(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with cosmic comics and their many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CosmicBookNews.com. He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)
By Byron Brewer
One of the most beauteous of all the Asgardians, she was defined by the pencils of John Buscema and has remained in my – and Balder the Brave’s – heart, despite her sometimes evil ways: Karnilla, Queen of the Norns!
The birth and early life of Karnilla are shrouded in mystery. All that is really known of her early past is that she had lived in Nornheim, the Asgardian province where the Three Norns dwelt. They were the goddesses of destiny, and Karnilla became one of the most accomplished practitioners in the arts of sorcery within the Asgardian dimension. Although Nornheim sat on the Asgardian land mass within Asgard’s own dimension, and Karnilla was apparently of the Asgardian race, she did not consider herself to be subject to Asgardian rule. Nornheim was an independent country, of which Karnilla was absolute monarch. (Kinda like Jersey!)
Karnilla lived opulently in the ancient fastness of Nornkeep, attended by her servant, the aged minor sorceress Haag, and troops of guardian demons. Although there were many demons among her subjects, Karnilla's realm was also populated by humanoid immortals, just as was Asgard proper. Karnilla's relationship to the goddesses of destiny was unknown, although they were clearly beyond her jurisdiction.
In the past Karnilla often proved to be an enemy of Asgard, and acted in alliance with the Asgardian god of evil, Loki. However, Karnilla was long in love with Asgard's noblest warrior, Balder the Brave. On Balder's request (on behalf of Asgard's monarch Odin), Karnilla allied herself and her army with Asgard in the war with Surtur. After years of resisting Karnilla's advances, Balder finally became Karnilla's lover. Some of Balder's Asgardian friends disapproved of the relationship, regarding Karnilla as a figure of evil. Karnilla regarded herself, however, as a harsh but just ruler. (No soul-mirrors in Nornkeep?)
Balder was called away from Nornkeep to join the Asgardian prince Thor in his mission to rescue souls of Earth human beings from Hel. During Balder's absence, Karnilla was taken prisoner by the Frost Giants of Jotunheim, who were preparing an invasion of Asgard and first intended to eliminate Asgard's allies. The Frost Giants also transformed Karnilla's subjects into stone. On his return, Balder set out to rescue Karnilla, and ultimately met with success.
Karnilla remains busy with her mystic muses today, and remains just as powerful an ally – and enemy – of the Golden Realm!