THE MIDGARD SERPENT

Real Name: Jormungand ("Midgard Serpent")

Identity/Class: Extra-dimensional god/dragon

Occupation: Serpent

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Fafnir the Dragon, Fafnir the Giant, Forsung, Frost Giants, Hela, Kurse, Morgan Le Fay, Nidhogg, Loki, Tyr, Utgard-Loki

Enemies: Avengers, Beta Ray Bill, Red Norvell, Thor

Known Relatives: Loki (father, see comments), Angerboda (mother, deceased), Iceworm (child), Hela (sister), Fenris Wolf (brother), Hoarfen, Sturm, Drang (nephews), Thor, Vidar (uncles), Laufey (grandfather, deceased), Odin (grandfather, deceased), Frigga (grandmother), Echidna (maternal grandmother), Varcolac (maternal grandfather), Phorcys (maternal great-grandfather), Ceto (maternal great-grandmother), Set (great-great-grandfather);

Aliases: World Serpent, Nidhogg (see comments), Midgard Snake, Mighty Snake, impersonated Fin Fang Foom

Base of Operations: Mobile in the seas of Midgard (Earth)

First Appearance: Marvel Tales I#105 (February, 1952)

Powers/Abilities: The Midgard Serpent possesses superhuman strength in excess of class 100, and is virtually invulnerable. The serpent normally exists in an ethereal form around Earth, but by making itself solid, it can crush the Earth itself within its coils. When it becomes solid, it causes time to freeze, leaving only those from Asgard unfrozen. The serpent can also assume other forms, such as that of a cat and of the alien dragon Fin Fang Foom. The serpent also produces a venom which is lethal even to the gods of Asgard, and can fire energy blasts from its eyes. The serpent can also fly, breathe both underwater and in the vacuum of space, and has powerful teeth and claws.

Height: 22'9"
Weight: Unmeasured
Eyes: Red
Hair: None

History: (Norse-German Myth/Thor Annual#5) - Jormungand is the son of Loki and Angerboda, a giantess who was counted among his wives. Realizing the peril Jormungand could place Asgard in, Loki's father Odin banished Jormungand to the depths of the oceans of Earth.

(Norse-German Myth/Thor I#127/2, 128/2/Thor I#200) - The prophetess Volla prophecized that at the time of Ragnarok, the Midgard Serpent would be slain by Thor in battle, but then Thor himself would perish by the serpent's venom.

(Norse-German Myth/Thor I#272 (fb) ) - While in the court of Utgard-Loki, Thor was challenged to lift his cat off the ground, but was humbled when the cat managed to keep at least one foot on the ground at all times. Utgard-Loki then revealed his so-called cat was actually the Midgard Serpent in disguise.

(Thor I#273 (fb) ) - Thor went fishing with an ox-head on the boat of the giant Hymir for the Midgard Serpent. Thor succeeded in catching the serpent, but Hymir grew afraid and cut the line believing he was saving Thor from himself. As the serpent retreated, Thor grew angry with Hymir and struck him. He then departed under the power of his hammer as he told Hymir he ought to be grateful that he was letting him live.

(Marvel Tales I#105 (fb) ) - A scientist named Albert, while standing beneath a statue of the Midgard Serpent, saw tears dripping from its eyes. He collected the tears into a test tube and brought them back to his lab for study. He ultimately discovered that the tears were a universal solvent which could dissolve through anything-- but this meant that he could not contain the solvent in anything, and it threatened to dissolve the Earth.

(Thor I#277-278) - As Ragnarok seemed to draw near in Asgard, Hela brought the Midgard Serpent forth to launch an attack, and Thor found himself nearly powerless against it, having lost his hammer Mjolnir to Red Norvell. Norvell himself came to Thor's rescue, and fought the serpent all the way back to its lair, seemingly perishing in the process. When the serpent returned, Thor faced it again, now armed with Mjolnir; he managed to strike it down, and beat it until it vanished, bringing the seeming-Ragnarok to a halt.

(Thor I#325/2)- As part of their scheme to overthrow Odin, Loki and Tyr captured the Golden Apples of Idunn and fed them to the Midgard Serpent, whom they found gnawing upon the roots of Yggdrasil.

(Thor I#327) - To complete Odin's defeat, Loki had the serpent stretch itself to Earth so that his armies could follow Odin and those loyal to him. As they fought, the serpent wound itself around the Earth and began to crush it within its coils. Thor quickly enlisted the giant Hamir to assist him in baiting the serpent with an ox on a fishing pole. The serpent took the bait, and Thor dragged it free from the Earth and fought it. The serpent finally asked Thor to cease their fighting as they were evenly matched, and Thor agreed on the condition that the serpent return the golden apples. The serpent did so, and Thor then lashed it to Yggdrasil so that it could continue to gnaw upon its root.

(Thor I#379) - Seeking the downfall of Thor, the Frost Giant Grundroth sought out the Midgard Serpent in the oceans of Earth, and used one of his men as bait to raise the serpent to the surface. The serpent took the appearance of the alien dragon Fin Fang Foom to communicate with the giants, and learned from them that Thor had been cursed by Hela to have old, brittle bones without the ability to heal his wounds. Seeing an opportunity to destroy Thor utterly in order to spare himself from death in Ragnarok, the serpent sought Thor out and came upon him in a park in Brooklyn. However, the serpent did not recognize Thor because of the armor he had donned to protect his damaged bones. Thor informed the serpent that he would oppose him, and the serpent responded that if he could lift one of his feet from the ground, he would face him in combat in a place away from innocent bystanders. Thor succeeded, and the two flew off to a secluded valley for combat. There, the serpent dropped the form of Fin Fang Foom and appeared before Thor in its true form. At that instant, all time on Earth stood still. Thor then informed the serpent who he was, and swore to destroy him.

