thor villains

Let’s face it: a hero without a kick-ass Rogues Gallery isn’t much of a hero at all. In order to save the world, there’s got to be someone who wants to destroy it, right? All heroes are well acquainted with this paradox, but one in particular stands out among the rest. As the God of Thunder, the Mighty Thor has racked up his (or her) fair share of some of Marvel’s most well-known antagonists, from famous on-screen opponents to decades-long enemies. With an entire realm (or nine) to protect, Thor’s long list of adversaries makes sense. But, as comic readers know, not all villains are made equal. With the release of Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo’s THOR #1 looming closer and closer, ComicsVerse is counting down the most formidable Thor villains!

10. Gorr the God Butcher

thor villains
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

It’s a pretty common trope in Thor for writers to portray the gods (including Thor) as complete jerks. Whatever realm they come from, they’re petty, materialistic, and insanely pretentious. But, they’re also insanely powerful gods so people usually just deal with it. That is until a guy named Gorr decides he’s done with the gods’ hypocritical pleas and promises.

3,000 years ago, after killing his first god, Gorr became the possessor of the “All-Black the Necrosword” which grants him a multitude of superpowers. The coolest (and maybe most useful) of those powers is the ability to conjure a countless number of weapons out of seemingly nothing. Sounds a little bit like a certain Queen of Hel from the MCU, doesn’t it?

Writer Jason Aaron and artist Esad Ribic created Gorr for their 2012 series THOR: GOD OF WAR. Since that series, he hasn’t had a lot of panel time, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t make an impact on the Thor-verse. Unlike a lot of villains, Gorr has a deeper motive than money, fame, or mischief. He truly believes he’s on a mission to make the world better by defeating the gods. Armed with that unique rationale, Gorr easily grabs the number ten spot on our list of Thor villains.

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9. Skurge the Executioner

thor villains
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

You don’t get the nickname “Executioner” without being one of the most formidable warriors on the Asgardian battlefield. With strength that rivals Thor, the banished Asgardian went head-to-head with the God of Thunder on numerous occasions. Thanks to his half Frost Giant and half Asgardian heritage, Skurge is more durable than many of his foes. He is also extremely skilled in all kinds of combat. Armed with an axe and a bad attitude, Skurge is practically unstoppable.

He would be higher on the list of Thor villains if his motives were a little more…well, villainous. He’s really only a bad guy because Amora the Enchantress seduced him. Blinded by love, Skurge committed hundreds of heinous acts under her command. But, when he finally realized what Amora was doing to him, he left the Enchantress and searched for a way to redeem himself. In THOR #362, he sacrificed himself to save souls captured in Hel — an act that sent him to Valhalla.

Still, all those things he did as the Executioner can’t exactly be ignored. Redemption arcs can only do so much after you’ve messed up as badly as Skurge did.

8. Mangog

thor villains
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Out of all the villains on this list, Mangog is undoubtedly the scariest. With a monstrous appearance and teeth the size of Thor’s head, the Mangog isn’t someone anyone — even the God of Thunder — would want to mess with. But, surprisingly, the only reason Mangog is such a bloodthirsty beast is because of Odin’s actions. The imprisoned remains of an entire race make up the Mangog’s being. These people fought Asgard eons ago and Odin imprisoned them for it. Their combined hatred is what fuels the nearly unbeatable beast that is Mangog.

Mangog has a single goal: kill Odin. Since Thor is Asgard’s protector and Odin’s son, the God of Thunder frequently faces off against Mangog. But, with powers such as invulnerability, berserker strength, and magic, the Mangog isn’t an easy opponent.

The Mangog’s most recent battle with Thor is in MIGHTY THOR #17-19 and #700-705. In it, Jane Foster’s Thor seemingly destroys Mangog by throwing him into the sun…but knowing this guy, he’s bound to come back in a future Thor series, just as angry as before.

Jane Foster Bests Mangog in THE MIGHTY THOR #705

7. Malekith

thor villains
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

If you’ve seen THOR: DARK WORLD, you’re probably familiar with this slimy elf. Ruler of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim, Malekith is known for his interest in political power, realm-domination, and Dark Faerie magic.

As a child, Malekith was routinely mocked by other dark elves because of his half light and half dark complexion. This encouraged him to grow up to be ruthless, even going so far as to kill his own mother who sold him as an infant because of his appearance. While all of the villains on this list are evil in some capacity, Malekith takes it to a whole new level.

