Real Name: Balor
Identity/Class: Extradimensional god/demon (Fomorian)
former God of Death
Group Membership: Fomor (notably Bres, Cethlann, Dulb, Elathan, Indech, and Tethra)
Affiliations: Mordred, Morgan Le Fey, Satana Hellstrom
Enemies: Amergin, Avengers (Black Knight/Dane Whitman, Captain America/Steve Rogers, Hawkeye/Clint Barton, She-Hulk/Jen Walters, Thor Odinson, Wasp/Janet Van Dyne), Victoria Bentley, Black Knight (Sir Percy of Scandia), Brunnhilde the Valkyrie, Dr. Druid (Anthony Ludgate), Dr. Stephen Strange, Sean Dolan, Thunderbolts (Luke Cage, Ghost, Songbird/Melissa Gold, Mach-V/Abner Jenkins), Tuatha da Danaan (Celtic gods)
Known Relatives: Cethlann (wife), Buarasainech (father), Lugh (grandson), Bres (cousin)
Base of Operations: The Dark Realm (a branch of Otherworld);
formerly Torach (the ancient name of Tory Island) off Ireland
First Appearance: Avengers I#225 (November, 1982)
Powers/Abilities: A magical god/demon, Balor's powers and appearance have varied somewhat based on the circumstances. Despite his body being destroyed, converted into energy, absorbed, and/or dispersed across the dimensions, he has been reincarnated multiple times. Like all Fomorians, he has a weakness to iron.
At his most powerful, Balor was considered the strongest Fomorian and had a gigantic (over 60' tall) body with enormous physical strength (Class 50), durability, stamina, and longevity (if not outright immortality). He could be injured by weapons of mystic power, such as the Black Knight's Ebony Blade, or by the Evil Eye; the latter could painfully drain his energies, even consuming his entire form when he touched it to his cyclopean eye.
He had a single, cyclopean eye, which he typically held shut due to the massive energies it contained. By opening his eye, Balor unleashed powerful energy within his field of "view," releasing heat and force capable of shattering rocks and fortifications, and with the additional power of disrupting all spells including those maintaining others mystically transported to Avalon. It is unclear whether Balor can release specific energy types, or whether the same energy is released each time, with varying effects on varying beings and objects.
He was referred to as "blind Balder"; whether he was truly blind or could only see when he opened his eye, which released devastating energies. It is unrevealed whether he could open the eye without releasing his energies, except after his energies had been drained by the Evil Eye. Despite having his eye closed, he was bothered by smoke (that may have irritated his breathing more than just vision) and was able to swat the Black Knight out of the air.
Extensively experienced in warfare and brawling, Balor has historically been a ruthless warrior; his fellow Fomorians (with the exception of Cethlann) consider him a monster that knows neither friend nor foe and lives only to destroy. Singleminded, he also appeared to be of limited intellect, as he spoke in the third person and could be farely easily manipulated by others.
Following his reincarnation after being absorbed by the Evil Eye, he seemed significantly less powerful, although he maintained his giant height and strength, and could fire energy blasts from his large cyclopean eye (sufficient to incapacitate Dr. Strange and/or the Black Knight), although he did not seem able to release blasts of the same intensity or frequency. His appearance was slightly altered, notably with his having two eyes in normal humanoid position, which opened clearly and presumably allowed normal vision.
Following Dr. Strange's efforts to permanently disperse his form, after
he was reincarnated by Satana, he was much smaller (closer to 8-9'). He
maintained sufficient strength that it required both Cage and MACH-V to
physically restrain him.
Most notably, he had two eyes: the single cyclopean eye just below his forehead, as well as a second eye on the back of his head, which granted him close to 360 degree vision. He could fire energy blasts from facial eye.
Summoned from an unspecified location as needed to the region near Satana's Irish base, he attacked anyone invading this location seeking to prevent him/her/them from accessing Satana's base; however, once the portal to her base was breached, he vanished, presumably returning to his previous location as it was no longer necessary to block passage.
In this form, Balor also spoke somewhat more intelligently, although he remained singleminded and continued to speak in the third person. He also wielded a large wooden club.
