Posted on: May 7th, 2009 Hero/Villain of the Week!

Marvel Comics presents

beta_ray_bill

Name:  Beta Ray Bill     Real Name:  Bill (Legally changed to Beta Ray Bill)

Status:  Hero     Occupation:  Warrior and guardian of the space fleet of his alien race

Group Affiliations:  Presently none; Formerly Star Masters, Thor Corps; honorary member of Omega Flight; honorary warrior of Asgard

Height:  6′ 7″      Weight:  480 lbs.

Powers:  Beta has obtained powers and physical attributes similar to Thor, augmenting his already powerful cyborg body. He is very strong, nearly invulnerable, immune to disease, and is virtually immortal. He can also use Stormbreaker to fly, manipulate weather, absorb and channel various energies, and as a detector. He can also turn into his pre-cyborg Korbinite form, or currently to his alias Simon Walters by stamping the hammer, which then turns into a cane.

Abilities:  Beta Ray Bill’s life force and consciousness were transferred by scientists of his race into the body of an alien carnivorous equine-like beast that had been bionically restructured into a cyborg. Courtesy of highly advanced genetic engineering, Bill possesses superhuman strength and is capable of matching Thor in combat in their first encounter.  Bill possesses superhuman reflexes; stamina and durability;  and a highly extended lifespan.  Korbinites excel in hot climates. Beta is a very skilled and fierce warrior, and is able to detect the other Korbinites regardless of their location. 

Preferred Weaponry:  His weapon of choice is the Stormbreaker, which has similar properties to Mjolnir that he also has occasionally used.  He also possesses the advanced and sentient warship Skuttlebutt, and all the advanced weapon technology within it.  Bill wears traditional Asgardian armor.

Key media appearances:  Beta Ray Bill is very much a secondary character in the Marvel Universe, and as such has not received near the amount of media appearances as is deserved.  He first appeared in the pages of Marvel comics in 1983 in Thor #337.  He has appeared sporadically in different issues, encountering a handful of Earth’s heroes.  Notably, he worked with Omega Flight in a fight against Tanaraq, and played a prominent role in the recent Secret Invasion storyline, battling the Skrulls alongside Thor.  Bill appeared once in the 1998 Silver Surfer tv series, and was an alternate costume for Thor in Marvel:  Ultimate Alliance.

secret_invasion_thor_1_2nd_printingCharacter History:  The evil Surtur destroyed the burning galaxy, home to the Korbinites, many of whom were obliterated along with the rest of the burning galaxy.  The surviving Korbinites decided to choose a champion to lead them to a new home, and to be their protector. They chose Beta Ray Bill, who was promptly transformed into a cybernetic being resembling a fierce, horse-like creature.  The Korbinites amassed their fleet, put themselves into stasis, and followed Beta’s ship, Skuttlebutt. Bill fought legions of demons sent by Surtur, travelling through the galaxy in search of a safe haven for his people.

His ship neared Earth, and was mistaken for a threat to Earth, so Nick Fury sent Thor out to handle it.  In the ensuing battle with Thor, Bill knocked Mjolner out of Thor’s grasp, and was able to lift it.  Both Thor and Bill were transported to Asgard to determine who would yield the hammer in a  fight to the death.  Bill refused to kill Thor, and thus was deemed worthy of yielding Asgardian weaponry, so Odin ordered a new hammer to be made especially for Bill.  Thus Beta Ray Bill was connected to, and would forever feel the connection to Asgard.  Over the years, in many appearances in Thor comics, Beta Ray Bill would act as a defender of Asgard.  He would return to Asgard many times, developing a relationship with Sif.  When Ragnarok loomed over Asgard, Bill was willing to die in battle, just to defend Asgard.

During the Secret Invasion event, Bill was given Mjolner by Thor so that Donald Blake (Thor’s human alter-ego) could assist a nearby city.  Bill fought valiently and defeated much of the Skrull forces, yet he was defeatedby his own hammer Stormbreaker (though it was modified by the Skrulls) in the hands of the Super Skrull.  Thor came to rescue Bill, and once again yielding Stormbreaker, Bill tricked the Skrulls and defeated them.

I think Beta Ray Bill is a pretty cool looking character.  He’s never going to be a major player in Marvel U, but he is a more than formidable secondary character that easily adds a splash of excitement to any issues he appears in.  Bill likely won’t ever appear on tv, unless he makes a quick appearance in the proposed Thor animated series set to launch around the time the Thor feature film is released.  Also, he likely wouldn’t ever appear on film unless briefly in a Thor film.  None of that changes the fact that Beta Ray Bill is an immensely powerful ally and wicked cool mix of mystical, cosmic, and cybernetic power.  The more you know about the Marvel Universe, the cooler you become.  Well, at least that’s how I justify my burning desire to soak up all the comic character info I can.

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