The mighty Thor is a favorite among the legion of Marvel fans, and for very good reason. The Asgardian God of Thunder has pulled off many daring feats across different galaxies and dimensions. However, our focus isn’t explicitly on Thor’s exploits, but rather on his under-discussed family life, or to be more precise, Thor’s brothers.
According to official comic lore, Thor, son of Odin, has several half-brothers, and two adopted brothers on his father’s side, giving a total of six. On his mother, Gaea’s, side it is unclear how many brothers he might have because of the Mother Goddess’ innumerable children.
Come along, as we venture to the great realm of Asgard to take a closer look at a royal family tree like no other. We will discuss the parentage of each prince, as well as their respective endeavors, strengths, and relation to Thor and each other. For added fun, we’ve ranked the brothers in order of strength, so you might be in for a surprise.
Let’s start off with perhaps the least famous of Thor’s mighty brothers.
Marvel lore effectively confirms Vali’s status as a pre-Ragnarok Odinson during his debut in Thor (Vol 1, issue 293). All his appearances occur in visions given to Thor (Earth-616) by Odin’s eye, when Thor wishes to see the events leading up to the reconstruction of Asgard 2000 years earlier.
His mother’s identity isn’t revealed but his description as Vidar’s “brother” rather than “half-brother” could indicate that both Odinsons are children of Grid, Storm Giantess.
Unfortunately, the comics don’t detail much of Vali’s personality or even any particular strengths or aliases. He is most noted for managing to live through Ragnarok alongside his brother Vidar, and seven other Asgardian gods, thereby fulfilling part of Odin’s prophecies.
Vali then lends himself to merging with the other surviving Aesir to reform Odin, who then goes on to recreate the Asgardians from figurines sourced from the Ragnarok rubble.
Not much is mentioned of Vali after these events, and he only appears in two issues, 293 and 294. He is presumed to be alive and living in Asgard.
We can safely assume that Vali boasts the standard powers of the Aesir, such as super-strength and stamina. The average Asgardian can lift around 25 tons, so we can expect Vali, as an Odinson, to easily surpass that.
Blink and you might miss him…
That’s right, we’re talking about the god of speed, Hermod Odinson.
One of Queen Freyja “Frigga” Freyyrdottir and King Odin Borson’s three sons, Hermod is the dashing (no pun) prince of Asgard who first appeared in Thor (Vol 1, issue 275). He has made 29 appearances in the Earth-616 reality.
Hermod’s gifts make him the ultimate messenger, a role he often plays at his father’s behest. When his brother Balder is killed by a mistletoe-tipped arrow, Hermod races to Hel to speak to Hela about a way to revive him. He succeeds in getting back in time, which allows Odin to prevent Balder’s permanent death.
Hermod also is extremely loyal to his father, Odin, but perhaps even more loyal to his brother Thor. During Cul’s return in the Fear Itself (Vol 1, issue 3), Hermod offers to help an imprisoned Thor escape to Midgard under their father’s nose, a plan that ultimately backfires on the brothers.
Hermod is currently alive and is said to have standard Asgardian powers for the most part. His standout power is his super-speed, which puts him on par with the famed Hermes.
Like the Olympian god, Hermod also has the gift of Allspeak, the ability to communicate with all tribes across the Nine Realms. It is this gift, combined with his speed, that makes him Odin’s favored messenger.
Before Thor arrived and (literally) stole the thunder, there was Tyr…
Tyr Odinson is the first son of Odin and Frigga, and former god of war.
That’s right, job security isn’t ironclad in Asgard. But this guy has one heck of a story.
Born on the eve of the war with the Angels of Heaven, Tyr was fortunate to not be abducted by the invaders, with his older sister, Aldriff, being taken away instead.
Tyr grew up quickly as he followed in his father’s footsteps. A worthy crown prince, he gained fame for his bravery and leadership in battle.
However, two events saw his trajectory change forever.
The first was a run-in with the menacing Fenris, a shapeshifter that often took the form of a giant wolf.
The Asgardians had grown weary of living in dread of the monster and, so proposed to play a little game with him. They would tie up the wolf with an enchanted ribbon, just for laughs (so they said).
However, the crafty wolf smelt the deception and suggested a catch. He would agree to the “game” if an Asgardian would agree to put their hand in his mouth during the process. Naturally, the fearless god of war volunteered…
When the trap was set, the angry Fenris snapped his jaws and claimed Tyr’s hand, leaving him with the unenviable nickname of “Leavings of the Wolf”.
