Occupation: Monarch of Asgard, god of wisdom, crafts, time and the dead
Legal Status: Citizen of Asgard
Identity: The general populace of Earth is unaware of Odin’s existence except as a figure of mythological origin. He was well-known in Ancient Norway and Germany.
Other Aliases: The All-Father, Odian, Oden, Othinn, Godan, Wad, Woden, Wotan, Wuoden, Wuotan, Wothan (variant forms of Odin), Odin Borson, Vegtham, Alfodr, Atridr (Rider Through The Skies), Baleygr (Flame Eyes), Bileygr (Shift Eyed), Bolverk (Worker of Misfortune), Farmatyr (Cargo God), Farma-god, Fjolsvidr (Wide in Wisdom), Glapsvidir (Swift in Deceit), Grim, Grimnir (Hooded One), Hanga-god, Hapta-god, Harbard, Orrin, Oski (Wish-Giver), Sidfodr (Father of Victories), Sigtyr, Svipall (Changeling), Valfodr (Father of Slain), Val-Father, Vegtham, Veratyr (Lord of Men), Voden, Wulf the Wanderer, Ygg the Awful, et al.
Place of Birth: Unrevealed, possibly Asgard
Marital Status: Married
Known Relatives: Bor (father), Bestla (mother), Ve/Hoenir, Vili/Lodur (brothers), Frigga (wife), Freia (sister-in-law), Thor, Balder, Hoder, Tyr, Vidar, Heimdall, Hermod, Bragi, (sons), Sif, Brynhilda and the Valkyries, (daughters), Loki (foster son), Idunn, Sigyn, Solveig (daughters-in-law), Magni, Modi, Forseti (grandsons, possibly deceased), Bolthorn (grandfather), Fygorgyn (father-in-law), Mimir (uncle)
Group Affiliations: The Gods of Asgard, The Council Elite
Base of Operations: Valaskialf in the Asgard dimension
First Appearance: Journey into Mystery I #85
Origin: Journey into Mystery 397, Thor I Annual 5, 11, Thor I #349
History: Odin is the chieftain of an extra-dimensional race of beings known as the Asgardians, who were worshipped as gods by the Ancient Germanic and Scandinavian tribes of Western Europe. Odin was born ages ago as the grandson of Buri, the ancestor of the Asgardians, who is said to have emerged from the ice of the extra-dimensional realm of Niffleheim. Buri sired Bor, god of earth, who took as his wife, Bestla, daughter of the Rime Giant, Bolthorn, and they had three sons, Vili, Ve and Odin (known to the ancient German tribes as Lodur, Hoenir and Wotan). Buri was eventually replaced as Ruler of the Asgardians by Bor who was himself succeeded by his three sons. His whereabouts, if he still lives, are unrevealed, but Buri appeared later several centuries living outside Asgard under the name Tiwaz.
The three brothers eventually assumed leadership of the fledging tribe of Immortals known as the Aesir. They lead the armies of Asgard in war against the Frost Giants of Niffleheim and the three siblings slew the giants’ leader, Ymir. The melting ice from Ymir’s body flooded the earth and killed almost everything in sight except for a few of the giants and nearly every human being on Midgard (Earth) except for two mortals, Ask and Embla who survived the flood by clinging to two trees, an ash tree and a elm tree, respectively. Ask and Embla became ancestors to the preceding mortal race and Odin and his brothers used Ymir’s corpse to create spells binding earth and the heavens. (Later myths claimed they actually constructed much of the cosmos from portions of Ymir’s immense body, and created Ask and Embla from ash and elm trees, but this account is not as widely accepted today). The surviving Frost Giants eventually settled in the other-dimensional realm of Jotunheim, yet another of the Nine Worlds in the Asgardian Cosmology. Odin, Vili and Ve created the city of Asgard in the realm of Asgard, which became home to the Aesir. They were bitter enemies of the Vanir worshipped as gods by the ancient Germans as opposed to the Aesir worshipped as gods by the Scandinavians, but eventually both tribes came to a truce between their two tribes in later years and became Asgardians.
