Respect Karnilla, the Norn Queen
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Karnilla is a relatively obscure character of the extended Thor cast, one of Asgard's major magic users (sometimes being described as second to Odin among the Asgardians, sometimes as Loki's peer).
Unlike the better known Enchantress, who has been absolutely all over the place, Karnilla has pretty much appeared exclusively in Thor titles (except for short crossovers with the New Mutants and the X-Men) and done so somewhat rarely.
As a result, her accidental creation (the Wrecker) is probably better known than she is at this point, even among serious Marvel fans.
That is a pretty sad state of affairs and this thread aims to correct it.
Karnilla does not have an origin story as such.
She first appears in Journey Into Mystery 107 as a random knowledgeable mystic woman whom Loki intimidates into revealing Balder's mistletoe weakness, although that backfires when Karnilla later frustrates his assassination attempt.
In Journey Into Mystery 117, however, she is upgraded to Loki's on-and-off partner in matters of black magic and his purveyor of Norn stones, and this is the status she will retain pretty much for the rest of her career, even after her obsession (and later relationship) with Balder mellows her away from full blown full time supervillainhood and turns her into a sporadic ally of Asgard.
She is said to be racially Asgardian, but does not acknowledge Odin as her sovereign and -remarkably- Odin acknowledges her as independent ruler of Nornheim. How this state of things came to be has never been explored in any degree in comics, although if one accepts the miniseries Thor: Son of Asgard to be in-continuity (which most seem to do) she is older by some considerable margin than Thor, Loki and the rest of middle-aged members of the Thor cast.
Many Internet sources seem to agree that she was the first teacher in magic of Amora, the Enchantress, but I've found no specific mention of this in their various encounters in comics, so I can only assume that this is information revealed in handbooks (or a comic I've not been able to track down).
Other than this, her background is pretty much a total enigma.
Powers (I): Physical Capabilities
According to just about every single source online, Karnilla has the conventional biological capabilities of Asgardian females, including longevity, enhanced durability, enhanced strength and increased stamina. Moreover, it is noted that she can use her magic to increase physical capabilities (the Wrecker being, of course, the best known example of this).
For most of her career, however, Karnilla seems to have lacked noteworthy personal feats in non-magical combat.
This changed in 2004, with Thor: Son of Asgard.
First, this story shows her using a bow and arrow to kill a young Thor (he gets better).
And right after this, she is shown throwing down with a pretty pissed Mjolnir-wielding Odin, of all people, in a physical and magical fight.
During her Odin fight, Karnilla manages to partially block a two-handed Mjolnir strike without being turned into chunky salsa and then shows herself to be agile enough to dodge Odin's follow-up attack.
However, it is her durability that really shines here, because during this brief engagement she is defeated by taking a couple of two handed Mjolnir hits. Afterwards, she is shown visibly beaten up, but conscious and still capable of action.
In the whole, while Karnilla was rather distinctly outmatched in this clash, got mauled for her trouble and there was most likely big time magic amping involved, getting into fisticuffs with Odin and walking away in one piece is a remarkable accomplishment.
Powers (II): Magic - Power Level.
As a sorceress first and foremost, it is in the field of magic where the bulk of Karnilla's feats of power are to be found.
And the level of that power is very high, indeed.
According to the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, Odin himself is the only Asgardian who surpasses her in terms of magic and various sources state her to be Loki's equal.
While direct evidence supporting the first statement is scarce (although the fact that Thor and Odin's Vizier believed her the only individual in Asgard powerful enough to breach a barrier created by whom they thought to be Odin in Thor 249 is pretty telling), there are numerous in-universe testimonies that back the accuracy of the second.
Karnilla herself calls her power all but equal to Loki's (Thor 266), an opinion that is shared by Hrimhari (Uncanny X-Men Annual 9) and, oh yeah, Loki himself (Thor 308).
Seeing that he does this in his internal monologue, after Karnilla puts him in a cell from which Loki cannot easily escape, I think that we can trust the accuracy of Loki's own opinion in this case.
Among other feats of high level sorcery, Karnilla has broken spells cast by Odin (Thor II 36, where she lifts an Odinspell meant to keep Loki depowered), replaced all memories of Thor (except Loki's) with those of false thunder god Tanarus (aka Uliq under a very good illusion) in a global scale (including individuals such as the All-Mother triad and the Silver Surfer) with the unwitting assistance of the Weird Sisters, messed with Mjolnir's enchantments (in Thor 452, where she takes away Eric Masterson's strength, and in Thor 453, where a power-boost allowed her to prevent Masterson from using Mjolnir's storm powers) and various other things of considerable impressiveness.
