Gaea (Marvel Comics)

Gaea is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is based on the Gaia of Greek mythology and Jörð of Norse mythology. She is a primeval Earth goddess, who has enfused her life essence into those of all Earth's living beings. She is the embodiment of the spirit of life, growth, harvest, and renewal on Earth. She is the biological mother of Thor.

Gaea
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceDoctor Strange #6 (February 1975)
Created bySteve Englehart (writer)
Gene Colan (artist)
In-story information
Full nameGaea
SpeciesElder Gods
Place of originEarth
Team affiliationsYoung Gods
Notable aliasesAditi (Sanskrit name), Akka (Finnish), Ala (Yoruba), Ammavaru (Vedic), Citlalicue (Olmec), Coatlique (Aztec), Danu (Celtic), Eithinoha (Iroquois), Erce (Russian), Gaia (alternate spelling), Great Mother, Hou-Tou (Chinese), Jord (Norse/Asgardian), Mother Earth, Mother Nature, Nana (Dahomey), Neith (Egyptian/Heliopolitan), Nertha (German), Ninhursag (Sumerian), Nokomis (Algonquin), Pachamama (Incan), Papa-Tu-A-Nuku (Polynesian), Prakriti (Brahmanic), Rangi (Oceanic), Tiamat (Mesopotamian), Vaat (Siberian/Mongolian), Yo (Japanese), Haumea (Hawaiian), possibly others.
Abilities
  • Superhuman Strength, stamina, vitality, durability
  • Virtual immortality
  • Spiritual Energy Absorption
  • Nature Control
  • Healing
  • Telekinesis
  • Mystic Patron
  • Eyes of the Beholder
  • Power Bestowment
  • Mastery of Magic

Publication historyEdit

Gaea first appeared in Doctor Strange (vol. 2) #6-8 (February–June 1975), and was created by Steve Englehart and Gene Colan. Her origin was revealed in Thor Annual #10 (1982).

Fictional character biographyEdit

Gaea is one of the Elder Gods who were born when the entity called the Demiurge spread his essence over the Earth, at a time when life was starting to evolve on the planet. Gaea felt empathy for the lesser lifeforms and decided to watch over them. However, the rest of the gods, following the example of Set the Snake God, started eating each other to increase their power, a process that turned all but Gaea into demons. Worried that they might menace the organic life forms, Gaea summoned the Demiurge and "mated" with it, to give birth to her first son, the sun-god Atum, who, in its form of Demogorge the God-Eater, devoured all the demons, except those that escaped to other planes, such as Set and Chthon. Gaea then merged with the Earth itself, and dedicated herself to guiding evolution. Atum went to live in the Sun. Millions of years later, Gaea decided to allow the dinosaurs to become extinct, so mammals would evolve in their place. This angered Set, who drew power from them. He made the dinosaurs try to hunt down all mammals, so Gaea summoned the Demogorge to deal with him. Their battle may have finished killing off the dinosaurs. In the end, Set was banished from Earth.[1]

Thousands of years ago, when the second generation of gods began to appear on Earth, Gaea mated with many of them (under various identities) thus becoming the "Mother-Goddess" mentioned in several myths. Under the name "Jord" she mated with Odin, who wanted a son who would be strong on Earth (not just in Asgard) and gave birth to Thor after Odin created a cave in Norway for the birth. However, Thor was not told the true identity of his mother, instead he was told Frigga was his mother.[2]

One thousand years ago, the cosmic entities known as the Celestials came to Earth and forced the gods to stop intervening with humanity's development; they also revealed they would return in one thousand years to judge humanity. Worried, the Godheads (the rulers of the various pantheons) met and made plans to combat the entities on their return; however, afraid that might fail, Gaea met with the queens of the gods and came up with an alternate plan: they would choose the Young Gods, a group of twelve humans, each representing one of mankind's achievements, as time went by. Each would be made immortal and put to sleep in a secret chamber, where they would be watched over by the various goddesses of all the pantheons (taking turns) until the Celestials' return.[3]

