The left side of Hela's body is dead and decayed. However, when wearing her cloak it appears alive and healthy
Hela possesses the conventional superhuman abilities of an Asgardian woman, although in fact her parents may have been members of the race of giants of Jotunheim, as well as certain special abilities that pertain to her role as a goddess of death:
Superhuman Strength: Hela possesses vast superhuman strength considerably greater than most Asgardians. She has proven capable of standing toe-to-toe with Thor. Hence, she is capable of lifting well in excess of 100 tons.
Superhuman Speed: Hela is capable of running and moving at speeds much greater than even the finest human athlete.
Superhuman Stamina: Hela's body produces considerably less fatigue toxins than the bodies of human beings, or most other Asgardians for that matter, during physical activity. As a result, Hela possesses almost limitless physical stamina.
Superhumanly Dense Tissue: The skin, muscle, and bone tissues of Hela's body are about 3 times as dense as the same tissue in the body of a human. This contributes, somewhat, to Hela's superhuman strength and weight.
Superhuman Durability: Hela's body is considerably more resistant to physical injury than the bodies of human beings, and most other Asgardians. Hela is capable of withstanding great impact forces, temperature and pressure extremes, high caliber bullets, and powerful energy blasts without sustaining injury.
Regenerative Healing Factor: Despite her body's high resistance to injury, it is possible to injure her. However, Hela's body is capable of healing itself with high levels of superhuman speed and efficiency. The extent of Hela's healing abilities is considerably beyond that the the vast majority of Asgardians.
Extended Longevity: Hela, like all Asgardians, is not completely immune to aging but she does age at a rate much slower than that of a human being. She is also immune to all known Earthly diseases and infections.
High-level Magical Energy Manipulation: Hela is capable of manipulating great quantities of Asgardian magic for numerous purposes, such as limitless astral projection, firing deadly bolts of energy from her hands, levitation, time-travel and the creation of illusions. She is even capable of channeling the energy through her hand and use them to strike a powerful blow that can rend even the strongest Asgardian flesh. She refers to this as the "Hand of Glory".
Control Over Life and Death: As a goddess of death, Hela holds the power of life and death over the gods of Asgard. Death for an Asgardian is somewhat different from death for an Earth human being. In both cases, the corporeal body ceases all functions and activities, but whereas mortal spirits flee the physical form at the moment of death, the spirits of gods remain in their bodies until the death goddess draws them out and dispatches them to her realms. These spirits (or astral selves) remain integral for eternity and reside, apparently forever, in the other-dimensional realms of Hel and Niffleheim, where they take on a quasi-physical existence, under Hela's control. The souls of those who die heroically in battle remain within their bodies and are accompanied by Odin's Valkyries into Valhalla, where the deceased heroes lead a new physical existence. These dead heroes are known as the Einherjar. Hela too accompanies these heroes on their journey to Valhalla, but she has no right to govern them. Although Hela is usually content to wait until an Asgardian is on the verge of succumbing to fatal wounds before she touches him or her and draws the spirit from his or her body, she can also kill perfectly healthy Asgardians with her touch if she chooses. Although Hela's touch of death is effective even when she touches someone with her gloved hand, she must contact that person's bare skin for him or her to die. However, Hela can also project mystic bolts that will cause their target to age or die, even if they strike a portion of the target's body that is covered by clothing.
Although she rarely does so, Hela is a formidable hand to hand combatant, as well as having great proficiency with swordsmanship. She is particularly skillful at using her powers in combat situations.
When wearing the garment that serves as her cloak, cowl, and headdress, Hela's body is fully alive and healthy. However, deprived of her cloak, Hela reverts to her true form. The right side of her body is fully alive, but the left side is dead and decayed. Legend has it that Hela was born in this condition. It has been theorized that without her cloak, Hela would be unable to leave the realms of the dead. it has been demonstrated that without her cloak, Hela's life force is insufficient to maintain her usual physical strength. Indeed, she is unable to stand or levitate herself, or to project mystical bolts, and can barely crawl. Donning her cloak once more will restore Hela to full vitality; even simply touching it would again enable her to stand.
Hela was born in Jotunheim, the other-dimensional land of the giants, one of the "Nine Worlds" of Norse mythology, and she is the daughter of the Asgardian god of mischief Loki and the sorcery wielding giantess Angerboda. The three Asgardian goddesses of fate, the Norns, are said to have warned the Asgardian gods that Hela would prove to be a great danger to them.
Odin, ruler of the Asgardian gods, decreed that Hela would become goddess and ruler of the spirits of the dead on the day of her maturity. These spirits were in the other-dimensional realms of Hel and Niffleheim, two more of the Nine Worlds, both of which Hela ruled. However, Odin himself directly ruled the souls of Asgardians and their human worshipers who died in battle as heroes, and had the palace of Valhalla built in a distant section of Asgard, known as Valhalla, to house them.
Hela sought for ages to bring more Asgardian souls under her control, and especially longed to possess the souls of Odin and his son Thor. In recent years, when Odin's attention had strayed from the rule of Valhalla, Hela tried to annex that realm to her own, hoping to consolidate her power over all of Asgard's dead. Eventually Odin grew aware of her ambitions and opposed them. Hela finally withdrew to her own realms, and Odin reestablished his control over Valhalla.
For untold ages, Hela had directed the construction of a gigantic ship, Nailgar, said to be made of the fingernails of the dead. Hela planned that when Nailgar was finished, she would send an army of the dead to Asgard in it to destroy the gods. However, Nailgar was destroyed by the Asgardian hero Executioner as it neared completion.
Hela once cast a curse on Thor which prevented him from healing any wounds and also prevented his death. After many battles and untold amounts of pain, Thor, reduced to pulp by a battle with the Midgard Serpent, entered Hela's realm within the armor of the Destroyer. The Destroyer's power proved too much for Hela, and she restored Thor's health and removed her curse. The Destroyer remained in Hela's realm to remind her of her defeat.
It is said that should the forces of evil in the Nine Worlds ever succeed in destroying Asgard, Hela and her army of the dead would be at their side.
Hela is a goddess and as such enjoys superhuman resistance to injury, diseases, and an extremely long lifespan. Hela has the ability to use various spells such as levitation, illusion casting, and virtually any other desired effect. She is immediately aware of any actions in her realms, and she commands all who dwell there. Hela can project her astral essence to whichever dimensions as she pleases, for unlimited periods of time, and wields the same powers as usual.
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