Moreover, Karnilla appears to be very knowledgeable about mystical lore, to the point that other Asgardians of great power have sought her knowledge for their own schemes. Examples include Loki (in Journey Into Mystery 107, when he wished to learn Balder's vulnerability) and the Enchantress (in Defenders 107, when she wished to know the whereabouts of the Rose of Purity). As a matter of fact, the Enchantress humbled herself to the point of asking politely in order to gain the information.
Powers (III): Magic - Offensive
Like all Asgardian spellcasters worth their salt, Karnilla can project powerful bolts of mystical energy from her hands (the example pictured is from Thor 249) and hers can be particularly potent. To avoid making this an overtly long list, I will only show some of her best showings:
In Thor 450, Karnilla was able to KO with a single blast a distracted Amora. Though the Enchantress was surprised and undefended, she has managed to resist some hefty blows over the years, so better feat than it sounds.
In The Mighty Thor II 12, the Norn Queen fires a blast behind her back that makes the Silver Surfer fall ass over teakettle. This stands in sharp contrast with an earlier encounter, in Thor 193, in which Norrin pretty much no-sold her energy bolts.
In Thor 265, she had joined Thor and his friends against Loki, who unleashed the Destroyer in retaliation. Karnilla was not too terribly impressed and attacked the thing with extremely powerful magic that managed to actually stagger the Destroyer.
Ultimately, the Norn Queen discovered that it was Balder animating the Destroyer and ceased her attack, without having caused any actual damage. All the same, just staggering the Destroyer Armor is already a pretty impressive feat and, before discovering the presence of Balder's soul, Karnilla seemed quite willing to try to actually destroy it.
However, Karnilla's most impressive energy bolt feat can be found in her Odin fight from Thor: Son of Asgard 6. At one point of the scuffle, Karnilla manages to blast Odin at point blank range and Odin goes flying into the wall.
Sure, she causes no actual damage (except perhaps some cosmetic damage to Odin's throneroom and his armor) and Odin seems more annoyed with himself than anything else, but still. Karnilla sent Odin flying into the wall.
Karnilla is capable of using this classic form of magic, but casts it rarely and -in all her appeareances- never against anyone of note. In fact, her best showing in terms of offensive transformation spells involve turning a couple of random Asgardian mooks into toads (Thor 265), because they got uppity.
Much the same, she can transform herself magically, but only rarely does so (and never in battle). The most relevant feat happens in Thor 187, when she appears in the form of a dragon when Balder and Sif go to her land to recruit her help against Infinity.
Powers (IV): Magic - Offensive
Calling forth gribblies to do battle is yet another basic standard of sorcerous competence and Karnilla has been known to use spells of this nature at times. She has used them to bring forth armed servants (pictured above, from Thor 304), generic skeleton warriors (Thor 453), generic plant monsters (Thor 455) and cute, tiny ice pixies (Thor: Son of Asgard 3).
In particular, the cute, tiny ice pixies are miniature ice elementals with the ability to regenerate in contact with ice and a related weakness that makes them vanish if they lose contact with ice long enough, which according to Gnori (an eagle god of Jotunheim) takes serious power to call forth.
As with many other forms of sorcery, Karnilla has displayed the ability to summon creatures to distant locations observed through magical means, while she chills out in her evil lair.
Also, while not strictly summoning, there is an interesting and probably related incident in Thor 308. In that issue, she teams up with Loki to recover the Plague Cask, a box in which various ancient evils had been sealed in ages past, and then backstabs him by unsealing three Mindless Ones and making them attack him.
These Mindless Ones, which seem pretty strong examples of the species, obey Karnilla without hesitation and that's kind of interesting, because the ability to control these guys usually goes hand in hand with the ability to summon them from the Dark Dimension. Though she lacks direct feats that prove her ability to summon Mindless Ones, it gives one food for thought...
Elemental magic is another form of sorcery that Karnilla doesn't seem to call upon all that often for unclear reasons, but which she is capable of using with decent levels of power.
For some examples, she has almost killed Balder by smashing him with boulders during a moment of fury (Thor 193), created stone hands to restrain a young Loki (Thor: Son of Asgard 5), somehow turned the magic life-giving waters of a lake into sand (Thor: Son of Asgard 5 and yes, we know it is a case of turning water into sand, rather than her drying the lake) and created out of nowhere storms (Thor 207, an interesting example considering that it restored the vitality of an exhausted Thor in a jiffy).
