|First appearance||Fear Itself #1 (April 2011)|
|Created by||Stuart Immonen|
|Full name||Cul Borson|
|Place of origin||Asgard|
|Notable aliases||God of Fear, Serpent|
|Abilities||Superhuman strength, speed, agility, stamina and durability|
Ability to eat fear
Serpent (Cul Borson) is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Usually depicted as a foe of Odin and Thor, the Serpent has also come into conflict with the Avengers. He is the brother of Odin, therefore the uncle of Thor, Tyr, Balder, Loki, Laurussa, and Angela. He is known as the Norse God of Fear.
Fictional character biography
Cul Borson first appears in the 2011 Fear Itself storyline, when he is freed from his underwater prison by Red Skull's daughter Sin who possesses the Hammer of Skadi. Upon emerging as an old man, Serpent claims that he is the true All-Father of Asgard, and not Odin, father to Thor. The Serpent prepares Skadi's army and calls the Hammers of the Worthy, which he sends to Earth, transforming a number of superhuman beings into his henchmen, the Worthy, who will help him spread fear and chaos across the globe: Juggernaut becomes Kuurth: Breaker of Stone, Hulk becomes Nul: Breaker of Worlds, Attuma becomes Nerkodd: Breaker of Oceans, Titania becomes Skirn: Breaker of Men, Grey Gargoyle becomes Mokk: Breaker of Faith, Absorbing Man becomes Greithoth: Breaker of Wills, and Thing becomes Angrir: Breaker of Souls. As the Worthy attack a number of high-profile cities on Earth, Serpent is rejuvenated by the fear experienced by the global citizenry, restoring his youth. When Thor appears at his stronghold to confront him, Serpent confirms to Thor that he is the Serpent destined by prophecy to kill Thor, and not the Midgard Serpent. Serpent reveals that he is Odin's brother and Thor's uncle. He dispatches Thor, sending him to Manhattan, which lies in ruins following an attack by Skadi and two of the Worthy, Nul and Angrir, who then attack Thor.
Serpent himself later confronts the Avengers, and breaks Captain America's shield with his bare hands before teleporting away. Thor manages to dispatch Nul, who is transformed back into Thing, and as Nul, but is seriously wounded, and transported to Asgard to recuperate. In an attempt to destroy Odin and his followers, Serpent and his followers appear in Broxton, Oklahoma in order to use Heimdall's Observatory to transport themselves to Asgard. They are confronted by the heroes of Earth, who stage a last stand to prevent them from doing this.
When a healed Thor appears, Serpent transforms into a giant serpent, and battles his nephew while the Avengers fight the Worthy with weapons that Iron Man made in Asgard's workshops. Thor slays his uncle with Odinsword (revealed to be Ragnarok) and dies in the arms of Odin, thus fulfilling the prophecy. Following Thor's funeral, Odin takes Serpent's corpse to Asgard, casts out the other Asgardians, and locks himself alone with the body until the end of time, blaming himself for not preventing Thor's death.
Serpent later repents his sins, and is pardoned as a reformed god by Odin, who makes him Royal Inquisitor and Minister of Justice. Serpent's first task as the Royal Inquisitor is to retrieve Mjolnir from the female Thor. While using the Destroyer armor, Serpent confronted her as she was about to take action against Malekith the Accursed and Minotaur. Serpent managed to briefly reclaim Mjolnir until Thor managed to call it back to her. Thor continued her fight against Serpent until she received aid from Thor Odinson, Freyja, and an army of women that Thor Odinson suspected of being the female Thor. After a fierce battle, Freyja convinced Odin to call off Serpent's mission by mocking him.
When Asgardia was destroyed, Serpent is sent to Svartalfheim by Odin in order to find out how Malekith the Accursed's forces are able to travel undetected.
During the War of the Realms storyline, a flashback shows Cul declining Malekith the Accursed's offer to join the Dark Council. In the present, Cul discovers that Malekith and his forces are using the Black Bifrost Bridge. Cul relays this to Odin, and resolves to remain in Svartalfheim to discover how it works. After spending months studying it, Cul steals some explosives from the Swamp Mines and throws them towards the Bridge. He then discovers that Malekith has enslaved Dark Elf children to mine the explosives. Freeing them, and as a final act of redemption, he urges them to use the explosives to create another escape route while he fends off their guards until he is mortally wounded. In the aftermath of the Swamp Mines' destruction, the freed Dark Elf children began to fight the other Dark Elf soldiers in his honor.
Powers and abilities
Serpent possesses superhuman strength that enables him to shatter Captain America's shield with his bare hands. He possesses the ability to manipulate magic as he was able to teletransport, revive the dead and transform into a giant serpent. He could also consume the fear of other people making him stronger and younger in the process.
In other media
Serpent appears in Guardians of the Galaxy, voiced by Robin Atkin Downes. A seven-episode story arc beginning with "Paranoid" and ending "Just One Victory" depicts his escape from imprisonment in the Darkhawk realm and his attack upon Asgard, which pits him against a group allied against him, including the Guardians and Thanos. The episode "Holding Out for a Hero" reveals that it was Serpent who planted the World Tree when it was a sapling. In the story's climax, "Just One Victory", Groot pushes a weapon called the Dragonfang blade into the corrupted World Tree, which causes Serpent to age, and after falling from the Tree, to turn to sand upon hitting the ground.
- Fraction, Matt (w), Immonen, Stuart (p), Von Grawbadger, Wade (i). "The Serpent" Fear Itself 1 (June 2011), Marvel Comics
- Fraction, Matt (w), Immonen, Stuart (p), Von Grawbadger, Wade (i). "The Worthy" Fear Itself 2 (July 2011), Marvel Comics
- Fraction, Matt (w), Immonen, Stuart (p), Von Grawbadger, Wade (i). "The Hammer that Fell on Yancy Street" Fear Itself 3 (August 2011), Marvel Comics
- Fraction, Matt (w), Immonen, Stuart (p), von Grawbadger, Wade (i). "Worlds on Fire" Fear Itself 4 (September 2011), Marvel Comics
- Matt Fraction (w), Stuart Immonen (p), Wade von Grawbadger (i). "Brawl" Fear Itself 5 (October 2011), Marvel Comics
- Matt Fraction (w), Stuart Immonen (p), Wade von Grawbadger (i). "Blood-Tied and Doomed" Fear Itself 6 (November 2011), Marvel Comics
- Fraction, Matt (w), Immonen, Stuart (p), Von Grawbadger, Wade (i). "Thor's Day" Fear Itself 7 (December 2011), Marvel Comics
- Original Sin #5.4. Marvel Comics (New York).
- Thor Vol. 4 #5. Marvel Comics.
- Thor Vol. 4 #6. Marvel Comics.
- Thor Vol. 4 #7. Marvel Comics (New York).
- Thor Vol. 4 #8. Marvel Comics (New York).
- Thor Vol. 5 #9. Marvel Comics (New York).
- Aaron, Jason (w), Del Mundo, Mike (a). "The Ballad of Cul Borson, God of Fear", Thor Vol. 5 #13 (2019). Marvel Comics.
- "Darkhawks on the Edge of Town". Guardians of the Galaxy. Season 3. Episode 21. May 26, 2019. Disney XD.