Ve, Vili and Odin finally went to explore another of the Nine Worlds, Muspelheim, which was inhabited by demons ruled by the monstrous, Surtur. While there, the three brothers learned of the prophecy that Surtur intended to one day destroy the Nine Worlds with his gigantic sword, which he would ignite with the Eternal Flame of Destruction. Odin and his brothers decided that Surtur must be prevented from carrying out this plan. The three brothers mystically merged into a giant of Surtur’s own immense size, and in this form succeeded in shattering Surtur’s sword in combat. Having returned to their individual forms, the three brothers carried off the brazier holding the Eternal Flame of Destruction. Surtur and his hordes pursued the three Asgardians to the inter-dimensional nexus between Asgard and Muspelheim. Odin rode through the Nexus, carrying the brazier, but his elder brothers remained behind, saying that if they accompanied Odin, then Surtur would follow the three of them wherever they went. Vili and Ve bade Odin farewell, telling him to rule Asgard wisely. Then, as Surtur came up behind them, there was a tremendous shock wave and a flash of light. When Odin recovered, the Nexus to Muspelheim had vanished. There was a second more powerful shock wave of energy, and the young Odin found himself in possession of his brothers’ own godly powers. Thus, Odin now became possessed the “Odin-Power,” which consisted of his own powers to manipulate mystical energy with those that had belonged to Vili and Ve.
Despite his power, Odin savored wisdom and he approached Mimir, son of Bolthorn who protected a mystic well that endowed wisdom on those who drank from it. Coveting to drink from the well, he used his own spear to remove his own eye as a price to drink from the well and hung from the branches of Yggdrasil, the sacred tree, for nine days and nine nights without food and water to prove his worthiness to it. Mimir placed Odin’s severed eye in the well. The eye eventually became sentient and returned to Odin years later to reveal to Odin that the Asgardian Gods were trapped in a cycle of death and rebirth even they could not control. According to the Eye, Odin was already in a second incarnation and that in his previous incarnation he had lead the gods of Asgard against the combined forces of their enemies two thousand years prior. Odin had been killed in his previous life by being devoured by the Fenris Wolf, and Asgard had been consumed by Surtur’s flames. Vili and Ve returned with Vidi and Vali, sons of Odin in this prior existence, and gave their lives to return Odin to life. Finding the other Asgardians and their enemies now in the form of small chessmen-like figurines, Odin restored them to life and created the second incarnation of Asgard. Not all of the gods of Asgard returned in this second incarnation, Forseti, son of Balder and grandson of Odin did not return while figures as Hela and Brynhilda returned with a limited knowledge of their prior existences. Other Asgardians, such as Odin’s sons, Tyr, Hoder and Hermod, even forgot their relationships to Odin as their father. (This account of a previous incarnation and subsequent reincarnation of Odin and the Asgardians has been disputed, and may well be a fiction concocted by the Eye for unknown reasons. However, certain revelations in later years have nearly confirmed the Eye’s claims.)
Odin made Frigga, the Asgardian goddess of fertility, marriage and motherhood, his queen, but he had several other children out of necessity to visions he percieved. Nertha, the Asgardian goddess of Earth, bore Odin the Valkyries in order to carry the mortal spirits of the Vikings into Valhalla. Saga, the goddess of poetry, gave birth to Tyr, the god of war, to protect Odin from Fenris Wolf, and her sister, Alti, sired both Heimdall and Sif to protect their mortal worshippers. Odin eventually knew he had to sire a son whose power would combine that of Asgard and that of Earth in order to defend Asgard and Earth from threats he had prophesied. Hence, he journeyed to Earth to mate with its patron goddess Gaea, who appeared to him in the form of Jord, mother of Frigga. Gaea bore his son Thor, whom Frigga then raised as one of her own. Thor grew to be Odin’s favorite son and the god of thunder.
Odin meanwhile still lead the armies of Asgard in wars with the Frost Giants of Jotunheim in which one of their leaders, Laufey, was slain. Among Laufey’s slain sons, Odin adopted the infant Loki, whose size was more of a god than a giant. Odin raised Loki among Thor and his other sons, but the adult Loki would continually challenge Odin’s rule and that of Thor’s position as Odin’s heir. It was Odin who had created Bifrost, the Rainbow Bridge that became the foundation bridging the dimension of Asgard through its nexus to the Earth’s dimension. He placed Heimdall in protection of it as its sentry so he could have a better look of mortals on Earth beyond which the Asgardians called Midgard. On Earth, the Asgardians were worshipped by Norsemen and Germans (who called Odin by the name of Wotan and Thor by the name Donner). Asgardian worship dominated much of Western Europe and even reached Scandinavia and points as far to the east as Ruthenia and Galicia (modern Russia) and even Iceland to the west. Encroachment into regions of Gaul, Britain and Eire resulted in centuries of enmity with the Danaans, gods of the Celts, as well as the Dievans, gods of the Slavs. While Odin achieved greater peace with Svaros, Ruler of the Dievan Gods, he had nowhere near as the success with the Dagda who ruled the gods of Britain being invaded by the Saxons in Odin’s name. The Asgardians even encountered members of the Anasazi, the gods of North America, as Viking exploration pressed into the North American continent, but the magicks and animal forms of these foreign gods encouraged Odin and even Thor from even challenging this land far from their own influence.