Good job on the thread, excellent work.
Powers (V): Magic - Offensive
The Norn Queen has been known to use a certain nameless spell that she has described as a frozen sleep (Thor 154). It appears to be either a souped up paralysis spell or some kind of temporal stasis, which leaves her victims indefinitely frozen on the spot, seemingly insensate.
The first known victims of the spell were the Legion of the Lost, a group of Asgardian warriors that at some point annoyed her so much that she froze them and kept them in her lair as trophies, until Balder's refusal to become her king annoyed the Norn Queen so much that she unfroze them and magically commanded them to kill him dead (Thor 155).
Although it has never been used against high level enemies, Karnilla can either spam it a lot or cast it with a rather large area of effect (and exclude specific individuals from its effects), because in Thor II 36 she seemingly used this magic to freeze everyone in a prison, except Loki (who was in human form and powerless at the time), before actually teleporting to the prison to break the spell Odin had used to depower Loki.
Unlike Amora, mind control magic is a relatively minor part of Karnilla's repertoire and uses it more to mess with her victims than to fight her enemies. All the same, this is something she is capable of doing.
To list some of the most relevant examples, the image pictured above (from Thor 305) shows that she used this kind of magic to manipulate Nanna into a relationship with Balder and she cast the same to make the Legion of the Lost attack Balder in Thor 155 (although the Asgardian warriors were eventually able to overcome the magic thanks to their hatred of Karnilla and Balder's gallantry). Moreover, Karnilla has the ability to remotely control all the beasts that dwell within Nornheim.
Besides outright control, she is also able to inflict other harmful mental states. The image above, from Balder the Brave 1, shows her cursing Agnar of Vanaheim with a spell that made him forget even his name and left him unable to speak understandably.
Later, she was "persuaded" to lift the curse, which she did with a kiss (and isn't that interesting, in light of her alleged connection to the Enchantress?). After the spell was removed, the victim didn't seem to suffer any aftereffects.
Thor 305 also gives us this interesting little scene in which Karnilla literally puts Balder's paramour in chains by snapping her fingers. As far as I know, this is something she has never used in a fight, but the potential is obviously there.
Powers (VI): Magic - Defensive
Karnilla has few feats of defensive shielding, with the two best ones appearing in the context of two of her fights against the Enchantress. There is the example above (from Thor 450), which shows the Norn Queen shielding herself against one of Amora's spells with one hand while she fires an attack of her own with the other, and there is one other (from Thor 260), that shows her blocking another of the Enchantress' attack spells.
Unlike shields, Karnilla uses heavy duty illusions quite a lot.
Among other things she has used them to fake the presence of Hela in Thor Annual 14 (as shown above), to remotely mess with Balder and Nanna's perceptions as they journeyed through her realm (Thor 305) and deployed them in a massive scale to hide her kingdom of Nornheim when Seth invaded Asgard (Thor 399-400). It should be noted, however, that in this last example Karnilla herself had serious doubts about this being a tenable long term solution and this made her help Asgard after some coaxing from Balder.
However, none of this compares with the frankly scary stuff she pulled during the Tanarus story arc (The Mighty Thor II 8-12). Following Thor's death during Fear Itself, Karnilla possessed the eldest of the Norns and then started weaving some really great illusions.
Result: Thor's existence forgotten by everyone (except kid Loki, for some reason), including characters such as the Silver Surfer and the Allmother*, and all relevant memories edited to replace him with the false thunder god Tanarus (actually Ulik the troll disguised by a magic jewel of Karnilla's making that could even hide his true self from Heimdall's gaze).
*For those who haven't kept up with the last few years of Thor comics, Allmother is Odin's replacement at the front of the Asgardian pantheon. She is a fusion of the Elder Goddess Gaea and the Asgardians Frigga and Idunn, which makes her a nominally pretty potent character.
Powers (VII): Magic - Mental/Spiritual
In addition to enthrallment and other destructive mental magics, Karnilla has shown the ability to use telepathy (or some magical analog) in a number of instances. The example pictured above is from Thor 353, during which the Norn Queen arrived with her armies to help the Asgardians against Surtur's fire demons and coordinated with Amora in a two-way mental connection.
She can also use this ability to invade the dreams of others as she has done to Balder in several instances and, notably, Odin himself to make him wake up from the Odinsleep (Journey Into Mystery 119). This feat in particular is quite noteworthy, because 1) Odin's sleeping chamber is stated to be very heavily warded to protect him and 2) she did this after Loki asked her to do it, because he himself couldn't (and Loki in the very same issue showed the ability to project his astral self to Earth and then to Nornheim, from Asgard's dungeons).