Height: (Massive form) 66' 5";
approximately 8-9' in smaller form
Weight: (Original/massive form) approximately 150 tons (assuming he would be 300 lbs. at 6'6");
approaximately 600-1000 lbs. in alternate form
Eye(s): (Original massive form) unrevealed (his
single, cyclopean eye is usually closed, and when it is opened, it is
obscurred by energy release; as the energy is red, I'd have guessed
after being reincarnated from the Evil Eye by Morgan, he had three eyes. The large cyclopean eye, but also two smaller, blue eyes in the postion of normal human eyes.
in his smaller form, his cyclopean eye is a solid red iris with no visible sclera, or perhaps both iris and sclera are red; he has a similarly appearing eye on the back of his head
Hair: Bald (with pink-red or gray beard)
Skin: (Original/massive form) Reddish-pink;
(smaller/alternate form) orange, with various tattoos
Other distinguishing features: (Original/massive form) Aside from his cyclopean eye; he has two large white horns on his head (which have been colored white, yellow, and red; in the latter case, they ); pointed ears; two fingers and a thumb on each hand; toe toes on each foot; and he tends to squat, while his lower limbs seem to be configured in a digitigrade stance, like a satyr/faun.
Following his reincarnation from the Evil Eye, his appearance was similar, but, in addition to the three eyes discussed above, he also had yellow horns and forehead ridge, at least.
During his service under Satana, he was markedly smaller, with a single cyclopean eye, but another eye on the back of his head; his skin was more orange in hue and he had some various blue tattoo-like markings across his body. His red horns were bent down rather than up, and they had notches/ridges. His facial structure differed, he had three fingers and a thumb, three toes, stood plantigrade (flat on his tarsus/heel like a person), and he wore some arm/shoulder vestments
History: (Celtic Myth) The Fomor are the
children and descendants of the the
Celtic God Nuadhu and the Earth goddess Gaea in her aspect as Danu, the
Celtic mother-earth. The original spirits of Ireland,
they withheld mortal colonization of the land for millenia until
overthrown by their relatives and descendants the Tuatha da
Danaan. One of the Danaans, Bres, however, surrendered Eire (Ancient
Ireland) back to the Fomor. During a second battle of Magh Tuiredh,
the Fomor were cast from Eire into the Dark Realm, a dimension beyond
Otherworld/Avalon. At some point during this latter battle, Balor was apparently slain by Lugh.
(Avengers I#225 (fb) - BTS) - Under unrevealed circumstances, a revived Balor was imprisoned on Avalon by Elathan, leader of the Fomor.
(Avengers I#225 (fb) - BTS) <circa the 12th century AD relative Earth time> - The Fomor finally returned to Otherworld and laid siege to it, planning to subsequently invade Earth. Fearing Balor's ruthlessness however, they refused to free him despite the requests of his wife Cethlann.
They wiped out the forces of Avalon (the whereabout of the Tuatha da Danaan at this time is unrevealed), leaving only Amergin and the Black Knight (Dane Whitman in the body of his ancestor Eobar Garrington).
(Avengers I#225 (fb) - BTS) - The wizard Amergin, High Druid of Avalon, decided to seal the gateway from Avalon and stop the Fomor forever by using the Evil Eye in his possession. Needing a power source, he and the Black Knight considered using the imprisoned Balor and devised a plan to have the Fomor free him. The Black Knight told him of the Avengers from his native era, and Amergin resolved to use them as bait.
(Avengers I#225 - BTS) - Aided by his descendent, Dr. Anthony Druid, Amergin brought a group of Avengers (Captain America, Thor, Wasp, Hawkeye and She-Hulk) to Avalon to help defeat the Fomor. Mystically observing the Avengers' arrival, Cethlann advised freeing Balor to win the battle with no risk to theirselves, but the rest of the Fomor were fearful of freeing him, and the precognitive Bres advised, "To loose him is to risk all!"
(Avengers I#225 / Avengers I#226 (fb) - BTS) - Seeking vengeance for her injuries in battle against the Avengers, Cethlann freed Balor, who swiftly unleashed an eyeblast that seemingly destroyed Thor and She-Hulk (actually banishing them back to present day Earth).
(Avengers I#226) - Balor repeatedly unleashed energy blasts at the Avengers, who dove into and hid beneath the mud for cover. Despite Amergin's instructions, the Black Knight then assaulted Balor, paining him with the Ebony Blade until swung a fist, unhorsing him from winged Valinor. As the other Avengers rescued the Black Knight from falling, Elathan manipulated Balor into fighting for him, despite Cethlann's warning that Elathan was playing into his good nature.
The Fomor led Balor to assault the gates of Avalon directly, with his powerful blasts shattering Amergin's defenses. When Amergin teleported to cliff above to confront them, Balor knocked him to the ground with another blast and struck again when Amergin rose; however, holding the Evil Eye, Amergin began to absorb and drain Balor's energies, causing Balor to reel and beg for help and mercy. He promised to be good if let go, but Elathan finally blasted Amergin, disrupting the power drain. Seeking to restore his lost power, Balor -- ignoring warnings of the danger -- picked up the Eye and touched it to his own eye; instead, according to Amergin, all that was Balor was transmuted to energy and stored in the Eye in an explosive blast that shattered any nearby remaining masonry.