According to the Sentient Eye of Odin, Odin had commissioned the Giants Fasolt and Fafnir (not to be confused with the evil monarch who Odin transformed into a serpent) to refortify the walls of Valhalla, a section of Asgard reserved as a dwelling for the heroic dead. In order to pay the Giants, Odin, Loki and Thor took the dwarf Alberich prisoner and forced him to surrender both his gold and the power mystic Ring of the Nibelung. Alberich placed a curse on the mystical Ring, which was carried off by Fafnir. According to the Eye, Odin had placed Thor on Earth in the form of the mortal hero Siegfried to protect him from Ragnarok, the Twilight of the Gods, which had claimed the previous incarnation of the Asgardians. On Earth, Siegfried attempted to recover the Ring and succeeded, but was killed by Alberich’s son, Hagen. Siegfried’s lover, Brynhilda the Valkyrie, recovered the Ring, but she was killed as a result. Odin had them restored to life thereafter. It is unclear how much truth, if any, there is to these stories by the Eye.
Odin eventually learned of the coming of the Third Host of the Celestials, alien beings of inconceivable power who had influenced the evolution of the Earth’s human race and intended to judge humanity’s worthiness to survive when the Fourth Host came. Odin had contacted Zeus, Ruler of the Olympian gods, during a conflict between the Asgardians and the Olympians to which the two of them had put to a quick end. The two monarchs then met with the ruling gods of Earth’s other pantheons to set a course of action. (This group of the ruling gods of Earth later became known as the Council Elite and would gather several times in later years to discuss threats to Earth and the gods of earth as a whole.) Odin, Zeus and Vishnu the Preserver of the Hindu gods confronted the Third Host, which threatened to seal off the inter-dimensional passages between the gods realms and Earth unless the gods interfered with the Celestials’ activities for a millennium. Acting on behalf of Earth’s gods, Odin, Zeus and Vishnu agreed with their terms, but Odin already began making plans for the Fourth Host, which would arrive about a millennium later. He constructed a suit of armor with nearly invincible powers called the Destroyer, and transformed the Ring of the Nibelung into the Destroyer’s armor. Frigga and the other leading goddesses of Earth’s pantheons took charge in finding Earth’s human beings who were as close to genetic perfection as possible over these centuries.
In the Twentieth Century, Odin was growing greatly frustrated and even more disturbed by Thor’s growing headstrong nature. After Thor pressed the Frost Giants into war just after Odin had convinced them into a truce, Odin decided to strip Thor of his godhood and placed him on Earth in the mortal form of crippled medical student Donald Blake stripped of memory of his true identity. Endowed with a false set of mortal memories, Blake became a successful physician, but Odin soon began having prophecies of dangers to Earth that required Thor’s attention. He implanted within Blake’s mind the suggestion to take a vacation in Norway. There, Blake stumbled into the cave where Thor’s magic hammer, Mjolnir, was left in the form of a wooden cane. Blake struck the cave against a boulder in frustration to being lost in the cave and regained his godly form while the cane returned to being his hammer. Eventually, Thor regained all his memories as a god along with the added humility of his mortal existence. Years later, Odin removed this enchantment from the hammer allowing Thor to return to his life freed of his mortal responsibilities as Blake and placed the spell within the hammer, Storm-Breaker, given to the alien champion Beta Ray Bill so that he could assume a powerful form to defend his own people.