(Thor I#380) - The two enemies engaged in a ferocious battle, during which Thor broke the serpent's teeth when it tried to swallow him. Finally, the serpent launched itself at Thor for its death strike, but Thor came back at it, unleashing the unfettered might of Mjolnir. The energies unleashed slew the serpent, while simultaneously reducing Thor's body to pulp.

(Thor I#486) - The Midgard Serpent was released from Hel by Kurse to use as a minion against Thor on Earth, alongside some Frost Giants, Nidhogg, Forsung, Fafnir the Giant, and Fafnir the Dragon.

(Thor I#487) - Thor faced the Midgard Serpent in battle, but was quickly swallowed up. Unable to break free from its belly, Thor found himself exposed to the venom of the serpent's breath, and began to drift unconscious.

(Thor I#488) - Thor was saved from death by Beta Ray Bill, who tore a hole through the serpent's stomach to reach him. The two hammer-wielders were able to smash their way out of the serpent's belly by combining the power of their hammers, and the Midgard Serpent faded back into Hel.

(Avengers III#1) - The Midgard Serpent was among the Asgardian menaces summoned to Earth by Morgan Le Fay to distract the Avengers while she abducted the Scarlet Witch. The Midgard Serpent surfaced in the South Pacific, where it was opposed by a team of Avengers led by the Black Widow.

(Thor II#80) - As Thor lay defeated following his battle with Loki, the Midgard Serpent attempted to devour him, but Thor blasted it in the face with energy from Mjolnir as he teleported to Earth.

Comments: Adapted by Hank Chapman and Gene Colan.

Will U: According to Norse-German myth, the Fenris Wolf is the son of Loki and Angerboda, a giantess who was counted as among his wives. However, this may not be the case since Loki refers to Hela in an account set in his youth. IIn an issue of Update '89, in the corrections page, it was noted that the young Loki's reference to Hela was an error on the part of the story's writer--Per Degaton.
   According the Sentient Eye of Odin, however, there was an Asgard that existed before the recent Asgard so it is possible that Hela, Jormungand and the Fenris Wolf are the children of the Loki of this previous Asgard and were directly restored to life after it suffered Ragnarok while Loki and Thor were born anew. However, this account of a previous Asgard has been cast in some doubt and there is no way to confirm any of this; it is further complicated by the fact that Doctor Strange referred to Jormungand as the spawn of the serpent-god Set. Possibly, Strange was referring to Set being the father of Jormungand in an honorary status or maybe Jormungand is the reincarnation of one of Set's progeny and has the life force of a child of Set. It doesn't look like the matter will be resolved anytime soon. It was in Marvel Team-Up Annual#5 that Doctor Strange stated that Set was the father of the Midgard Serpent.--Per Degaton.

    Also, in the myths, Jormungand is almost definitely equated with Nidhogg. Both creatures were cast from Asgard; both creatures nibbled at Yggdrasil and both creatures threatened Idunn's golden apples. In the German myth, however, Nidhogg survived Ragnarok to feed upon the corpses of the dead tossed to it; otherwise, they are sometimes treated as one and the same. In the Marvel Universe, they are treated as separate creatures.

    Thor's death at the hands of the Midgard Serpent was also depicted in a nightmare in Thor I#472.

    Loki cast an illusion of the Midgard Serpent to deceive Thor in Thor I#273.

    The Midgard Serpent has 3 distinct appearances; first, the cobra-like appearance by Jack Kirby (Thor I#127-128, Avengers III#1); second, the button-eyed snake by John Buscema (Thor I#200, 273, 277, 278, 325, 327); third (and in my view, the best), the big-teeth appearance by Walt Simonson (Thor I#379-380, 486-488).

Thor postulated that the Iceworm could be the offspring of the Midgard Serpent and a Frost Giant.

The Midgard Serpent's remains supposedly perished during the Ragnarok in Thor II#85.

by Prime Eternal and Will U

CLARIFICATIONS:
The Midgard Serpent should not be confused with:


Images taken from:
Thor I#379, page 19
Thor I#127/2, page 5, panel 4
Marvel Tales I#105, page 2, panel 1
Thor I#278, page 21, panel 2


Appearances:
Marvel Tales I#105 (February, 1952) - Hank Chapman (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Stan Lee (editor)
Thor I#127-128 (April-May, 1966) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Jack Kirby (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks)
Thor I#273 (July, 1978) - Roy Thomas (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Jim Shooter (editor)
Thor I#277-278 (November-December, 1978) - Roy Thomas (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Tom Palmer (#277) & Chic Stone (#278) (inks), Jim Shooter (editor)
Thor I#325 (November, 1982) - Doug Moench (writer), Alan Kupperberg (pencils), Jack Abel (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Thor I#327 (January, 1983) - Doug Moench (writer), Alan Kupperberg (pencils), Jim Mooney (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Thor I#379 (May, 1987) - Walt Simonson (writer), Sal Buscema (artist), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Thor I#380 (June, 1987) - Walt Simonson (writer/pencils), Sal Buscema (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Thor I#486-488 (May-July, 1995) - Roy Thomas (writer), M.C. Wyman (pencils), Mike DeCarlo & G. Barnett III (#487) (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Avengers III#1 (February, 1998) - Kurt Busiek (writers), George Perez (pencils), Al Vey (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Thor II#80 (August, 2004) - Michael Aven Oeming & Daniel Berman (writers), Andrea Divito (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)

Last updated: 10/08/10

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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