Since his introduction in THOR #341, Malekith has been trying to use the Casket of Ancient Writers to take over the nine realms — which includes Asgard and Midgard. Malekith isn’t technically out to get only Thor since he’s trying to take over eight other realms along with Asgard, but Thor frequently gets in his way. To read Malekith’s most famous arcs, check out the Surtur Saga (THOR #340-353) and the prelude to the upcoming War of Realms in the 2016 MIGHTY THOR series.

6. Destroyer

thor villains
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

One of Thor’s oldest enemies wasn’t super well-known until a couple of years ago when it appeared in the MCU film THOR. In comics, the mystical suit of armor first appeared in 1965’s JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #118, where he was introduced as Odin’s last defense against the Fourth Host of Celestials. While it may look like something out of a Medieval castle, the Destroyer is more magic than metal. Odin enchanted a special material to make the Destroyer more durable than Uru and numerous gods, including Zeus, granted the suit vast powers.

Unlike any of Thor’s other villains, the Destroyer is not technically a person — nor does a person wear it, like a typical suit of armor. Instead, someone must use their essence to control the Destroyer. Although originally used by Odin to protect Asgard, the suit frequently falls into the wrong hands (aka Loki), making it one of Thor’s most iconic adversaries. Since it’s invulnerable, the Destroyer requires the somewhat lead-headed Thor to come up with creative solutions that don’t involve hammers and lightning. Because of this, the Destroyer deserves the number six slot on our list.

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5. Surtur

thor villains
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Like so many other Thor villains, Surtur’s animosity towards the Asgardian god originates with (you guessed it) Odin. Thousands of years ago, Odin trapped Surtur inside the Earth after the fire-giant tried to take over the world. Since that day (and since his subsequent release via Loki) Surtur has had his fire sword pointed at Asgard. With strength and durability that exceeds Thor, the ability to create immense heat, and the capacity for inter-dimensional travel, Surtur is almost unstoppable. Were he just a little smarter, he’d be higher on our list but thankfully for Thor, Surtur isn’t especially intelligent. Clever allusions are typically the fire demon’s downfall. Still, his fiery temper is enough to land him the midpoint spot on our list of most formidable Thor villains.

Surtur appears in countless THOR comics, from his introduction in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #97 to the 2012 arc “Everything Burns.” His most recent appearance is in the MCU film THOR: RAGNAROK.

4. Hela

thor villains
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Although Loki may be Thor’s most recognizable foe, Hela isn’t far behind. The goddess of Hel made her film debut in THOR: RAGNAROK, where she impressed audiences by easily crushing Thor’s mjolnir. In the MCU she’s Thor’s older sister, but in the comics, she’s Loki’s daughter (not our Loki — one from a different incarnation). Odin gave her the title of Goddess of the Dead and gave her rulership of the realms of Hel and Niflheim.

Hela is good at her job but regularly collides with Thor and Odin because of her unquenchable need for power. She may have two realms at her disposal, but she also wants to control Valhalla. With powers that include dark magic, superhuman strength, durability, and speed, Hela can easily go up against Thor and — in some cases — win.

She makes her debut in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #102 and continues to be a frequent foe of the God of Thunder. Most recently, Hela appeared in the solo series of Thor’s sister — Angela. In ANGELA: QUEEN OF HEL, the Angel warrior easily defeats Hela and strips her of her title. Because of this blunder, Hela ranks lower on our Thor villains countdown. Still, we all know the change in Hel royalty won’t last for long. One of Hela’s most formidable traits is her ability to persist and acclimate herself to any environment. Whether it be in Las Vegas, the Underworld, or any other realm, Hela always manages to find a way up and out. Because of this, she easily snags the number four spot for our most formidable Thor villains.

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3. Serpent (Cul Borson)

thor villains
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Families are difficult — especially if you’re an Asgardian god. Honestly, if Thor was an orphan with absolutely no family, his life would probably be a little bit easier. Unfortunately for him, one of Thor’s strongest foes is his own uncle, Cul Borson aka Serpent. The Serpent is the brother of Thor’s father Odin and is the Asgardian God of Fear. He was recently introduced by Matt Fraction and Stuart Immonen in 2011’s FEAR ITSELF #1. Most of Thor’s battles with his uncle originate from the Serpent’s belief that he — not Odin — is the rightful All-Father of Asgard.

