Marvel Comics doesn’t contain a single universe. Instead, there’s a plethora of overlapping universes; as such, there are many versions of almost every character we know and love. Recently, a character that kind of confused fans popped up in Marvel, named Utgard-Loki. So, who is Utgard-Loki, how powerful is he, and is Utgard-Loki a different version of Loki?
Utgard-Loki is an Elder God locked away by his sister Gaea on Utgard, the Land-of-True-Things, outside the Ten Realms. He recently appeared, although Marvel Comics fans know the name due to a Frost Giant sorcerer, Skrymir, using his name as a talisman to invoke Utgard-Loki’s power.
If it sounds a bit complicated, don’t worry; we are here to explain everything you need to know about Utgard-Loki in Norse mythology, Utgard-Loki the Frost Giant, and Utgard-Loki the Elder God in Marvel Comics. We’ll also touch upon his connection to Loki, the God of Mischief (or lack thereof), so sit back and enjoy.
Utgard-Loki in Norse mythology
Like most of Marvel’s Asgardian characters, Utgard-Loki stems from Norse mythology. Unlike most of his fellow giants, he was a very powerful giant who didn’t rely solely on his brute strength and physicality to challenge his opponents. Instead, Utgard-Loki, also known as Skrymir, was a powerful sorcerer.
Utgard-Loki was an enemy of the Norse gods, and he planned an attack on them – an all-out war, if you will. However, he was cunning enough to test their strength and power before actually engaging in war against them.
The giant tricked them with his magic into many impossible tests, but even as Thor and Loki failed in their impossible tasks, it was enough for Utgard-Loki to see that they were immensely powerful and that waging war against them wouldn’t be a good idea.
For instance, he challenged Thor to drink up a horn. Thor gave up after three large gulps, but little did he know that the horn was enchanted to drain water from the ocean, so Thor actually drank enough to create the tides.
Another challenge was for Thor to lift a cat, but he failed yet again, being able to lift merely a paw. As it turned out, the cat was the enchanted Midgard Serpent, a colossal snake that could easily circle the world. Yet again, Utgard-Loki was impressed with the god’s effort.
Finally, Thor had to wrestle an old servant, and despite an incredible effort, he had lost. It was actually the living embodiment of the Old Age, and nobody can defeat the Old Age – it comes for everybody.
Despite Thor and Loki failing at every task given to them, the giant saw that they were much more powerful than he had imagined, so he revealed his trickery and fled, never to come at their crosshairs ever again.
Utgard-Loki in Marvel Comics
Originally, a version of Utgard-Loki appeared in ‘Thor’ #272 in 1978. It wasn’t the actual ancient deity that we’ll meet decades later in Marvel Comics, but we’ll get there.
The first version of Utgard-Loki was pretty similar in many ways to the one in Norse mythology. The difference is he was a Frost Giant named Skrymir, who was a powerful sorcerer from Jotunheim and a huge admirer of Laufey.
Skrymir only took the alias of Utgard-Loki as a talisman to invoke the powers of the Elder God of the same name. Skrymir disguised himself as a common Giant, and much like Utgard-Loki from Norse mythology, he put forth a series of tests for Thor and Loki that they failed repeatedly.
Skrymir eventually revealed his trickery and escaped to Utgardhall on Jotunheim, where his forces assembled. He planned on attacking Asgard when they were weakened, knowing that he could never defeat them if they were at full strength. So, he kidnapped Karnilla, the Norn Queen, one of their allies, with the idea to kidnap other allies as well.
He was stopped when Balder the Brave came to Karnilla’s rescue, using his newfound powers to harness and project light and heat. When exposed to light and heat, Frost Giants ‘melt’ and become smaller. Balder shrunk them to a tiny size before fleeing with Karnilla.
Nevertheless, Skrymir tried again to defeat the Asgardians, but his forces were overpowered, and he was captured. Promising to use magic to restore all the lost Asgardians, Utgard-Loki was granted leave for Jotunheim.
Utgard-Loki remained a returning enemy of Loki and Thor for decades, finally meeting his end in ‘Immortal Thor’ #1 just recently in August 2023. That’s also when the actual Elder God Utgard-Loki appeared for the first time.
We learn that Utgard-Loki and Utgard-Thor (Toranos) are Elder Gods that have been locked away in Utgard, a realm outside of the Ten Realms, where Elder Gods and Those Who Sit Above In Shadow reside.
Their sister Gaea likely locked them there due to their malevolence, but in ‘Immortal Thor’ #1, she released her brothers and watched as Toranos fought Thor on Midgard.
We haven’t had the chance to see Utgard-Loki’s full extent of powers, but it’s certain that he is mighty.
Is Utgard-Loki the same person as Loki?
Both in Marvel Comics and Norse mythology, Utgard-Loki and Loki are not the same beings. They are separate entities with different backstories and different powers. Utgard-Loki literally means Loki of the Outyards, and Útgarða-Loki was the ruler of the castle Útgarð in Norse mythology.
Is Utgard-Loki a god?
Marvel’s Utgard-Loki is not only a god. One might say he is a ‘god to the gods,’ as he belongs to the Elder Gods, the first lifeforms on Earth born from the Demiurge. However, after most of them became demons, they were purged by Demogorge, the God-Eater.
Several survived, however, but as only two weren’t corrupted, the rest were locked away in Utgard, the Land-of-True-Things, a realm existing beyond the Ten Realms. Ergo, Utgard-Loki is a god and a very powerful one, indeed.
Is Utgard-Loki evil?
Regardless of what version of Utgard-Loki you are referring to, he is considered an evil-doer. That was likely the reason why Gaea locked him and Toranos in Utgard in the first place. As for Skrymir, the Frost Giant sorcerer donning the name Utgard-Loki, he was a long-standing enemy of Thor, Loki, and Asgard, so he is also evil.
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