela's wishes. The spirit of the Asgardian god Balder, whose body still lay in a mystical coma in Asgard, not truly dead, single-handedly fought his way out of Hel and rejoined his body. More recently, Thor, Balder, and the Einherjar successfully entered and left Hal, taking with them the souls of Earth mortals which Hela had held captive.

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