Like her sometimes partner, Karnilla can also project her mind across interdimensional boundaries having done so in Thor 448 to summon Amora to the Statue of Liberty and then cordially invite her to join the latest anti-Asgard coalition. She can also help others do the same, as explained in Uncanny XMen Annual 9, when she helped Magik (a prisoner in Asgard at the time) make mental contact with Kitty Pryde (in Earth at the time) with nobody else (including Loki and the various mutants involved) ever detecting her involvement.
This ability may or may not be what allowed her to know, during the events of Thor 148, when and where in Earth she had been summoned by a then powerless Loki to give him magic and repay her debts. In any case, she opened a portal to the right spot moments later, just in time to give the Wrecker the magic meant for Loki. Oopps.
Not much to say here, really.
Karnilla is capable of astral projection, but other than taunting Balder in his dreams, her only noteworthy stunt related to the astral plane happens during Thor 450. In this issue, Karnilla convinces Amora to take their fight to the astral plane, so that Loki's spirit would be able to distract the Enchantress at the right moment.
Karnilla's ability for the manipulation of souls comes up in connection to the Destroyer. In Thor 152, she pulled SIf's soul out of the Destroyer, even though the automaton was on Earth at the time (although Sif's body was right next to Karnilla when she retrieved the soul). She tried to do the same in Thor 266 (as shown above), when Balder's soul animated the Destroyer, but Loki blindsided and koed her before she could complete the spell.
Powers (VIII): Magic - Divination
In spite of her title, Karnilla is not actually one of the Norns, the divine triad that rules over destiny. However, she is rather good in several of the different fields of divination magic.
As explained in the image above (from Defenders 107), she can scry things in other dimensions and does this as a matter of routine.
Among many, many other things, she has used this to locate the Destroyer when it was hidden in Earth (Thor 150) and tried to use a particularly powerful spell to track down Thor (Thor 437), after Heimdall banished Thor for killing Loki.
The effort was not succesful, but Karnilla managed to detect five traces of Thor. Although ultimately this was revealed to be a wild goose chase to get Balder and Sif out of the way, while Karnilla and Loki usurped Asgard, she managed to correctly identify a number of Thor touched individuals and locations in different dimensions and planets.
The Norn Queen generally uses mystic portals, pools, cauldrons and the like for her divinations. Nevertheless, Thor 190 reveals that she can scry and show to others things happening in other dimensions without the assistance of artifacts.
She also seems generally fond of scry and die tactics*. Specific feats include remote summoning those ice pixies to harass a young Thor and his party in Thor: Son of Asgard 3, teleporting Balder to the safety of Nornheim when he was about to be executed by Seth in Thor 399-400 (she does this a few times with teleportation, more about this in future posts) and depowering Eric Masterson from the golden city of Asgard. It is likely that she used this same thing to freeze a prison in Earth, prior to teleporting in, during the events of Thor II 36.
Finally, Thor Annual 5 reveals that Karnilla has legitimate prophetic abilities. Indeed, in the same day in which Thor fought Hercules for the first time, the Norn Queen was able to correctly predict the formation and membership of the Avengers in a distant future.
In connection with this point, it is perhaps worth commenting that the first Loki miniseries, although not in continuity, has a victorious Loki requesting that Karnilla cast a spell to reveal his fate in exchange for the custory of Balder. When this spell is cast, Loki learns that the fate of all his infinite dimensional counterparts is to get his collective ass kicked by Thor and end shackled, while a snake pours venom over his face. Yikes.
*For the benefit of those who don't play Dungeons and Dragons, scry and die refers to player use of divination magic to strike directly at a distant enemy, by attacking remotely with magic or teleporting to the enemy's location without going through any defenses that would have inconvenienced the attackers in a conventional approach.
Powers (IX): Magic - Transport/Support
It will probably surprise no one that the Norn Queen can teleport herself and others, both within the same dimension and to others. To mention some examples, in Thor 150 she teleports the Destroyer Armor to Earth from Nornheim; in Thor 153 she does the same with Thor and Sif; in Thor 157 she sends Balder and the Legion of the Lost from Nornheim to Asgard; in Thor 170 she teleports Balder and the Warriors Three from Earth to her lair in Nornheim to rescue them from the Thermal Man; in Thor 189 she dispatches Balder to Hel (more exactly, Hela's throne room) in order to mess with one of Loki's plots; in Thor 305 she displaced Balder and his love interest Nanna from Asgard to a random location in Nornheim (while staying herself in her lair)... While many other examples exist, there is not much point in making this list lengthier.
