After consuming fly agaric mushrooms out of “scientific interest,” the eccentric physicist Price received a vision of the World-Tree Yggdrasil, the cosmic pillar that guides nature, time and destiny for Asgard and its neighboring realms, including Earth. Price learned that, following the decimation of Asgard and Earth during the catastrophe called Ragnarok, Yggdrasil would create a new race of humanity. Driven mad by the experience, Price carved Norse runes on his teeth, presumably in an effort to better “bond” with Yggdrasil, then turned to cannibalism, murdering his wife and perhaps others in hope of absorbing their knowledge. Realizing that, even were Ragnarok to occur within his lifetime, he would perish before Yggdrasil birthed its new human race. Price purchased a vast underground facility, originally intended to imprison German superhumans during World War II. There he built the Worldengine, a device of both magic and science intended to alter the World-Tree’s life-cycle and “convince” it Ragnarok had already occurred.
Whether or not Price could have achieved his goal alone is unclear, but his activities intrigued the Egyptian death god Seth, who, whether with Price’s knowledge or not, guided the mad mortal in intertwining his Worldengine's functions with those of Yggdrasil. Thus, as the Worldengine’s clock mechanism was turned forward, it tapped into Yggdrasil’s own power, directing it toward the function it was predestined to fulfill in Ragnarok’s aftermath. Price was aided in constructing and maintaining the Worldengine by mindless clones created from DNA samples of Thor and the Enchantress, originally obtained by unidentified parties following a superhuman battle years before.
Because the thunder god Thor’s death was destined to play an integral role in Ragnarok, the Worldengine greatly weakened him as its countdown to the false Ragnarok continued. Unwilling to wait for his death, Price send the Scaldings, resurrected corpse-warriors empowered by Yggdrasil’s ash wood and primitive technology, to slay him. Thor defeated his assailants and followed one back to Price’s subterranean citadel, only for the Scalding to strike him down. The Enchantress rescued Thor and used her magic to keep him alive. The two Asgardians then confronted Price, who gladly elaborated on his history and intentions as Yggdrasil, reacting as if Earth had been consumed in Ragnarok’s fires, created the new race Price had so longed to see; however, the post-Ragnarok humans, intended to sustain themselves on an atmosphere of humanity’s ashes, quickly perished. When the Worldengine reacted by attempting to force true Ragnarok upon the world, Price’s clone servants attacked him, while Thor forced the Worldengine to halt, temporarily sacrificing his godly power in the process but failing to realize its link with Yggdrasil remained intact to be exploited by Seth, who soon slew Price.
What neither Price nor Seth knew was that Asgard’s ruler, Odin, had learned of their plan long ago. Soon after Price’s defeat, Odin sent most of his subjects to Earth in mortal identities and took one for himself, reasoning that Yggdrasil’s guiding force would interpret the gods’ absence as evidence they had perished during Ragnarok. Thus, Odin hoped, the true Ragnarok would never occur because Yggdrasil would “believe” it already had. Odin left Thor unaffected, presuming he would defeat Seth, sever the Worldengine’s connection to Yggdrasil, then awaken the Asgardians to their true nature.
Unfortunately, Thor and many others seemingly perished in battle with the psionic entity Onslaught, leaving Seth unopposed in his plan to use the Worldengine to destroy Yggdrasil and, through it, the universe. He sent his minions to slay the Asgardians, who still believed themselves ordinary humans, but the attacks only drew the so-called “Lost Gods” together, their memories slowly resurfacing as they warred against Seth’s forces. When Odin himself regained his memories, Seth captured him, then ensorcelled Asgardian ally Red Norvell to restore the Lost Gods’ identities, the better to boast before his enemies. In so doing, Seth was undone by his own hubris, for the Asgardians were given new determination by the return of their memories and their ruler, enabling them to drive Seth from Earth and destroy the Worldengine. Thor resurfaced alive and well soon afterward, but the threat of true Ragnarok remains unaltered.
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- 3 Appearances of Worldengine
- 1 Images featuring Worldengine
- Item Gallery: Worldengine
- Fan-Art Gallery: Worldengine
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