Brew's Crew: Gaea
(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with cosmic comics and its many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CosmicBookNews.com. He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)
By Byron Brewer
They used to say “You can’t fool Mother Nature.” Well, apparently All-Father Odin did at one point millennia ago or the Avengers would have no Thunder God!
Gaea, mother of Thor, 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.
Thousands of years ago, when the second generation of gods began to appear on Earth, Gaea mated with many of them (under various different 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. However, Thor was not told the true identity of his mother; instead, he was told Frigga was his mother.
One thousand years ago, 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 12 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.
Several years ago, Gaea was captured by Dormammu, but was freed by Dr. Strange and his lover, Clea.
Later, the souls of all Asgardians (except Thor's) possessed the body of the Destroyer armor 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. Gaea then went back to being “one with the planet.”
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 ever arise.
Gaea continues to be “one with the planet,” watching over her “children.”