In terms of scale, Karnilla's most impressive feats involve the teleportation of entire armies. In Thor 353-354, she teleported the entire army of Nornheim to Earth in order to help the Asgardian forces against Surtur's demons and then, as pictured above, returned home with her forces after the battle was won. Roughly the same happened in Thor 400, when she used her magic to transport to Asgard her forces, Geirrodur's trolls and the frost giants of Jotunheim, just in time to rout Seth's armies and force the serpent god to withdraw.
In Thor: Son of Asgard 6, after her failed invasion of Asgard, failed assassination of young Thor and even more failed attempt to best Odin in a fight, Karnilla was persuaded to leave Asgard without further violence by a young Balder. She did this by turning her body into mist, an interesting enough ability, although one she has never used in battle (and yes, this is a mist form and looks nothing like the teleportation she uses earlier in the same issue).
The example pictured above (from Thor 199), in which Karnilla heals Balder after he is wounded in battle against the forces of Pluto, is the only "onscreen" showing of Karnilla's healing abilities. However, there are several instances in which she does the same behind the scenes, most often for Balder (as she did after saving him at the end of his duel with Seth) and more rarely for others (for example, the Warrior Three when she saved them and Balder from the Thermal Man).
Powers (X): Magic - Empowerment
Dirk Garthwaite - The Wrecker
As mentioned at the start of the thread, Karnilla was the accidental creator of the notorious B list supervillain Wrecker, when she thought him to be the then depowered Loki and imbued him with a large amount of Asgardian magic.
To give a brief, non exhaustive overview of Wrecker's capabilities (those who want more detail should check a very good Wrecking Crew Respect Thread by -K-M-, which can be found at KMC Forums), we can say that he is essentially a poor man's Thor. Karnilla's magic turned a baseline human into a mid level brick (some sources say class 40 in Marvel's strength rankings) with a magical crowbar that can project and drain energy, project high level illusions, teleport its user and others, generate forcefields, open dimensional portals and some other stuff (such as the trick Wrecker figured out that allowed him to share his magic power with the other members of the Wrecking Crew).
Leaving aside the nature and magnitude of the powerset granted, Karnilla's empowering spell has proven quite sturdy, despite various attempts to remove it over the years. To mention the most relevant examples...
In Defenders 17, Doctor Strange tried to depower the Wrecking Crew, but as soon as his concentration wavered (because of the Hulk) the magic went back to them, and a couple of issues later (Defenders 19) he outright states that he couldn't destroy the enchanted crowbar, so he settled for leaving it in a dimensional void instead.
In Iron Fist 11, Iron Fist tried to contest the enchantment using his own power. It didn't go well for Iron Fist.
Durok - The Demolisher
Durok was a joint creation of Loki and Karnilla (Thor 191). The Norn Queen used magic known only to herself to create a body of unprecedented power, which Loki then animated using the Odinring. As a result, it is uncertain how much of the final product was done by each, but we can be certain that the final product was quite impressive.
In addition to being mute and surprisingly cunning, Durok was a brick of astounding strength (allegedly greater than Thor's) and durability (full force Mjolnir throws knocked him down, but caused no actual damage), with surprisingly high speed and powerful energy blasts.
In his first appeareances (Thor 191-193), he literally beat Thor within an inch of his life and suffered no damage after engaging him in a multi-minute battle. Even when Silver Surfer appeared to relieve Thor, Durok did surprisingly well against this opponent (breaking the Surfer's board at one point, even) and was not defeated until the Surfer stranded him in the dead Earth of a distant future.
Although still potent, Durok seemed to have grown considerably less formidable when he resurfaced among Loki's forces during the Ragnarok arc (Thor II 82). In this instance, he was wounded by Sif wielding the enchanted sword Dragonfang and when he engaged Thor in direct combat, he was definitely killed by a point blank Godblast.
Ulik - Tanarus, God of Thunder
Ulik the Troll, while taking the place of the deceased Thor, seems to have been amped beyond his usual level to make the impersonation more realistic.
Instead of Mjolnir, Ulik wielded a magic cudgel that allowed him to fly, manipulate lightning and smash in one hit through the armour of Terminus. Much like Thor's hammer, this cudgel also returned to his hand if thrown.