The second blow to Tyr’s status was the emergence of Thor.
Tyr could not stand his younger brother, especially given how he could no longer compete on a realistic level with just one hand. When the resentment got too much, he left his father’s court and went off the grid.
He would pop back up whenever Asgard was under attack, and eventually found himself on a redemptive, yet crooked, arc that saw him produce heroics in battles against Set and Surtur. He also proved a key ally to Thor when they took on the Disir in Hel.
Tyr was later killed in battle against the Ano-Athox, but was revived by Hela after a deal with his brother Balder. He then went on to serve as a general in Hela’s army until he went to Valhalla.
At the time of writing, Tyr is alive and is presumed to be roaming Jotunheim.
With both hands, Tyr was as mighty as any Asgardian bar Odin and Thor.
He had superhuman strength, with the ability to lift more than 50 tons.
Without his hand, his strength and fighting abilities are significantly reduced. However, he retains his supreme stamina, superhuman speed, and dense tissue. His special powers include regenerative healing, delayed aging, and soul manifestation.
Born of the union between Odin and Grid the Storm Giantess, Vidar had a complicated life. He made his debut in Thor (Vol 1, issue 12). Unfortunately, the comics do not focus much on him as he makes 8 appearances before being killed off at Ragnarok in Thor (Vol 2, issue 82).
While his life began in Jotunheim, Vidar went to live with his father in Asgard until he was later banished by his stepmother Frigga.
Vidar then returned to seek Thor’s help in avenging his wife’s murder at the hands of the storm giants.
Known as the god of strength, Vidar boasted the ability to lift more than 75 tons. This is thanks, in no small part, to his dual ancestry. He was also much faster than any human athlete and had extraordinary stamina. His tissue is also very dense, which makes him resistant to many direct attacks.
Vidar also had delayed aging and regenerative healing.
Simply known as “Balder the Brave”, Balder Odinson is another one of Odin and Frigga’s three sons.
Balder grew up in Asgard along with his brother Thor and their other siblings. He and Thor have been close friends since their formative years.
Balder is perhaps most famous for being the subject of the prophecy that suggests that his death sparks the events of Ragnarok. Odin, in a futile attempt to thwart the prophecy, gets Frigga to cast a protective spell on Balder. Naturally, though, the All-Father sets up a test of bravery for Balder before bestowing such a valuable gift. Balder passes the test with flying colors.
Frigga’s spell proved effective, but there was a loophole that allowed Balder to be harmed with mistletoe.
Balder’s adoptive brother Loki discovered this weakness and deceived Hoder into shooting him with a mistletoe-tipped arrow, which seems to be fatal. However, thanks to Hermod’s speed and Odin’s power, he was revived. Balder’s brown hair is replaced with white locks due to the effects of being in limbo.
A while later, Baldar’s wife Nanna sacrificed herself to free her husband from a trick marriage to Karnilla, Queen of Norns. Her death proved to be too much for him to handle, causing him to spiral into depression and overeating. He also denounced all forms of violence and turns his back on the life of a warrior.
However, an encounter with the Norns, ancient oracle goddesses, revealed a great destiny for Balder. The visions served as the kick Balder needed to pull himself out of his depressed state and return to Asgard, where he played a crucial role in several wars alongside Thor. He died in the final Ragnarok, killed by enemy soldiers wielding mistletoe-tipped spears. Luckily, Thor and Loki revived him and he was sent to rule in Asgard Oklahoma.
The rest of Balder’s appearances in the comics include a stint as Lord of Asgard (which nearly ended in disaster), a second death at the hands of the Ano-Athox, and several misadventures in Hel. Balder also wound up as regent of Hel for a while after Aldriff’s (now Angela’s) seizure and immediate abdication of Hela’s throne.
Balder has over 400 appearances in the Earth-616 universe, with his first appearance coming in Journey into Mystery (Vol 1, issue 85).
Balder is one of the most powerful Asgardians, boasting an impressive list of abilities and skills.
He has superstrength and can lift 50 tons with minimal effort. He also has super speed, durability, dense tissue, and regenerative healing. He can also teleport, sense when his loved ones are in danger (even across realms), project magical energy, and communicate with animals.
Balder also boasts the gift of photokinesis, and in Balder the Brave (Vol 1, issue 3), he used this power to melt the fortress of Utgard-Loki.