Several years ago, Gaea was captured by the entity called Dormammu, but was freed by Doctor Strange and his lover, Clea.[4]

Later, the souls of all Asgardians (except Thor's) possessed the body of the Destroyer and attacked the Celestials, only to be defeated and scattered. Gaea then appeared with the Young Gods, and presented them to the Celestials as proof of man's worth to survive. They were accepted, and the Celestials left without destroying the Earth. Gaea, in the form of a dark-haired woman, then healed the wounded Thor, and explained the whole story to him. She also told him how he could restore the Asgardians' souls to their bodies with help from all the other Godheads, which he then went on to obtain. Gaea then went back to being 'one with the planet'.[5]

Years later, Gaea's magic was invoked by the evil alien Yandroth to curse the group of heroes known as The Defenders into coming together to fight threats to Earth against their will, but eventually they convinced her to release them. After that, Gaea empowered Nighthawk with the ability to gather the Defenders at will should the need arise.[6] She also selected the Cognoscenti to be protectors of humanity.[7]

During the Chaos War storyline, Gaea helps Hercules during his fight against the forces of Amatsu-Mikaboshi, the Chaos King. She has her daughter Pele (the fire goddess) incinerate Hercules, who is then reborn as the "God of Gods" and imbued with Gaea's power.[8] He uses this power to defeat Mikaboshi then gives it all up to restore the universe.[9]

She returns in Asgardian form at Thor's funeral at the end of "Fear Itself" alongside Freyja and Idunn and became the All-Mothers.[10]

During this time, she mysteriously fell ill, prompting Sif to find a cure. When Sif was transporting Gaea and her garden to a asteroid, they encountered Beta Ray Bill who had crashed his ship along with another one on the asteroid. One the other ship, which was in fact an ancient ark, was Gaea, who had collected one of every living creature across the galaxy, which rejuvenated by the variety of life. However, the ship combined with the Stark technology on the asteroid, mutating her into monstrous form and attempt to crash on Earth. She was convinced by Sif to relent and instead crashed into Asgardia, fully rejuvenating her along with her garden.[11] She then left the All-Mothers as Asgardia left Midgard, while Gaea remained on Earth.[12]

Other versionsEdit

What If?Edit

In What If? Set counqered the World, Gaea appears, where she keeps Thor in stasis in order to keep her son from dying, after battling Set.[13]

King ThorEdit

In Loki: Agent of Asgard #12 set in King Thor's timeline, Gaea was a member of the All-Mothers of Asgardia, where they make a deal with Loki, that he would be forgiven for his crimes, if he would complete each task for them. She along with Idunn and Freyja were then replaced by Odin and Cul.[14]

Old Man LoganEdit

As the Earth was dying, the remaining superheroes, such as Susan Storm and the New Defenders, teletransported the remaining life into the past, where they could enjoy on a much more younger and vital Earth. However, this caused the connection between Gaea and the remaining life to break, sending her insane. She followed them to the past Earth, now called NuEarth, in order to take revenge, but was defeated by the newly formed Fantastic Force. She was also pregnant with Logan's child.[15]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Iron Man Annual #10. Marvel Comics
  2. ^ Thor #300-301. Marvel Comics
  3. ^ Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #1. Marvel Comics
  4. ^ Doctor Strange Vol. 2 #6-9. Marvel Comics
  5. ^ Thor #300
  6. ^ Defenders Vol. 2 #1-12. Marvel Comics
  7. ^ Secret Defenders #19
  8. ^ Chaos War #4
  9. ^ Chaos War #5
  10. ^ Fear Itself #7.2
  11. ^ Journey into Mystery #655. Marvel Comics
  12. ^ Thor: God of Thunder #24. Marvel Comics
  13. ^ What If? Vol. 2 #25. Marvel Comics
  14. ^ Loki: Agent of Asgard #12. Marvel Comics
  15. ^ Fantastic Force Vol 2 #1-4. Marvel Comics

External linksEdit