Unfortunately, we can't be certain if this weapon is Karnilla's creation. Although the collar that hid Ulik with a glamour was explicitly her work and the cudgel would seem within her power to create, Karnilla was allied at the time with Geirrodur, king of the trolls and one of the finest makers of enchanted weapons in the Nine Worlds.
Therefore, it might be something she made or it might be not.
In a number of instances that will be listed in this section, Karnilla has helped in a substantive manner accomplish things that were explicitly beyond her personal power. Her creation of Durok alongside Loki is not included, because it is never clarified whether she could have animated the creature on her own and just chose to give Loki the honours.
Thor 153 - Loki lifts Mjolnir by stealing Karnilla's magic
Exactly what it says on the tin. During the events of Thor 152, Thor falls into warrior madness to curbstomp Ulik the Troll and realizes that Mjolnir is missing at the end of the battle.
As Karnilla explains in the next issue, Loki showed up during the battle, stole some of her magic and, in combination with his own power, was able to overcome the worthiness enchantment and escape with the hammer before Thor and his friends realized he had been there.
As far as I know, this is one of extremely few instances in which Loki has been able to lift the hammer in 616 continuity.
Thor 187 - Loki and Karnilla break Infinity's mind control spell
For those not in the know, there is a weird storyline in which a part of Odin dies. Under Hela's influence, this part of Odin (that gets called Infinity) starts destroying the universe and, at one point, puts the Warriors Three under a mind control spell that effectively leaves them catatonic.
During this storyline, Balder recruits Karnilla to break the Warriors Three out of the spell, but her initial efforts are unsuccesful. However, after Sif points to a reluctant Loki that it is the bloody end of the world and that his usual backstabbing will get him killed, Loki combines efforts with the Norn Queen and together break the spell.
Thor 188 - Loki and Karnilla push back Infinity
The culmination of the Infinity storyline saw various efforts to prevent Odin's dead half from possessing his tranced living self (which was resisting subconsciously) and claiming the totality of the Odinpower.
Karnilla's attempts to wake Odin with her spells failed pretty miserably, but by pooling efforts with Loki they actually managed to briefly force back Infinity.
And anyone who thinks that briefly forcing back someone is a pretty lame feat should remember that this was a bloody fragment of Odin that had been causing destruction in an universal scale for the duration of this storyline.
Thor 188 - Karnilla helps supercharge Mjolnir
The last attempt to wake up tranced Odin in the Infinity storyline also involved Karnilla.
To be specific, she cast a spell to supercharge Mjolnir with the godly power of several of the main asgardians (Thor, Karnilla, the Vizier, Balder, Heimdall, Sif and the Warriors Three) and then launched the hammer towards Odin.
This hit finally woke up the Allfather, who reabsorbed Infinity and then started undoing all the destruction it had caused previously.
Thor 249 - Thor and Karnilla pierce Mangog's barrier
During a storyline in which Mangog impersonated Odin with the help of a rogue Asgardian and amped himself by drawing power of the Asgardians loyalty towards their ruler, he set up a barrier around Asgard's imperial palace to keep Thor out.
Having found this barrier impervious to his best efforts, Thor and the Vizier eventually went to Karnilla's lair and asked for her help, since they considered her the only person with some chance of breaking through.
Karnilla's solo efforts were no more succesful than Thor's. However, by combining efforts with Thor, they were able to puncture the shield long enough for Thor to slip in and discover that 'Odin' was actually Mangog, instead of his father gone nuts.
New Mutants 84 - Tiwaz refines Karnilla's spell and animates the petrified people of Nornheim
The people of Karnilla's kingdom of Nornheim were petrified by a magic dust created by Utgard-Loki, king of the Frost Giants of Jotunheim, at the beginning of the Balder the Brave miniseries. For some time, it was a minor plot point that Karnilla's attempts to undo the petrification of her realm kept failing.
When Balder promised to help the New Mutants defend Asgard against an invasion by Hela, Karnilla did another attempt to revive her people that also seemed to fail. Fortunately, there was someone looking who decided to help matters...
The bearded fellow is Tiwaz. Also known as Buri. Also known as Odin's grandfather. And while, the involvement of such a character generally would make this a non feat, that Tiwaz acknowledges Karnilla as a "fine sorceress" and that he doesn't add power, but rather distributes what Karnilla had already cast suggests that the Norn Queen was overdoing quite horribly her attempts to brute-force the cure for the petrification and that it was more a matter of it being tricky magic to get rid of.
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