Elektra was born on a Greek island near the Aegean Sea to Hugo Kostas Natchios and his wife Christina Natchios. She had an older brother named Orestez Natchios.
Two contradictory accounts of her family history have been given in various issues. In Elektra: Root of Evil #1-4 , it is stated that her father was an aspiring diplomat who eventually managed to gain his first assignment as an ambassador to an unspecified country. However, Hugo and his wife had grown apart. Christina had begun a series of extramarital affairs with no apparent interest in keeping them secret, resulting in personal humiliation for her husband. Popular opinion in diplomatic circles stated that a man unable to control his wife had no business deciding on the fate of the world. When Christina became pregnant for a second time, Hugo was certain the child was not his own.
Hugo confided to his adolescent son that his mother was a whore who was shaming their family. Orestez promised his father that Christina would never again shame them. Hugo failed to understand the meaning of these words. On August 13 of that year, the couple was on holiday in the Aegean Sea. They were located by a helicopter which opened fire on them both. The assassins left them for dead. The couple was taken to a nearby hospital. Christina gave premature birth to Elektra and then died. Hugo recovered from his wounds.
Orestez had hired the assassins in order to indirectly commit matricide. He was horrified by the idea of unintentional patricide and ran away from home. Hugo was the only family left to Elektra. At first, Hugo had no intention to raise this "b*****d" child. However, a paternity test confirmed the child to be his own. Hugo was not sorry for losing Christina. He was grateful, however, for her giving him a daughter. He arranged for a beautiful headstone to be placed on her grave. Images of the Erinyes on the headstone implied however that Christina was responsible for her own death.
Hugo grew to adore Elektra. He nicknamed her his "Little Amber" and showered her with gifts. Her favorite gift was a pet dog of her own, named Agamemnon, continuing the pattern of Hugo naming members of his family after the Atreidae. The dog was killed when a nine-year-old Elektra was assaulted by kidnappers. The men were all killed by Orestez, who had grown into an accomplished martial artist after leaving home. He did not explain his presence there. He briefly acquainted himself to his little sister and then left again. However, Orestez had a lasting effect in her life. He advised his father that Elektra needed to learn self-defense. Hugo hired a sensei to teach her the martial arts, beginning her acquaintance with fighting.
Elektra's primary abilities are a strong knowledge of martial arts and weaponry. Elektra learned ancient martial arts of China, Siam, and Japan. She is a master combatant with the Japanese Sai, her usual weapon of choice. She is also highly skilled with the katana, daggers, three-sectional staff, and shurikens. She is a master of many Japanese combat forms including Ninjutsu. Elektra is an Olympic-level athlete, strong in gymnastics and swimming, with a high level in athleticism in human strength, speed, stamina, agility, dexterity, reflexes & reactions, coordination, balance, and endurance. She is resistant to pain and extreme heat and cold. She is also able to keep to the shadows and move with such speed that she can remain unseen even in daylight, thus explaining why she is one of Marvel's top killers.
Elektra has demonstrated on occasion the ability to mesmerize others, and as such make them see illusions or other phenomena.
Elektra's also has the ability to "throw" her mind into those of others. For instance, she was able to track down her enemy, Ken Wind, by temporarily "borrowing" people's minds and acting through them while she hunted around for her prey. This temporal mind control enables her to metaphorically sniff out the psyche, or intent, of her targets. It saw extensive use during Elektra: Assassin, in which she was heavily reliant on only her ninja powers. It is unknown how long the effect lasts, but Elektra has gone a full four months in someone else's mind while simultaneously swapping two other people's minds.
Elektra has occasionally demonstrated low-level telekinesis, though it is possible that this may be an illusion which victims of her mesmerism are led to see. She can communicate telepathically with individuals possessing similar levels of mental discipline, such as the Chaste.
It is unclear what the limitations on her psychic ability are. The last time Elektra tried this trick, it was with S.H.I.E.L.D. Elektra was not born with this interesting gift; she mastered it through training and refinement with The Hand. Their fighters share a similar power, which means each of them – including Elektra – are mentally linked to The Beast, the relentless demigod of The Hand who has haunted her since she broke rank.