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Surtur (Marvel Comics)

Thor battles Surtur on the cover of Thor #176 (May 1970). Art By Jack Kirby.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Journey into Mystery #97 (Oct. 1963)
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
In-story information
Alter ego Surtur
Partnerships Loki
Malekith the Accursed
Immense magical power
Superhuman strength and durability
Intense heat, flame and concussive force generation
Wields Twilight, Sword of Doom
Molecular manipulation
Inter-dimensional travel
Skilled warrior and swordsman
Prehensile tail
Great intellect

Surtur is a fictional demon that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics, usually as a villain in stories featuring the Norse hero Thor. Based on the fire giant Surtr from Norse mythology, and was adapted by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, and first appeared in Journey into Mystery #97 (October 1963). The character was once described as one of "The Ten Most Heinous Enemies of the Mighty Thor".[1]

Publication history

Based on the fire giant Surtr from Norse mythology and created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the character first appears in Journey into Mystery #97 (Oct 1963).

Fictional character biography

Surtur is a fire demon native to the extradimensional plane of Muspelheim land of the fire demons, one of the nine worlds in Norse mythology, and first appears in the title Journey into Mystery, where it is claimed he sits at the end of the world waiting for the end of time where he can slay men and gods.[2] The character's first encounter with the Asgardian ruler Odin is told in flashback and establishes their enmity when Surtur is imprisoned by Odin inside the Earth after forming an alliance with the Trolls and trying to destroy the world in anger for Odin defying him, although he gives Odin a winged horse, hoping to be released one day.[3] Surtur reappears in Journey Into Mystery #104, having been freed by Odin's adopted son, Loki, who intends to usurp Odin and rule Asgard, having been given a portion of the Odinforce. Together with the Storm Giant Skagg, the character invades Earth, although the pair are met by Odin, his son the Thunder God Thor and fellow Asgardian Balder. Odin stops time and sends every human on Earth to another dimension. Surtur sends Thor into the ocean with a fireball of his. Skagg is saved from sinking into the ocean by Surtur hardening the ground, but is defeated by Odin, who is weakened by the feat. Surtur creates a blazing fireball and travels to the North Pole to melt the icecaps. Using Odin's sword, Thor stops Surtur and traps him on a meteorite of magnetic particles in another galaxy.[4]

In the title Thor the seer Volla predicts that Loki will free Surtur and other enemies of Asgard and eventually bring about Ragnarok - a war that will end with the destruction of all the Norse Gods.[5] The character features in the title Avengers when summoned - together with ice giant Ymir - to Earth by the cult the Sons of Satannish. The entities are banished by the combined efforts of the superhero team the Avengers, the hero the Black Knight, and the sorcerer Doctor Strange. They are tricked into striking each other, which defeats them both.[6]

Surtur becomes a recurring foe in the title Thor, and first attempts to invade Asgard during the Odinsleep when Loki has briefly taken control, causing Loki to flee Asgard, but he is repelled and imprisoned.[7] Surtur reappears wielding the huge magical blade Twilight, and after sending a horde of demons to invade Earth storms Asgard. The heroes of Earth battle the fire demons while in Asgard Surtur defeats both Thor and Odin in turn. Loki deceives Surtur with an illusion until Odin recovers, who battles the fire demon until both fall into a dimensional rift.[8] After a long absence Odin returns to Asgard, and it is revealed that he absorbed Surtur's essence, which eventually possesses him. Surtur manages to recreate his physical form and decimates Asgard until Thor, wielding the Odin Power, banishes Surtur to the Sea of Eternal Night.[9]

Surtur appears at the conclusion of the second volume of Thor during the final Ragnarok of Asgard, and is allowed to storm Asgard by Thor as the Thunder God attempts to break the endless cycle of death and rebirth for the Norse Gods.[10] In the limited series Stormbreaker: The Saga of Beta Ray Bill, the alien Beta Ray Bill visits the ruins of Asgard after the battle, and sees Surtur's dead form falling from the sky, still clutching Twilight.[11]

Thor returns from a period of self-induced hibernation in a third self-titled volume, and enters the Odinsleep to find Odin in a limbo dimension between life and death, where Surtur stored a portion of his essence to prevent himself from being killed forever. Here Odin and the demon battle to the death, being reborn each day to repeat the cycle, preventing either from being reborn. Thor helps Odin beat Surtur twice, even though he will be reborn, before returning to his body. Thor offers to help Odin escape from this realm and the constant battle with Surtur. Odin chooses to remain in order to protect his people from the demon.[12]

Surtur was resurrected and made a deal with Loki and a group of beings known as the Manchester Gods, who he manipulated to depose the native gods of the British isles.[13] He then set the world tree Yggdrasil on fire and attempted to turn the Vanir gods against the Aesir in preparation for his assault on Asgard.[14] This succeeded because of old grudges, namely Odin's insistence that the people of Vanaheim fall under his rule no matter what.[citation needed]

Powers and abilities

Surtur was depicted as an immense and malevolent elemental fire demon whose power was of apocalyptic proportions. Standing over 1,000 ft. in height, Surtur possessed strength and durability by far surpassing that of Thor; the ability to generate intense heat, flames or concussive force; molecular manipulation such as transforming his fingers into serpents;[15] levitation and inter-dimensional travel. Surtur's scale of power is usually shown to equal that of Odin. He is a skilled warrior and swordsman, and has a prehensile tail. He possesses a great intellect, and has vast knowledge of ancient and arcane wisdom. He is vulnerable to intense cold, and can be imprisoned by certain magical spells or by other beings wielding cosmic energy powers equaling his own.

