Due to his many heroic deeds over the ages, Balder has long been regarded as Asgard's noblest god and its greatest warrior next to the thunder god Thor, who has long been Balder's closes friend. Balder has been unsuccessfully sought as a lover by the sorceress Karnilla, the Norn Queen.
Because of the prophecies that Balder's death would help trigger the coming of Ragnarok, the destruction of Asgard and its inhabitants, Odin, ruler of Asgard, commanded his wife Frigga to make Balder invulnerable to harm. Frigga cast spells that would protect Balder from harm by any living or inanimate thing while he was in the Asgardian dimension. (The legends describe her as extracting promises from all of these things not to harm Balder, as if they were all sentient and capable of speech.) The sole exception was mistletoe. This omission was probably not due to forgetfulness on Frigga's part, since she has not mad him invulnerable to harm from mistletoe since his vulnerability to it became known. It is more likely that his vulnerability to mistletoe is a necessary side effect of the spell making him invulnerable to harm from other things.
Loki, the god of mischief, learned of the prophecies tying Balder's death to the coming of Ragnarok, and also learned of Balder's vulnerability to mistletoe. Seeking to bring about Ragnarok, Loki tricked the blind god Hoder into firing an arrow tipped with mistletoe wood at Balder. Balder was fatally wounded, but Odin's power prevented him from actually dying and kept him in a state resembling suspended animation. Nevertheless, Balder's spirit journey to Hel, one of the Asgardian realms of the dead. There Balder was appalled at seeing the horrors endured by the spirits of so many of those whom he had slain in battle.
Odin finally restored Balder fully to life, but Balder's hair turned white as a result of his experiences in H el. His beloved, Nanna, sacrificed her life to save him from entrapment in marriage by Karnilla, and Balder was so distraught that he has resolved never to speak of this incident or of her again. Anguished by Nanna's death and by what he had seen in the land of the dead, Balder forswore the life of a warrior, attempted unsuccessfully to forget his misery through eating, gaining considerable weight in the process, and finally rode out into the desert, hoping to die there. Instead, Balder encountered the Norns, the three goddesses who oversee the workings of destiny. The Norns gave Balder a vision that restored his faith in the value of life and in the need for him to continue living. Balder rode back to Asgard and was sent by Odin to Karnilla to seek her aid in the Asgardians' battle against Surtur and the legions of Muspelheim. Balder was successful in his mission, and his relationship appears to have changed in the process. Balder has also returned to his normal weight through vigorous exercise. After Odin's departure from Asgard, Balder became regent of Asgard, until his return.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
PowersBalder has the ability to radiate unmeasured degrees of heat and light; like all Asgardians, Balder is extremely long-lived (though not immortal), and immune to terrestrial diseases. Also, while in Asgard, Balder cannot be mortally wounded by any weapon, with the exception of mistletoe
AbilitiesSuperb hand-to-hand combatant, master of most Asgardian weapons, especially the sword. Skilled diplomat and leader.
Vulnerable to weapons of mistletoe.
The Sword of Frey.
- Journey Into Mystery #104: in modern times, alongside Thor and Odin battled Surtur and Skagg on Earth
- Journey Into Mystery #106-107: at an unknown time in the past, rendered invulnerable, attacked by Loki, rescued by Karnilla
- Journey Into Mystery #122-123: accompanied Thor on quest, destroyed the Utgard Dragon
- Thor #143-145: alongside Thor and Sif, battled the Enchanters Magnir and Brona
- Thor #148-152: with Thor and Sif battled Wrecker and Ulik
- Thor #154-157: spurned Karnilla's affections, battle the Legion of the Lost, helped defend Asgard against Mangog
- Thor #169-170: alongside Thor and the Warriors Three, battled the Thermal Man
- Thor #170-181: alongside Sif, battled Loki in the body of Thor
- Thor #189-201: forced to renounce Odin and serve Karnilla, later released from her service
- Thor #247-252: helped depose usurpers Mangog and Igron
- Thor #255: named ruler of Asgard during Thor's quest to find missing Odin
- Thor #258-261: alongside Karnilla, defended Asgard against assault by animated suites of armor, battled Enchantress and Executioner
- Thor #274-275: shot with mistletoe arrow by Hoder, preserved in near-death state by Odin in order to forestall Ragnarok
- Thor #301-302: restored to life by Odin, renounced life of the warrior
- Thor #305-306: fell in love with Nanna, with Nanna abducted by Karnilla, witnessed Nanna's suicide in order to cancel his vow to wed Karnilla
- Thor #338: first met Agnar
- Thor #346-348: encountered the Norns, regained his faith in living
- Thor #350-351: petitioned Karnilla to join forces with Asgard against Surtur
- Balder the Brave #1: learned of Odin's disappearance, trained Agnar as a warrior
- Thor #360-362: alongside Thor, led Einherjar to free captive human souls from Hel
- Balder the Brave #2-4: alongside Agnar, freed Karnilla from Frost Giants, gained the ability to radiate heat and light
- 321 Appearances of Balder Odinson (Earth-616)
- 8 Images featuring Balder Odinson (Earth-616)
- 2 Quotations by or about Balder Odinson (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Balder Odinson (Earth-616)
- Fan-Art Gallery: Balder Odinson (Earth-616)