According to IGN, there were concept art depictions of Balder on the storyboards for the movie Thor: The Dark World. However, for unknown reasons, he was never cast in the film.
The trickster, God of Mischief, Prince of Evil, the Son of Secrets, Maker of Mischief, or (my personal favorite) Lord of all Liars.
These are but a few of the many names bestowed upon Loki Laufeyson, son of Laufey of the Frost Giants of Jotunheim and adopted son of Odin and Frigga. He is perhaps the most infamous of Thor’s brothers. In fact, if you only follow the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you would think Loki is Thor’s only brother.
Loki primarily serves as an antagonist to his father Odin, his brother Thor, the kingdom of Asgard, as well as the rest of the Nine Realms. However, he also lends his hand to his adopted family from time to time as a temporary ally.
Overall, Loki has appeared over 450 times in the Earth-616 reality, with his debut coming in Venus (Vol 1, issue 6). He died in Siege (Vol 1 issue 4).
The original Loki was born to King Laufey and Queen Farbauti in Jotunhheim, but was promptly rejected due to being undersized. Odin, King of Asgard, would later discover the little Loki in the aftermath of Asgard’s war with the Frost Giants and decide to take him back to Asgard as an adopted son.
Though privileged, Loki’s early years were not easy, mainly because he had to live in the shadow of his brother, the Mighty Thor. Loki was known to favor guile and conniving intellect rather than the brute force and bravery championed by Asgardian culture. The resentment (as it usually does in this royal family) reached boiling point when Loki learned of his true parentage.
Loki’s main gift was perhaps his magical ability. As his powers of sorcery grew, he vowed to use them against Thor and all who previously mocked him.
He played a trick on Lady Sif, a former love interest who only had eyes for Thor, by cutting off her hair. Thor later confronted him and compelled him to go to the kingdom of the dwarves to get new hair for Sif.
During this quest, Loki also managed to convince the dwarves to fashion weapons for him to bring back to Asgard. One of these weapons was Thor’s legendary war hammer, Mjolnir.
Loki also played a trick on the blind god Hoder to get him to shoot a mistletoe-tipped arrow at his brother Balder the Brave, effectively bypassing a protection spell placed upon Balder by Frigga. Loki also killed Heimdall, who had witnessed the deception, by stabbing him with his own sword.
The following years consisted of further deceptions, trickeries, banishment, and returns. Loki was also fond of descending to Earth and causing chaos for humans. One of his more entertaining pranks was when he turned the clothes of Ravencroft Institute employees into straight jackets.
Loki later managed to get on the bad side of Zeus, king of the Olympians, who cast Loki into Hades to be the ruler of the afterlife. This led to a series of events that culminated in Loki trying to invade Olympus and usurp Zeus. It was only thanks to Joya, who took the form of Loki’s other love interest Venus, that Loki called off the invasion and returned to Hades.
Loki eventually escaped Hades and returned to Asgard to torment his father and brother until Odin ordered Thor to trap Loki in an enchanted tree. Of course, Loki was not to be not bound for long and proceeded to escape again thanks to the unwitting help of Heimdall.
Loki was also part of an ancient prophecy that spoke of his role in leading the enemies of Asgard at Ragnarok, a prophecy that turned out to be true. This resulted in the death of all Asgardians involved in the great battle, including Loki himself.
Of course, he (now she) was reincarnated as a female god and asserted to Balder, then the ruler of Asgard, that she was a fellow “son” of Odin, a claim that was confirmed by Thor himself.
Loki would later die during an ill-conceived invasion of Asgard alongside Norman Osborn. He was killed (permanently) by the Void, a dark entity that was tied to the Sentry of Asgard.
Loki was a very powerful god and was arguably the most powerful of Thor’s brothers. He had Frost Giant lineage as well as Asgardian power.
His physical strength was pretty impressive, and comic lore states that he could lift up to 50 tons. Additionally, Loki could also use sorcery to supplement his strength, speed, and stamina.
Of course, Loki’s main power was sorcery, which allowed him to cast enchantments, shape-shift, move objects with his mind, generate forcefields and energy blasts, communicate telepathically across realms, and much more. The full scope of Loki’s power is pretty much unknown.
Sons of Gaea
We must not forget that Thor’s mother, Gaea, also had many powerful sons with other entities besides Odin. She is the Earth-Mother Goddess, after all.
While most are not specifically referred to as Thor’s brothers, Gaea’s male offspring includes Ammon-Ra, Thoth, Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu, Praamzius, Kane, and many others.