Surtur possesses the giant sword Twilight, also known as the Sword of Doom, composed of a metal known as Scabrite which can only be found in the mines of Sutur's realm. The sword is magical, capable of manipulating vast amounts of mystical energy, such as shattering dimensional barriers and inhibiting Odin's powers. Loki has temporarily tapped into the power of the sword to change Thor into a frog (Thor is normally resistant to this type of magical transformation) and making the Asgardian populace sick (Asgardians are normally immune to disease). Morgan Le Fay tapped into the power of the sword to reshape the entire planet Earth from modern day into a medieval world after using the chaos magic of the Scarlet Witch to "bridge the gap" between her personal faerie powers and the Asgardian magics bound to the blade. When the sword is bonded with the Eternal Flame, its powers are further increased to an unknown level.

The Eternal Flame has an unknown connection to Surtur. When in its vicinity, Surtur claimed it increased his powers. It is unknown to what extent this power increase leads to.

Other versions

Surtur appears in an Amalgam Comics one-shot publication Thorion of the New Gods, in which he assaults Asgard during Ragnarök, but is stopped and imprisoned by the DC Comics Source on the Ego-Mass—an amalgamation of Ego and the Source Wall.[16]

In the Ultimate Marvel reality, Surtur is seen summoned to Earth by Loki and battling the Ultimates. However he is not seen in the final battle with the Ultimates. [17]

In the series JLA/Avengers, Surtur is part of Krona's army, and attacks Wonder Woman near the end of the issue after she vows to guard a pass so the other heroes can get through, although She-Hulk stays to help her.[18]

In other media


  • Surtur appears in the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends episode "The Vengeance of Loki". When Iceman had been teleported to Surtur's domain, he had a hard time fighting him off. Zerona the Ice Giant came to his rescue and got Iceman away from Surtur.
  • Surtur appears in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, voiced by Rick D. Wasserman (reprising his role from Thor: God of Thunder). In the episode "Acts of Vengeance", Baron Zemo uses the Norn Stone associated with Muspelheim to protect himself against Enchantress which ended up freeing Surtur from his imprisonment. The seal breaking was sensed by Thor, Odin, and Balder. Surtur attacks the realm of the Dwarves due to the Dwarf King Eitri holding fragments of the Twilight Sword. At the end of the episode, Enchantress awakens in Surtur's presence telling her that she now works for him. In the episode "The Ballad of Beta Ray Bill", Surtur sends a possessed Enchantress to unleash Fire Demons upon different areas with one of them being the Korbinite's planet. After Thor and Beta Ray Bill defeat Enchantress, Surtur speaks through her stating that Enchantress is no longer in their control before teleporting her away. Surtur is then seen reforging the Twilight Sword from the fragments that he had collected from Eitri.
  • Surtur appears in Avengers Assemble. In the episode "Nighthawk", Thor is sent through Surtur's realm through a Norn Stone when Nighthawk activated the contingency plan against Thor. After being freed from the contingency plan by Hulk, Thor mentioned that he flew through Surtur's realm 81 times. In the episode "Back to the Learning Hall", Thor, Hulk, and Hawkeye are transported to Surtur's realm. They are extracted out of Surtur's realm by Heimdall's portal at the last minute.


  • In Thor: Tales of Asgard, Surtur's sword "Elderstahl" is the focal part of the story. Surtur is seen in flashbacks in Jotunheim battling Odin over the fate of the Nine Realms.
  • In the Marvel animated feature Hulk Vs Thor segment, Surtur makes a brief cameo at the start of the film as one of the enemies attacking Asgard during the Odinsleep.

Video games

  • Surtur has a cameo appearance in the future part of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. If the player recovered Volla's ring, she will warn Odin of an attempt on his life which will lead to the capture of Surtur in the years to come.
  • Surtur appears in Marvel Heroes. He is the final boss of the raid through Muspelheim.


  1. ^ Thor #17 Annual (Dec. 1992)
  2. ^ Journey Into Mystery #97 (Oct. 1963)
  3. ^ Journey Into Mystery #99 (Dec. 1963)
  4. ^ Journey Into Mystery #104 (May 1964)
  5. ^ Thor #128 (May 1966)
  6. ^ Avengers #61 (Feb. 1969)
  7. ^ Thor #176 - 177 (May - June 1970)
  8. ^ Thor #337 - 338 (Nov. - Dec. 1983); #341 - 348 (Mar. - Oct. 1984); #351 - 353(Jan. - Mar. 1985)
  9. ^ Thor #399 - 400 (Jan - Feb. 1989); #418 (Jun. 1990) & #425 (Oct. 1990)
  10. ^ Thor vol. 2, #85 (Dec. 1984)
  11. ^ Stormbreaker: The Saga of Beta Ray Bill #1 - 6 (Mar. - Aug. 2005)
  12. ^ Thor vol. 3, #7 - 8 (Mar. - April 2008)
  13. ^ Journey into Mystery #641
  14. ^ The Mighty Thor #19
  15. ^ Journey into Mystery #99
  16. ^ Thorion of the New Asgods (June 1997)
  17. ^ Ultimates vol. 2, #13 (May 2007)
  18. ^ JLA/Avengers #4
  19. ^ "SEGA Inks Actors Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston to Star in the Video Game Thor: God of Thunder". Business Wire. 2010-12-02. Retrieved 2010-12-02. 

External links

  • Surtur at the Marvel Universe wiki