After the coming of the Fourth Host of the Celestials, Odin withdrew all the life essences of the Asgardians except Thor into himself. Then Odin’s spirit entered the Destroyer, animating it, and Odin thus did battle with the Fourth Host. The Celestials annihilated the Destroyer, but judged in humanity’s favor when Gaea presented them with twelve genetically advanced human beings, the “Young Gods.” The chieftains of the other pantheons of Earth granted the power to restore Odin, who then revived the Asgardians. (It is possible that the Asgardians “deaths” when the Destroyer was annihilated constituted the prophesied Ragnarok, and that the Asgardians have thus survived it.)
Recently, Surtur launched a new attack against the Nine Worlds. While Surtur’s demons fought the greatest warriors of Asgard on Earth, Surtur himself battled Odin, Thor and Loki in Asgard City. Odin grew to gigantic size and grappled with Surtur, and both fell into a huge crevice apparently leading into Muspelheim, which then sealed shut. In Odin’s absence, Balder the Brave was chosen to succeed Odin as Ruler of Asgard; Thor refused the throne preferring to remain guardian of Earth.
Odin meanwhile continued to keep Surtur at bay in Muspelheim, but Seth, the Egyptian god of death, abducted him during a lull in the battle. Seth kept Odin alive to sap him of his energies in order to lead an attack on Asgard, which was overwhelmed by his hordes of undead soldiers. While infiltrating Seth’s base, Thor rescued Odin and the tide against Seth’s armies was rerouted. Surtur located Odin in Asgard to resume their battle and was fought back by Thor as Odin defeated Seth and took back his energies.
While Thor was lost after battling with Onslaught, Seth attacked Asgard again by trying to manipulate Yggdrasil into creating a new Ragnarok. Odin concealed the Asgardians by hiding them on Earth in mortal roles without knowledge of their true identities. Odin had intended for Thor to restore the Asgardians to their true identities, but Seth sent agents of his own to slay the now mortal gods and prevent them from regaining their true identities. Trapped in the guise of a homeless transient, Odin rallied former reporter Red Norvell, who possessed a portion of Thor’s power to protect the lost Asgardians, but Red became corrupted by Seth and instructed to restore the Asgardians to their true forms and identities. Once Seth succeeded in destroying Yggdrasil, the Asgardians would be destroyed, but Odin rallying the Asgardians still managed to defeat Seth and his machinations, but the ordeal left him to the mercy of the Dark Gods, who destroyed Asgard and took Odin prisoner.
Thor meanwhile returned to this timeline after being shunted into another reality by Franklin Richards following the destruction of Onslaught. Though bound by the enigmatic Marnot to the mortal Jake Olson, Thor fought the Dark Gods with the help of Hercules and the Destroyer and rescued Odin and the Asgardians.
Subsequently, Surtur renewed his battle with Odin in Norway. To defeat him,
Odin harnessed cosmic power channeled through him from Tarene the Designate, but
apparently perished as a result, stripping her of her once cosmic powers. The
Odin-Power meanwhile began appearing through Thor and Thor became Ruler of
Asgard in what was becoming the apparent demise of Odin. In one alternate
future, Thor used the power of the Odin-Power to alter Earth for what he
believed to be the greater good, but in effect, he had actually stripped mortal
man of their future potential. He corrected his error by reaching back in time,
and altering events that this timeline never occurred (although it is
speculatory it might still exist in one of innumerable alternate realities).
As a side result of these actions, Loki set the motions for a
revised Ragnarok to occur. Thor realized that the mysterious Those Who Sit Above
In Shadow were responsible for keeping Asgard in this repeating cycle of
Ragnarok and gave his life to destroy them as yet another Twilight of the Gods
claimed the Nine Worlds. Odin, Thor and the Asgardians were restored shortly
thereafter through the Odin-Force taking the manifestation of a young Asgardian.
Height: 6’ 9”
Weight: 650 lbs.
Hair: White (Blonde in his youth)
Strength Level: Odin possesses superhuman strength enabling him to lift (press) about 60 tons under optimal conditions.
Known Superhuman Powers: Odin possesses the conventional physical attributes of the Asgardian Gods as well as the greatest single share of the majority of mystical energy in Asgard. Like all Asgardians, he is extremely long-lived (thought not immortal in the same sense of the Olympian Gods) and ages very slowly. The fact that he is now physically elderly (although with a semblance of being in his physical prime) demonstrates how many millennia he has already lived. Like all Asgardians, he has superhuman strength and stamina and is immune to all known terrestrial diseases and is invulnerable to conventional injury. If wounded, his godly life force would enable him to recover with superhuman speed. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it dispersed a major portion of his bodily molecules to cause him a physical death. Even then, it might be possible for Zeus or a number of gods of equal power working together to revive him. His own Asgardian metabolism gives him far greater than human endurance in all physical activities. (Asgardian flesh and bone is about three times as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to the superhuman strength and weight of the Asgardian race.)