The Serpent has the same powers as Odin, including superhuman speed, durability, strength, magic, and healing. As the God of Fear, he has the unique ability to consume fear in order to gain power — but that’s not what lands him so high on our list of formidable Thor villains. Cul Borson, according to one of the Ragnarok prophecies, is future Thor’s killer. In FEAR ITSELF #7, the Serpent does kill Thor, thus fulfilling the prophecy. But, knowing comic writers, the Serpent isn’t done with Thor. I wouldn’t be surprised if this cryptic prophecy came up again in future series…and the creepy Serpent with it.

2. Enchantress (Amora)

thor villains
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

I am sure tons of you are sitting at your computers, blank-faced, wondering why on Earth someone would choose the Enchantress for the number two slot on a list of Thor villains. Plenty of villains, including Hela (who’s number four), have bested Amora in battle. She’s pretty, wears revealing clothing, but she isn’t really a threat, right?

Wrong. There are undoubtedly stronger magic users in the world of Thor — but magic isn’t the Enchantress’ strongest weapon. Amora is all about seduction, charms, and, ironically enough, enchanting. Her beauty and her ability to put people, particularly Thor, under a feminine spell is what makes her so formidable. Since her first appearance in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #103 where Odin sends her to seduce Thor, Amora has had an extremely strong power over the God of Thunder.

Amora is utterly obsessed with Thor. And, while he’s always cautious of the beautiful witch, Thor clearly also has feelings for her. One time, when he was temporarily depowered, he chose to live with Amora in a real relationship. The fact that Thor does (sometimes) really care about Amora makes her really dangerous. Passion fuels conflict and if there’s one thing the Enchantress always brings to a fight, it’s passion. Amora may not be incredibly dangerous to other Asgardians, but her close relationship with the Asgardian hero makes her more dangerous than many other Thor villains.

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1. Loki

thor villains
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

This list does have some twists and turns, but the one person I really didn’t want to get wrong is Thor’s most famous and beloved foe, Loki Laufeyson. As most of you probably already know from the THOR MCU movies, Loki is the adopted son of Odin and thus Thor’s adopted brother. Despite his pure Jotunheim Giant heritage, he possesses the Asgardian traits of his adopted father. These include superhuman stamina, strength, durability, and longevity. He has a genius level intellect and is one of the most capable sorcerers in the nine realms. With his God of Mischief moniker, Loki’s favorite spells include shape-shifting, illusionary tricks, and telepathy.

Loki made his first Thor-related comics appearance in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #85. From his 1962 introduction to more recent titles such as VOTE LOKI and LOKI: AGENT OF ASGARD, the God of Mischief has always had trouble being good. Although he frequently feels guilt for betraying the Asgardians who raised him, he naturally gravitates towards mischief and evil.

The thing that puts Loki so high on our list isn’t the fact that he’s inarguably one of the best characters in the MCU (which he totally is). What makes him the perfect foe is a combination of his close relationship with Thor and his talent at manipulation. Thor and readers alike rarely know Loki’s true intentions. One minute he may look to be the upstanding son Odin always wanted…but the next he’ll be stabbing Thor in the back. He’s extremely clever and can easily play with the less capable Odinson, which is why Loki is the number one pick on our list of the most formidable Thor villains.

The Future of Thor and his Villains

We’ve covered the bulk of Thor’s most famous adversaries but we’ve definitely left out a few. With such a huge world, filled with so many characters, it’s nearly impossible to narrow the list of villains down to only ten. Comment down below with some of your favorite Thor villains who didn’t make the list and maybe next time around we’ll include them.

The future of Thor will begin very soon with the release of THOR #1 on June 13th. With this upcoming series, I’m sure we’ll see both new and old opponents face off against the Asgardian god. But, no matter how formidable these foes are, I have a pretty good guess who will win.

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One Comment

  1. CF79

    June 6, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Thor enthusiast here. As far as greatest you are pretty spot on. As far as formidable I would go:

    10. Ulik
    9. Absorbing Man
    8. Malekith
    7. Enchantress
    6. Hela
    5. Loki
    4. Serpent
    3. Gorr
    2. Mangog
    1. Surtur

    I personally dont see Destroyer as a villian. More of a weapon that can be used for or against you. But there certainly is a case there.

    Abaorbing Man and Ulik have given Thor more trouble than Skurge has. Plus Skurge has been dead for 34 years now.

    Thanks for the article! Fun read.

    Reply

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