(Avengers I#226 (fb) - BTS) - Fatally injured by the blast (and Elathan's earlier assaults), Amergin warned that the Eye's power was more than any human could survive; before dying, Amergin cast an unspecified spell and instructed the Black Knight to use the Eye to sear the portal to Earth and seal off Avalon for good. As expected, the Black Knight was slain in the process, but Amergin's spell restored him (and Valinor) to life in the modern era.
(Black Knight I#3 (fb) - BTS) - Balor's energy was cast "to the four
corners of the multiverse" as the energies were unleashed by the Black
Knight, but a tiny residue remained within the Eye. Over time, the
residue grew so that it only required sufficient sorcerous skill to
unleash a reconstructed Balor.
(Black Knight I#3 - BTS) - The Evil Eye ended up in the hands of Morgan Le Fey and Mordred, who planned to escape from the "dark world between worlds" and transform Earth into a new dark dimension.
(Black Knight I#3) - After the Black Knight (Percy of Scandia in the body of Dane Whitman) and Dr. Strange traveled to the dimension of Castle Le Fey, Morgan Le Fay unleashed Balor from the Eye. Obedient to Morgan out of gratitude, Balor defeated the Black Knight and Doctor Strange, and he stood watch over them as her Crimson Bands of Cyttorak slowly crushed them.
The Black Knight's squire, Sean Dolan, leapt atop Balor, but was
knocked unconscious with the flick of a finger. However,
their ally Victoria Bentley let herself become the host of Brunnhilde the Valkyrie to fly to their aid.
After Balor swatted Valkyrie out of the sky, she was able to grab and toss the Ebony Blade to the Black Knight -- who used it to sunder the Crimson Bands -- before being snatched up again. The Knight swiftly shattered the abandoned Evil Eye with the Ebony Blade, and Balor was dispersed into shimmering shards floating in the ether.
Dr. Strange then
dispersed Balor's residual energy so that he couldn't reconstruct
(Thunderbolts I#163.1 - BTS) - Somehow, a version of Balor (possibly a physical manifestation of his spirit, see comments) was brought back to life by Satana and charged with defending a mystic portal in Ireland.
(Thunderbolts I#163.1) - Now much shorter and apparently weaker, but sporting a second eye on the back of his head, Balor fought a quartet of Thunderbolts. The battle seemed to be going in his favour until Ghost breached the portal, thereby breaking the curse keeping the Fomor there and letting him disappear.
Comments: Adapted by Steven Grant, Greg LaRocque and Chic Stone.
Credits to William Uchtman for the information on the Celtic Gods. It's hard to say how faithful to the original myth the Marvel version of Balor is, as his death at the hands of Lugh is never mentioned. However, considering that Balor comes back from the dead twice, it's likely that he either can't really be killed or is easy to resurrect. So it's possible that the Fomor brought him back, used him and then got afraid of his powers and sealed him.
Balor's appearance in Black Knight
II#3 makes sense, but the one in Thunderbolts doesn't given the steps
taken by Dr. Strange to prevent the Fomor from ever returning. Ghost
says that Satana choose portals placed in burial grounds so she could
use ancient spirits to protect it, so does it mean the Balor the
Thunderbolts fight is some kind of material spectre? It would explain
his different look, smaller size and weaker power.
--Or maybe he's just being reincarnated under various conditions, giving him different appearances and abilities. Who knows?
I think Avengers I#225 was the
third Avengers' story I've ever read and the first one I really loved.
Still love it to this day in fact.
I started my subscription to the Avengers with #197 (although I had previous read a few in the 180s at my cousin's house). I still love it, too!
Profile by Shiryu and Snood.
No KNOWN connections to:
images: (without ads)
Avengers I#225, pg. 20, panel 3 (main);
#226, pg. 4, panel 4 (blasting Avengers);
pg. 11, panel 3 (facing Amergin);
panel 4 (Amergin stealing power with Evil Eye);
Thunderbolts I#163.1, pg. 1 (striking Cage with club);
pg. 2, panel 1 (eye on back of head)
Avengers I#225-226 (November-December, 1982) - Steven Grant (writer), Greg LaRocque (pencils), Chic Stone (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Black Knight I#3 (August, 1990) - Roy & Dann Thomas (writers), Rich Buckler (pencils), Diverse Hands (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Thunderbolts I#163.1 (November, 2011) - Jeff Parker (writer), Declan Shalvey (artist), Tom Brennan (editor)
Last updated: 09/18/17
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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