This article was originally published at ComicBook.Com on March 17, 2017.
This week saw the war between Asgard and the Shi’ar enter a battle truly worthy of gods. It is a plot that came as a surprise to many readers, but Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman have been building towards for quite some time. Throughout Aaron’s run, and especially in his time collaborating with Dauterman, he has utilized the epic scope and nature of Thor’s people to the benefit of each new story. This war against the Shi’ar exposes the potential for Asgard to come into conflict with any of the most powerful forces across the Marvel Universe. Whether they’re magical, alien, or something else altogether, Asgardians can put up a fight against any opponent.
That’s what makes this new clash so interesting, and it got us thinking about what other entities at Marvel might make for great story fodder to explore in the future stories of Thor. It seems like Aaron’s run is beginning to draw close to its conclusion, but there are many stories left to tell and whatever creators come next will need to find new antagonists for this epic scale. These are five entities within the Marvel Universe that we think would make for great challengers in future wars with Asgard.
Suggested Reading: Journey Into Mystery Annual (vol. 1) #1
This one might seem obvious and that’s because it is, but just because something is a classic doesn’t mean it’s not worth resurrecting. Hercules, Zeus, and the entire Olympian pantheon were introduced to Marvel Comics in the pages of a Thor story by legendary creators Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. It only makes sense that they maintain their hallowed halls within the pages of this magazine and continue a decades old rivalry.
When it comes to mythological popularity, few sets of gods can compete on the same level as the Greek and Norse legends. Zeus and Odin along with all of their siblings and offspring also make for a surprisingly well paired set. Given their unique status on Earth and their incredible power, a war between these two great forces both makes perfect sense and offers plenty of fodder for fireworks. Really, the only question here is why haven’t these groups squared off more often?
The Heralds and Galactus
Suggested Reading: Annhiliation: Silver Surfer
In the formulation of the world as understood by the Norse gods, Midgard (a.k.a. Earth) and Asgard rest as equal locations on the world tree Yggdrasil. Following this logic it makes sense that Asgard is a place of at least equal importance of the entire planet Earth, if not more power given its divine nature. And that leads us to the big question: Why doesn’t Galactus bother trying to eat Asgard more often?
A showdown between a starving Devourer of Planets and the entirety of the Norse gods striving to protect their home would be a showdown worthy of a mini-series or extended storyline. Earthlings have become used to Galactus showing up on their doorstep, but Asgardians have rarely been concerned with an even greater entity eating their homes out from under them. This is a story ready to be told and one that could be punched up with the reintroduction of a few Heralds.
Suggested Reading: Uncanny X-Men (vol. 1) #161-167
While most of the suggestions on this list rely on their power and scale to justify a war with Asgard, The Brood are based purely on a blend of cunning and efficiency. While the Shi’ar rely on their gods to fight a battle with Asgard, The Brood would be capable of managing the fight entirely on their own. Created to resemble the Xenomorphs of the Aliens franchise, this race of extraterrestrials are capable of absorbing their victims strengths and making more powerful individuals hosts to future offspring.
These are the traits that made their first showdown against the X-Men so terrifying and what makes them worthy adversaries for almost any target. The Brood rise to whatever challenge they are faced with and bring a chilling horror element to any story in which they are inserted. In the realm of Asgard, The Brood would make the gods question who could be trusted and offer chilling new takes on formerly friendly faces. It’s a blend of legendary and horrific storytelling just waiting to be told.
Suggested Reading: The Eternals (vol. 1)
All of the other picks on this list could be argued as equals (or something less) to the threat of an invading force of Asgardians. The Celestials, created by Jack Kirby, would be the exception. In a shared universe filled with different sorts of gods, they are about as close as it comes to having gods that reign over the entire universe. This group of entities loom as amoral beings embodying concepts like judgement and capable of destroying planets with a solitary hand gesture.
That’s also what makes them great antagonists for the Asgardians, as their immense power establishes them to be foes worthy of overcoming. Whatever the reason might be that would draw these grand creations into conflict with Asgard, it would require a mighty struggle to resist them all. Given the immense artistic talents working on Thor over the past few years, it would also be very exciting to see these Kirby creations tackled by some of the best pencils and brushes working at Marvel Comics today.
The Negative Zone
Suggested Reading: Annihilation
While the Celestials are merely a dozen entities with incredible power, the inhabitants of the Negative Zone represent a seemingly infinite wave of antagonists possessing just as much destructive force. In the Annihilation event Annihilus united all of these creatures into a single invasion force and almost destroyed everything in Marvel’s existence. While the gods of Asgard stayed out of that fight, it would certainly make for a great challenge of their own.
Annihilus, Blastar, and their various hordes have always been classic Fantastic Four villains, but are adaptable and would face off well against the likes of Thor, Beta Ray Bill, and other hammer-wielding heroes. They represent overwhelming odds and endless battle that would give the God of Thunder a chance to revel and readers plenty of eye candy to read in a war truly worthy of the gods.