Monday, 29 November 2010

Hela. Drop dead gorgeous?

Hela, goddess of death, and her great big doggie
There comes a time in the life of even a god when he must lay down his sword and turn his thoughts to the gentler things in life; puppies, kittens, and fluffy romance. As we're still in the middle of my Thor Week, that raises the question of who was my favourite female character in the strip.

It's a dread reality that, during the time when I was reading Thor, there wasn't an awful lot to choose from. Basically, we had Sif, Jane Foster, Karnilla and Hela. There was someone else, I seem to recall, a seven foot tall warrior woman type, during John Buscema's reign. Being a Viking, she was probably called Hildegaard, or Brunhilde or something but the fact I can't remember her name suggests she can't have made that great an impact on me.

Well, as we saw when she got her chance at godhood, Jane Foster was a total wimp and, after a good start, the lovely Karnilla spent more time pining after boring old Balder than she did weaving mischief.

All of which left Sif and Hela. Well, I had a certain soft spot for Sif. Leaving aside the fact she seemed to buy her spray-on armour at the same place that Wilma Deering bought her spray-on spacesuits; after years of Jane Foster, anything was going to seem good, and at least Sif could handle a sword.

But still, when it came to it, Sif was another Stan Lee heroine, which meant that, in times of crisis, she was still there to be rescued at every opportunity by Thor.

But Hela....?

Hela, goddess of death, gets philosophical
Hela. Saying in four panels what it once took Neil
Gaiman's Death an entire issue to say.
Now Hela was the real deal. Long before Neil Gaiman gave us death in female form, Marvel gave it to us. And could they have done it with more style? She was eight foot tall. She was the living incarnation of death. She wore a silly head-dress, hung around in a land of mists and could flatten Thor if she really wanted to. What was there not to like?

I was so much on her side that every time she turned up, I wanted her to win. I actually wanted her to kill Thor and bring the strip to an end - not because I had anything against Thor but just because, sometimes, some villains you want to win. Thus was I terribly aggrieved when, in Thor #190, Odin killed her. The idea that Odin - or anyone else - could kill Hela was, to my eyes, a disgrace. She was death! How could Odin  kill death? Even Odin should be powerless against her. My god, even Galactus should be powerless against her.

Happily, despite the Odin aberration, she "lived" to kill again and all was right once more in my world but still it was a shameful episode in the history of the human race. The last I saw of Hela was in the pages of an X-Men comic where Storm had become the new Goddess of Thunder and, not happy about it, the X-Men took on Asgard. I seem to recall Hela tried to claim Wolverine at the tale's climax. As always, she lost - but she retained her sense of menace, so I was happy.

So, there it is. When it comes to goddesses, my ideal woman's eight foot tall, wears a silly head-dress and is death. I'm not sure what it says about me but I like to feel it says all you need to know about her.


joe bloke said...

what about the Enchantress? or whatever it is that they call her now? Aurora? Alura? something like that, anyway. & I don't suppose that Valkyrie out of the Defenders counts, does she? probably not.

nah, you're right. Hela, it is, then. she turned up in that Ultimate Everyone Dies mini series a little ways back, drawn by David Finch. . .now, THAT'S a whole lotta death-as-fit bird!

Steve said...

Argh! I'd forgotten all about the Enchantress. Now I'm in trouble. She'll never forgive me. And we all know how she likes to hold a grudge when it comes to being slighted by men.

Edo Bosnar said...

You say Sif "seemed to buy her spray-on armour at the same place that Wilma Deering bought her spray-on spacesuits" like that's a bad thing...

Steve said...

I do fear that such armour lacked a certain practicality. Titanium Man, he had the right idea. Sif should definitely have followed his example.

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