Odin possesses vast energy powers of an unknown nature. Magical in their apparent form and function, these powers can be employed for numerous purposes, among which are the augmentation of physical strength and endurance, the enchantment of living beings and objects and the projection of energy bolts. Odin’s enchantments (such as the one he placed on Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, to the thrower’s hand) last until he rescinds them or until they are overpowered by a superior enchantment. Odin can also create inter-dimensional apertures with a gesture and project a three-dimensional audio-visual image of himself or his visage, visible and audible only to those he wishes, across space or dimensions. Odin commands the life energies of the entire race of Asgardians, and can absorb any and or all of their energies into his person at will. In certain instances, he can restore life to an Asgardian whose life energies are ebbing. (He cannot resurrect the dead once they have passed into the dominion of Hela, the goddess of the dead.)
Abilities: Odin is an excellent swordsman, horseman and warrior with skills in stragedy and warfare. His skills in unarmed combat are parallel to few.
Limitations: At least in the past, at periodic intervals approximately once every Earth year, Odin is required to sleep for one week to renew and replenish his godly energies. If Odin misses the “Odin-Sleep,” or is awakened before it is through, his power level begins to diminish until he completes the “Odin-Sleep.” (Once while in such a weakened state, Odin found his powers so far diminished that he could be drugged and kidnapped by aliens). Odin’s power also seems dependant on the on the dimension of Asgard itself, Odin’s power wanes the longer he is on Earth or in a dimension other than Asgard’s. (Returning to Asgard restores him to his normal power level. His son Thor’s power level does not wane when Thor is apart from Asgard.)
Odin is not omniscient, nor can he create life from nothingness, travel through time unaided, read thoughts, teleport himself (except inter-dimensionally), or move worlds. He is possibly the most powerful god described in the annals of Earth mythology who is still active today.
Weapons: Odin wields the spear Gungnir, (“The Spear of Heaven”), which is constructed from the metal uru, a metal unique to the dimension of Asgard. Odin has enchanted the spear to return to his hand when thrown.
Odin also wields the power scepter Thrudstok, a small mace. Like Gungnir, it is made of uru. Neither Gungnir nor Thrudstok have any power of its own; rather, each serves as a conduit through which Odin could channel his power. In his absence, they were wielded by Balder in the role of Ruler of Asgard.
Odin also wore Draupnir (The “Odin Ring”) as a symbol of supremacy. The specific properties of the ring are unknown.
Transportation: Odin has access to Skipbladnir, a Viking-style longboat belonging to the god Frey, whose enchanted sails and oars enable it to sail the “sea of space.” Its mystical properties enable Asgardians to ride it safely without any natural protection from the vacuum of space. Skipbladnir can be mystically shrunk to the size of a fist.
Pets: Odin sometimes rides the eight-legged steed Sleipnir, the offspring of Loki and Svadilfari, who can fly through the air at incalculable speeds.
Odin’s ravens, Muninn, flies through the Nine Worlds gathering information, which it then conveys to Odin. Another raven, Huginn, performed much the same purpose, but was killed while exploring Surtur’s plot against Asgard. Another of his ravens, Hescamar, was given humanoid form as a contingency plan against attack of Asgard by the Dark Gods, but was killed by an Executioner imposter.
Two intelligent wolves, Freki and Geri, often serve Odin as attendants.
Base of Operations: Odin’s silver-roofed hall in Asgard is known as Valaskialf, the site of Hlidskialf, high seat from which Odin can view all Nine Worlds. The city of Asgard rests on the plain of Idavoll in the realm of Gladsheim, but Asgard is the blanket term for much of the dimension.
Comments: This bio describes Odin in the Marvel Universe; he has made random appearances in the DC Universe as well.
Odin was played by Peter McCauley on "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" (1995-2000), and by Anthony Hopkins in Thor (2010)
Clarifications: Odin is not to be confused with:
Last updated: 10/22/12
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