Saturday, November 17, 2012

And You Thought Klingons Wrecked The Place


Usually the mental picture we have of Asgardians looks something like this:



Not that the Asgardians would object to the association; in fact, they'd probably burst into loud affirmation of their aggressive prowess on full display. And by "full," I'm of course referring to artist Jack Kirby's full-page portraits--in this case, his many depictions of the gods and other-worldly beings of Asgard, whether in full battle or full revelry. And though we humans are no slouches when it comes to partying, I think we can safely say that nobody does revelry better than Asgardians:


(Okay, so Hogun the Grim is a grim partier. Are you gonna tell him that?)


But when it comes time to toss aside their petty games, draw swords and maces and join ranks, the ale-swigging, arm-wrestling Asgardians are well-matched by a plentiful array of deadly foes. And we can count among the heavy hitters these bruisers:






It should be noted that not all Asgardians join their brethren in the nearest bar when there's a lull in battle. Some prefer to spend their down time by retiring to their respective lairs for some craftiness and scheming. Such as the beauteous Karnilla, Queen of the Norns, who keeps her friends (perhaps a better word would be "minions") close and her enemies closer:



As is evident in even the face and temperament of this stern sorceress, Karnilla has a weakness, in the form of a most unexpected Asgardian "enemy"--Balder the Brave, who has reluctantly fallen in love with this foe of Asgard who has relentlessly pursued him. In these early times, Karnilla often sought to use not only sorcery but force of arms to coerce Balder's fealty. Yet she had only to wait for the right moment to skillfully extract a pledge from him in return for her aid:





Yet Karnilla has a counterpart in the halls of Asgard--one who's not only equally practiced in guile, but unmatched in pure villainy. That, of course, is Loki, whom Kirby gives equal full-page attention to:



I suppose that just goes to show you that even a place in the universe so steeped in grandeur as Asgard can have its practitioner of evil. I must say, though, that Asgard's impressive "reception area" pulls out all the stops for the occasional visitor who drops by:


(They also pull their swords.  Just to be on the safe side.)


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